Showing posts with label Lee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lee. Show all posts

Monday, December 2, 2013

1382 Beacon Street, Brookline, Massachusetts "The Wrexham"

1382 Beacon Street, Brookline, Massachusetts
 My first cousin five generations removed is the Boston publisher William Lee (1826 – 1906), of the firm Lee & Shepard.  I've blogged about him before, but he is intriguing to me not only as the publisher of Queen Liliuokalani’s biography, but he was also her host during her second visit to Boston in 1897.  The Queen’s husband, John O. Dominis, was William Lee’s first cousin.  Their mothers were sisters, and also sister to my 5th great grandmother Catherine Plummer (Jones) Younger (1799 – 1828).

I've been tracing the places Queen Liliuokalani visited during her stay in Boston.  She was there to visit family after the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.  William Lee, and his wife Sara, found her comfortable and private accommodations near their own apartments in Brookline, Massachusetts.  Following the rules of etiquette in those days, the Queen did no visiting, and attended only a few receptions.  One of those receptions was held at the Lees apartments.  I found the location of the Queen’s lodgings and blogged about it HERE.  Now I wanted to find out how close by the Lees were living.  I knew that in the census records they were living at 1382 Beacon Street. 

Here is an excerpt from the Queen’s biography:

“On New Year's Day, 1897, a brilliant reception was given by Mrs. William Lee at her residence, where I found myself the guest of honor. It might be noticed here, that, in regard to such occasions as this, the feelings of one who has been imprisoned, politically or otherwise, can only be understood by a person who has passed through the ordeal. With Mrs. Lee's numerous friends and high social position, she would most gladly have given to me an opportunity to receive attentions from the clubs and societies of which she is a distinguished member, and I would thereby have met many very delightful people. But although, since my earliest remembrance, I have been accustomed to ceremonies and receptions, yet, even after a winter's experience in Washington, it is not easy for me to get over that shrinking from the gaze of strangers acquired by recent years of retirement, eight months of experience as a prisoner, and the humiliations of the time when I was under the supervision of government spies or custodians.

Therefore, while I was grateful to Mrs. Lee for the wish, I told her that save in her own house and to meet her personal friends, I would be obliged to decline public receptions. But the number of gallant gentlemen, beautiful ladies, and fair young girls (two of whom served as ushers) that honored this occasion, caused me to be happy that I had made an exception.”

And a newspaper account from the Boston Journal, 2 January 1897:

"One of the most delightful receptions of New Year's day was that held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Lee, Beacon street, Brookline, where ex-Queen Lilioukulani was the guest of honor. The old colonial mansion house was bright with flowers and full of guests during the reception hours from 3 to 5. The receiving party formed a pretty picture, as, grouped in the bay window, they greeted with charming cordiality the many friends who expressed so much pleasure at the opportunity offered to meet a charming woman, who was most womanly and cordial in her greetings in this lovely home.

In the receiving party were ex-Queen Lilioukulani, with Mrs. Lee on her right, Mrs. Kia Nahsolelin on the left, with Mr. Lee, Miss Lee, J. Haleluke and Capt. Julius Palmer in the line. The ushers were Misses Flora and Donalena MacDonald and F.M. Goss. Most delightful music was rendered during the afternoon by Miss Sarah MacDonald, harpist.

The ex-queen wore a gown of black velvet, with thread lace garniture, caught with rare jewels, and prominent was the badge of the Mystic Shrine, of which she was made a member in 1887. Mrs. Lee was radiantly beautiful in a costume of French gray and lace, with a circle of gold on her arm, which the guest presented as a token of friendship, a golden band with the letter "L" in plain gold, a dainty trifle which Lilioukulani wore during the days of her recent imprisonment, and Mr. Lee also wore a New Year's gift from the same source, a heart-shaped pin of pearl, with centre of amethyst.

The tea room was very dainty where Mrs. Walter M. Farwell poured tea. Mrs. F. M. Goss of Melrose presided at the chocolate table, while Miss Annie Morse served frappe."

By using Google to search for “1382 Beacon Street”, and also for “The Wrexham” I had several good hits. One was a lawsuit  of Henry A. Hildreth vs Charles F. Adams in 1918, very close to the time period when the Lees lived at this address. This was in a book titled Massachusetts Reports 229: Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts December 1917 – March 1918 by Henry Walton Swift, court reporter,  Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1918, page 581.  This book was found scanned and available to read in the Google Book search.  The text of this can be seen below:

This confirms that the address seen in the census is indeed the same building and same street number in Brookline today.  We took some photos of this building. 

