Voyage Of The Thaddeus
When the missionaries arrived on O‘ahu in April 1820 they lived in houses provided by foreigners in an area just mauka of the fort (mauka of what is now the Aloha Tower area). The king controlled all construction in the Kingdom and had given orders to Boki (the Governor of Oʻahu) to construct a group of houses for the new foreigners. Boki delayed building any hale pili [grass house] for the missionaries. Boki rejected the mission’s requested location just inland of the main village, arguing that his farmers already used the land for growing kalo (taro). Boki suggested a spot “three quarters of a mile from H[onolulu] on the high road to Witeti [Waikīkī] on an extensive plain with a view of the open sea in front & lofty mountains & fertile valleys in the rear.” This was at a place called Kawaiaha‘o.
It was “on the arid plain, about half a mile east of the landing, then some distance from the village, … After a few months, he erected three temporary habitations for the mission family, residing on that island.” In late September the mission family finally moved from the houses of the ship captains to the new hale pili on the plain; this line of buildings became known as Missionary Row – it is now where Hawaiian Mission Houses is located. To help remember and learn from the past, Hawaiian Mission Houses has a Hale Pili under construction on the their grounds. Hawaiian Mission Houses is honored to have been named for a Programmatic Award from Historic Hawai‘i Foundation’s 2020 Preservation Honor Awards program for the construction of the Hale Pili.
King Kaumuali‘i of Kauai decided to send his son 6-year old son Humehume to America; Humehume ultimately sailed into Providence, Rhode Island on June 30, 1805 after a year-and-a-half at sea. On October 23, 1819, the Pioneer Company of the American Protestant missionaries set sail on the Thaddeus for Hawai‘i. With the missionaries were four Hawaiian students from the Foreign Mission School, Hopu, Kanui, Honoliʻi and Humehume. They arrived in Kailua-Kona on April 4, 1820. After the Thaddeus departed, Humehume 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. Missionaries Ruggles and Whitney take Humehume home to Kauai.
On May 2, 1820, the Thaddeus left Honolulu; they arrived at Waimea, Kauai at the next day. When Kaumuali‘i saw his son, “the scene was truly affecting. I know not when I have wept more freely. When they had become a little composed, Tamoree [Kaumuai‘i] spoke and said his heart was so joyful that he could not talk much till to-morrow”. “With an anxious heart and trembling arms the aged father rose to embrace his long lost son. Both were too much affected to speak.” Kapule (Kaumuali‘i’s wife dictated a letter to Nancy Ruggles’ mother in part stating, “I am glad your daughter come here, I shall be her mother now, and she be my daughter. … You very good, send your daughter great way to teach the heathen. I am very glad I can write you a short letter, and tell you that I be good to your daughter. I send you my aloha, and tell you I am Your Friend, Charlotte Tapoolee, Queen of Atooi”
On April 23, 1820, Hiram Bingham holds the first public worship on O‘ahu – “A considerable audience of European and American residents, Masters and officers of vessels, chiefs, sailors, and common natives, assembled In and around the house occupied by Brother B[ingham] to hear the sound of the gospel for the first time …. Bingham preached from Luke 2. 10. ‘Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people’.”
“The theme, the scene, the opening prospect – the dawning light of a brighter day, conspired to animate our hearts and awaken an unusual joy in our souls while we seemed to be favored with the special presence of him who was born in the city of David, a Savior, even Christ the Lord. The natives are much pleased with our singing, aided by the Bass viol played by Tamoree [Humehume].”
Enjoy reading our posts?
Be sure to join us as a subscriber and our posts will be delivered directly to your inbox.
On October 23, 1819, the Pioneer Company of ABCFM missionaries from the northeast US, set sail on the Thaddeus for the Hawaiian Islands.
These included two Ordained Preachers, Hiram Bingham and his wife Sybil and Asa Thurston and his wife Lucy; two Teachers, Mr. Samuel Whitney and his wife Mercy and Samuel Ruggles and his wife Mary; a Doctor, Thomas Holman and his wife Lucia; a Printer, Elisha Loomis and his wife Maria; a Farmer, Daniel Chamberlain, his wife Jerusha and their five children; and four young Hawaiians: Hopu; Kanui; Honoli‘i and Humehume (the son of Kauai’s King Kaumuali‘i).
This page notes their daily progress from Boston to Hawai‘i and shares some of their letters and journal entries on their voyage.
They first sighted the Islands and arrived at Kawaihae on March 30, 1820, and finally anchored at Kailua-Kona, April 4, 1820. On April 11, King Kamehameha II (Liholiho) gave the missionaries permission to stay. They set up a mission station in Kailua-Kona, the Honolulu contingent arrived on Oʻahu on April 19, 1820. Finally, Ruggles and Whitney took Humehume home to Kauai on May 2, 1820.