Tuesday, March 31, 2015

William Lowthian Green

He worked for his father’s company in Liverpool and as part of that sailed to Buenos Ayres.  He then joined the rush to California to try his luck finding gold (some of his friends were fortunate, there.)  He wasn’t.

Green’s health failed after some time in the goldfields and in 1850 he determined to go to China – he ended up in Honolulu and worked for Janion, Green & Co. But Green’s passion was not business, social or political. He “was fixed upon the working out of the geological theory of the conformation of the earth's crust.”

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Monday, March 30, 2015


“The district that resembles Kahiki (Tahiti,) is to Kahiki-nui (Great Tahiti,) the district which is said to be made silvery by the winds (descriptive of the winds bearing salty sea-spray from the ocean.)”  Some archaeologists and historians believe the first Polynesians to arrive at Hawaiʻi came ashore at Kahikinui (Maui;) the place name illustrates the historical ties between Kahikinui (Great Tahiti) and the islands of Tahiti.

Kahikinui was arid along the coast but well-forested above the cloud line. Fishing was good along its rugged shores. Hawaiians lived in isolated communities on the broken lava, scattered from one end of the district to the other close to the sea or slightly inland, wherever potable water was found in a brackish well or a submarine spring offshore.  The ocean off Kahikinui is a wealth of marine resources.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015


Kahikolu means three in one, or the trinity. In 1852, Reverend John D Paris started to build Kahikolu (and completed in 1855.)  It is made of lava rock (with 35-inch thick walls; heavy timbers were dragged from the forest, and the koa shingles and lumber for pulpit and pews were brought from the koa forest a number of miles up the mountain side. It still stands above Nāpoʻopoʻo.

Kahikolu Church was the Mother Church for the South Kona area; however, the church was abandoned in 1953.  The congregation later reorganized and repaired the church and in August 1984, Kahikolu Church re-opened its doors.  (Kahikolu is one of two surviving stone churches on Hawaiʻi.)  On August 15, 1993, Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia’s remains were returned to Hawai‘i from Cornwall and laid in a vault facing the ocean at Kahikolu Church.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Images Of Old Hawaii

As some of you might suspect, I have been experimenting with the distribution of these posts over the past month.

I am still doing the daily posts and one notable change is that the albums and full stories are at ImagesOfOldHawaii.com .  (You can always go directly there to get them.)

In addition, summaries are posted on Facebook, Blogger, Google+ and LinkedIn (with a tweet going out on Twitter, as well.)

If you missed some posts in the past month, you can go to ImagesOfOldHawaii.com and catch up (there have been some pretty cool stories.)

We are working on another experiment to automate the postings (it used to take me about an hour each morning to post all the images and stories on the various sites – we have reduced the time, but are looking at another approach.)

In addition, to make sure you don’t miss a post, we have started a mailing list that will automatically notify you if a new story has been posted.

Click HERE to sign up on the mailing list.

Thanks for following.


Kauai’s South Shore

“The history of Kōloa is in many ways Hawai‘i’s history in microcosm.”  (Wilcox, Kauai Album)  The native Hawaiians along the Kōloa shore were the first to see the white man in Hawaiʻi.  It was in 1778, along Kauai’s South Shore, that Captain James Cook first traveled, landed and made "contact".

One of the first exports from Hawaiʻi was sandalwood trees; Hawai‘i’s whaling era began in 1819 and replaced the sandalwood trade.  In 1835, the first commercially-viable sugar plantation was started in Hawaiʻi at Kōloa.  When Hawaiʻi became a US territory, tourism boomed, hotels blossomed.  Kōloa-Poʻipū hosts an organized, supportive Poʻipū Beach Resort Association.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

The Macfarlanes

Henry (Harry) and Eliza Macfarlane settled in Hawaii at Waikiki in 1846, coming from Scotland by way of Australia.  One lasting legacy at their Kaluaokau home is the banyan tree Henry and Eliza planted – we now more commonly refer to the former home site as the International Market Place. Among other things, the Macfarlanes owned and operated hotels (in Honolulu and Waikiki.)

