George Kopper Culpeper of Barbados and South Africa1

Male, #9393, (29 Sep 1862 - 30 Nov 1921)
Father*Francis Culpeper of Barbados (4 May 1823 - 11 May 1888)
Mother*Emily Rebecca Gaskin of Barbados (c 1822 - 1901)
Name-AltSpell This surname is sometimes spelled Culpepper. 
Name-AltSpell This surname is sometimes spelled Colepeper. 
DNA* From DNA and genealogical evidence we conclude that George Kopper Culpeper of Barbados and South Africa is a member of the International branch whose most recent common ancestor is either William Culpeper of Hunton and Wigsell, or the Rev. William Culpeper of Barbados. 
Birth*29 Sep 1862 George was born at Barbados on 29 Sep 1862.1,2 
Baptism28 Jan 1863 He was baptized at Saint Michael, Barbados, on 28 Jan 1863.3  
Photographed*circa 1877 He was photographed circa 1877 at Barbados.2
George Kopper Culpeper
Death of Father11 May 1888 His father Francis Culpeper of Barbados died on 11 May 1888.4 
Name-AltSpellcirca 1895 This surname is sometimes spelled Colepeper.5 
Relocation*circa 1895 He relocated circa 1895 at South Africa5 
Marriage*16 Jun 1896 He married Mary Florence Lamb of Scotland at Durban, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, on 16 Jun 1896 at age 33.1,6 
Birth of Son1896 His son William Colepeper was born in 1896 at South Africa.4 
Birth of Son1897 His son Arthur Henry Roland Colepeper was born in 1897 at South Africa.4 
Birth of Son1898 His son Charles Alleyne Colepeper was born in 1898 at South Africa.1 
Death of Soncirca 1900 His son William Colepeper died circa 1900 at South Africa.4 
Birth of Son20 Sep 1900 His son John Ernest Colepeper was born on 20 Sep 1900 at South Africa.1 
Death of Mother1901 His mother Emily Rebecca Gaskin of Barbados died in 1901.1 
Birth of Son7 Jul 1902 His son Leonard George Colepeper was born on 7 Jul 1902 at South Africa.1 
Death of Son1906 His son Arthur Henry Roland Colepeper died in 1906 at South Africa.4 
Birth of Son15 Jul 1907 His son Philip Nicholas Colepeper was born on 15 Jul 1907 at Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.7 
Death*30 Nov 1921 He died at Durban, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, on 30 Nov 1921 at age 59.4 
Burial*2 Dec 1921 His body was interred on 2 Dec 1921 at West Street Cemetery, Durban, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.4 
Biography* The COLEPEPERS in SOUTH AFRICA. As understood and recalled by various family members and written by Ian George Colepeper, during 2006 & 2007.

GEORGE KOPPER COLEPEPER (born Culpeper), was born 29 September 1862 in Barbados, West Indies, and died 30 November 1921 in Durban, South Africa.

George Kopper’s father, Francis, was virtually crippled financially by the introduction of sugar beet (developed during the British blockade of Europe during the Napoleonic wars which cut off supplies of Cane sugar ) which had a disastrous effect on the sugar cane industry in the West Indies, particularly Barbados. Just prior to this, Francis had invested heavily in a new cane sugar mill and refinery but was unable to sell the majority of the product. According to family legend, this induced George Kopper (GK), to seek his fortunes outside Barbados and he went gold prospecting in the Yukon.

Unfortunately he arrived in the Yukon about a year before the main deposits were found but he did manage to find enough gold to make him feel the trip had been worthwhile and enough to make Mary Florence Lamb think that he was a good catch!

GK together with brothers Francis, William and sister Helena, decided to emigrate to South Africa circa 1896 settling in Durban, Natal which, at that time was a British Colony.

