George Washington Houghtailing (April 7, 1817 – September 2, 1887,) a Dutchman from the Hudson-Mohawk Valley in New York, came to Hawai‘i around 1845.
He married a Hawaiian woman in 1850, and ran the Bay Horse Saloon on Bethel and Hotel Street in Honolulu. (Cultural Surveys)
His first wife died after their daughter Sara was born (Sara married Jerome Feary.) Houghtailing remarried (Elizabeth Thompson) and had ten more children (5-boys and 5-girls,) nine of whom lived to adulthood.
During the Māhele, he was given several kuleana, later consolidated into a 15-acre tract along a road later named after him, Houghtailing Road. The family home was between School and Vineyard Streets.
“On the premises there was a large pond which had a natural spring and which also fed the lower land where we had taro patches and cultivated the other truck gardening on the land. The land was quite open.”
“We had a couple of bay horses and raised chickens and pigs for family consumption. There was a large open area fronting Houghtailing Road which was used as a park for the neighborhood kids.” (Houghtailing Jr; Cultural Surveys)
Mr. Houghtailing located the ponds, taro fields, and rice patches from School Street to Liliha Street; other taro patches were in the area “between Pālama Street and Liliha Street, below School Street down to what in now Vineyard Street”.
The rice ponds and taro patches, usually operated by the Chinese, were cultivated up to the 1920s, when many were filled in for the development of residential subdivisions.
The Japanese took over some of the land as truck farms, and the Japanese also gradually took over the small stores once operated by the Chinese. Additionally, the development of one of the first subdivision, the McInerny Tract was developed around 1918-1920.
“The upper part of McInerny Tract used to be planted with pineapple. The other part was more grazing and open area where guavas and other natural types of fruits, like mangoes, grew. … The sugarcane fields in the Pālama area, ran all the way up to what would be now the Dole (cannery) parking lot … extended above what is now Vineyard Street.”
“The management of that plantation at that time was the Honolulu Plantation, where the mill was located in Aiea. … Cane growing in the Kapālama area phased out about the late ‘20s. I think.”
“The phasing out program took place because lands were being purchased by the federal government to expand military reservations, including Hickam Field.” (Houghtailing Jr; Cultural Surveys)
Back to the Bay Horse … “On Sunday the 17th inst. Geo. Houghtailing an employee of the Bay Horse Saloon was arrested for selling liquor on that date and placed under bonds. At the same time James Gibbs was arrested for selling liquor without a license at the same time and place, and also placed under bonds to appear on the following Monday.” (Hawaiʻi Holomua, June 27, 1894)
The warrants were later seen as defective and “After the close of the prosecution the defense moved for their discharge, and the court discharged Mr. Houghtailing as there was no evidence against him, and after viewing the premises did charge Mr. Gibbs on the grounds that there was no evidence to hold him guilty of the offence charged.” (Hawaiʻi Holomua, June 27, 1894)
At the end of World War II, the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu saw the need for a second Catholic School on Oʻahu. The new school was named after Saint Damien de Veuster.
The Congregation of Christian Brothers, students, and parents volunteered to turn the land, which included 4-acres of taro patches and a good deal of uneven swampland into a school campus, because the company that started the construction on Damien went bankrupt.
Damien Memorial School is now situated on what was part of the Houghtailing homestead in Kapālama.
Regarding the name, the theory is that all Houghtailings and various spellings in the United States are descended from Conrad Mathias Houghtaling who emigrated from the Netherlands around 1650.
Reportedly, the correct pronunciation for Houghtailing Street (named for the family,) is Ho-tailing (Hough as in dough, not as in cough.) (Midweek) (Lots of information here from Houghtailing message boards, as well as Cultural Surveys.)