There are several city directories of Brookline from this time period, and also several editions of Clark’s Boston Blue Book, which was sort of a social directory with ladies visiting lists and social clubs.  These list the residents of this building, which appears to have had about four or five families living here at any one time.  The apartments must have been large, with room for servant’s quarters.   It is a five story building, so it originally had only one apartment on each floor.  The bay windows are mentioned in the newspaper account above. 

This is a very fashionable address, one block from Coolidge Corner, a main shopping square in Brookline, and the MBTA green line “C Branch” trolley line passing right in front.  It is near the National Historic Site on 83 Beals Street, the birthplace of President John F. Kennedy, and the original SS Pierce Building built in 1897, a large Tudor style clock tower.  It was only a few blocks from where Queen Liliuokalani lived for about one month, at Stirlingworth Cottage .

In 1906 William Lee passed away, and Sara moved to 1408 Beacon Street.  Later I found her in the 1910 census living in a boarding house at 61 Sewell Avenue in Brookline. She was briefly married in 1908 to George Mortimer who died in 1913.  In 1920 she was enumerated with her sister, Mary, at 170 Huntington Avenue in Boston.  Sarah died in 1925. 

For more information:

A blog post about Stirlingworth Cottage in Brookline, Massachusetts

The Queen's biography is Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen, published in Boston by Lee & Shepard, 1898. It is available online to read at 

The URL for this post is

Copyright © 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ A Queen's photo albums

"The Royal Album"
Endpaper of Photo Album 26
Unidentified Woman
Album 26

Unfortunately, lots of photograph albums are thrown away and lost.  But those of famous people are saved in archives and historical societies.  If you are lucky enough to be related to someone famous, or locally famous, you should search out these treasures.  I went to the Hawaii State Archives in Honolulu to see if there were any photo albums or single photographs of my great aunt Mary (Jones) Dominis, but didn't find any.  In the finding aids, and in discussions with the archivists, I found many photos of Queen Lili'uokalani, her daughter-in-law, in official files.  But they also told me that there were seven of her personal photograph albums in the vault.  This was my best bet for finding family photos.

Photo Album 28
We photographed the cover, and tag, of each album
They were old, fragile and historic, but the photos were
in very good condition considering their age. 
I brought my mother to the archives, since it was her grandmother who remembered meeting the Queen during her trip to Boston in 1897. The archivist told me that some photos were labeled, and the others are all unknown photos.  She asked if we could help identify some.  The relatives in the photos would be long dead people we wouldn't know, but we might recognize?  Fingers crossed we filled out the paperwork and waited for the albums to be pulled from the files.
"Holt, John Dominis"
Photo Album 26
[John Dominis Holt (1844 - 1922) died in Oxford, England
son of Robert William Holt and his 2nd wife, Caroline Tawati Robinson.
He was named after his uncle,  Captain John Dominis, the
husband of my 4x great Aunt Mary Jones) 
"Owen J. Holt"
Photo Album 26
[son of Robert William Holt and his 2nd wife Caroline Tauwati Robinson,
named after his first wife's (my 4x great aunt Ann Marie Jones) father,
Owen Jones b. 1768 in Wales and died 1850 in Boston]
It was very strange looking through these very personal albums.  There were photos of Lilioukalani's dogs, and her friends and relatives.  Then suddenly there would be photos of crowned heads from Europe, and we were reminded that she was more than a relative, she was a royal person herself!  Photograph album 29 had her entire genealogy, including photos going back to the Kamehameha's and earlier ali'i in her lineage.  Then we would be looking at dogs, flowers and relatives again!

"Mrs. William Lee" by Sarony's Studio, NY
Photo Album 26
We found many relatives.  Some were easily identified even by nicknames.  Some had us stumped because women would be listed by their husband's names only, such as our mystery photography of "Mrs. William Lee".  Our cousin, the Boston publisher William Lee, had two wives.  Which one was this?  His second wife, Sarah (White) Lee, wrote many letters to the Queen and hosted a grand party for her in Boston in 1897.  Possibly this is Sara?

I had a phone consultation with genealogist Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, about this photo.  She is certain that it dates from the mid-1870s and shows a very wealthy, well dressed woman between 30 to 50 years old.  Wife #1 was Anna M. T. Leavitt, born 1819 in Hampton, New Hampshire and died in 1883.  She married William Lee in 1861, and in the mid-1870s she would have been about 50 years old.  Wife #2 was Sarah White, born in 1849 in Hillsdale, New York and died in 1925.  She married William Lee in 1888 and in the mid-1870s she would have been in about thirty years old.  If anyone knows of a photograph of wife, I would love to compare it to this photo to see which wife this is!  I've never seen a photo of either woman, so this would be a great clue.

