Founded in 1839, O‘ahu’s first school was called the Chiefs’ Children’s School (The Royal School.) The cornerstone of the original school was laid on June 28, 1839 in the area of the old barracks of ʻIolani Palace (at about the site of the present State Capitol of Hawaiʻi.)
The school was created by King Kamehameha III; the main goal of this school was to groom the next generation of the highest ranking chief’s children of the realm and secure their positions for Hawaii’s Kingdom.
Seven families were eligible under succession laws stated in the 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i; Kamehameha III called on seven boys and seven girls to board in the Chief’s Children’s School.
The Chiefs’ Children’s School was unique because for the first time Aliʻi children would be brought together in a group to be taught, ostensibly, about the ways of governance.
Amos Starr Cooke (1810–1871) and Juliette Montague Cooke (1812-1896), missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, were selected by the King to teach the 16-royal children and run the school.
In a letter requesting the Cookes to teach and Judd to care for the children, King Kamehameha III wrote, “Greetings to you all, Teachers – Where are you, all you teachers? We ask Mr. Cooke to be teacher for our royal children. He is the teacher of our royal children and Dr. Judd is the one to take care of the royal children because we two hold Dr Judd as necessary for the children and also in certain difficulties between us and you all.”
The students ranged from age two to eleven, and differed widely in their temperaments and abilities, goals and destinies. But they all had one common bond: their genealogical sanctity and mana as Aliʻi-born.
The school building was square-shaped, about seventy-six square feet in area, with a courtyard in the center and a well. The thirteen or so rooms included a large classroom, kitchen, dining room, sitting room and parlor, and living quarters for the students and the Cookes. The entire complex was surrounded by a high wall, apparently intended as much to keep people out as to keep them in.
In this school were educated the Hawai‘i sovereigns who reigned over the Hawaiian people from 1855 (age noted is the age at death:)
Alexander Liholiho (February 9, 1834 – November 30, 1863 (age 29))
Son of High Chief Mataio Kekūanāoʻa (Royal Governor of Oʻahu, as well as Kuhina Nui (Prime Minister (1863-1864)) and Princess Elizabeth Kīnaʻu (Kuhina Nui (Prime Minister) as Kaʻahumanu II (1832-1839.)) He was the grandson of Kamehameha I. Hānai by his uncle, King Kamehameha III. Alexander Liholiho became King Kamehameha IV and ruled over Hawaiʻi January 11, 1855 – November 30, 1863
Emma Naʻea Rooke (January 2, 1836 – April 25, 1885 (age 49))
Daughter of High Chief George Naʻea and High Chiefess Fanny Kekelaokalani Young and hānai to by her childless maternal aunt, chiefess Grace Kamaʻikuʻi Young Rooke, and her husband, Dr. Thomas CB Rooke. On June 19, 1856, Emma married Alexander Liholiho and became Queen Emma. They had one child Prince Albert. In 1859, King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma founded Queen’s Hospital.
Lot Kapuāiwa (December 11, 1830 – December 11, 1872 (age 42))
Son of High Chief Mataio Kekūanāoʻa (Royal Governor of Oʻahu, as well as Kuhina Nui (Prime Minister (1863-1864)) and Princess Elizabeth Kīnaʻu (Kuhina Nui (Prime Minister) as Kaʻahumanu II (1832-1839.)) Hānai by his grandmother Queen Kalākua Kaheiheimālie and step-grandfather High Chief Ulumāheihei Hoapili. Lot Kapuāiwa became King Kamehameha V and ruled over Hawaiʻi November 30, 1863 — December 11, 1872.
William Lunalilo (January 31, 1835 – February 3, 1874 (age 39))
Son of High Chief Charles Kanaʻina and High Chiefess Miriam Auhea Kekāuluohi (Kuhina Nui (Prime Minister) as Kaʻahumanu III (1839-1845.)) He was grandnephew of Kamehameha I and second cousin to King Kamehameha IV and King Kamehameha V. The first elected King of Hawaiʻi; he became King Lunalilo and ruled over Hawaiʻi January 8, 1873 – February 3, 1874.
David Kalākaua (November 16, 1836 – January 20, 1891 (age 54))
Son of High Chief Caesar Kapaʻakea and his mother High Chiefess Analeʻa Keohokālole. Hānai to Keaweamahi Kinimaka and High Chiefess Haʻaheo Kaniu. Under Kalākaua’s direction, the cornerstone for ʻIolani Palace was laid on December 31, 1879 (it was completed in 1882.) He earned the nickname “Merrie Monarch.” He defeated Queen Emma in an election to the throne and ruled over Hawaiʻi February 12, 1874 — January 20, 1891.