George Macfarlane was Chamberlain (attending to the personal needs of the King) and Private Secretary to King Kalākaua (and served as the medium of communication between the King and his Ministers.)  Son Clarence was a competitive sailor; he invited West Coast sailors to race to the Hawaiian Islands from San Francisco (the starting point was moved to Los Angeles, due to the 1909 San Francisco earthquake – we now call it the Transpacific Yacht Race (TransPac.)

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Perfect Nut

In 1857, German-Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller gave the genus of this plant the scientific name Macadamia – named after von Mueller’s friend Dr John Macadam, a noted scientist and secretary to the Philosophical Institute of Australia.  Macadam is also associated with Australian Rules Football and the first-ever lecture at the Melbourne University Medical School (he went on to become Professor of Theoretical and Practical Chemistry at Melbourne University in 1865.)

Macadamia seeds were first imported into Hawaiʻi in 1882 by William Purvis; he planted them in Kapulena on the Hāmākua Coast. (Purvis is also notable for importing the mongoose – to rid his Hāmākua sugar plantation of rats.)  Later (1892,) Robert and Edward Jordan planted the trees at the former's home in Nuʻuanu on Wyllie Street in Honolulu.  This introduction became the source of the principal commercial varieties cultivated in Hawaiʻi.    Horticulturalist Luther Burbank is credited with calling macadamias the ‘perfect nut.’

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

‘The Lion of North Kona’

Born in 1828 in Hōlualoa, North Kona, George Washington Pilipō was an ordained minister and teacher.  “He was installed at Kailua over the old church where Father Thurston had labored from the landing of the missionaries in 1820 … Here Pilipō labored and preached acceptably and honored by all for six years, until he was called to, and accepted, the pastorate of Kaumakapili in Honolulu.”

He was elected a member of the Legislative Assembly and served continuously and with honor for sixteen years.  He was a powerful and effective speaker.  He earned the name The Lion of North Kona. He supported former Queen Emma over Kalākaua; later, King Kalākaua became so incensed by Pilipō’s critique of his government’s dealings that he personally intervened in the 1886 general election campaign to ensure that Pilipo was not reelected.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

St Catherine’s Church

On July 7, 1827, the pioneer French Catholic mission arrived in Honolulu.  Father Louis Désiré Maigret was appointed the first Vicar Apostolic of the Sandwich Islands (now the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.)  Maigret divided Oʻahu into missionary districts. Shortly after, the Windward coast of Oʻahu was dotted with chapels.

St Catherine’s Catholic church was established on Mōkapu peninsula in the late-1830s or early-1840s. According to the records of the Catholic diocese, the first baptismal ceremony at Mōkapu took place in 1841. St Catherine’s was abandoned in the late-1850s after plague and migration decimated the peninsula population. The church was moved to a location at Heʻeia across the bay.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Hilo Hotel

“It is asserted by many that Hilo is the most beautiful city in the Islands. ... Situated on its magnificent crescent-shaped bay amid dense dark-green foliage, it extends its welcome to all and opens its portals to the historic and romantic interest of the Big Island.  Of course, no visitor to the Hawaiian Islands fails to see the great volcano Kilauea.”  (1896) (The Volcano road was completed in 1894.)

“Every now and then an attempt at running something like a regular hotel would be made by some enterprising resident, but heretofore these experiments have not resulted in any marked success”.  George Lycurgus and his nephew (Demosthenes Lycurgus) bought and reopened the Hilo Hotel … “Tourists will no longer complain of the lack of hotel accommodations in Hilo …” (1909)  By 1911, there were two hotels in Hilo, the Hilo Hotel and the Demosthenes (both under Lycurgus.)  In addition, Lycurgus (Uncle George) owned the Volcano House.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015


By the time European explorers entered the Pacific in the 15th century almost all of the habitable islands had been settled for hundreds of years and oral traditions told of explorations, migrations, and travels across this immense watery world.   Born at Waipi‘o on the island of Hawai‘i, Mōʻīkeha sailed to Kahiki (Tahiti), the home of his grandfather Maweke, after a disastrous flood.