"Georgie Holt"
Photo Album 24
[George Hoonewaneewa Holt (1868 - 1929) son of Owen Jones Holt]

"Mr. Aldrich"
Photo Album 26
[William Arnold Aldrich (1824 - 1892) husband to Elizabeth M. Holt,
daughter of Robert William Holt and Ann Marie S. Jones (my 4x great aunt)
He was born in Westmoreland, New Hampshire ] 

My husband patiently photographed every page of all seven photo albums, and took closeup photos of the ones we knew or suspected to be relatives.  In looking through letters in the archives there are many references to "I'm sending a photograph" or "Did you get the photograph?" and I hope to match up some of these, but it is an almost impossible task since I never met these folks, and they all died almost 100 years ago.  But it is a project we can work on slowly over time, and hope that more clues will become available.

Hawaii State Archives

All these photographs are from the Hawaii State Archives, Photographic Albums, Queen Lili'uokalani Collections, Albums 24 - 30, from the Lili'uokalani Estate 1921.

Maureen Taylor, "The Photo Detective"

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Highlights of my Research Trip to Hawaii

1. Bringing my Mom and daughter to Hawaii was the biggest highlight of our recent vacation.  We toured Iolani Palace, Washington Place and met up with cousins.  We also paid our respects at several cemeteries, and went to the Queen Lili’uokalani Church in Haliewa, founded by Reverend John Emerson of Chester, New Hampshire, another distant cousin. I only wish I had called the church in Haliewa ahead of time, because it was closed when we arrived.  

Me, Mom and Hubby at Washington Place
Mom and I place leis on the graves of
Reverend John Emerson and his wife Ursula
at the Queen Liliuokalani Church, Haliewa, Hawaii
2.   I’ll never forget seeing Mom enjoy her visits with cousins and being at Washington Place.  I know how excited she was when I found out that our Hawaii connection was more than myth, and was able to place Lili’uokalani in our family tree.  Hearing the curators and the tour guides confirm the story made it even more real for her.  We found out that her grandmother was 24 years old when she visited with the Queen in Boston.  Carrie Batchelder Allen was a new bride with two small children in 1897, the year of the Queen’s visit with relatives in Massachusetts.

Mom and I chatting with the Washington Place curator
about Mom's grandmother meeting Queen Liliuokalani in Boston
3.   At the archives I found several more letters and found some Boston relatives in Queen Lili’uokalani’s photograph albums.  Some photos need identification.  Such as this photo of a Mrs. William Lee.   My first cousin 5 x removed, Mr. Lee, had two wives.  The first wife died in 1883, and the second one he married in 1888.  Which wife is this?  Can anyone tell from her dress and hairstyle which wife this might be?

labeled "Mrs. William Lee" by Sarony's, NY
in Hawaii State Archives
Queen Liliuokalani Collections
M-93 Photograph Album 26 

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Publisher William Lee, Hampton, New Hampshire

These gravestones were photographed at the High Street Cemetery, Hampton, New Hampshire 
in the Gookin Family Plot

FEBRUARY 20, 1854
MARCH 4, 1926
                                  ST. JOHN 14:19

APRIL 17, 1826,
NOVEMBER 29, 1906

We made a special trip to Hampton to photograph these stones on a request from a reader who is writing a book about Oliver Optic (William Taylor Adams 1822 - 1897), an author whose books were published by William Lee in the 19th century.  He had read about William Lee's second wife, Sara White, in my blog and we have been exchanging genealogical information.  William Lee's first wife, Anna Leavitt, is buried in the same cemetery, in the Leavitt family plot.  His second wife, Sara White, was cremated in Boston, and her ashes were picked up by an unknown family member.  We have no idea if she has a burial spot or not.

Why are William and his adopted daughter, Alice, buried in the Gookin family plot?  This answer took a little genealogy research to untangle...

                                       Owen Jones b. abt 1768 m. Elizabeth Lambert b. abt 1775
                                                               my 5x great grandparents
                                               eight children including these two daughters....
                                     |                                                                      |
       Catherine Plummer Jones m. Levi Younger              Laura Williams Jones m. John Lee
          (my 4x great grandparents)                                         |
                                                      William Lee (1826 - 1906) m1. Anna Leavitt m2. Sarah White
                                                                                 adopted Alice Gookin
                                                               (daughter of Anna's sister Mary m. George Gookin)

Alice's brother, A. Willard Gookin (1852 - 1928), is also buried in this plot.  William Lee died at Willard's home in Hampton in 1906.  

