Mr Axmann’s name was written on the back of this photo (original on left) together with the words “Vailele 1881”, so the presumption is made that he is the man on the left from the previous image, and the location was the Godeffroy/DH & PG plantation. Daughter Emma was born on Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu, in 1868, at a time when Godeffroy’s was expanding its operations rapidly throughout Polynesia. The Axmanns may have run a trading post for Godeffroy’s on the atoll. At some point they moved back to Samoa where Mr Axmann was probably a plantation overseer.
An interesting thing happened within a year or two of this photo being taken – Feodor Axmann headed back to Germany on a visit and all contact with him was lost. After some time, Malietoa Laupepa, who was then at the height of his power, advised his sister that she should remarry. It was speculated that Feodor had died or was not returning. This time Etesa is believed to have taken a Samoan as her husband. She had a daughter to this union whose name was reportedly Luisa.
Credit: Composite from Spemann Family collection.
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