Mōʻīkeha was an aliʻi nui (high chief) from Moa‘ulanuiakea, Tahiti.  Early one morning at dawn, at the rise of the navigation star (ka hoku ho‘okelewa‘a; possibly Sirius), Mōʻīkeha boarded his double-hulled canoe with his fellow voyagers (hoa holo), and left Tahiti – he landed at Hilo, then went to Kohala, then Maui; then left for O‘ahu and sailed to Kauai and settled at Kapaʻa as ruling chief of the island.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015


“I believe these were the largest workshops in the world for making of stone tools.”  (Emory)  The quarry is an area of roughly 7½-square miles on the south slope of Mauna Kea. The main activity was concentrated in a zone that is 1-to-1½ miles wide between the 11,000 & 12,400 ft elevation.

Most stages of adze manufacture (kākoʻi - to make adzes; adze maker) were carried out at these sites. An adze is an ancient type of edge tool dating back to the Stone Age. Similar to an axe in shape, it was used for cutting, smoothing, and carving wood and other materials.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Honolulu Hale

The debate on the site of City Hall waged in Honolulu … The first Honolulu Hale was on Merchant Street (it’s now a park-like lot on the Diamond Head side of the Kamehameha V Post Office Building.)  With growing community and business needs, the postal authorities were using part of Honolulu Hale. A partition divided the ʻEwa or North side, which was used by the Post Office, while the Waikīkī or South side was used by the Whitney stationery business and also the editorial office of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser.

As postal operations grew, in 1871, the Kamehameha V Post Office at the corner of Merchant and Bethel Streets was constructed and the Post Office folks moved out of Honolulu Hale.  In 1900, the old Post Office became a unit of the US Postal System.  Honolulu Hale on Merchant Street was fitted with a marine lookout and a tall semaphore, making its signals accessible to a larger segment of the population.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Oliver Holmes

Oliver Holmes left New Bedford to trade in the Pacific and arrived in the Islands on the Margaret in 1793 and became one of the first dozen foreigners (and one of the first Americans) to live in Hawaiʻi (he lived on the island of Oʻahu.)  Holmes made his living managing his land holdings on Oʻahu and Molokai, providing provisions to visiting ships.

Holmes, among other foreigners, asked the Protestant missionaries to help educate their children; “… we were encouraged in our efforts to commence a school by several residents, some wishing their wives, and others their children to be instructed.”  Holmes and his wife Mahi had six surviving children: Hannah, George, Polly (Sarah Pauline,) Charlotte, Mary and Jane (another, Benjamin, died in infancy.)

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hawaiʻi Statehood Address - Aloha ke Akua

The Hawaiʻi Admission Act was signed into law on March 18, 1959; Hawaiʻi became the 50th State on August 21, 1959.  An unplanned service (was) held at Kawaiahaʻo Church. This church is the denomination of the missionaries who came to Hawaii in 1820. A crowd of more than 1,000 people gathered and paid respect to the Divine Providence within minutes of the news being received that the bill was passed by the House.

The next morning, thanksgiving services were held at this same church; Reverend Dr. Abraham Akaka, pastor of Kawaiahaʻo Church, gave the sermon.  “So that the real Golden Rule is Aloha. This is the way of life we shall affirm. … Thus may our becoming a State mean to our nation and the world, and may it reaffirm that which was planted in us one hundred and thirty-nine years ago: ‘Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.’”

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Swastikas … to Waikiki Surf-Boards

Founded in 1908 by William Butte, Pacific Ready-cut Homes, later Pacific System Homes, made ’kit’ homes.  When the Stock Market crashed in October of 1929, Butte’s son Meyers convinced the family that manufacturing surfboards would be a good way to diversify the business. He began to change a small part of the production of Pacific System to surfboards.

