Daniel Richard Francis CALDWELL [1816-1875] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Daniel Richard Francis CALDWELL [1816-1875]

Daniel Richard Francis
Birthplace (town, state): 
St. Helena

He is buried in the Protestant cemetery in Happy Valley. Patricia Lim lists him at plot 19---/01/01, with inscription:

Freemasons of Hong Kong
to the memory of their late worshipfull
brother D.R.F. Caldwell as a token of their
affectionate regard and appreciation
of his long and faithful service to the craft.
What man is he that liveth
and shall not see death
shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the
grave Psalm 89 verse 48

Daniel Richard Francis Caldwell
born at St. Helena 19th September 1816
died at Hong Kong 2nd October 1975 ((sic))

Be careful to perform your allotted task while it
is yet day continue to listen to the voice of nature
which bears witness that even in this perishable frame
resides a vital and immortal principle which inspires
a holy confidence that the lord of life will enable
us to trample the kind of terrors beneath our
feet, and lift our eyes to that bright morning star
whose rising brings peace and salvation to the faithful and obedient
of the human race
masonic charge


Siblings of Daniel Richard Francis CALDWELL [1816-1875]


Origins of Daniel RF Caldwell

Daniel Caldwell was my great great grandfather. I was therefore interested to read your comment on same. I have been attempting to get more information about his origins with little success. Do you have any knowledge of the Caldwell's in Hong Kong, Singapore or St Helena or ideas of where I might look? Patricia Lim's 'Forgotten Souls' has provided some info. Apart from that, I'm at a loss.

Any help from yourself or other subscribers would be hugely appreciated. Many thanks,

Peter Bruce
Victoria, BC, Canada

St H.

Hi Peter,

I lived on St Helena for a few months in 1997-8 and took away with me a copy of the island's phone book, which I have just checked. Sorry to say it contains no Caldwells. That's not to say there are none on the island, but surviving historic surnames on the island tend to exist in high numbers, due to the small population, and you'd expect at least one of them to have a phone.



the history of Daniel Cadwell

Hi; I was born and brought up in HK, your GG grandfather was quite well known in HK, a rd call Caldwell road on mid level ( a very very well to do area ) was name after him can find it on google map, he donated his collections of books to the City Hall Library That's howI knew of him as a teenager. try wikipaedia or Hongkonggovernment.gov you can find out more of your forebear. its a small world I dont mind you contact me to do more research. BTW I'd been to your home town the paliament was beautiful at night time; bye

Just find out more about Daniel Cadwell

Hi Mr Bruce;

I think you better contact me and I will guide you through your research


peter wleungt@gmail.com


Daniel Caldwell

Hello Peter,

I have a Chinese robe which I understand belonged to your GT GT Gandfather. It came from a relative of Daniel's who sadly now deceased lived in Devon. Do you know of this connection?

Hi penang43, any chance you can post a photo of the robe for us to see please?

I'd also be interested to hear any stories attached to it, eg what it was originally used for, and how it ended up in Devon.

Regards, David

Gillian Wallis sent in this photo of the robe:

Chinese robe

She writes:

The robe is in two parts as you can see. the 'skirt' is of a fine  fabric woven with gold? thread and is wrap around and the top has a satiny finish.I was told that Daniel was a tall man. The man  in photo wearing it is 6ft 2ins.

Many thanks to all of you who replied to my request for info on Daniel Caldwell. Please accept my deepest apology for this late reply. Thanks Adam for your comment that it's unlikely Caldwells still live on the island. Thanks wleungt for mentioning that there is a road in Hong Kong named after him and for your suggestions on where to look for more info. I will be in touch through ypour email. And thanks too to you Gillian for mentioning your remarkable possession, the silk robe, and posting a photo of same. And to you David, for orchestrating this and notifying me of these posts.

I have somehow managed to mislay your email David, which included a note from Gillian on how she came to be in possession of the robe. Rats. Gillian or David, if you read this post, I'd be grateful if you could re-send that info to me at peterbruce@shaw.ca.

Regarding the robe and its large size, there is a line in Patricia Lim's 'Forgotten Souls' that reads...'...John Wright, who was a friend and Godfather to one of his sons, described him in his diary as 'slim but well built with peculiar largish blue eyes which the natives cannot at all understand.' The words 'slim but well built' seem to add credence to the belief that your robe Gillian indeed belonged to Daniel. Patricia devotes a number of pages in her book to Daniel and his adventures as both pirate and pirate hunter. It's a fascinating tale, truly the stuff of a Harrison Ford movie.

Again, thank you all.


I don't think there is a Caldwell Road on Hong Kong Island. Perhaps the suggestion was to Kotewall Road as the Cantonese pronunciation would sound similar.

E. J. Eithel's Europe in China confirms Caldwell passed away on 2 October 1875. The obituary appears in the Hong Kong Daily Press on 4 October 1875. See also page 60 of The Happy Valley - A History and Tour of the Hong Kong Cemetery.

Peter also notes if you're a member of the Ancestry.com website (it's a pay-site), he's got more information online there at http://trees.ancestry.ca/tree/35315084/family:

I have an incomplete account of Daniel’s family on my Ancestry tree. Nonetheless, there is lots of interesting information there.

Regards, David

David, I misled you on the link to my Ancestry tree. Anyone can use the link to access the tree. No membership is required. Cheers, Peter Bruce

Many thanks moddsey. Yet more information and ideas on Daniel Caldwell. I'm thrilled. Peter

Apologies. The Ancestry tree address given above does not work. But this will: email me a request to access my tree and I will make you a 'Guest' of the tree with visiting rights. You will be notified of same by me. Cheers. Peter

Many thanks to past responders of this website. You have been extremely helpful. There is yet much to uncover about this extraordinary family living in an extraordinary place and time in history. I have recently learned that there were 12 (not 10) biological children of Daniel R Caldwell and Mary Ayow Caldwell AND over 20 adopted children of Chinese descent. I met  for the first time a descendent of one of those adopted children this week (my 3rd cousin), who learned of me through this website (yet more gratitude). So now the challenge is to find the descendents of all the biological and adopted Caldwell children and identify the names of those children. If anyone reading this can help with this search I would be forever grateful. Thank you. For those wanting information on the Caldwells of Hong Kong and their descendents, please get in touch. Our knowledge is growing by the day. Cheers.

Peter Bruce

30+ children! This is going to be a huge family tree, and it will certainly be interesting to learn where all the descendants have ended up.

Thanks for the update, and please let us know as you find out more.

Regards, David

I have since learned that Daniel R Caldwell and Mary Ayow Caldwell lived on Gough Rd at mid-level, Hong Kong. Thanks again for your great research ideas Moddsey. Peter

Anglo-China by Christopher Munn has extensive and well researched information on Daniel Caldwell. There's certainly enough in there (many pages) to warrant buying the book. You can get it here:





Many thanks Adam. It sounds solid. I'll get it. Cheers. Peter



I am trying to trace the origins of Deacons in Hong Kong.http://gwulo.com/node/21983

I am interested in any information you may have on the law firm of  Henry Charles Caldwell  which my great great grandfather William Henry Brereton joined in 1867. 

WH Brereton died in HK 24 Oct 1887. You will see his portrait & obituary on this site http://gwulo.com/node/21937.

I look forward to hearing from you.

"Flagrant harbour: the sordid affair that cemented Hong Kong's reputation for vice and corruption"

... see SCMP article

Peter,  to help with your big family tree, I've added a tree to Geni.com - a collagorative geneology site.

Since the basic site is free, and designed to be collagorative with one big tree, I have found it helpful when trying to help people find their place in their larger family tree.


Here is a link that describes the land where their residence was on IL 62 Hollywood Road, near Gough Street.  They may have also owened land/house on adjacent Gough Street.



Hello Peter Bruce,
My mother is Ailsa Keane Caldwell. Daughter of Daniel Augustus (Gus) Caldwell and Marie Amanda Wilemina Caldwell. Would love to connect with you. We are living in London ON Canada. Ailsa and 3 other siblings are alive. Denis, Alan and Rita. I understand you are living in BC and my first cousins from Lorna Caldwell, Hillary (new Westminster) and Cheryl Vancouver) would also love to connect with you. We understand you are writing a book, and we may have further information. Cheers, Linda

Hi Linda,

I just wrote you a lovely long reply which I managed to make disappear. Ah me. Suffice it to say for now that I am THRILLED to make your acquaintance, cousin. THANK YOU for getting in touch.

And a big THANK YOU to David and Gwulo for making this and the several huge break-throughs on the hunt for Caldwells possible.

My profuse apologies for not responding to this note earlier. I simply haven't checked in to Gwulo in some (long) time. Yes, let's connect and swap stories. Here is my email: pkbruce@gmail.com. Would you be kind enough to pass it on to your (my) cousins. If you send along your email adresses, I will send you invites to my (our) family tree. In the meantime, you might wish to poke around my family history website (under construction with much left to do): www.newearthvillage.com/rogues/

I wait with bated breath. Cheers,


This is great. And I must apologize profusely for this very late reply. I've checked out the entire lot 62 on street view -- a far cry from what it was in the 1850s, but what fun to see it. Many thanks for this Annelise. Much appreciated.


Thank you again Annelise. Stuart Heaver did a good job of summarizing an extremely convoluted era in Hong Kong politics. And thank you too for creating the tree on Geni. I shall explore it further.


Hi Brereton_84,

Shamefully, a year has passed since you posted your request for info. I am very sorry. I have just now visited Gwulo for the first time in over a year.

I have reviewed the info I have on HC Caldwell. The only document I possess of note is a paper, seemingly an in-house paper, that was acquired from the HK law firm Wilkinson and Grist, although there is no identifying letterhead on it. It came to me from a descendent of an adopted child of Daniel R and Mary Caldwell, Henry's brother.

The paper was likely written in the 1970s. It is not dated or authored but was type-written pre-computers. It explores the roots of Wilkinson and Grist with a great deal of social comment along the way, beginning with Henry's troubles in Singapore and his hasty departure to avoid the law and ending with the arrival of Mr Wilkinson on Sep 22, 1886 aboard the P and O steamer Ravenna.

This version of history (which I believe includes some questionable 'facts') shows WHB joining the firm of HC Caldwell in 1871, not 1867. Yet in the previous paragraph, the author states HCC departed for England in 1871. Your date of 1867, therefore, is likely accurate. This author also states HCC came to Hong Kong in 1856, the year he disappeared from Singapore. Yet we know from "History of Laws" that he did not arrive in HK until 1861. 

Despite these discrepancies, it is worth a read and I am happy to forward to you a digitized copy should you wish it. I only hope this offer is not too little too late! You are welcome to email me directly at pkbruce@gmail.com. All the best.






I write this response a pathetic two years after your comment, but THANK YOU for your comments on Kotewall Rd vs Caldwell Road. I believe you are quite correct -- that Kotewall Road is a phonetic version to Caldwell, spelled as a Chinese person would pronounce it. Here is an interesting sidebar to that. About two years ago I was contacted by a gentleman with the surname Ko (through this bulletin board). Mr Ko, it turns out, lives not far from me, which allowed us to get together and share notes on the Caldwell family, as Mr Ko is related. His ancestor was an adopted Chinese child of the Caldwell's. However, because the word Caldwell is so difficult for Chinese to pronounce, the family decided to shorten it to Ko, as it happens, the first two letters of Kotewall! 

Thank you too for the reference to Eithel's Europe in China, the obit in the Hong Kong Daily Press and the book Happy Valley. I shall explore them all.



Through Gwulo, I met a man by the name of Eugene Ko, who as it happens lives not far from me in British Columbia. Eugene explained that his ancestor was the first of more than 20 Chinese children adopted by the Caldwells. Eugene explained that because Caldwell was such a difficult name for a Chinese person to pronounce, his ancestor took the name Ko. That leaves me to believe that Kotewall Road is indeed a reference to Caldwell. Once again, I am beholding to Gwulo for making this valuable connection to Eugene possible. Thank you David. Peter Bruce, Great, Great Grandson of Daniel Caldwell.

Hi Peter,

Kotewall Road is named after RH Kotewall: http://gwulo.com/node/15386

The Dictionary of Hong Kong Biography says he was the "son of Cheung A-cheung (Ching Yung Kan) and Homaje Kotewaj, a Parsee merchant who came to Hong Kong in the mid-19th century". So no Caldwell connection in this case.

Regards, David