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Christian Friederich Wilhelm PETERSEN [c.1832-1896]
If you know the nationality of this gentleman, please could you leave a comment below?
He appears as in the history of John Olson. They must have been good friends, as Petersen was appointed as executor of Olson's will.
Historian Carl T Smith wrote about Petersen in his article "The German speaking community in Hong Kong 1846-1918". The first mention of Petersen is in the section "Taverns, Boarding Houses, Cafes and Hotels":
The German Tavern has the longest history. It is first mentioned in 1858, a year before the German Club was organised. It closed in 1910. Its first proprietor Andrew Rudigar was in charge for a very short time. He died in 1858, aged twenty six. He was succeeded by Christian Friederich Wilhelm Petersen, who held the licence for spirits for the tavern intermittently until his death in 1896, aged sixty four.
Smith makes a couple of other mentions of Petersen:
- The German Tavern ended up a sideline to his main business - a partnership with Peter Henry Schmidt recruiting crews for the many ships sailing from Hong Kong.
- Smith believes that Petersen's second wife, and later widow, continued in the tavern business. Also that their daughter worked in the same trade, as manager of the Station Hotel in Kowloon until it closed in 1931. In both cases, the establishments catered to a german-speaking clientele.
But another suggestion is that Petersen was Swedish, giving a kick-start to his close friendship with Olson.
So was Petersen German, or just German-speaking? What clues can we see?
Choice of business? In favour of German. Though the start of Smith's article includes his disclaimer about the difficult of establishing a person's nationality from his name. So it's not clear if Petersen ended up in the article due to his (and his Tavern's) name, or because Smith had other records showing Petersen's nationality. And after all if Petersen had opened a tavern catering only to customers speaking Swedish, he wouldn't have been very busy!
Wife? No help either - first was English, and Smith suggests that Petersen's second wifewas Chinese.
Friends? Evens: we've got Olson for the Swedes, but I guess his business partner Schmidt was German.
Name? In favour of German. Wikipedia says that the region of origin for the name Petersen is Denmark, Norway, and northern Germany (old danish colonies).
So, a couple of clues pointing towards German nationality, but nothing very convincing either way. If you know for sure, please leave a comment below.
- Christian Friederich Wilhelm PETERSEN [c.1832-1896] parent of Annie Bertha SANDERSON SMITH (née PETERSEN) [1894-1936]
- Christian Friederich Wilhelm PETERSEN [c.1832-1896] spouse of Annie Maria PETERSEN / USCHMANN (née TOWAMOY, aka Mary) [????-1923]
- Christian Friederich Wilhelm PETERSEN [c.1832-1896] parent of Louise Helen BRUHN (née PETERSEN, aka Lizzy) [1890-1966]
- Christian Friederich Wilhelm PETERSEN [c.1832-1896] parent of Margaret Mary WEYLER (née PETERSEN, aka Maggie) [1887-????]
- Christian Friederich Wilhelm PETERSEN [c.1832-1896] parent of Martha Louise SEIDEL (née PETERSEN) [1889-????]
- Christian Friederich Wilhelm PETERSEN [c.1832-1896] parent of Wilhelmine Auguste KUNZE (née PETERSEN, aka Minnie) [1885-1975]
- Christian Friederich Wilhelm PETERSEN [c.1832-1896] parent of Henry William Christian PETERSEN (aka Hansy) [1892-????]