Mary Florence LAMB was born 14 August 1875 in Meadowbank, South Leith, Scotland. She was a very attractive and feisty young woman who frequently chaffed at the restrictions her parents imposed on her. When this happened she would be sent / or went to an Aunt who lived on the South Coast of England at Herne Bay. However after a while she would quarrel with the Aunt in Herne Bay and return to her parents in Edinburgh. Apparently one day she quarreled with both aunt and parents and decided to take herself off to America, a not inconsiderable feat in those days for a young woman of less than 20 years old. Little is known of her time in the USA but it is apparent that she decided to seek new pastures, to where is unknown.

As it turned out she and GK were onboard the same ship where they met. They were married soon after arriving in Durban, Natal, South Africa on 16th June 1896, which at the time was a British Colony.

At some stage after her marriage to GK Mary returned to the UK for a visit with their first born son William, (who later died in infancy). Mary was one of 12 children (she was the second daughter) and her sisters complained that during this trip she left the baby with them as she was so keen to socialize and have fun. Life must have been difficult for Mary’s mother since her husband, John, was a sail maker on a tea clipper and therefore absent from home most of the time.

Family legend further has it that they decided, on arrival in South Africa, to change the surname from Culpeper to the early English spelling of Colepeper in the hope / belief that this would be “lucky” for them in their future in a new country.

The family initially had a farm in SA but were badly affected by the 2nd Boer War, (11th Oct.1899 - 31st May 1902) the fight for Afrikaner independence. According to son Phillip’s first cousin, Margaret; the reason that GK and family moved to Australia was because they literally had to flee for their lives when the Boers came and burnt down their farmhouse and killed all their livestock. Margaret said that Mary was much more upset by the senseless slaughter of the animals than she was by the loss of the farm. Their home and livelihood destroyed, they no longer felt safe in South Africa. This, compounded by the deaths of William 1900) and Arthur 1901), both in infancy, was the reason that they decided to emigrate to Australia.

GK took up sheep farming in Australia but unfortunately his venture coincided with one of Australia’s worst droughts and the sheep had to be trekked miles to reach water. Apparently when the sheep smelt the water they stampeded, with the first sheep being pushed by the sheep behind them into the water where they drowned, and the sheep at the back of the flock drinking themselves to death. When son Phillip was born in 1907 in Sydney GK's occupation was described as a shipping clerk so he had obviously decided that farming was no longer a good idea.

Once again they found themselves in dire financial straits and this together with the defeat of the Boers by the British led them to return to South Africa, once again settling in Natal, which was still a British Colony, circa 1909.

The family settled in Warner Beach some 25 kms south of Durban and GK became the manager of the Umbogintwini Dynamite Works (which became part of A.E.C.I - African Explosives and Chemical Industries) at the princely salary of £300 per annum. Given the technology of the day it was a dangerous occupation and many are the stories of explosions and near disasters.

Warner Beach was then very much “bush”. Abounding with wild animals it was an idyllic place for young growing boys.

GK’s second son, John Ernest (Ian’s father) and his younger brother Len were inseparable during their early years and renowned for the scrapes that they got into particularly with the Police. Somehow Len had learned how to make primitive blasting caps which were in those days used to warn trains of danger ahead. This was done by placing 2 caps on the railway line. When they were detonated by a train it was the signal to stop with the fireman then walking up the line to the nearest station to find out what the trouble was. Of course there wasn’t any so it was everyone after the “bloody Colepeper kids” and John and Len took to the bush until the heat died down.

Despite some fearful wallopings from their Father (GK) they kept on doing it because “it was dangerous and fun”.

In 1918 GK bought a 12 acre tract of land on the beachfront of Warner Beach for £200, selling it in 1921 for £3 000. In 2005 this land is covered by 4 hotels and 5 blocks of apartments and the municipal valuation of the land only is some R 100 million!

Life was pretty wild in those days and John used to regale us with stories of brushes with wild animals, including elephants, in his youth in and around the area of what is today Kloof, Hillcrest and the Valley of a Thousand Hills.

Unfortunately GK contracted TB, an almost incurable disease in those days as there was no effective medication available at that time. GK apparently drank large quantities of brandy to successfully alleviate the pain.

