“The Flora, is a barque of about two hundred and ninety-three tons burden, nearly a hundred tons smaller than the ‘North America’, and in many other respects is her inferior. She is a merchant vessel, and arrived at Honolulu a short time since, with stores for the Exploring Expedition (Wilkes Expedition).”
“The Flora, is chartered by one of the mercantile houses at Honolulu, and is principally freighted with sugar and molasses, novel exports from the Hawaiian Islands to the United States, a distance of eighteen thousand miles. …”
“There are twenty passengers in all, who, with the exception of two or three that are to be left at the Society Islands, are to constitute a community by ourselves for many a month, while roving the ocean, in the long voyage to our native land. …” (Olmstead)
Among the passengers were Hiram and Sybil Bingham (and family); Mrs Lucy Thurston and children; and Caroline Armstrong, 9-year-old daughter of missionaries Richard and Clarissa Armstrong).
“Mr. and Mrs. (Asa) Thurston, who thought it their duty to convey their children to the United States, myself, and Mrs. B(ingham), with health much impaired had permission to visit our native land. Mrs. B. was too much worn out to go without her husband.”
“Mr. T(hurston) chose to stand at his post at Kailua, and send his family with mine, and trusted the arrangement for their children with Mrs. T., the Board, and private friends. Mr. Armstrong took my post at Honolulu.” (Hiram Bingham)
“Time passes rapidly on, and brings near the day of our departure from the land of our childhood. Our family, which has so long lived together, is soon to be separated.”
“Probably we shall not all meet again on earth; but it will be but a short time before we shall meet in a better, brighter world, if prepared. Our passage is engaged in the Flora, Captain Spring, bound to New York. The Captain is a pious man, and we are much pleased with him.”
“I hope you will write us whenever you can. We shall desire very much to hear from the Sandwich Islands. We shall always think of you with interest; and shall long remember the many pleasant visits we have made at your house, and the many kindnesses we have received at your hands. The Lord reward you for them all.”
“We shall often think of the many friends we leave behind, when far away. Pray for us. I hope you will often visit Kailua, and comfort our father in his lonely home at Laniakea.” (Lucy G Thurston to Mrs Forbes, July 29, 1840)
“Mrs. Thurston, with her family, arrived in New York on the 4th of February, 1841. She delayed going immediately on to the home of her kindred, in the eastern part of Massachusetts, in order to have the company and protection of a friend who was expecting to make the same journey.”
Upon arrival, young Lucy writes, “Brooklyn, Feb. 16th, 1841. “My Dear Father, We learn that a vessel is to sail for the Sandwich Islands in about a week, and I take my pen to inform you of our safe arrival in the land of our fathers.”
“We were six months and one day from the S. Islands to this place. Stopped a fortnight at the Society Islands, and three days at Pernambuco. We have been remarkably favored in our passage, and all enjoyed good health.”
“The captain has been as a father to us, and by his kind attentions we have felt your loss much less than we otherwise should have done.”
“Mr. B(ingham) has very kindly invited our whole family to remain at his house till we leave the place. We feel under great obligations to him for his kindness. ….”
“We have been thronged with visiters, who call to see us from morning till night. Mother has a trunk of curiosities, which she shows them, and thus excites a good deal of interest in the mission.”
“P(ersis) has several times dressed herself in native style, and marched about the room, much to the amusement of the company. We have received more kindness than we expected – far more than we deserved. …”
The Thurston children reached the continent, a new and different place – as written by young Lucy Thurston, ‘the land of our fathers’ – having left ‘the land of our childhood’.
Shortly after arriving, young Lucy Thurston ‘was taken sick.’ She noted in a letter she was drafting “… We visited the City Hall – a splendid building, where in the Governor’s room, we saw the full length portraits of all the Governors of the State of New York. They were elegant paintings; In the evening –”
Her sister Persis wrote to their father thereafter, explaining the abrupt ending of the letter “… Company calling, she was interrupted in the middle of a sentence, and never again resumed her pen.”
“Lucy was in most vigorous health; but she was seized with inflammation on the lungs just two weeks after their arrival, and on the morning of her coming to the family with whom she passed the last week of her life – the only week of physical pain and distress she ever experienced.”
“She told her mother, a day or two after the commencement of her illness, that she had no choice about its result. … ‘Mother, dear mother,’ many, many times repeated, still continued, and ‘Father, father,’ were the last that fell upon the ear.” Young Lucy Thurston died February 24, 1841.
“At the age of seventeen, she landed upon our shores, with the expectation of enjoying, for a season, the advantages of the society and institutions of Christian America; but within three weeks after the time of her arrival, she found a place in our sepulchres.” (Thurston) A book was written, her memoir, ‘The Missionary’s Daughter or Memoir of Lucy Goodale Thurston’.
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