“Farewell to the beautiful flower of the doctor’s garden;
It has fallen and vanished away;
The flower that budded first and blossomed fair.
Its splendor was seen; its fragrance exhaled;
But the burning sun came and it withered.
And that beautiful blossom has fallen!
The occupant of the garden then wondered
That a certain flower should have fallen. …
How beautifully did the plant flourish;
Great compassion for the tenant resident;
Mourning and searching with great lamentation;
Whither, O Gerrit, hast thou gone?
When wilt thou return to thy birthmates?
Alone hast thou gone in the way that is lonely;
Thou hast gone a stranger in an unknown path.”
Gerrit Parmele and Laura Fish Judd’s first child, Gerrit Parmele Judd II, was born March 8, 1829; he died November 13, 1839. Ho‘ohano an assistant of Dr Judd was much attached to the boy. The night after he died he watched by the body, and composed the above poem in Hawaiian. (Owen)
The Judd’s were part of the 3rd Company of missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission (ABCFM,) arriving in the Islands in 1828.
Judd, a medical missionary, had originally come to the islands to serve as the missionary physician, intending to treat native Hawaiians for the growing number of diseases introduced by foreigners. He immersed himself in the Hawaiian community, becoming a fluent speaker of Hawaiian.
Ho‘ohano, a graduate of Lahainaluna, was a medical student, of whom Mrs Judd said, “He was a valuable assistant both in the preparation of medicines and prescribing for office patients.” (Judd)
Dr Judd sought to learn of Hawaiian traditional medicine and incorporate it with his Western practice. Western medicine in the 1820s and 1830s was not as advanced as many people assume it to be. There were few endemic diseases before Western contact. The physical treatments of Western doctors and Kahana Lā‘au Lapa‘au were actually very similar. (Mission Houses)
“It has been an object with me not to oppose the practice of the native physicians in mass, but to endeavor by the best means in my power to correct and modify their practice so that it shall save, not kill, the people.”
“It is my intention, if possible, the coming year to make Ho‘ohano acquainted with the native practice as it now exists and make him the agent for collecting facts upon the subject.”
“It is out of the question for us to think of putting down the native practice unless we will attend to all the sick ourselves, since it is not in human nature to be sick and die without seeking some means of alleviation”
“The idea of improving the native doctors has therefore suggested itself to me as an exceedingly important on demanding immediate attention.”
“These investigations occupied several weeks of the year and have been continued as opportunity afforded. We also instituted a series of experiments on native medicines which resulted pretty much as all experiments of the kind usually do.” (Judd, 1839 Medical Report)
“The names of Medicines and diseases so far as we have proceeded are in the Hawaiian language. … Ho‘ohano is competent to do what in our common language is called giving out medicine, bleed, cup, dress wounds, open abscesses &c &c.” (Judd, 1839)
The student rooster of Lāhaināluna Seminary has a Ho‘okano listed for the class of 1833 who attended for four years from Honolulu on the island of O‘ahu. Ho‘okano would have graduated by 1837 and then could have returned to Honolulu to be employed by Dr. Judd. (Mission Houses)
“Some attention has been likewise been bestowed in teaching him to read proof sheets, which he is now qualified to do with tolerable correctness, for which he is paid a small sum out of the appropriation for the Printing Department.”
“His board I have furnished at my own expense & have drawn about 25$ for his clothing from the Department. Whether this experiment will prove a successful one is yet quite uncertain, although thus far appearances are favorable.” (Judd)
“It has been my object to place the common Office practice as much as possible into the hands of native assistants, and this has been attended with much encouraging success.”
“Hoohano & Kalili (another medical assistant) have both rendered themselves useful the former however much the most so as his previous acquirements and habits of mental application render him much the best qualified for the profession.” (Judd, 1839 Medical Report)
“Ho‘ohano died the last of June (1840) … his death must therefore be regretted as a loss to his people.” (Judd) He “followed his little friend along his ‘lonely pathway,’ both leaving some evidence of having been reconciled to God through the death of his Son.” (Bingham) (Judd’s assistant has been referred to as Ho‘ohano and Ho‘okano.)