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, April 27, 2012

Another letter to Hawaii, 1887

Hawaii State Archives, Queen Liliuokalani Collections,
M-93, Box 11, Folder 94
Letter from Alice Lee to Mary Dominis, 17 May 1887

Boston, May 17, 1887

My dear Aunt Dominis,
Have been intending to
write to you for years,
but I have hesitated
fearing that I might
not be able to write
much that would
interest you, now,
after seeing “Cousin
John” again and
becoming acquainted
with “Cousin Lydia”
I feel that I must
write and tell you
what a pleasure it
had been to us all
to see them and
have them here.  I
think “The Princess”
Is one of the most
charming women I
have ever met and
I congratulate you
on having her for
a daughter.  Both
she and the Queen
made a most
pleasant impression
here and I hope
they enjoyed their
visit as much as
we did.  As infirm
John didn’t go
to many of the re-
ceptions given in
their honor, Papa
and I had the
pleasure of expending
a good deal of time
with him, and it
was a great pleasure,
The memory of which
will linger with
me all my life.
Although I am you
niece only by adoption
yet I have known
and loved you all
since I was a little
girl and one of
my greatest desires
has been to see you.
I feel ?? I shall
sometime, if not here,
then, perhaps, in the
world beyond.  I
have such a nice
plan in my mind
I want Papa to
Take Grandmother Lee
And make you a
visit next winter.
Grandmother is so
well and strong, she
could easily bear
the journey and what
a joyful meeting it
would be between
you two!  And I know
Papa would enjoy
It.  Grandmother Lee
Is the dearest grand-
mother in the world
and I love her
dearly, she and I
have thought about
you for hours, haven’t
your ears burned?
if they have that
was when we were
??thing about you!
And now I must
say “Goodbye”, I hope
you will not try
to answer this letter
for I know how hard
it is for you to
write and as much
as I should enjoy
Hearing from you
I would rather that
you didn’t give your-
self the trouble.
I send you much
Love and I am
Your affec. niece,
 Alice Lee

Dear Aunt Dominis,
My “big baby” has of
her own free will and
accord written you how
Glad we were in having
John and Lydia here
with us.  I am intending to
write you and tell you of
the nice reception all
the relatives had.  Some
fifty of us cousins- first,
second, third and friends.
The baby being Christopher
Snelling’s son’s child.
The Queen and the Princess
were very popular with all
of the family.  And all speak
In high praise of John and
his nice wife.  Mother had
the best time.  Affectionately
            William Lee

This letter needs a lot of historical background.  I’ll start with a family tree.

Gen. 1.   Owen Jones (abt 1768 – 1850)  m. Elizabeth Lambert (abt 1775 – 1834)
             My 5x g. grandparents in Boston.  They had 8 children including:

   Sarah Jones               Catherine Jones              Laura Jones
 m. Enoch Snelling      m. Levi Younger               m. John Lee
(children in letter)   (my 4x g. grandparents)    had eight children including
                                                                          William Lee ((1826 – 1906) m. Anna Leavitt
                                                                           His adopted daughter Alice Gookin Lee
                                                                (daughter of Anna’s sister Mary & George Gookin)

Another Jones sister (one of the eight children of Owen Jones and Elizabeth Lambert) was Mary Lambert Jones (1803 – 1889).  Mary married a sea captain, John Dominis (d. 1846) who took her to live on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.  He built her a big New England style home in Honolulu, and then was lost at sea.  Their only surviving son was John Owen Dominis (1832 – 1891) who married Lydia Paki, a native Hawaiian with noble blood.  When Lydia’s brother, David Kalakaua (1836 – 1891) became King of the Kingdom of Hawaii, she became Princess Lili’uokalani.    During Queen Victoria’s Jubilee (50th Anniversary year on the throne), King Kalakaua, his wife Queen Kapiolani, and Princess Lili’uokalani went to London via Boston.  During the stop in Boston the Royalty visited with the Jones family.

The visit to Boston in 1887 is described in this letter.   I have several other letters from family members about this visit.  This visit was a family story passed down to my generation, but no one believed it until we found letters like this one.  This one is especially poignant to me because you can understand how the family felt so estranged from each other in the 1800s.  Hawaii was thousands of miles away by ships that had to go around South America, and this voyage took months and months. 

