Monday, March 26, 2012

Annie Maria Holt (1832 - 1851)

A mockup of how the Annie Holt plaque
will look after it is cast in bronze
Calling all descendants of Hawaii Holts! 

Announcing a family fundraising project that we hope you will be a part of.

Please go to to learn more and hopefully donate a little to the cause!

Just a few years ago it was discovered that one of Robert William Holt's daughters lay in an unmarked grave in Oahu Cemetery. Various family members thought it would be appropriate to place a marker in her honor and to mark her final resting place.

So that as many family members as possible can participate, we have created a website that will be launched today (March 26, 2012 Prince Kuhio Day) where you can learn more about this ancestor and more about the project.

Committee Members
Charles T. Holt (Edward Holt)
Keith Ridley (Elizabeth Holt Richardson)
Chelsea Pirker (Elizabeth Holt Aldrich)
Owen J. Holt Jr. (George Holt)
Heather Rojo (Jones family of Boston)
Gretchen Killeen (James Robinson Holt II)
Hilulani Holt-Hansen (Owen Holt II)
Chris Holt Curnan (Christopher Holt)

from the website:

"Boston, early 1830s:  Robert William Holt's first wife, Ann Jones, dies, leaving him the single father of 2 young daughters, Elizabeth and Annie Holt.   When his brother-in-law, Captain John Dominis, asks him to come along on a voyage to the "Sandwhich Islands," Robert W Holt leaves Elizabeth and Annie with his late wife's family which includes three of his late wife's five sisters.  Whether he intended to send for them later or not, we don't know, but the girls remain in Boston for the next 18 years.  

Although the girls grew up fatherless, they no doubt heard about their father from their Aunt Mary Jones Dominis, wife of Captain John Dominis, who also lived in Honolulu.    Still, traveling to Hawaii at that time was no easy task.  Federated states existed only from the eastern seaboard to the Mississippi with California (1850) and Texas (1845) having just recently joined the Union.  The areas from the Mississippi to California were unorganized, undeveloped and unsafe.  The "easiest" way for two young women to get from Boston to Hawaii was to sail around South America and the infamous Cape Horn. 

Even for seasoned sailors of the 1800s, making it around Cape Horn was a high achievement.   From Wikipedia;  "A sailor who had rounded the Horn was entitled to wear a gold loop earring — in the left ear, the one which had faced the Horn in a typical eastbound passage — and to dine with one foot on the table;  A sailor who had sailed around Cape Horn was also able to brag by showing off his tattoo of a full-rigged ship.   One particular historic attempt to round the Horn, that of HMS Bounty in 1788, has been immortalized in history in the novel, Mutiny on the Bounty. This abortive Horn voyage has been portrayed (with varying historical accuracy) in three major motion pictures about Captain William Bligh's mission to transport breadfruit plants from Tahiti to Jamaica. The Bounty made only 85 miles of headway in 31 days of east-to-west sailing before giving up, by reversing course, and going around Africa." 

In the summer of 1850, these two young Holt sisters set out on a treacherous 5 month voyage aboard the sailing ship, Gentoo, for the sole purpose of reuniting with their father.   There was no refrigeration.  There was fresh water for drinking but not for showering.  There was no external communication.  They arrived in Honolulu harbor on January 13, 1851 and took up residence with their Aunt Mary Jones Dominis at Washington Place.  

Unfortunately, and with scarce details of the circumstances, Annie Maria Holt died in March of 1851, just a few months after arriving in Honolulu.  She died at home at Washington Place where her funeral was also held.  She was buried at Oahu Cemetery the same day, which could suggest that she died from a communicable disease such as tuberculosis or influenza.   Annie Maria Holt was the first Holt to be buried in Oahu Cemetery.   

Sometime in the 1920s, the roads within and around Oahu Cemetery were widened to accommodate the new automobiles in addition to the old horse and buggies.  When that was done, dozens of individuals were moved from their original burial places to other areas within the cemetery.  Oahu Cemetery records show that Annie Maria Holt was moved to an area across Nuuanu Avenue, not far from the Hanakaulani Holt plot -- along the stone wall that borders present day Nuuanu Memorial Park near the Cunha family plot. If there was an original grave marker, it was likely damaged since it was in a location prone to foot, horse, buggy and automobile traffic.  With no direct descendants to tend to her grave site, Annie Maria Holt's final resting place has been unmarked for at least 90 years.   With no direct descendants, we are her only family."

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