Lydia Bingham Coan, second wife of Titus Coan, assembled his letters and told some of his stories in a Memorial to her husband. She speaks of “‘Emerald Bower,’ as they called their Hilo home, was a place of many hospitalities, and for nine years, with the delightful Dr. Coan, Mrs. Coan enjoyed the many social, literary and pastoral experiences of missionary life.”
“After the death of Dr. Coan in 1882, she returned to Honolulu to enter into the home of her brother, Dr. Hiram Bingham, Jr., in Punahou, near the old home of the Bingham family.”
“When Dr. Bingham died in 1908 the American Board gladly gave her a life tenure of the Bingham home, called “Gilbertina,” where with the loving ministrations of her devoted niece, Miss Kate Reynolds, she happily passed her declining years. On Tuesday, Aug. 14, 1915, Mrs. Coan took a severe cold, which developed into pneumonia.”
“Though this disease was soon arrested the frail body could not bear the strain of recovery, and on August 31st Mrs. Coan entered into the rest for which she had long been waiting.” (HMCS) Following are passages from her memorial and remembrances of Coan and Emerald Bower.
“From Boston he wrote to his parents: “December 3, 1834.- ‘We have now been here nearly two weeks, waiting for the ship to be ready. We hope to go to-morrow. Twelve missionaries sailed to-day for Southeastern Africa. There are eight of our number, making twenty in all, who met in this city at the same time.’”
“‘We received our instructions together on Sunday evening, the 23d of November, in Park Street Church. The meeting was crowded, solemn and impressive. The people of Boston take a deep interest in the cause of missions, and are very hospitable to missionaries. We have been kindly entertained since our arrival here.’”
“‘Our ship, the Hellespont, is a very good one, of 340 tons burden, but she is deeply laden. We shall be pent up in small rooms, but they will be large enough to hold our Bibles and our God, if our spirits are contrite.’”
“To His Brother, Heman Coan, Honolulu, June 26, 1835. – ‘My eyes at last behold these ‘isles afar off,’ and my feet tread on these long desired shores. And I would here first record the goodness of God in guiding us through all the perils of the deep and in bringing us to the field of our labors’”.
“‘On the morning of the 5th inst., just six months from the time we lost sight of our native land, we first descried the island of Hawaii, at the distance of sixty or seventy miles. On the morning of the 6th we made this island (Oahu), and at 10 A. M. dropped anchor in the harbor.’”
“‘All the missionaries of the islands, except two, with their wives and little ones, were assembled in general meeting at this place, according to their annual custom.’”
“‘On hearing of our arrival, Messrs. Bingham, Chamberlain and Armstrong came off to the ship in a boat, to welcome and to take us on shore. When we landed, we found the band of brethren and sisters at the seaside awaiting our arrival and ready to embrace us. Every heart seemed to feel more than it could utter.’”
“‘After services Mr. B. introduced me to the governess and some of the high chiefs, who expressed much joy at the arrival of more teachers on their shores. When we turned from our interview with the chiefs, the common people pressed around me in crowds, each one striving to grasp my hand and express his warm welcome.’”
“‘I long to go into the work. I think this is my proper field of labor, and I would not go back for the world, unless I knew it to be the will of God. There is pressing need of laborers here. Thousands who are anxious for instruction must die without it unless help can be obtained.’”
“‘Our location for the present year will be at Hilo, on the island of Hawaii. Our associate is to be Rev. Mr. Lyman. We shall probably be two hundred and fifty miles from medical aid, and can expect none. We have only to trust in God. Dear brother, live near to God and labor for souls. If we are faithful to our Master we shall soon meet in joy.’”
“Mr. and Mrs. Coan remained a month in Honolulu. Then, their location having been assigned by the mission, and an opportunity of reaching it presenting, they went forth to their appointed station.”
“Hilo was to them at the first, ‘a picture of loveliness,’ and forty years later Mr. Coan would write: ‘The ecstatic romance with which I first saw these emerald isles has not abated by familiarity or by age. The picture is photographed in unfading tints upon my heart, and it has become to me the romance of reality.’”
“‘Where can you find within so small a space such a collecting, such massing, such blending of the bland, the beautiful, the exquisite, the gorgeous, the grand and the terrific as on Hawaii?’” Of Hilo he notes, “our lovely, our inimitable landscape, our emerald bowers, our crescent strand and our silver bay”.
“To Mrs. E. Coan. March 8, 1867. – ‘I have just reached home in the dear old Emerald Bower. I went about fifty miles north to meet Bro. Bond, of Kohala, and the native pastors and delegates of N: Hawaii at the meeting of an ecclesiastical association.’”
“‘Thence I went to Waimea, seventy miles from Hilo, to see our dear Brother Lyons, who has not been able to leave his station for more than three years on account of ill health.’”
“To His Children. February 1, 1881. – ‘This is a joyful day. The heavens shine with glory. The earth glows with beauty. The sea sparkles with brilliants. The radiant orbs sing praises. The bland zephyrs murmur sweetly. The rippling rills leap and laugh.’”
“‘The emerald fields rejoice. Silvery notes of praise rise from glen and forest, and mingling strains of harmony and love ascend to the Creator from all his works.’”
“‘I am this day four score years old. God gave me a happy childhood, a cheerful youth, a vigorous manhood, and now a calm old age. My health is good, my spirits buoyant, and my heart is happy in the companion of my choice. My faith is firm, my hope anchored, and my love for you all is deathless as the soul.’”
“‘My experiences have been varied, and I look back upon my life as marked with many mistakes, numerous sins, and much unworthiness.’”
“‘But I also adore the grace of God in his pardoning love, and humbly trust that the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, will cleanse me from all sin. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to the salvation of every true believer.’”