Alice and her grandmother never made the trip to Hawaii to see Auntie Mary Dominis.    Mary died just a few years later.   Queen Lili’uokalani succeeded her brother to the throne in 1891, and her husband John O. Dominis died later that same year.  After the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 she lost the throne.  Queen Lili’uokalani again came to Boston in 1897 on her way to Washington DC to petition the president to reject the US annexation.   During her second Boston visit she again visited the Lees, Snellings and other family members.

Alice Gookin Lee was born 20 February 1854 in Hampton, New Hampshire, and she died on 4 March 1926 in Forest Hills, Massachusetts (a part of Boston now known as Jamaica Plain).  She is buried at the High Street Cemetery in Hampton, New Hampshire where her adopted father, William Lee, is also buried.   She never married, but was an accomplished woman who studied botany.  Alice was about twenty three years old when she wrote this letter.

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, April 2, 2012

Daughters of the Revolution?

click on images to enlarge

I had read several newspaper accounts of my first cousin 5x removed, William Lee (1826- 1906) and his wife, Sara Louise White (1849 - 1925), who was involved with the Daughter's of the Revolution.  Some newspapers even said she was regent of the Daughter's of the American Revolution.  I had never heard of the DR organization.  Apparently Sara White Lee was the first state regent of the Massachusetts Daughters of the Revolution of 1776.   Not the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  The DR was a separate organization that preceded the DAR.  According to's page on lineage societies

The DR was organized in 1890, and disbanded in 1983.  They required direct ancestral lineage from a patriot in the Revolutionary War long before the DAR, which originally "allowed ancestry based on collateral lines of descent".  Some state chapters of the DAR date from 1890, and the National DAR was established in 1896.

The DR records are kept by the Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead, New York.  The 12,266 membership records were digitized and are available on line    This is where I found that Sara Louise (White) Lee's patriot was Joel White, and her membership number was 311 in 1893 in Massachusetts.  For $10 they will send you  a copy of the membership papers.  So I decided to order Sara's papers to see how they compared to a DAR application.

Sara was very interested in genealogy.  She listed herself as a genealogist in the 1920 census!  She was one of the first thirty-six women members of the New England Historic Genealogical Society admitted in 1898.   Her obituary is listed in the 1925 NEHGS Register Volume 81, page 465.

        "Mrs. Sara (White) (Saunders)  (Lee) Mortimer, of Brookline, Mass., a life member since 1898, was born in New York City 5 February 1849, the daughter of James Wells and Catherine Reed (Garner) White, and died at Roxbury, Mass, 11 August 1925.
She traced her descent from Elder John White, who came to New England in the Lion in 1632, lived at Cambridge, Mass., Hartford, Conn, Hadlesy, Masss, and again at Hartford, and died in 1683, through Lieut. Daniel of Hadley and Hatfield, Mass., Capt. Daniel, 1671-1726, of Windsor, Conn., Joel, 1705-1789, of Bolton, Conn., a soldier of the Revolution and a deputy from Bolton in the General Court for twenty-six sessions, Lemuel, 1736-1780, Lemuel, who married Mary Wells, and James Wells, her father, who was born at Hartford, married Catherine Reed Garner, a native of New York City, and was engaged in the practice of law in New York.

She was married first to ------- Saunders; secondly 26 November 1888, as his second wife, being then of New York City, to William Lee, founder and head of the well-known Boston publishing house of Lee & Shepard, who was born in Boston 17 April 1826, the son of Laura Williams (Jones) Lee, resided in Brookline, and died in 1906, having retired from business in June 1898; and thirdly to George Mortimer, whom also she survived.

As Mrs. Sara White Lee of Brookline she was one of the thirty-six women who were elcted to membership in the New England Historic Genealogical Society on 2 February 1898, when the first election of women to membership took place; and her name was the twenty-first on the list of the tenty-nine women who accepted this election and qualified as members of the society.  At the annual meeting of the Society on 7 Feburary 1923, when the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first admission of women to membership was observed with appropriate excercises, twelve of these twenty-nine women were still on the rolls of membership and six of them were present at the meeting.  Mrs. Mortimer, however, was not one of the six, being prevented from attending by what proved to be her last illness.  But, in previous years, as long as her health permitted, she had kept up her interest in the activities of the Society and had been a frequent attendant at its meetings."

It was also fun to find her in the famous women's journal Godey's Magazine, Volume 135, No. 809, November 1897, page 552:  "Women Up to Date - The beautiful Mrs. William Lee, of Boston, is a candidate for the presiding officer of the Daughters of the Revolution.  No one would grace the position better than this charming woman, who is descended from a long line of revolutionary ancestors."   I guess she was quite a socialite!

