Ethnic Kazakhs, a mix of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes who migrated to the region by the 13th century, were rarely united as a single nation.
The area was conquered by Russia in the 18th century, and Kazakhstan became a Soviet Republic in 1936. (The Republic of Kazakhstan gained its independence from the Soviet Union on December 16, 1991.)
The Trans-ili-Alatau mountains stand in the southeast of Kazakhstan; they are connected to a number of ranges that stretch through Central Asia. At the foot of the Alatau is Tamchiboulac spring (Dropping Spring,) where water oozes out of the cliffs.
Thomas (an English architect and artist) and Lucy were on an exploration trip through this region. An outcome of their trek were several hundred works of art, many of which were subsequently exhibited in London and some of which were reproduced in books Thomas subsequently wrote.
Another outcome was a son, born November 16, 1848, nine months into a journey – they named him for places in the region, Atalau Tamchiboulac. His birth was premature, which was attributed by the doctor to the fact that Lucy had spent every day of the preceding months on horseback.
After almost seven years of travels, the family arrived back in St Petersburg just before Christmas 1853 and remained there until 1858. (Simpson)
Andrew Dickson White, one of the cofounders of Cornell University, met Alatau and his parents at that time, noting “… it was my good fortune to become intimately acquainted with … the British traveler in Siberia.”
“He had brought back many portfolios of sketches, and his charming wife had treasured up a great fund of anecdotes of people and adventure, so that I seemed for a time to know Siberia as if I had lived there. Then it was that I learned of the beauties and capabilities of its southern provinces.”
“(They) had also brought back their only child, a son born on the Siberian steppe, a wonderfully bright youngster, whom they destined for the British navy.”
“He bore a name which I fear may at times have proved a burden to him, for his father and mother were so delighted with the place in which he was born that they called him, after it, ‘Alatow-Tam Chiboulak.’” (White Autobiography)
Later, “For about fifty years Dr. White had tried to find him, but without result. (His parents) were English missionaries from central Asia and they brought with them the future father of Jack whom Dr. White, in his autobiography, describes as ‘a wonderfully interesting child, burdened with the name of his Asian birthplace, ‘Alatau Tam Chiboulak.’”
“The rumor was that the young follow had gone into the navy in after years and so Dr. White often but vainly enquired after him at British naval depots.” (Hawaiian Star, December 9, 1911)
In January 1868, Alatau married Annie Humble in Newcastle-upon-tyne and their first child, Zoe, was born at the end of that year. The following year he left England and the little family made their way to Hawai‘i, via Panama and San Francisco. (Simpson)
Alatau took charge of St Alban’s College (forerunner to today’s ‘Iolani School) under Bishop Staley. Alatau Tamchiboulac later becoming principal of the famous old Fort Street School. (Nellist)
In 1881, he became editor of the Hawaiian Gazette, public opinion on politics and affairs of the time was shaped to a large extent by his own convictions, as expressed through the columns of his paper, and his readers received the benefit of his far reaching knowledge of life and events.
He became inspector general of public schools in 1887 and helped form the educational policies in the Islands, first of the Hawaiian monarchy and later of the Territory. A great part of his life was given to the organization of the present public school system in Hawaii.
When Hawaii was annexed by the US, he was entrusted with the work of taking a census of the islands, the first official accounting of island population. He also served as a member of the House of Representatives in 1898.
Aside from his educational and editorial work, Mr. Atkinson gained favorable attention as a poet, contributing verse to numerous publications, and he was the author of notable papers on subjects pertaining to education. (Nellist)
Oh, the family name of Alatau Tamchiboulac and his parents Thomas and Lucy? … It’s a familiar one and the name of a prominent street (fronting the Hawaii Convention Center) – Atkinson.
At the time of his death (April 24, 1906), Mr. Atkinson was survived by seven children, A. L. C. Atkinson, Robert W., Kenneth Atkinson, Mrs. T. K. C. Gibbons, Mrs. A. M. Brown, Mrs. Samuel G. Wilder and Mrs. R. C. L. Perkins. (Nellist)
“The death of Alatau T. Atkinson removes one of the brightest minds in the Islands and a man who did as much to shape the destiny of Hawaii as any one and raised the standard of education and made it what it is today.”
“It was he who worked incessantly for the annexation of the Islands and as the editor of the leading papers of Honolulu did more to mold public opinion than any other man in the Territory.”
“On every island of the group are a number of prominent men in Hawaiian affairs who owe their station in life to the Instruction received at the hands of this able teacher.”
“Mr. Atkinson was a man of rare executive ability and was highly respected by all the teachers of the Islands. He was a man of decision and to this quality probably more than to any other was due his popularity.” (Maui News; Hawaiian Star, April 30, 1906)
“To him more than to any other man is due the efficiency of the excellent school system which Hawaii enjoys. He founded it in a sense, and worked with all the enthusiasm of his nature to make it what it is, even though shortness of funds sometimes limits its possibilities.” (Herald; Hawaiian Star, April 30, 1906)
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