Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1900s – Young Brothers formed, Moana Hotel opens, Dole organizes Hawaiian Pineapple Company and UH starts. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world.
Noah Webster (1758-1843) was the man of words in early 19th-century America. He compiled a dictionary which became the standard for American English; he also compiled The American Spelling Book, which was the basic textbook for young readers in early 19th-century America. The Speller’s Preface notes the priority in learning, “The syllables of words are divided as they are pronounced, and for this obvious reason, that children learn the language by the ear.”
And so it was with the American Protestant Missionaries teaching the Hawaiians to read and write their own language. Just as American schoolchildren spelled aloud by naming the letters that formed the first syllable, and then pronouncing the result: “b, a – ba,” so did Hawaiian learners. (However, back then, Webster used ‘y’ as a vowel; the missionaries did not.) The Hawaiian version also used the names of the letters and the resultant syllable: bē ā – bā; by 1824, this had become the Hawaiian word for ‘alphabet’. However, after b had been eliminated from the alphabet, p took its place in this new name.
Frederic W Hardy was born of early New England ancestry on January 23, 1859, in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the son of George Dana Boardman and Olive (Andrews) Hardy. Mr. Hardy came to the Islands in 1882 on account of health, (he had a severe attack of malaria-typhoid fever.) In September, 1883, he was appointed vice-principal of the Wailuku school and was the first teacher to bear such a title in the kingdom. Hardy became principal of the Makawao school in September, 1888. He was the first teacher and principal of the Makawao School.
In 1897, Hardy added to an existing house to create what is now known as the ‘Hardy House,’ one of the oldest wood frame houses in Makawao. It was built onto an existing one room house (that was then about 10-15 years old.) The new house had a double pitch (Hawaiian) roof; it is reminiscent of those by Charles W Dickey (Hardy was friend of Charles H Dickey, the architect’s son.) Very few wooden houses of that age have survived the termites, harsh tropical climate and temptation to tear down the old to build new.
In 1808, a young Hawaiian boy, ʻŌpūkahaʻia, swam out to the ‘Triumph’, a trading ship anchored in Kealakekua Bay. Also on board was Hopu, another young Hawaiian; they eventually headed for New York, then, they made their way to New England. ʻŌpūkahaʻia was eager to study and learn. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) formed the Foreign Mission School; ʻŌpūkahaʻia was one of its first students. He yearned “with great earnestness that he would (return to Hawaiʻi) and preach the Gospel to his poor countrymen.”
Unfortunately, ʻŌpūkahaʻia died on February 17, 1818. ʻŌpūkahaʻia, inspired by many young men and women with proven sincerity and religious fervor of the missionary movement, had wanted to spread the word of Christianity back home in Hawaiʻi; his book inspired missionaries to volunteer to carry his message to the Hawaiian Islands. Over the course of a little over 40-years (1820-1863 – the “Missionary Period”), about 180-men and women in twelve Companies served in Hawaiʻi to carry out the mission of the ABCFM. The Hawaiian Mission Bicentennial is approaching (first events commemorate the bicentennial of ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia’s death (February 17, 2018 – a year from now)).
The famous expression – “the three Rs—reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic”- is credited to Sir William Curtis (born January 25, 1752,) son of a British baker; the family made ships’ biscuits. He proposed it as a toast at a dinner given by the Board of Education in the days when folks were pleading for increased educational advantages for the poor. It was received with great applause and drunk amid much merriment.
Curtis was one of the principal financiers for the ‘Butterworth Squadron,’ a British commercial fleet of three vessels, the Butterworth, the Jackal, and the Prince Lee Boo. The Butterworth squadron first wintered at the Hawaiian Islands in February 1793; it was during this period that the Butterworth squadron became the first European vessels that entered the inner Honolulu Harbor.