In 1820, the first contingent of Protestant missionaries associated with the American Board of Christian Foreign Missions (ABCFM) arrived in the Hawaiian Islands. The Honolulu station became the focal point of the missionary’s operations, with substations on the major islands in the largest population centers. Periodically, the Honolulu station managers would travel around O‘ahu to inspect the progress being made in work in the outlying stations, including church work, educational endeavors, and facilities to support the foreign missionaries’ living situation. Levi Chamberlain made tours of O‘ahu in 1826 and 1828 and wrote fairly detailed descriptions of the districts he visited, including passing reference to Honouliuli.
The following is an excerpt of Chamberlain’s original handwritten notes, which were digitized from the ABCFM archives at Harvard by Kumu Pono Associates in 2004. It is from Chamberlain to Rufus Anderson, dated September 12, 1828 and describes two trips made around the island of O‘ahu to examine the schools and determine progress in the education of the natives.
About two years ago I performed a tour around this island, and I have recently made another. It was my intention to give you a brief account of my first tour, but I could not find time to do it while the scenes that passed under my observation and the events that transpired were fresh to my mind & retained their hold upon my feelings.
I propose now to give you a history of my last tour, and in doing it I may refer to my minuets of the former tour … I shall now attempt to give some account of the tour, and of the schools which I visited. I will begin my mentioning the names of my hoahele, [fellow travelers] which were as follows: Jesse Kahananui, Lazarus Kamakahiki, Abraham Naaoa, members of the church, Kaukaliu & Kauhikoa, serious and intelligent native teachers, each of whom had one or more attendants to accompany them & to carry food and baggage. I was also furnished by Kaahumanu with a suitable number of persons to carry my food & bedding, and to attend to my wants on the way…
[Departing from the Wai‘anae District, Chamberlain wrote]:
…The food by which the inhabitants are supplied, is cultivated in the vallies, which open among the mountains two or three mile from the shore.
It was quite dark when we reached Waimanalo, and our arriving at the school house in which we expected to put up, we were disappointed to find it deserted; and it was infested with fleas that we feared we could not make ourselves comfortable in it. Some of the people of the place gathered around us, & we besought them to afford us accommodations in someone of their houses. One man whose house stood nearest us and who was, I believe, the head man of the place, readily offered us his, and immediately began to put things in order for our accommodations; he did what he could to make us comfortable, and, as the house was small, vacated it entirely for our use.
Saturday Feb. 9th I enjoyed comfortable repose during the night and awaked refreshed. I arose and united with my attendants in singing a hymn, and offering a tribute of thanksgiving to God for his care & unfailing kindness. After breakfast a few scholars assembled in front of the house. I examined them and to one of them I gave a catechism and a Sermon on the mount.
Their teacher was absent, and I exhorted them not, on that account, to neglect instructions, but to give more attention to it, to assemble on the Sabbath, and learn the catechism, and repeat passages from the word of God. At 10 minutes before 8 o’ck, after thanking our kind host for his attention to us, we set out for the next district. In consequence of the recent heavy rains the roads were very muddy, & the travelling very bad. We had met with nothing like it in any part of our previous journey travelling. After walking three hours & most of the time in mud, we reached Honouliuli in the district of Ewa. A school of 22 scholars had assembled which I examined. The head man, Kawaa, very kindly entertained me, caused a fowl to be cooked and some kalo to be nicely prepared, and furnished the native with a liberal supply of fish and poi. He invited me to stop and spend the Sabbath with him; but as his house was small, and our company had now become large by the accession of the teachers & their attendants who separated from us at Waialua and had crossed the inland and had put up at this place, I thought it best to decline his offer. But feeling desirous that religious worship should be conducted here on the morrow, I recommended that the party who had crossed the island should spend the Sabbath here, while we who had travelled round the shore, should proceed to the next considerable settlement, and make arrangements for spending the Sabbath.
Having expressed to Kawaa my thanks for his kindness, I set forwards with my attendants, and between the hours for three & four o’ck P.M. arrived at Waikele. Towards evening I attended to the examination of two schools, which met in front of the house where I had put up. At the close of the examination I gave information that religious worship would be conducted in the same place on the morrow & requested that all the people of the place should be informed & invited to attend.
Sabbath Feby. 10th The people of Waikele & the neighboring lands assembled in the forenoon to the number of 150 or 200.1
1Typed by Kumu Pono Associates from a copy of the original handwritten letter in the collection of the ABCFM, Houghton Library, Harvard, Reel 794.