My favorite story about cousin Sara Lee is found in this blog post, when she stood up for Queen Lili'uokalani during her visit to Boston, and spoke out in the newspapers against the annexation of Hawaii.  This was quite brave of her to speak out against the racism and the pro-annexation press.  Please click here to read more:

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, March 26, 2012

Amanuensis Monday ~ Letter from Sara White Lee

In this blog post last month  I wrote about several newspaper articles written in 1894 which rumored that Queen Liliuokalani had "gone crazy" after being deposed from the throne of the Hawaiian Kingdom.   This letter, which is undated, may date from about that time period.  It was written to the Queen by my cousin's wife, Sara White Lee (1849 - 1925).  William Lee is a first cousin several generations removed.  His mother (Laura Jones Lee), the Queen's mother in law (Mary Jones Dominis) and my 4x great grandmother (Catherine Jones Younger) were all sisters.   The Queen Liliuokalani visited the Lee cousins during her visits to Boston in 1887 and in 1897. 

My dear Cousin,
The enclosed clipping must be my ex-
cuse for breaking the long silence it has pleased
you to maintain but which I am sure is due
only to your illness and unhappiness.
                When the daily press reported your illness I
took it as an idle tale false as all else it has
written of you, but when the report is repeated in
our Medical Journals I fear there is some grounds
in the rumors of your physical trouble.
                (The Mail and Express had a long article reputed
to be an interview with Mr. Lee on the subject which
was false from beginning to end as neither Mr. Lee
nor I had been interviewed )
                One of my friends has an aunt, who has been
a great sufferer from cancer and has lost the bridge
of her nose the physicians even saying she had
but a short time to live.  Upon hearing the rumor
of your illness I went to her and found she was
taking treatment from a different physician.  Ne
who a few  years ago in experimenting with “germs”

(page break)

exposed and heated, but the patients all as-
surred me that the treatment (which is by the
hypodermic needle) is almost and in most
cases entirely painless.
                In reply to my inquiry Dr. Alexander said that
fully a thousand patients had come to him this
past year.  In addition to the Sanitarium he
has an office where he sees outside patients who
require only occasional treatment.
                He is very much interested in your case
and also thinks that the establishment of one
of his institutions at Honolulu might be of
great service to your beloved subjects.  It was
my suggestion that it might possibly be as su-
cessful with Leprosy if applied early that dis-
ease.  I enclose a personal letter to me
from Mr. Dudley (Dr. Alexander’s lawyer) that you may
see what the Doctor thinks about going to Hawaii.
                From the letter I would judge that the Doctor
would defray his own expenses to Hawaii if as-
surred that you would be his patient.  I do not
know what he would charge but by casual questions
I ascertained that treatment at the Sanatarium
was $25.00 a week, upward depending upon the
room and how much extra attention it was nec-
essary to devote to the patient.  His occasional
patients who go to the office for treatment are charged
from $2.00 upward for each treatment – according
to the case.  He does not know I have

 (page break)

written you these terms and I wish you would
not mention it unless later you find it necessary.
                He evidently is confined he can help if not
cure you since he is willing to try for it is a
great risk to his future prospects as to cure you
would be everything in his interest, and a
failure would mean the loss of everything to
him, for of course the world would watch this
progress in your case.  I do not know what
arrangements you can make with him, but if
you decide to try the treatment (and it does
seem to me as though he had discovered the great
remedy) I hope you will insist upon his com-
ing, instead of sending anyone to represent him.
                As he is the discoverer, and the medicine is a
secret, no one can apply it and watch it as he
can.  He is a Homeopath, a graduate of the Phila-
delphia College and others.
                By this mail in another envelope I send
you some typewritten testimonials and a letter
to me from Dr. Alexander.  I do not advise you
what to do judging from what I have seen and
heard I have faith in the remedy.  What I have
done in the matter is from pure, disinterested
love for you.  From now I leave it with you
and God.  I can but pray that He will help and
comfort you.
                Some reports of your cordial welcome from your
loyal people have reached me and it must have made

(page break)

your heart happy (as well as ache) to see their love
for you.   Mr. Lee is not at all well, and
has retired from business, so that he is as rest-
less as a cat in a strange garret, having nothing
to do with his time.
                Alice is doing well and graduates in April.
I am as usual.  You know how happy a letter
from you always makes me – but do not mind
if it fatigues you.  I hope you received my
last letters at Washington, to which I have had
no reply.  I miss you more than you can
imagine and send you lots of kisses.
                Mr. Lee joins me in much love,
                                Your loving cousin
                                Sara White Lee

Mrs. William Lee
1382 Beacon St.
Brookline, Mass.

