Niels Petersen

Planner and Helper

Born: 1739
Died: 1788

Niels Petersen was born in Oddes Brandrop, Holstein, in modern day Denmark. Holstein bordered modern Germany, where Petersen was introduced to the Moravians. Niels Petersen arrived in Bethabara from Charleston on January 30th 1766. His primary occupation was to serve as the town’s first distiller. However he first aided in building the town of Salem.

Petersen aided in the building of the Builder’s House. Petersen then went to work to aid in the planning and building of the first distillery in Salem in 1770. Here he practiced his craft for most of his life.

However, his work ethic was well known in town and in 1774 he was appointed to the committee to work on the water works of Salem. This was one of the most important tasks in the town to be completed. This was also one of the first water programs in the colonies.

Petersen was excellent at alleviating problems. He mediated the dispute between Johann Gottlob Krause and Gottfried Aust that resulted in Krause returning to his foster father to learn the trade. Without this mediation one of Salem’s most prolific and influential builders may not have been such.