At first, the company logo was a swastika on the deck; the boards became known as ‘Swastika’ models. “The Swastika boards were droolers … people really wanted a Pacific System.”  However, with the rise of Nazi Germany, in about 1938, the swastika name and logos were dropped and the boards became known as ‘Waikiki Surf-Boards.’

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Concrete No. 5

‘Ship traps’ describes a phenomenon where northern and southern swells, strong channel currents, strong consistent trade winds and fringing reefs force unsuspecting vessels into areas of harm – resulting in concentrated shipwrecks.  The north shore of the Island of Lānaʻi, locally referred to as “Shipwreck Beach,” is the best example of this phenomenon.  Here, the channel acts as a funnel, depositing material directly onto Shipwreck Beach.

A constant reminder of Shipwreck Beach is the last one – from the US Navy, YOGN-42.    Contrary to some of the reports on this vessel, it is neither a WWII Liberty ship nor was it even a motorized vessel.  The ship sitting on the reef at Shipwreck Beach is actually a non-self-propelled Navy gasoline barge.  YOGN-42 survived the war, but was stricken from the active register in 1949 and abandoned on Shipwreck Beach sometime after that.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

North Shore Na Kiʻi Pōhaku

Hawaiian was a spoken language but not a written language. Historical accounts were passed down orally, through chants and songs.  This doesn’t suggest however, that the Hawaiians did not communicate through “written” symbols – Hawaiians also communicated through na kiʻi pōhaku, petroglyphs.

Hawaiian petroglyphs are more often found near or at junctions of trails, or areas when ‘mana’ (cosmic power or force) was found.  It was this mana that was supposed to be absorbed by the petroglyphs to insure the efficacy of the spiritual rite or act of magic along Oʻahu’s North Shore, when some of the sand is washed from the beach, a plot of petroglyphs is exposed near the shoreline.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015


During the days of Kākuhihewa, ruling chief of O‘ahu from about 1640 to 1660, Kahaukani ((K) Mānoa wind) and Kaʻaukuahine ((W) Mānoa rain) were brother and sister twins.  When the children were grown up, their foster parents decided they should be united; they were married and Kahalaopuna was born to them – a uniting of the Mānoa wind and rain.  She is deemed of semi-supernatural descent.

Kahalaopuna “was so beautiful that a rainbow followed her wherever she went.” “A rosy light seemed to envelop the house, and bright rays seemed to play over it constantly. When she went to bathe in the spring below her house, the rays of light surrounded her like a halo.” She was killed by Kauhi. Today, you can still find the spirit of Kahalaopuna (the Princess of Mānoa) in the ānuenue (rainbows) spanning Mānoa Valley.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Albert Kualiʻi Brickwood Lyman

Born in Paʻauhau on the Hāmākua Coast of the Island of Hawaiʻi, on May 5, 1885, Albert Kualiʻi Brickwood Lyman, graduated from West Point ranked 15th in his class of 103 – classmate George S Patton, Jr was ranked 46th.  On March 13, 1942, Lyman was named Hawaiian Department engineer.

On August 11, 1942, Lyman was the first native Hawaiian (and Asian, he was also part-Chinese) to attain the rank of general or admiral in the US Armed Forces.  He died suddenly of a heart attack on August 13, 1942, two days after his promotion.  On October 20, 1942, Brigadier General Lyman was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal “For exceptionally meritorious service in a position of great responsibility.”

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cannon Club

Fort Ruger Military Reservation was established at Diamond Head (Lēʻahi) in 1906.  Also at Fort Ruger was the Cannon Club, a social club with a restaurant built in 1945 for the officers and their families.  The conclusion of World War II made the coastal batteries obsolete; in December 1955 the majority of the Fort Ruger land was turned over to the State of Hawai‘i – the Army kept the club.

