Wednesday, February 3, 2010

More Hawaiian Relatives via the Chronicling America Website

Photo of Queen Lili'uokalani and John Owen Aimoku Dominis

So far, over the last few nights I’ve learned quite a few facts about my cousins from the Hawaiian newspapers. From obituaries I’ve learned their burial places, information about their arrival in Hawaii, occupations, funeral arrangements, etc. I also learned a few other interesting bits of trivia…

#1 Being the Prince Consort to the Queen of Hawaii doesn’t mean that certain legal obligations can be forgotten. It was very interesting to read in the legal notices of the The Hawaiian Gazette (Honolulu) 1865-1918, October 20, 1891:
“Executor’s Notice
Notice is Hereby given to all persons having claims against the estate of John Owen Dominis, late of Honolulu, deceased, to present the same to the undersigned within six months from the date of the publication of this notice, or they will be forever barred. And those indebted to said estate are requested to make immediate payment at my office, over the bank of Bishop & Co., Kaahumanu Street.
W. F. Allen
Executor Will of John O. Dominis,
Honolulu, Oct. 1, 1891 1395-4t 2887-1w”

#2 Since Governor John Owen Dominis had a son born out of wedlock, I wonder if there were any legal documents in the court records after his death, especially since his legal wife adopted the child, John Owen Aimoku Dominis. I found no clues in the newspapers, but in some passenger lists for ships leaving Honolulu I did find his name with Queen Lili’uokalani. For example:

The Independent (Honolulu) November 4, 1903, page 5 “For San Francisco, per S. S. Sonomas, Nov. 3….Queen Liliuokalani, Miss Myra Heleluhe, J. D. Aimoku, John Aea.” This was prior to 1910 when she adopted John and his name changed from John Dominis Aimoku to John Owen Aimoku Dominis. There were many times he was listed in the newspapers, accompanying her on board ships.

#3 It is well known in Hawaii, but perhaps not elsewhere, that Queen Lili’uokalani was a talented musician. She wrote several famous songs, including the beautiful “Aloha Oe” that I remember learning to sing in grade school in Massachusetts. If I had only known then what I know now, what a tale I could have told my classmates!. She must have provided a musical education for John Aimoku, he appears in several social pages under recitals and concerts, for example in The Hawaiian Gazette, December 24, 1897, page 1, “Santa On Deck - Christmas Cheer Abounded in Several Places….. Iolani College had an entertainment and Christmas tree. Head master Fenn was in charge. This was the program:…[several musical offerings listed] Duet- All’s Well…. By Brahms, J. Aimoku and P. Hatsfield….Musical Selection [many children listed including J. Aimoku]”

#4 Since Aimoku was an unusual name, I tried it in the Chronicling America search engine to see if it would come up in places other than Hawaii. Of course, I saw it on the passenger lists in San Francisco newspapers, but also in Washington DC . From the Washington Times (Washington DC), December 16, 1909, page 13 in an article entitled “Queen Lil’s Will Causes Surprise - Property All Disposed of AS She Desires Before Her Death – Favorite Cut Off With Small Sum……” Further down inside the article described “John Dominis Aimoku becomes the heir of the bulk of the property…John Dominis Aimoku is to get Washington Place for his lifetime and the lifetime of his lawfully begotten heirs, or so long after the death of John Dominis Aimoku as the law will permit, with reversion to the trustees. He is also given an annuity of $5,000.” Much of her estate was left to an orphanage for native Hawaiian children.

#5 In 1908 the Queen visited Washington DC to petition president McKinley for a reversal of the annexation. The University Missourian (Columbia, Missouri) December 15, 1908, page 3, has an article “Liliuokalani is Here- Washington DC, Dec. 13- Ex-Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, accompanied by Prince and Princess Kalanianaole and her secretary, Aimoku, have reached Washington from Honolulu. Hawaii’s former ruler is here to appear before Congrss and urge the passage of Delegate Kalanianole’s relief bill to indemnify the queen for certain lands which were confiscated by the United States…She contends that at the time the lands were confiscated- the period of occupation by American troops in Hawaii- property of the crown yielded an income of $50,000 a year.” I had read about this in Washington and Boston newspapers (the Boston newspapers carried her news because of her husband’s link to Boston) but I didn’t expect to read about it in Missouri newspaper!

Yes, Randy, I’m still in my PJs and I’m enjoying this online ride in time back to Hawaii in the days of the Kingdom!

The Library of Congress Chronicling America Website

Randy Seaver’s blog posting about the Chronicling America Website is at Genea-Musings: Using the Library of Congress "Chronicling America" Site

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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