“(T)ake possession in our name of Palmyra Island, … not having been taken possession of by any other government or any other people by erecting thereon a short pole with the Hawaiian flag wrapped round it and interring at the foot thereof a bottle well corked containing a paper signed by (Zenas Bent) in the following form viz: ‘Visited and taken possession of by order of His Majesty King Kamehameha IV …’” (Bent did so on April 15, 1862.) Later legal decisions note that ownership of Palmyra was held privately, initially in the name of Bent and Johnson B Wilkinson.
Palmyra Atoll was a part of the Territory of Hawaii prior to Hawaii’s entering the Union on August 21, 1959. Congress expressly excluded Palmyra from the State of Hawaii by section 2 of the Hawaii Statehood Act. Palmyra Atoll is situated 960-miles south by west of Honolulu. The atoll has an area of about one and one-half square miles with numerous islets in the shape of a horse shoe surrounding two lagoons. It was named after the American vessel Palmyra, who sought shelter there on November 7, 1802. Title is now held by The Nature Conservancy. It is an incorporated Territory of the US.
“The Territory of Hawaii has a high death rate from (tuberculosis) as compared with most mainland cities. … The County of Hawaii has the highest rate of the disease of any of the counties in the Territory.” The treatment of those afflicted is carried out by seven institutions, including Pu‘umaile Home in Hilo. “Pu‘umaile Home is the only institution for the care of tuberculosis in the Territory that is maintained solely from Territorial funds. One hundred and twenty-two were admitted during the year, with 68 Patients remaining at the end of the period, just double the number as compared with the previous year.”
The original Pu‘umaile Home was built in about 1912 at a site that is now in the vicinity of the old terminal building at Hilo Airport. The Hilo Airport was dedicated in February 1928 and in April 1938 a new facility was constructed at the end of Kalanianaʻole Avenue (at what is now Lehia Park.) Some incorrectly suggest that the hospital washed away by the 1946 tsunami; however, it was spared. The hospital remained on the shoreline until 1951 when it was relocated into new facilities on the grounds of the Hilo Memorial Hospital, above Rainbow Falls. Shortly after (1955,) Pu‘umaile was combined with the Hilo Memorial Hospital to establish Hilo Hospital (now Hilo Medical Center.)
Fong Inn (Yuen Kwock) was born in Chung Shan District, Kwantung Province, China in 1873. He came to Hawaii in 1898 and started a Chinese import company (that was devastated in the 1900 Chinatown fire.) Fong Inn and his son, Henry, visited the Orient often. In 1915, they brought back fine silk, Chinese antiques, pieces of art and jewelry.
Father and son became close friends with many kamaʻaina families and worked closely to supply the Honolulu Art Academy with Asian treasures and helped to acquire the famous scroll, The Hundred Geese, attributed to painter Ma Fen. While Fong Inn became one of Honolulu’s leading art importers, especially Chinese antiques … they were also Honolulu’s largest koa furniture manufacturer.
Kamehameha started to accumulate Western goods, including ships and weaponry. In 1790, he was joined by John Young and Isaac Davis, Europeans who knew how to use both. A blacksmith would have been needed to keep these ships and weapons in working order. Samuel Rice was a blacksmith by trade. He was born in about April 1787; his Hawaiian naturalization certificate notes he was a native of New Hampshire. He came to the Islands around 1811, probably aboard a fur trading ship.
In the service of Kamehameha, and later Kuakini, Rice was given property in West Hawaii: Honuaʻino (an ahupuaʻa that runs through Kainaliu) and two house sites in Kailua; the first, Pa o ʻUmi Heiau (on Ololi Road between Kopiko Plaza and Kuakini Hwy.) “He died on the morning of the 24th (of July, 1853,) rather suddenly, with the cholic or cramp, of which he had many previous attacks in years past.”
Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1940s – bombing of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu Marathon starts and Tripler Hospital is dedicated. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world.
During Kamehameha’s conquest of the Islands, Kalama‘ula, on Molokai, was where Kalola became ill and they could not carry out their original intention of going to Oʻahu to join Kahekili. Kamehameha followed Kalola to Molokai and asked Kalola for Keōpūolani (Kalola’s granddaughter) to be his queen. It was also here that Kamehameha V planted 1,000 coconut trees; it was his favorite area for retreats.
Some suggest the area was named for a stone … and a song was written about the beauty of the area. The US Congress passed the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act to provide lands for Hawaiians; in 1922, Kalamaʻula became the first Hawaiian homestead subdivision in the islands.