The club, however, could not keep up with the times; the Army had to close the Cannon Club in 1997 as a result. For a few years, there was hope that the restaurant could reopen under private contractors, but the funding for the project fell through; the state acquired the property.  It is destined to be KCC's Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head.”

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Walter Chamberlain Peacock

Walter Chamberlain (WC) Peacock was born in in 1858 in Lancaster, England.  After a short stay in New Zealand, he arrived in the Islands in about 1881. He operated the Royal Saloon; it’s now home to Murphy’s.

In the 1890s, Walter joined other Honolulu elite who constructed mansions along the Waikīkī shoreline; he built his own a pier (Peacock Pier.)  In 1896, Peacock proposed to build Waikīkī’s first major resort - the Moana Hotel opened on March 11, 1901.  In 1909, Peacock died at the age of 51.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

ʻŌlaʻa – Keaʻau

ʻŌlaʻa was formerly called Laʻa, a legendary area for collecting bird feathers.  Forests once covered much of ʻŌlaʻa; they were later (1905-1928) made part of the forest reserve system within the Islands.  Keaʻau is the northern most of some 50 ahupuaʻa (ancient land divisions) found in the district of Puna. Keaʻau extends from the ocean fishery some 26 miles inland, and reaches an elevation of about 3,900-feet - portions of it wrap around the makai point of ʻŌlaʻa.

Construction of centrally-located ʻŌlaʻa Sugar Mill was completed in 1902. This industrial expansion marked the beginning of massive landscape alterations and clearing operations.  A community grew around the plantation.  In 1960, ʻŌlaʻa Sugar Company became Puna Sugar Company.   ʻŌlaʻa Elementary School became Keaʻau Elementary and Intermediate School (later Keaʻau Middle School.)  In the early-1970s, ʻŌlaʻa Hongwanji became Puna Hongwanji.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

‘Tennooe’ - William Kanui

 “He was born on the Island of Oʻahu, about the close of the last century.  His father belonging to the party of a defeated chief, fled with his son to Waimea, Kauai, while there (1809,) an American merchant vessel … touched for supplies.”   Kanui and his brother caught a ride on the ship and ended up in Boston.

He came back to the Islands with the Pioneer Company of missionaries.  Kanui was the first to return to the “old ways.”  He left the Islands and joined the California gold rush in 1848; he later returned to the Islands and established a school; “after wandering twenty years, has returned to his duty as a teacher.”  He died at Queen's Hospital, January 14, 1864 (about 66-years old.)

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Sunday, March 8, 2015


Hawaiians divided the year into two seasons – Kau (Summer – when it was dry and hot; beginning in May when Makaliʻi (Pleiades) set at sunrise;) and Hoʻoilo (Winter season when it was rainy and chilly; beginning in October.)  Months were measured not by the number of days, but were based on the phases of the moon - each beginning with the appearance of a new moon and lasting until the appearance of the next new moon.

It wasn’t until the Westerners arrived that clocks and watches were used to measure passage of time during the day.  In 1883, the US railroad industry divided the continental US into five (later four) time zones, establishing official time zones with a set standard time within each zone. It was not until 1918 that an Act of Congress set standard time all over the US; that act also provided for nationwide daylight saving time from March through October.

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Royal Footsteps

Seven miles of roadway and over seven centuries of native Hawaiian traditions - it was here, along Ali‘i Drive, where chiefs of the highest rank walked.  King Kamehameha I was the first to unify the entire Hawai‘i archipelago under a single rule – he established his Royal Center here; and, here he excelled at surfing at Hōlualoa Bay.

Here was the coming of the first Christian missionaries who arrived in Kailua Bay in 1820 and began the transformation of Hawai‘i through rapid religious conversion. Historic sites cover much of the Kailua to Keauhou section of the Kona Coast.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Georgia O’Keeffe

James Drummond Dole founded Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901. The ad agency for Dole was looking for something special for a national magazine advertising campaign; in exchange for an all-expense-paid trip, they asked Georgia O’Keeffe to submit two paintings from Hawai‘i. O’Keeffe became one of the greatest female artists of the 20th century. Best known for her still-life paintings, she painted natural settings at their most basic: large-scale flowers, bones and landscapes.

