Wednesday, May 2, 2012


If I can connect this group of HITENs to the HYTENs and HITENs in America I will have answered all the question about where we are from. That’s because this family tradition says that Ruben Hiten immigrated to South Africa from Scotland around 1845. One of his descendants, Jayne McDermid, has put many hours into an unsuccessful effort confirm that story. Her 1996 visit to Scotland and England turned up nothing. I’m sure the key lies in figuring out from what name HITEN is corrupted.

In 1841 at Wesleyan Chapel, Ft. Beaufort, South Africa, Reuben Hison married Margaret King (1826- ) who was born on St. Helen’s Island, famous for being the prison of Napoleon. Margaret’s father, John King, served in the St. Helen’s Artillery which was charged with guarding Napoleon. When she was ten that regiment disbanded and she came to South Africa.
They had twins boys, Ruben and Thomas, in 1847 and in 1849 a son, John Malcolm. The elder Ruben Hiten drowned in the Orange River on a trek north from Cape Town to Bloemfontein. When Ruben died, Margaret married Stephen Goddard and had two daughters. Goddard was later the mayor of Bloemfontein which is today a major city in South Africa.

When Thomas Hiten (1848-1922), a mason, and Amelia Sutton (1850-1922) had a child they named him Stephen Goddard Hiten. Thomas later served as the Town Ranger in Bloemfontein and has a small street there named after him. There were seven other children; Ruben, Sarah, (Lou) Frances Louise, Mary Ann, (Jack) John, Alice Maud, and (May) Charlotte May. Jayne McDermid is married to Mary Ann Hiten-Howell’s grandson, Duncan McDermid. Apparently Ruben and Jack did not have sons.

Stephen Goddard Hiten (ca.1875-1944) married Johanna Elizabeth van der Westhuizen, who sounds to be about as Dutch-Afrikaner as you can get. It was their four sons who passed on the HITEN name.
Stephen Goodard Hiten fought in the Boer War in a 1900 battle along the Tugela River near Ladysmith. He was stabbed in the leg, captured by the British, and transported to a POW camp on the island of St. Helena’s where ironically his great grandfather John King had served as a jailer fifty years prior. His parents assumed that he had been killed so it came as a great shock when he showed up at their door over two years later in 1903. Some years later Stephen was baptized in that same Tugela River.
By the time his sons were born, he was a Salvation Army trumpet player, preaching on street corners. When Stephen wrote to his son Stanley during WW II, he included many Christian references as his family were active Seventh Day Adventists. In fact, late in life, Stephen became a Pastor-Evangelist traveling from town to town in South Africa.

The oldest son (George) Thomas George Goddard (1905-1942) had a son, Irwin Kern (1937), and a daughter, Phyllis Evadni (1934). Irwin has two sons, Gregory (1965) and Merwyn (1967). George died while serving as a missionary in the Congo.

Stephen Goddard’s second oldest son, Stephen Stegman Hiten (1906-1986), was also an Adventist minister. In 1942 Stephen was in South Africa serving as some sort of church administrator in the East Rand area.
In 1949 he went to the United States to study. When he went to Columbia Union College to speak he met a Swiss student there named Edith Geymet (1907-1990) who a year later was to become his second wife. Finishing his masters degree, he briefly returned to South Africa. In 1954 he returned to the USA to get his PhD from Michigan finishing in 1960. He stayed the rest of his life. He taught speech at Columbia Union where he was a founder of their radio station WGTS-FM. Edith taught French at Georgetown.
Sometime in the 60s he apparently gave a speech that so impressed a young Muslim student, Ahmed Deedat, that he quoted from it in a 1996 lecture on “What the Bible Says About Mohammed, The Prophet of Islam.” which I found on the internet in 1997.
When Stephen Goddard died, B.B. Beach gave a eulogy in which he said about Stephen: “Mixed motives never seemed to characterize his conduct. Up-hill or downhill he trudged on, learning to concentrate on the essential, rather than the trivial. He knew the difference between majors and minors. He went to the essence of things.” Could anything better be said about a person?
Stephen’s children Dawn Hiten-Smith (1930) and Glen remained in South Africa. Glen had a son, Derek (1962), and two daughters; Penelope and Tracy Fern. Derek immigrated to the USA in 2000 and lives with his son and daughter in California.

Stephen’s brother, Stanley William Hiten (1911-2000), came to America when he was twenty years old. He came through Ellis Island where his name is on the Wall of Honor. He married (Nellie) Elizabeth Behney in California in 1934. After several years of teaching, from 1942 onward, he too served as a minister. In 1951 in California he be-came a citizen of the United States. They had four daughters who still live in California.
Fearn Elizabeth (1935) served over-seas as a missionary teacher much of her life. As she was returning home from her last assignment in Kenya she adopted a boy, Johnathan (1984). Frieda Marie Hiten-Ute-Worley (1937) has three Ute daughters. Edith Nellie Hiten-Furness (1945) has a girl and two boys. Enid Joy Hiten-Grinter-Kiser (1946) has two Grinter children. Stanley and Nellie also have an adopted daughter Gloria (1964).

Stephen Goddard Hiten’s youngest son, (Fletcher) Nicholas Fletcher (1917-1961), was captured when Tobruk fell in WW II and held prisoner at first in Italy. Later, by 1944, he was forced to work in Germany. Joy Harborth (1922) announced her engagement to Fletcher while he still was in captivity. I’m not sure if they married because it is Doris VanWyck (1918-1994) who is the mother of his twin boys, John and Stephen, born in 1947.
John had two daughters, Elzima (1971) and Dorette (1974). Stephen also had two daughters, Lusan (1972) and Doris (1979) as well as a son, Nicholas Fletcher Hiten (1975).

Jayne McDermid provided some of the information on the HITENs living in South Africa. Frieda Marie Hiten-Ute-Worley was my American source, particularly after her 1999 visit to her family homeland.I later met her at her California home.

1 comment:

  1. hi my name is thomas hiten i was born in south africa pretoria