Robert Louis Stevenson ‘may have fathered Samoan’

DNA tests will prove whether or not Scottish novelist, poet and traveller Robert Louis Stevenson fathered a Samoan child. Picture: Getty
DNA tests will prove whether or not Scottish novelist, poet and traveller Robert Louis Stevenson fathered a Samoan child. Picture: Getty
Have your say

DNA results will be revealed tomorrow which could solve the mystery of whether Robert Louis Stevenson, who was believed to have died childless, fathered a daughter while living in Samoa.

“Family Secret”, an investigative programme broadcast in New Zealand by television channel TV3, has examined claims by Blas Robles who believes his great, great grandmother Teuane Tibbo was was the daughter of the Scottish author.

The pre-publicity for the programme said DNA samples would reveal “a shocking truth”.

Award-winning television producer David Lomas said that if Teuane was the writer’s only child was Samoan would be “phenomenal.”

Birth certificate, DNA

Mr Lomas travelled to Samoa with Mr Robles, 35, a member of the New Zealand army, in February to find out if his claims could be verified.

Those early investigations centred around possible inaccurate information on the alleged daughter’s birth certificate before moving on to DNA analysis.

“Blas has come to us as the family representative and what we are trying to do is to is to find the answer to the question; could Robert Louis Stevenson have had a child because he had no children at all prior to this,” Mr Lomas said in an interview during the visit.

“The birth certificate which people had relied on until now to say that it was impossible, is inaccurate,” he he added.

Teuane Anne Williams’ birth certificate states that she was born on 2 October 1895. But her family always celebrated her birthday in June.

“If it was June 8, then Robert Louis Stevenson would have been alive when Teuane’s mother became pregnant and was born just after he died.

‘Doing it for parents’

Mr Lomas said the news that the birth certificate, which was only registered in Samoa 67 years after the birth by an uncle, was not necessarily accurate opened up the possibility that Teuane could be the author’s daughter.

Mr Roubles, who could be proven to be the writer’s great, great grandson, said that his quest was more for his mother and grandmother than himself.

“It doesn’t matter either way. I mean of course if I am really related to him that would be amazing but then again nothing would change if I’m not.

“I am primarily doing this for my mum and grandmother because they have both wondered and lived their whole lives wondering, ‘what if?’” he said.

The writer, who was married with two stepchildren, moved to Samoa after buying 400 acres of land near the village of Vailima on the island of Upolu. He became involved in local politics and became known as Tusitala (Samoan for Teller of Tales).

He died in his new country in December 1894, aged 44.