This is a transcription of a letter from Sara White Lee to Lili'uokalani, undated, Bishop Museum Archives,  MS MC Liliuokalani,  Box 1.47.    I cannot show a reproduction or copy of the letter on my blog without written permission from the Bishop Museum, which was quite a process I outlined last year in this blog entry  As a private archive, the Bishop Museum has strict rules about the images in its collection.

Sara White Lee was a very interesting person.  I previously blogged about her at this link   In this post I transcribed a newsclipping, and it describes how Sara stood up at a social event in Boston to defend Queen Lili'uokalani against some racist remarks and some anti-Hawaiian sentiment being expressed in the Boston newspapers.  She was a very brave woman, and although she risked ridicule she stood up for the Queen and made her anti-annexation views well known.

Although she was a socialite, and a member of many organizations like Daughters of the Revolution, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and frequently in the social pages of the Boston newspaper, I have never seen a photograph of Sarah White Lee.  

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Favorite Cemetery Photo for the Carnival of Graveyard Rabbits

The Dominis Family Plot at Oahu Cemetery, Hawaii

It was easy to choose a photograph for this Carnival of Graveyard Rabbits "Favorite Cemetery Photo" theme.  It's not a favorite family member, or a a particularly beautiful photo, but it is the "brick wall smashing" that this photo represents which makes it a favorite.

All my life I heard that we were related to someone in Hawaii.  Over time people told me it was a Princess in Hawaii, but I thought that it was just that the fish tale had grown over the years.  I first researched this family story when I was in high school.  I wrote a thesis paper on the annexation of Hawaii by the United States under the guise of learning more about Queen Lili'uokalani.  I didn't find a family connection, but I was puzzled by some names she wrote about in her autobiography.  I learned that when the Queen came to Boston to visit her husband's relatives she visited with people named Jones, Emerson, Lee and Snelling.

Over time I found some tantalizing clues in our family tree. My great great grandmother was an Emerson.  Her grand mother was a Jones.  The Queen's mother-in-law had the maiden name of Jones.  There were too many Joneses in Boston to find a link.  It was like searching for a needle in a haystack. For years I wrote to Hawaii, to family members, to authors and genealogists.  Nothing matched.

Finally, a curator in Honolulu sent me copies of two letters that named my relatives and their relationship to the Queen's mother-in-law.  This gave me just the small evidence I needed to weed through the Joneses in Boston and put together a family tree.  I found six Jones sisters; two had families in Hawaii, one was my 4x great grandmother, and one married a Snelling who helped send windows from Boston to build the Queen's residence in Honolulu.  The last Jones sister I researched married a Lee, and was the mother of the Boston publisher who printed up Queen Lili'uokalani's autobiography.  Most of the sisters had letters in the Hawaii State Archives which helped me to piece together a family tree when I compared the names to those in the Massachusetts Vital Records, city directories and census records.

Going to Honolulu to complete my research, and to drape leis over Aunt Mary Dominis's grave was one of my most unforgettable genealogy moments!  We also went with my distant cousin, a Dominis descendant, to visit Governor John Owen Dominis's and Queen Lili'uokalani's tomb at Mauna 'Ala, the Royal Mausoleum across the street from the Oahu Cemetery.

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Who was Julius Palmer?

Capt. Julius A. Palmer Digital ID: 1806746. New York Public Library
image from the New York Public Library
Image ID: 1806746

I found many mentions of a Captain Julius A. Palmer in the newspaper articles I saw at when I was researching Queen Liliuokalani’s trips to Boston, Massachusetts.  It appeared that he was her personal secretary, and was also described as a “chamberlain” in several newspapers.  When I saw that he was from Boston, I wondered how hard it would be to research him and his genealogy?  Was there a family connection to the Boston Dominis or Jones families?  What would I find online?

First, a simple Google search brought up a book he had written in 1894, Memories of Hawaii and Hawaiian Correspondence, published by the Boston firm Lee & Shepard.  This was good clue, since William Lee was the nephew to Mary (Jones) Dominis.   Lee also published the Queen’s autobiography in 1898, and was mentioned several times in the same news paper articles about the Queen’s Boston visit in 1897. This book was available to read online, and I saw that it described Palmer’s visit to Hawaii immediately following the coup d’etat in 1893, but was several years before the 1897 Boston visit. 