He died in November 1921 and is believed to be buried in the West Street Cemetery (Ian has been unable to find his grave - the records are a shambles and numerous headstones have weathered into illegibility.) Apparently a Colepeper grave site was bought in perpetuity, of which fact Ian was made aware of, in 2006, by the lady at the Department of Cemeteries who gleefully told me that he could therefore be buried in the site with his ancestors and “stay forever free of charge”!

After some 33 years on her own, Mary, remarried in 1944 at age 68 a man of 78 - Gardyne (“Gardy”) and due to John’s absence up North, Ian, at age 5, “ gave her away”. They lived at 18 Currie Road, Durban until his death in 1949 upon which she became the recipient of his pension of £30 per month much to my John’s relief as he had supported her between 1925 and 1944 (even out of his army pay).

She remained staunchly Scottish (the Lambs’ are a part of Clan Lamont) with a dislike for anything English and never lost her distinct accent. She constantly reminded Ian that, although he was ¾ English it was the ¼ Scottish which really mattered and would ensure that he grew to be a “real man”

When Ian turned 16 (the coming of age of a Scotsman) she financed (£10) a birthday party for him on condition that he wore a kilt, sporran & ski-n-do (dagger) much to his embarrassment and the “scorn” of his school mates. That was the first and last time that Ian ever wore a kilt!

When “Gardy” died she ended up in a nursing home in Musgrave Road about 500 yards from Ian’s school DHS. He visited her once a month until her death in her 90’s circa 1956. (he was strongly motivated for these visits as she used to give him 10 bob every time which significantly augmented his pocket money of 4 bob a week whilst at school!)

Her last years were not pleasant for her. She broke a hip which never mended properly and was bedridden for the last 3 years.

Notwithstanding extensive searching, sadly Ian has been unable to discover where she is buried.4 


Mary Florence Lamb of Scotland (14 Aug 1875 - 1958)
Marriage*16 Jun 1896 He married Mary Florence Lamb of Scotland at Durban, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, on 16 Jun 1896 at age 33.1,6 
ChartsThe Culpepers of Barbados and the Colepepers of South Africa: Descendant Chart
Last Edited11 Feb 2011


  1. E-mail written 1998-2006 to Warren Culpepper from Richard Clark Culpeper (#9447), 139A Little Norway Road, Station F, RR 3, Site 3, Compartment 11, Oliver & Paipoonge Township, Thunder Bay Ontario P7C 4V2 Canada, Phone 807-625-6341, e-mail address.
  2. E-mail written 1999-2002 to Lew Griffin and Warren Culpepper from Glen Nicholas Colepeper (#36393), Cape Town, South Africa, (deceased 2006).
  3. Church of Latter Day Saints, compiler, International Genealogical Index (IGI), Intellectual Reserve, Inc..
  4. E-mail written 1999-2008 to Lew Griffin and Warren Culpepper from Ian George Colepeper (#36386), South Africa, (deceased 2008).
  5. E-mail written 1999-2002 to Lew Griffin and Warren Culpepper from Glen Nicholas Colepeper (#36393), Cape Town, South Africa, (deceased 2006).
    George Kopper Culpeper, along with his sister Helena, emigrated to South Africa circa 1900. There, the Culpepers changed the spelling of the name back to the early English form of Colepeper.
  6. E-mail written 2005-2013 to Warren Culpepper from Vivien Culpeper (#36406), England, e-mail address (Jun 2013).
    On my father (Philip Nicholas Coleper)'s birth certificate, the age of his father, George Kopper Colepeper, was given as 42 (he registered the birth by the way). This would mean he was born in 1865. This conflicts with the information hat his birth was 29th Sept 1862 & his baptism was Jan 1863.The birth certificate also says that George & Mary Lamb were married in Durban on 16th June 1896.
  7. E-mail written 2005-2013 to Warren Culpepper from Vivien Culpeper (#36406), England, e-mail address (Jun 2013).
    Philip Nicholas Colepeper was born in Sydney, Australia, 15 July 1907, Died 2 August 1985, Swindon Wiltshire, England.