He was born on Kauai in about 1797 to King Kaumuali‘i and, apparently, a commoner wife. For the first six years of his life he was known as Humehume. At the time of his birth his father, the young king, is believed to have been about eighteen years of age.
His father, King Kaumuali’i, suggested he be called George (after King George of England) when he went abroad. (Warne) During his short life, this son of King Kaumuali‘i was known by at least five names: Humehume, Kumoree, George Prince, George Prince Tamoree and George Prince Kaumuali‘i. (Spoehr)
King Kaumuali‘i had early in his reign established friendly relationships with British and American sea captains. He was a genial and helpful ruler when ships called at Kauai for supplies.
Kaumuali‘i decided to send his son to America, at least, in part, to receive a formal education. King Kaumuali‘i provided Captain Rowan of the Hazard with, reportedly, about $7,000 to $8,000, an amount the king felt sufficient to cover the cost of his son’s passage and the expenses of his education.
George was about six years old when he boarded the Hazard that ultimately sailed into Providence, Rhode Island on June 30, 1805 after a year-and-a-half at sea. Over the next few years he made his way to Worcester, Massachusetts.
Tamoree eventually enlisted in the US Navy and was wounded during the War of 1812. After the war ended, Tamoree was again thrown upon the world and without any means of obtaining a livelihood, or any one to care for him, ragged, dirty, and in want, he was again enlisted, and employed as a servant to the purser of the Navy Yard in Charlestown.
Humehume was “discovered” and taken under the wing of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). He was sent, along with Henry Ōpūkaha’ia and other Hawaiian youths, to be educated at the Foreign Mission School at Cornwall, Connecticut. (Warne)
“We thank Providence that I have fallen into the hands of Christians. I hope it will be provided so that I can go back to my country and do good among the people.”
“Here is one my countrymen lives with me. His name is John Hoonoore (John Honolii,) he says that he wants religion. I believe we are in a fair way of getting it, if we try for it. But if we do not try we must not expect it.” (Tamoree (Humehume;) Stauder)
Humehume left the Islands as a young child and spent years around English speakers; he lost the knowledge of speaking Hawaiian.
With this interaction with the Hawaiians at the school, He began “learning the Owhyhee language. This friend that lives here with me is a great benefit to me, for he can learn me the Owhyhee language. I can learn him the English language.” (Tamoree (Humehume;) Stauder)
Three years later, on October 23, 1819, the Thaddeus carried the Pioneer Company of American Protestant missionaries to Hawai‘i. There were seven American couples sent by the ABCFM to convert the Hawaiians to Christianity in this first company. With them were four Hawaiian, including Humehume. They arrived in Kailua-Kona on April 4, 1820.
After the Thaddeus departed, George remained in Kailua-Kona and took Betty Davis, the half-Hawaiian daughter of Isaac Davis, as his wife, or his “rib” as he described her. In a short time they rejoined the missionary party in Honolulu. (Spoehr)
On May 3, 1820, Humehume returned to Kauai and was reunited with his father after many years apart. “At 11 o’clock came to anchor at Wimai opposite the fort. A canoe came off to us with several of the king’s men, one of whom could speak English.”
“George had kept himself concealed in the cabin, until we told him that one of his father’s favorite men was on board, and we thought best that his arrival should be made known to him.”
“We then introduced him to the young prince; he embraced him and kissed him, and then without saying a word, turned round and immediately went on deck, and into his canoe, telling his companions they must go on shore, for their young master had come.”
“A salute of 21 guns was soon fired from the brig, and returned from the fort. … When we arrived at the house, Tamoree and his Queen were reclining on a sofa; as soon as George entered the door, his father arose, clasped him in his arms, and pressed his nose on his son’s after the manner of the country; both were unable to speak for some time.”
“The scene was truly affecting, and I know not when I have wept more freely. When they had become a little more composed, Tamoree spoke and aid his heart was so joyful that he could not talk much till to-morrow …” (Ruggles Journal)
Shortly following the death of King Kaumuali‘i (May 26, 1824,) Humehume joined a group of Kauai chiefs in an unsuccessful rebellion. The insurrection began at Fort Elizabeth and ended about ten days later in Wahiawa (Kauai.)
George fled to the mountains and in two months was captured. According to Samuel Whitney: “Some days before my arrival Karaimoku (Kalanimōku) left Waimea to go in search of GP Tamoree who was wandering about in the mountains on the Eastern part of the Island”
“On the morning of the 16th (September) he was found in the most wretched situation. In a dreary wilderness, alone, destitute of food, without the least vestige of clothing, half intoxicated and his only weapon a joint of bamboo filled with rum.” (Whitney; Spoehr)
The closing year and a half of George’s life were spent in Honolulu under the custody of Kalanimōku, prime minster of the kingdom. A victim of influenza, George died on May 3, 1826, six years to the day of his return to Waimea, Kauai.
“Geo. Taumuarii was interred this afternoon in the common burying ground. His funeral was attended by his wife and thirty or forty natives … All that remained of this once favored youth – of high hopes and flattering prospects was then committed to its narrow lodging …”
“… and dust to dust pronounced by the hollow echo of the coffin as the earth was quickly thrown in upon it by the many hands that had been waiting around the grave during the exercises to perform this last office.” (Chamberlain) His final resting place is not known. (Spoehr) (Lots of information here is from Warne, Spoehr, Damon and Stauder.)