Suicide in Kalawao, 1883.


O Ko Hawaii Pae Aina, Aloha oe:

I have something to report to you, and that is this: A man hung himself on the 21st of this June, in the jail here in Kalawao, at 2:25 p. m., and he is now left to rest. Perhaps it will be set right, perhaps not.

Here is why he hung himself; 1. The estate of this man was confiscated by the Board of Health, the the superintendent of the Lepers, C. Strawn. 2. The residence of this man was torn down by the officers of the Board of health as well as his clothes trunk by the orders of C. Strawn. 3. The property of this man was auctioned off to the public by orders of C. Strawn over two days. 4. This man was imprisoned in the jail for no reason for 4 days and 3 nights, at which point he hung himself. There are many witnesses to what was done.

This is all why this man was troubled. And so we are pained by this, for we were not brought here to die in jail; because it is enough that we are inflicted with leprosy; we don’t wish for more sickness to befall us or for us to die again in jail like this.

Therefore I ask before King Kaulilua,¹ the nation, the lahui, the makaainana from where the sun rises to where it sets, from that side to this, those who care for our dear lives, the descendants of our kupuna who were wounded by the barbed spears to unify you O Hawaii as one, for whom is said, “E mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono.”²

Please dismiss, transfer, and expell this haole C. Strawn from his job for the reasons shown above; and not just him, but those who plunder the wealth of you, O Hawaii; the people who drag you, O Hawaii into difficulties; and those who hold no aloha in their hearts for Hawaii. Don’t take your time, for your knowledge, O Hawaii, has climbed the heights of Hanalei, and you are qualified to occupy the highest positions of our government and be respected for your knowledge [e elieli ai kulana ia Ainaike.]

This is not said in spite, but for just cause [he wai o lalo]. Sincerely,

William Puheemiki, Jr.

Leahi Home, Kalawao, Molokai

June 25, 1883.

¹Kaulilua is another name for Kalakaua.

²”Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono,” is the famous proclamation of Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III.

(Ko Hawaii Pae Aina, 7/7/1883, p. 4)


Ko Hawaii Pae Aina, Buke VI, Helu 27, Aoao 4. Iulai 7, 1883.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s