In her autobiography the Queen states “: “I have found Captain Palmer to be well informed on all matters relating to Hawaii, whether in those earlier days when he visited the Islands under the monarch, or since 1893 under the rule of the Provisional Government. Like many others I might mention, he went there soon after the overthrow, and was petted and flattered by the party in power. But all the time he was quietly investigating the situation for himself. The result of his observations was a conclusion that the right of the Hawaiian people to choose their own form of government should be affirmed, and that they should be protected in this choice by the power of the United States, in which event he was fully assured that their queen would be overwhelmingly restored to her constitutional rights.” [Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, by Liliuokalani, Honolulu, Hawaii: Mutual Publishing Company, 1990, pages 322 – 323.  Also available to read online through]

At the NEHGS website I found this marriage:

Boxford Vital Records
Page 180
“PEABODY, Lucy Manning, and Julious Aboyno Palmer of Boston, Nov. ----, 1827”
Intention also recorded

At FindAGrave I found Julius Auboyneau Palmer and Lucy Manning Peabody  were buried in Boxford, Massachusets at a sketch complete with photos, biography and genealogy.  Surprisingly, there was no mention of his trip to Hawaii nor his relationship with Queen Lili’uokalani.

I went back to the Google Book search with the names of his parents and found this on page 389 History of Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts by Sidney Perley

“1869 Julius Aboyneau Palmer (1803-1872) b. in Little Compton, RI, son of Thomas and Susanna (Palmer) Palmer.

Hon. Julius A. Palmer, son of Thomas and Susanna (Palmer) Palmer, was born in Little Compton, RI, June 14, 1803.  His parents were both descendants of William Palmer- who came over in the ship “Fortune” and landed at Plymouth, Mass. In 1621, - though distantly related to each other.  He went to Boston in 1819, and was, at the time of his death, the senior member of the firm of Palmer, Batchelder & Co, jewelers, in that city.  He was an uncle of Rev. Charles R. Palmer of the Tabernacle Church, Salem; and he delivered the address at the dedication of the new Tabernacle chapel, in 1870.  He was an ardent temperance man, and was several times selected as the temperance candidate for mayor of Boston.  He was a representative to the Legislature from Boston in 1843 and 1851.  Retiring to Boxford on account of his age and health, he was elected to the Senate from Essex County in 1869.  This was his last public office.  Mr. Palmer was connected with many charitable, religious, and reformatory organizations, where he exercised marked influence on account of his intelligence and high personal character.  He was an active member and deacon of the Mount Vernon Church, Boston.  Deacon Palmer, though living much of the time and doing business in Boston, was nevertheless closely connected with this town, where he held, occupied and improved a valuable estate, and where he gave encouragement to all good local undertakings.  He died in Boston on Thursday, Feb. 15, 1872, and was buried from the Mount Vernon Church, the following Saturday.  Mr. Palmer married Lucy Manning Peabody, daughter of Major Jacob Peabody, a descendant of Capt. John Peabody, one of the early settlers, who resided in the old mansion that was razed to the ground by Deacon Palmer.”

Now that I know the correct spelling of his whole name I was able to find much information on Julius Palmer, even trees on Ancestry that appeared to have all the correct birth and death information on the entire family when I checked with the Massachusetts vital records.  It was obvious to me that there was no connection between the Palmer family and to my Jones ancestors in Boston. 

I was surprised to find Lucy Manning Peabody, the wife of Julius A. Palmer, already in my family tree.  I knew I had Peabody cousins, but there is a closer relationship through her grandmother, Lucy Manning (1780 – 1813).  Her great grandfather is my 8x great grandfather, Thomas Giddings (1638 – 1681).  But this was not a close enough relationship to warrant some type of cousin relationship between Julius A. Palmer and the Queen.   In my opinion, she found him to be a true kindred spirit in wanting to resolve the annexation of Hawaii in her favor.  And since he was from Boston she also must have had found something in common with him to strike up a good friendship.

Even though I didn't find a "cousin connection" I'm amazed at how much research I can do online.  With a newspaper article from in one window, I can open up a second window and quickly find genealogy information on people mentioned in that article.  This is great since a lot of this information is vital records and other primary sources.  It is also amazing how these Boston and Hawaii families have so many connections.  There are several more people I'll be tracing since I found their names in the Queen's autobiography and in these newspaper articles.  If you look back, it was from a name in Lili'uokalani's book that started this whole blog back in July 2009 with my very first post!  

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo