Jons JAKOBSSON (aka John Olson) [1838-1918]

Submitted by anonymous-01 on Thu, 05/19/2011 - 17:56
Alias / nickname
John Olson
Birthplace (town, state)
Birthplace (country)
Cause of death
Throat cancer

See for full story of John Olson and his brothers Olof and Anders who are all buried at Happy Valley.

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Page 2 of the Hong Kong Daily Press, 1866-12-05:

N. L. Burns, v John Olson, an action to recover $10 money advanced to bind a bargin the terms of which have not been fulfilled, and plaintiff therefore claimed the sum which he had advanced. It appears that the defendant had offered to sell his tavern for the sum of $250, which plaintiff had accepted if he could procure a licence which however defendant failed to do and he consequently claimed that the bargain was off, and that his money should be returned. Defendant thought that in all cases where a person backed down from their bargains they forfeited any money they might have advanced. He denied that anything had been said about a licence. If the plaintiff would give him time he would try and raise the money. Plaintiff said he understood the defendant had called a meeting of his creditors and was going through bankruptcy and therefore he could not give him any time. Judgement was given in favour of the plaintiff with costs.

At this remove I may be wrong but am pretty sure that John Olson is registered as manager/licensee if The National Tavern in Queen;s Road. If memory serves this is notes in the Carl Smith archive. It would be interesting to know what lay behind this court case. 

In 1866 our great-grandfather, John Olson, aged 28, was probably still finding his feet in Hong Kong. I don’t think the exact date of his arrival has been ascertained. The above Daily Press report doesn’t specify the name of the tavern in question. The Carl Smith cards record that John Olson’s 1866 application for a licence for The Galloway Arms was refused on account of a “European woman of bad character occupying the upper part of the house”. (Daily Press, 26 Oct. 1866). Carl Smith records, without exact date, an 1866 Chronicle report that A. da Cruz filed to transfer his licence for the National Inn to John Olson. By 1867, according to Carl Smith, the Daily Press 18 November records that John Olson has produced a Bill of Sale for the National Tavern, but he is “also said to be servant of Stewart and Lumbah”. (This may refer to John Stewart, “a licenced victualler” and boarding house keeper of Queens Road who died in 1877and who may have first employed John Olson). It would certainly be interesting to know if there are other press reports that Carl Smith missed a) about the 1866 court case and b) about why John Olson was further required to produce a Bill of Sale in November 1867. 


The Carl Smith archive seems to have beein based pimararily on local press reports. Not the most reliable. Most of my reserach which I would regard as being more relaiable comes from accurate Swedish records which were kept by Church and State, Therefore the 1866 date is a guesstimate as there is no proof extant.

No record of when my great grandfather made a deciision to go to HK - if he did make such a decision - has ever been found.

However, more recent research shows that at least one ship from Carlshamn did sail to HK but Jons was not on the crew list that signed on for the triip. This ship was Falco out of Karlshamn. She is pictured entering Hong Kong harbour flying the house flag of the Karlshamn owners Winberg and Meyer.

Records that were kept by the French diplomatic representative, or Consul, during the first years of the Colony, were discovered not long ago and are now in the archives of the Ministère des Affaires étrangères in Nantes, France. They show that the numbers of Swedish ships calling to Hong Kong over the first  twelve years of the Colony’s existence were: 1842-0, 1843-4, 1844-5, 1845-7, 1846-5, 1847-1, 1848-1, 1849-0, 1850-9, 1851-12, 1852-8, 1853-12 so it is fair to assume that such voyages continued and probably increased throughout the 19th Century. So Jons Jakobsson may have reached HK before1866.

How my grandfather went ashore in HK - or even got there - will never be known. Did he make a decision to go there deliberately. This seems unlikely. When he got there though he clearly saw things would be better than in Sweden and asked his brothers Olof and Anders to join him. There are no records of how they got there either.

Life seems too short ot chase one chimara after another!   Sean