Captain Henry Blanchard, master of the brig Thaddeus (that brought the Pioneer Company of missionaries to the Islands in 1820,) married a Molokai chiefess named Koloa. They had a daughter, Harriet, born in 1831.
Harriet married an itinerant English actor, John Townsend, whose dramatic company performed in Honolulu. He gave up acting and invested in a sugar plantation (that went bankrupt.) Then he disappeared, leaving Harriet with their two children Eveline (Kittie) and George.
Eveline Melita Townsend joined Kawaiahaʻo Church, where she sang in the church choir, led by then-Princess (later-Queen) Liliʻuokalani. Liliʻuokalani must have been charmed by her exuberant and fatherless choir member, for Eveline became a protégé of the princess and later an intimate friend. (Krauss)
“(Kittie) professed a great fondness and love for me, and with two other young ladies, Lizzie Kapoli and Sophie Sheldon, had made my home theirs. Bright young girls, with happy hearts, and free from care and trouble, they made that part of my life a most delightful epoch to me.”
“It was then that Mr (Charles Burnett (CB)) Wilson first sought the hand of pretty little Kittie Townsend. Thus we had known Mr Wilson quite well as a young man when he was courting his wife.”
“My husband and myself had warmly favored his suit; and, with his wife, he naturally became a retainer of the household, and from time to time they took up their residence with us.” (Liliʻuokalani)
The Wilsons had a son, Johnny. CB Wilson was appointed Marshal of the Kingdom.
“One evening, shortly after Mr and Mrs Wilson had moved into the bungalow, he presented himself at the Blue Room of the palace, and then first mentioned the idea that a new constitution should be promulgated. … About two days’ after this suggestion I received a call from Mr. Samuel Nowlein, who alluded to the same matter.”
“On the sixteenth day of January. 1895. Deputy Marshal Arthur Brown and Captain Robert Waipa Parker were seen coming up the walk which leads from Beretania Street to my residence.”
“Mrs Wilson told me that they were approaching. I directed her to show them into the parlor, where I soon joined them. Mr. Brown informed me that he had come to serve a warrant for my arrest; he would not permit me to take the paper which he held, nor to examine its contents.”
“(W)e arrived at the gates of ʻIolani Palace, the residence of the Hawaiian sovereigns. We drove up to the front steps, and I remember noticing that troops of soldiers were scattered all over the yard.”
“(I)n conference it was agreed between us … that Mrs Wilson should remain as my attendant; that Mr. Wilson would be the person to inform the government of any request to be made by me, and that any business transactions might be made through him.” (Liliʻuokalani)
“During the imprisonment here of Liliuokalani in 1895 Mrs Wilson was chosen by the ex-Queen as best friend and the relations between them were of the closest and most confidential nature. In the old court days here Mrs. Wilson was prominent both on account of her own position as a lady in waiting and her husband’s official rank.” Hawaiian Gazette, May 24, 1898)
During her imprisonment, Queen Liliʻuokalani was denied any visitors other than one lady in waiting (Mrs. Eveline Wilson.) Johnny would bring newspapers hidden in flowers from the Queen’s garden; reportedly, Liliʻuokalani’s famous song Kuʻu Pua I Paoakalani (written while imprisoned,) was dedicated to him (it speaks of the flowers at her Waikiki home, Paoakalani.)
Paoakalani written by Liliuokalani, performed by Kuuipo Kumukahi:
In 1897, Johnny Wilson and fellow Stanford student Louis Whitehouse won the bid to expand and construct a ‘carriage road’ over the Pali. Ground was broken on May 26, 1897 and the road was opened for carriages on January 19, 1898.
(When the current Pali Highway and its tunnels opened (1959,) the original roadway up and over the Pali was closed and is now used by hikers.)
Then, “It was a painful thing for our hearts to hear that the uncompassionate hand of death reached out and took the precious breath of life from the body of Mrs Evalaina Willison (Wilson,) the wife of Mr CB Willison (Wilson,) in the early morning of this Saturday, after she began to waste away of sickness for just a few short days.”
“She was a well-known woman here in town, and elsewhere on the island, and she was the attendant of Queen Liliuokalani while she was on the throne until her overthrow.”
“There were many, many friends who visited to see her for the last time, and then dust returned to dust, for that is where it came from. She leaves behind a husband, child and family who grieve for her from this side of the grave. (Aloha Aina, May 28, 1898)
Later, her son Johnny Wilson got involved with politics and is credited as being the most important Democrat in the first half of 20th-century Hawaiʻi; his name is used with Jack Burns in the party movement. He was in a meeting on April 30, 1900 that organized the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi and served as Honolulu Mayor.
Initially known as the ‘Kalihi Tunnel’ (and often called the Likelike Tunnels,) the Wilson Tunnels are named in honor of John H Wilson. (1998 brought the completion of H-3 (and the Tetsuo Harano Tunnels – named after a longtime state highways administrator.))
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