“He described sitting on the veranda there at that ranch. It’s on the slopes going down to Mahukona from Kohala and you could look and late in the afternoon when the sun used to hit the Hualalai Mountains …”
“(H)e would see this funny little sponge cake-looking hill sticking out in the side of Hualalai. And he used to just dream about getting over to that place that had a perfect fascination for him.” (Lucas; Watumull)
“My father was known as Rawhide Ben because ever since he was knee high to a grasshopper, I guess, he loved the ranch life. And he was brought up as a member of the family in Mana and Kamuela with the rest of them.”
“So as a little boy he always had a chance to do something with animals. And this was his whole life. All he ever thought about was his cowboy experiences.”
“And as soon as he became an adult, his first job – big job – was given him by Theo. H. Davies and Company as manager of Puakea Ranch which is in Kohala – South Kohala there.”
“Eben Parker Low was born in Honolulu, a great grandson of John Palmer Parker I and his Hawaiian wife, Kipikane. He spent his early years on Parker Ranch, Handling cows and calves by the time he was six years old.”
“He had very little education; in his own words, ‘… just plain common sense plus some English grammar and arithmetic and writing.’”
“At the age of 26 he became manager of Pu‘uhue ranch in Kohala, and began a career that made him one of the big island’s most famous and colorful paniolo.” (Hawaii Cattlemen’s Hall of Fame) Unfortunately, he lost a portion of his left arm while roping.
Back to the sponge cake hill … “finally he found a Hawaiian who knew how to go across the lava flows there. I don’t know if he went on a mule or on a horse. But this man took him with him and they one day got across all that long lava flow by a trail and got to Puuwaawaa Ranch – Puuwaawaa Hill.” (Lucas; Watumull)
Then, he and Robert Robson Hind finally got a chance to take control of it … they picked up the Pu‘uwa‘awa‘a lease (General Lease No. 186; March 1, 1894) covering 40,000 acres for 25 years, and established a ranch. (Marion Kelly)
“(I)t was just a wilderness and lava and really rough country and they had to begin from scratch. But my father loved it. He just loved every minute of it. … What food was available in the rocks there up in that mountainside was very rich, evidently, very nutritious, because the cattle that came up to that ranch were always very fat.”
“Then they finally decided to split up after nine years because they couldn’t work together and my father didn’t have enough money to buy out Mr. Hind (his brother-in-law, Robbie married Low’s sister, Hannah.) But they finally split up and my father came to Honolulu from Pu‘uwa‘awa‘a. “ (Lucas; Watumull)
Eben was instrumental in bringing the talent of the Hawaiian paniolo to the national scene when he sent Archie Ka’au’a, Jack Low and Ikua Purdy to the Frontier Days World Championship Roping Competition in Cheyenne Wyoming in 1908.
Mid-westerners watched the Hawaiians compete. Purdy won the World’s Steer Roping Championship – roping, throwing, and tying the steer in 56 seconds flat. Ka‘aua and Low took third and sixth place.
“His confidence and pride in them were expressed by his own words, “’one cannot imagine the noise of the applause our boys received from those 30,000 watchers . . . The kanakas had won!’” (Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association)
“(B)efore my father died he asked his nephew, Archie Ka‘aua, to take care of his ashes when he died . Archie’s family lived in Kamuela and his family still own property right in the village there at Kamuela, forty acres out in the homestead section there.”
“Archie at that time was a young man and seemingly very well. Archie promised to take his ashes and scatter them up at Mauna Kea. But Archie had a funny feeling that he wasn’t going to outlive my father and he went to Willie Kaniho, who was the head cowboy of Parker Ranch.”
“So Willie Kaniho was given the assignment by Archie. … So sure enough, Archie Ka‘aua did die before my father died. But when my father passed away, Willie Kaniho was ready to do this.”
“There was no way of getting up there unless you got up on horseback. So Anna Lindsey [Perry- Fiske] who is, of course, one of my father’s pets too, came forth … Well, the family went up. … and Reverend Akaka–Abraham Akaka–went with us.”
“We got to the very top of that mountain – the very top – Reverend Akaka said a prayer and read a little bit from Scriptures and then Kaniho and Reverend Akaka scattered the ashes right at the top of the mountainside. It was really very impressive.” (Lucas; Watumull)
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Keawe Vredenburg says
The Low that competed in Wyoming was Jack Low, Ben’s brother. The article implies (strongly) that Rawhide Ben competed in Cheyenne.
Actually, in paragraph 13 and 14 of the full article, it says,
“Eben was instrumental in bringing the talent of the Hawaiian paniolo to the national scene when he sent Archie Ka’au’a, Jack Low and Ikua Purdy to the Frontier Days World Championship Roping Competition in Cheyenne Wyoming in 1908.
Mid-westerners watched the Hawaiians compete. Purdy won the World’s Steer Roping Championship – roping, throwing, and tying the steer in 56 seconds flat. Ka‘aua and Low took third and sixth place.”
Does not implie or mention at all if Ben competed. It does implie that Jack competed and placed.
Amen….it’s as clear as glass 👀.
Thank you Peter for a beautiful, well written and accurate account of my Grandfathers rich, colorful and most of all proud and generous life. You wrote an outstanding article that paid a grand tribute to his legacy.
Aloha Mahalo Nui Loa
Sam Low says
Eben is my grandfather too. Please email me at email@example.com
Peter T Young says
Thanks. I changed it to be clearer.
Sam Low says
Thank you for this post about my grandfather… I am working on a book about him now