“Kalākua, a widow of Kamehameha … asked (the missionary women) to make a gown for her in fashion like their own.” (Bingham) “(She) was told that it was the Lord’s day, and that they would make it tomorrow.” (April 2, 1820, Thaddeus Journal)
The next day, the first Hawaiian sewing circle was held on the decks of the Thaddeus, “Kalākua brought a web of white cambric to have a dress made for herself in the fashion of our ladies, and was very particular in her wish to have it finished while sailing along the western side of the island, before reaching the king.”
“Monday morning April 3d (1820,) the first sewing circle was formed that the sun ever looked down upon in the Hawaiian realm. Kalākua was directress. She requested all the seven white ladies to take seats with them on mats, on the deck of the Thaddeus.”
“The dress was made in the fashion of 1819. The length of the skirt accorded with Brigham Young’s rule to his Mormon damsels, – have it come down to the tops of the shoes. But in the queen’s case, where the shoes were wanting, the bare feet cropped out very prominently.” (Lucy Thurston, part of the Pioneer Company)
Kalākua (also Kaheiheimālie) (c. 1778–1842) was daughter of Keʻeaumoku, a chief from Hawaiʻi Island and Namahana, from the royal family on Maui. She was described as physically being ‘tall and gigantic,’ like her siblings. (Bingham)
“(Kalākua) was never a woman to indulge in flirtations, and her name was never coupled with gossip. She may have had her longings, but she remained true to her husband; and her children were never rumored to have been born of a double paternity like so many of the chiefs.”
“Double paternity was considered an honor because it gave a double or triple line of chiefly descent, thick and intermingled, and formed an honorable ancestry doubly blessed in such riches and knowledge as chiefs desire.”
“Not so (Kalākua,) who considered herself sufficiently honored with the root already established. Kamehameha was her uncle, and both he and Keʻeaumoku were directly descended from Haʻae.” (Kamakau)
Kalākua’s siblings included Queen Kaʻahumanu, Hawaiʻi Island Governor John Adams Kuakini, Maui Governor George Cox Kahekili Keʻeaumoku II and Lydia Namahana Piʻia. She first married Kalaʻimamahu, the younger brother of Kamehameha I.
They had a daughter, Kekāuluohi; Kekāuluohi became Kamehameha’s youngest wife. Liholiho (Kamehameha II) later took her as one of his wives and around 1821 Kamehameha II gave Kekāuluohi to his friend Charles Kanaʻina. By Kanaʻina, Kekāuluohi had a son William Charles Lunalilo (future king of the Islands.)
Kekāuluohi succeeded her half-sister Kīnaʻu as Kuhina Nui. Initially, she was considered something of a “place-holder” for Kīnaʻu’s infant daughter Victoria Kamāmalu, who would later assume the office. (Archives)
With Kamehameha I, Kalākua had four children: their two sons died as infants; the oldest daughter, Kamāmalu, became wife of Liholiho (Kamehameha II,) and the youngest daughter, Kīnaʻu, later became Kuhina Nui.
Kīnaʻu later married Mataio Kekūanāoʻa; they had several children, including Lot Kapuāiwa (afterwards Kamehameha V,) Alexander Liholiho (afterwards Kamehameha IV) and Victoria. (Liliʻuokalani) That made Kalākua mother of another Queen consort, and grandmother of three future Kings.
“The death of Kamehameha made the first separation from the man she had lived with for twenty years. There was no woman of his household whom Kamehameha loved so much as (Kalākua.)”
“Kamehameha is never known to have deserted (Kalākua,) but it has often been said that she did not love him so much as her first husband Kalaʻimamahu from whom Kamehameha took her away.” (Kamakau)
“In September, 1823, she heard in Hawaii of Keōpūolani’s death and sailed at once for Lāhainā to attend the burial ceremonies. The chiefs had all assembled at Lāhainā, the body of the chiefess had been concealed, and (Hoapili) was in mourning.”
“After the days of mourning were ended (Kalākua) became the wife of (Hoapili) (October 19, 1823,) they became converted, were married under Christian vows, and took the names of Hoapili-kāne and Mary Hoapili-wahine [the Hawaiian form of Mr. and Mrs.]”
“At this time she had not thought much about religion. The chiefs took to drinking and sensual indulgence after the death of the chiefess [Keōpūolani], but (Kalākua) listened to the word of God as taught by the missionaries although in her heart she still enjoyed life and fun.”
“Hoapili had accepted the word of God because of Keōpūolani. (Kalākua) turned to Christianity first, and Kaʻahumanu followed.” (Kamakau)
In 1823, Kalākua (Kaheiheimālie and Hoapili-wahine) offered the American missionaries a tract of land on the slopes surrounding Puʻu Paʻupaʻu for the creation of a school.
Betsey Stockton founded a school for makaʻāinana (common people) including the women and children. The site of the school is now Lahainaluna School.
A good work for which Hoapili-kāne is celebrated was the building of the church at Waineʻe; the cornerstone was laid on September 14, 1828, for this ‘first stone meeting-house built at the Islands.’
It was dedicated on March 4, 1832 and served as the church for Hawaiian royalty during the time when Lāhainā was effectively the Kingdom’s capital, from the 1820s through the mid-1840s (it was destroyed by fire in 1894.) In addition, he erected the Lāhainā fort to guard the village against rioting from the whalers off foreign ships and from law breakers. (Kamakau)
When Lot Kapuāiwa was born to Mataio Kekūanāoʻa and Kīnaʻu, he was hānai by his grandmother Kalākua (Kaheiheimālie and Hoapili-wahine) and step-grandfather Hoapili-kāne. (Lot Kapuāiwa later became King Kamehameha V.) Kalākua died January 16, 1842 and is buried at Waine‘e (now Waiola) Cemetery.