Nā-Huihui-O-Makaliʻi, “Cluster of Little Eyes” (Makaliʻi) (a faint group of blue-white stars) marks the shoulder of the Taurus (Bull) constellation. Though small and dipper-shaped, it is not the Little Dipper.
Traditionally, the rising of Makaliʻi at sunset following the new moon (about the middle of October) marked the beginning of a four-month Makahiki season in ancient Hawaiʻi (a sign of the change of the season to winter.)
In Hawaiʻi, the Makahiki is a form of the “first fruits” festivals following the harvest season common to many cultures throughout the world. It is similar in timing and purpose to Thanksgiving, Oktoberfest and other harvest celebrations.
Something similar was observed throughout Polynesia, but it was in pre-contact Hawaiʻi that the festival reached its greatest elaboration. As the year’s harvest was gathered, tributes in the form of goods and produce were given to the chiefs from November through December.
Various rites of purification and celebration in December and January closed the observance of the Makahiki season. During the special holiday the success of the harvest was commemorated with prayers of praise made to the Creator, ancestral guardians, caretakers of the elements and various deities – particularly Lono.
Makaliʻi is also known as the Pleiades; its common name is the Seven Sisters.
But it is not these seven sisters that is the subject of this summary; this story is about Mellie, Kulamanu, May, Einei, Lucy, Kathleen and Lani – the seven daughters of Curtis and Victoria Ward.
Curtis Perry Ward was born in Kentucky and arrived in Hawaiʻi in 1853, when whaling in the Pacific was at its peak. Curtis worked at the Royal Custom House, which monitored commercial activity at Honolulu Harbor for the kingdom.
Victoria Robinson was born in Nuʻuanu in 1846, the daughter of English shipbuilder, James Robinson and his wife Rebecca, a woman of Hawaiian ancestry whose chiefly lineage had roots in Kaʻū, Hilo and Honokōwai, Maui.
Ward started a livery with headquarters on Queen Street and expanded into the business of transporting cargo on horse-pulled wagons. The size of Ward’s work force became just as big as the harbor’s other major player, James Robinson & Co. (Victoria’s father.)
Curtis and Victoria married in 1865 and for many years they made their home near Honolulu Harbor on property presently occupied by the Davies Pacific Center.
The Wards bought land on what was then the outskirts of Honolulu, eventually acquiring over 100-acres of land running from Thomas Square on King Street down to the ocean.
They built the “Old Plantation” in 1882, a stately, Southern-style home on the mauka portion of the property. It featured an artesian well, vegetable and flower gardens, a large pond stocked with fish, and extensive pasturage for horses and cattle. Self-sufficient as a working farm, Old Plantation was surrounded by a vast coconut grove.
Here’s a link to a video of “Old Plantation” with Anna Machado Cazimero, Kanoe Cazimero, Rodney Cazimero, Melveen Leed and Tito Berinobis. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtPTv1QENC0
That year, Curtis Ward died (at age 53,) leaving Victoria to raise seven daughters and manage the estate. Here’s a little bit about the girls.
Mary Elizabeth “Mellie” Ward (February 16, 1867 to July 26, 1956) – married Frank Hustace September 30, 1886; Frank worked with, then succeeded his father-in-law in the draying business.
May Augusta Ward (May 10, 1871 to January 6, 1938) – married Ernest Hay Wodehouse in 1893; he was a prominent figure in the business world of Hawaiʻi; former president of Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association and the Sugar Factors Co, Ltd.
Annie Eva Theresa “Einei” Ward (March 13, 1873 to July 19, 1934) – married Wade Armstrong (Einei was the first of the Ward sisters to die, living to the age of 61.)
Keakealani Perry “Lani” Ward (May 27, 1881, December 31, 1961) – married Robert Booth; in 1966, Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children completed a new four-story Lani Ward Booth wing on Punahou Street.
Three sisters never married, and Lucy and Kathleen lived their lives at Old Plantation:
Hattie Kulamanu Ward (March 26, 1869 to March 2, 1959)
Lucy Kaiaka Ward (August 27, 1874 to March 20, 1954) (one of the founding members of the Hawaiian Humane Society)
Victoria Kathleen Ward (February 27, 1878 September 12, 1958)
Victoria Ward established Victoria Ward Ltd. in 1930 to manage the family’s property, primarily the remaining 65-acres of Old Plantation, now part of the core of Kakaʻako real estate adjoining downtown Honolulu. Victoria Ward died April 11, 1935.
Victoria Ward was loyal to the Kingdom (Queen Liliʻuokalani was her personal friend) and she died under the flag much in the same way her husband passed under the Confederate flag more than 50 years before. (Command)
Three sisters, Lucy Kathleen and Kulamanu, took control of the Victoria Ward Estate, with Kathleen becoming president and Lucy the secretary.
All was not always happy in the family.
In 1951, sisters Lucy and Kathleen sued to establish guardianship for sister Kulamanu. At the hearing, evidence of insanity was undisputed and proved to the judge’s satisfaction that Kulamanu was mentally incapable of managing her estate. On evidence of suitability the probate judge found that Hawaiian Trust Company, Limited, is “a fit and proper person to be appointed” as guardian of her estate. (Circuit Court Records)
Later (1957,) the Supreme Court decided on sisters Lani and Mellie (and nephew Cenric Wodehouse) petition for the appointment of a guardian for their sister, Kathleen, alleging that Kathleen was seventy-seven years of age, mentally infirm and unable to manage her business affairs.
The court found Victoria Kathleen Ward was incompetent to manage her business affairs (but not insane) and appointed Chinn Ho, Mark Norman Olds and George H Vicars, Jr guardians of the property. (Supreme Court Records)
In 1958, the city bought the mauka portion of the Old Plantation Estate and tore it down to build the Honolulu International Center (later re-named Neal S. Blaisdell Center (after Honolulu’s former Mayor.))
The Blaisdell Center has been in operation since 1964 and in 1994 was remodeled and expanded. The Blaisdell Center complex includes a multi-purpose Arena, Exhibition Hall, Galleria, Concert Hall, meeting rooms and parking structure.
On April 8, 2002, General Growth Properties, Inc announced the acquisition of Victoria Ward, Limited; this included 65-fee simple acres in Kakaʻako, with improvements of over one-million square feet of leasable area (Ward Entertainment Center, Ward Warehouse, Ward Village and Village Shops.)
General Growth later (2004) acquired the Howard Hughes Corporation. With excessive debt, General Growth was pushed into bankruptcy in 2009; then, in 2010, it spun off the Ward assets into the Hughes entity (General Growth was out of bankruptcy by the end of that year.)
The image shows Mellie, Kulamanu, May, Einei, Lucy, Kathleen and Lani – seven sisters, and daughters of Curtis and Victoria Ward. In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
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