Drawing of Hong Kong by Thomas Allom, 1843. Credit: The Wander Life.
This is my second Biographical Dictionary focusing on certain residents of Hong Kong. In July 2013, I launched the "Biographical Dictionary of Medical Practitioners in Hong Kong: 1841-1941" while it was still "under construction". Thirteen months passed and my writing project is still in the "underway" mode. It would probably remain so for the next ten, twelve years, in spite of its relatively rich content, as manifested today, of nearly 900 physicians, surgeons and dentists featured in the site, some in great details while the majority less so. Then why is it that I embark on another seemingly monumental enterprise if it won't be after the year 2026 that I envisage I am to see my first through? Quite simple, imagine I'm a three year old kid in a candy store [I was going to say a Toys "R" Us store, but thought it wouldn't be right for I've never been inside one.]; would I completely finish of a lollipop before I move on to my next prey. Not a single kid in his right mind would do that.

I choose to feature the early settlers in Hong Kong in this dictionary not only because no one has done that [as I far as I know], but also because it promises to be a simpler undertaking [easier would be the wrong choice of word] -- there are fewer subject individuals and even scarcer available information about them. [So, a baker who ran a bakery at Queen's Road was a baker who ran a bakery at Queen's Road. End of story.] The uncomplexness of demographic factors also lessens the haziness in my research works. For instance, what I've found so far shows that a majority of my research subjects held one cluster of jobs: soldiers, missionaries and opium traders. [Believe me, at the time these occupations belonged to the same cluster.] With respect to the racial makeup of the foreign population, Briton and Portuguese together claimed no less than 80% of the total. Chinese residents were not listed anywhere but I was able to locate a handful of them, all of whom had moved to Hong Kong in the 1840s from nearby Macau, Canton, and farther from the Strait Settlements. One came all the way from England. Luck is not on my side, however, when it comes to locally born Chinese. I found none... but then I've just got started. On a separate note [and this is a genuine question], can pirates be listed as residents? I've found two and for the time being, and until someone could sensibly talk me out of it, will include them in this dictionary.

Rudi Butt
Hong Kong, July 25, 2014

Table of Contents

  1. My current research method is quite peculiar, meaning, instead of working on one subject individual at a time, I am sieving through one resource at a time from my favorite book rack on earlier Hong Kong and go about updating any and all entries where relevant, or adding new ones. Only when I have completed this process (or when I am totally fed up with it) will I pursue in depth research on people included in the dictionary, most of whom, by then, I will know something about.[a]
  2. Surnames are listed under their respective prefixes, if applicable, in this dictionary. The first letters of name prefixes, viz. da, de, dos, etc., normally written in lowercase are written in uppercase so that these names would appear in the right places when sort alphabetically. Somehow, the sorting code embedded in the design template is case sensitive, and I know not how to fix it, yet.
  3. Most of the entries are written in the format of biographical notes; a few take the form of an essay (for no particular reasons). If I should come across other formats of bio-writing, I'm sure I will give it a try.
  4. The word “unknown” used in this dictionary generally means “unknown to me” as opposed to nobody knows. In most cases, these are matters I think I know but do not know for a fact.

[a] Reference material I have completed reviewing:
  • Tarrent, William, The Hong Kong Almanack and Directory for the Year 1850, Hong Kong: China Mail, 1850. (9/18/2014)
  • Tarrent, William, The Hong Kong Almanack and Directory for the Year 1846, Hong Kong: China Mail, 1846. (10/2/2014)
  • Williams, Samuel Wells (Ed.), Chinese Repository, Vol. 17, January to December, 1848. Canton: 1848 (List of Foreign Residents in China). (10/10/2014)
  • Hong Kong Government, Pensions Payable out of the Revenues of the Colony, 1871. (10/13/2014)
  • Hong Kong's First, Justices of the Peace (10/14/2014)
  • Hong Kong's First, Early Settlers, the Less Konwn (10/23/2014)


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