Heath & Casten Families: Migration from England and Germany
Carl Casten was a diminutive painter from the village of Bad Salzdettfurth in the Duchy of Hanover, Germany. He stood 5’6” in his boots and when offered the opportunity to join the British Germany Legion under countryman Baron von Stutterheim in 1856, he saw the opportunity to better himself. The British German Legion was formed to bolster British forces that were dying from disease and slaughter in the Crimean War. Shortly after joining the Legion and after arriving for training in Colchester, England, the Crimean War ended, and Carl Casten was sent to South Africa with the rest of his comrades. They settled and were granted land in present-day Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Rosa Casten, Carl’s daughter, was born in approximately 1870.
Robert Jonathan Heath was born in a small village in Essex, England in 1852. He trained as a carpenter and when offered the opportunity to take passage to South Africa on a sailing ship, he did not have to be invited twice. Robert was a skilled carpenter and found employment in the ship-building and outfitting industry in South Africa. Soon a pretty lass of Scottish decent caught his eye, and he married Louisa Ralston in 1876. Their grandson Dennis Heath was born in 1914.
And so the full circle of migration, fleeing from danger and seeking refuge, birth and death, was closed when in 1940 Dennis Heath and Cornelia Pyper (Piper) were married. Their families had left kith and kin in Europe and followed opportunity to brave dangers both on the high seas and in Africa itself.