Lydia Liliʻu Kamakaʻeha (September 2, 1838 – November 11, 1917 (age 79))
Daughter of High Chief Caesar Kapaʻakea and his mother High Chiefess Analeʻa Keohokālole. Hānai to Abner Pākī and his wife Laura Kōnia. Hawaiʻi’s last reigning monarch, she was named heir apparent (and her name was changed to Liliʻuokalani) and succeeded her brother to the Hawaiian throne and ruled over Hawaiʻi January 29, 1891 – January 17, 1893.
Bernice Pauahi (December 19, 1831 – October 16, 1884 (age 52))
Daughter of High Chief Abner Pākī and Laura Kōnia. Pauahi was married to businessman Charles Reed Bishop. Hānai to Princess Kīnaʻu (Kuhina Nui (Prime Minister) as Kaʻahumanu II (1832-1839.)) Great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha I, her estate operates the Kamehameha Schools (established in 1887) according to Pauahi’s will.
Elizabeth Kekaʻaniau Laʻanui (September 12, 1834 – December 20, 1928 (age 94))
Daughter of High Chief Gideon Peleioholani Laʻanui and High Chiefess Theresa Owana Kaheiheimalie Rives; she was great grandniece of Kamehameha I. She married Franklin Seaver Pratt on April 27, 1864. She was the last Royal School alumnus to die.
Moses Kekūāiwa (July 20, 1829 – November 24, 1848 (age 19))
Son of Mataio Kekūanāoʻa and Elizabeth Kīnaʻu. He was a grandson of Kamehameha I.
Jane Loeau (December 5, 1828–July 30, 1873 (age 44))
Daughter of High Chief Kalaniulumoku and High Chiefess Kuini Liliha (descended from Kahekili II, Mōʻi of Maui, and High Chief Hoapili through her mother.) She was hānai to Ahukai (Kaukualiʻi.)
Victoria Kamāmalu (November 1, 1838 – May 29, 1866 (age 27))
Daughter of High Chief Mataio Kekūanāoʻa (Royal Governor of Oʻahu, as well as Kuhina Nui (Prime Minister (1863-1864)) and Princess Elizabeth Kīnaʻu (Kuhina Nui (Prime Minister) as Kaʻahumanu II (1832-1839.)) She served as Kuhina Nui (Prime Minister) as Kaʻahumanu IV (1855-1863;) as Kuhina Nui, she effectively served as “Queen” for a day and proclaimed her brother Lot Kamehameha V the rightful successor to Kamehameha IV, when the latter died unexpectedly in 1863.)
Peter Young Kāʻeo (March 4, 1836 – November 26, 1880 (age 44))
Son of Joshua Kāʻeo (Judge of the Supreme Court of Hawaiʻi) and Jane Lahilahi. Hānai to his maternal uncle John Kalaipaihala Young II (Keoni Ana) (Kuhina Nui (Prime Minister) (1845-1855) and son of John Young, the English sailor who became a trusted adviser to Kamehameha I)
William Pitt Leleiōhoku (March 31, 1821 – October 21, 1848 (age 27))
Son of the Kalanimōku (Prime Minister) and Kiliwehi (daughter of King Kamehameha I.) Hānai to John Adams Kuakini (Governor of Hawaiʻi Island and brother of Queen Kaʻahumanu.) Entering the school in 1844, he was the last boy to enter the school. He was married to the Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena and later to Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani.
Abigail Maheha (July 10, 1832 – ca. 1861 (age 29))
Daughter of High Chief Namaile and High Chiefess Kuini Liliha; Hānai to her aunt, Princess Kekauʻōnohi (granddaughter of Kamehameha I.)
James Kaliokalani May 29, 1835 – April 2, 1852 (age 16))
Son of High Chief Caesar Kapaʻakea and mother High Chiefess Analeʻa Keohokālole. Hānai to his maternal grandfather High Chief Aikanaka.)
Mary Polly Paʻaʻāina (1833 – May 28, 1853 (age 20))
Daughter of Henry Coleman Lewis and High Chiefess Fanny Kekelaokalani (daughter of John Young, the advisor of Kamehameha I, and was also grandniece of Kamehameha I.) Entering the school in 1843, she was the last girl to enter the school.
In the classroom students were divided by their age and or length of time as the school. The older group consisted of Moses, Lot, Alexander, William, Jane, Bernice, Abigail and Elizabeth who had attended the school since 1839.
The next class consisted of Emma, James, Peter and David. Mary was in the youngest class together with Victoria, Lydia, and John Pitt due to her late attendance.
The custom was for a boy and girl to march side by side; the lead being taken by the eldest scholars. Moses and Jane had this distinction, next Lot and Bernice, then Alexander Liholiho with Abigail, followed by Lunalilo and Emma, James and Elizabeth, David and Victoria, Mary and Peter, and John and Lydia being the last. (Liliʻuokalani)
No school in Hawai‘i has ever produced so many Hawaiian leaders in one generation.
The image shows the Chiefs’ Children’s School (around 1848.) In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.