In Hawaiʻi, she was hosted by the Willis Jennings family (he was manager of the Hāna sugar plantation;) twelve-year-old Patricia Jennings became her companion and guide for the next ten days.  O’Keeffe had produced 20-paintings, not one included a pineapple and she subsequently “submitted depictions of a papaya tree and the spiky blossom of a lobster’s claw heliconia” for the Dole ads.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ships versus Canoes

Before European open ocean exploration began, Eastern Polynesia had been explored and settled.  More than three thousand years ago, the uninhabited islands of Samoa and Tonga were discovered by an ancient people.  Arriving in probably a few small groups, and living in isolation for centuries, they evolved distinctive physical and cultural traits.   Samoa and Tonga became the cradle of Polynesia, and the center of what is now Western Polynesia.

Changes in the primary power mode of the larger canoes of the Hawaiian Islands from sail to paddling, followed by a return to sail.  Fast forward to post-‘contact’ and the time of the Islands’ unification; a new style of boat was in the islands and Kamehameha started to acquire and build them.  The first Western-style vessel built in the Islands was the Beretane (1793.)  Encouraged by the success of this new type of vessel, others were built.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015


In the 1500s, Chief Piʻilani (“stairway to heaven”) unified West Maui and ruled in peace and prosperity.  His territory included the six West Maui bays, a place he frequented.  In this area, between that ahupuaʻa of Honokōwai and Honokeana, was Kahana (cutting or turning point,) another ahupuaʻa of the moku (district) of Kāʻanapali.

Historically Maui’s second largest industry, pineapple cultivation, had also played a large role in forming Maui’s modern day landscape. The pineapple industry began on Maui in 1890 with Dwight D Baldwin’s Haiku Fruit and Packing Company on the northeast side of the island.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Day in the Life

“June 29th. A busy day.  - - - -” In part, the sole entry for that day in Sybil Bingham’s journal (1820) helps to describe what life was like for the families of the early missionaries in Hawaiʻi.  The day started at 4 am ... it continued into the night, with no breaks.  The mission children were up then, too; in the early morning, the parents taught their children.

“We had one tin whale-oil lamp between us, with a single wick…. Soon after five we had breakfast.”  By 9 am, after accomplishing all domestic duties and schooling of the children, the wives would begin the instruction of the Hawaiian children – and taught them for six solid hours, occasionally running into the house to see that all was straight.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hot Spot

Hawaiʻi sits over a ‘hot spot,’ the Hawaiian hot spot.  It’s one hot spot, but lots of volcanoes have formed over it.  The Islands are above a moving sea floor of the North Pacific Ocean (the Pacific Ocean is mostly floored by a single tectonic plate known as the “Pacific Plate.”)

The plates move over the hot spot; it moves to the northwest.  As the plate moves away, the volcano stops erupting and a new one is formed in its place. With time, the volcanoes keep drifting westward and getting older relative to the one active volcano that is over the hot spot.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Martial Law 1895

Following the overthrow of the constitutional monarchy of Queen Liliʻuokalani on January 17, 1893, the Committee of Safety established the Provisional Government of Hawaiʻi as a temporary government until an assumed annexation by the US.  From January 6 to January 9, 1895, patriots of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the forces that had overthrown the government were engaged in a war that consisted of three battles on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi.

In response, President Sanford B Dole, on January 7, 1895 proclaimed martial law: “The right of the writ of habeas corpus is hereby suspended and Martial Law is instituted and established throughout the Island of Oahu, to continue until further notice, during which time, however, the Courts will continue in session and conduct ordinary business as usual, except as aforesaid.”  Martial law ended March 18, 1895.

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