Keeaumoku’s ahuula, Eheukani, 1903.

FEATHER GARMENTS

106. A cloak said to have been destroyed in the conflagration caused accidentally in the attempt of the Board of Health to stamp out the bubonic plague in the Chinese quarter of Honolulu. At the time when the claims for losses caused by this great fire were presented to the Commission appointed for the purpose, my assistant, Mr. Allen M. Walcott, obtained from the claimant, Peleioholani, a carpenter by trade, the following particulars: The cloak was called “Eheukani” and was made in the time of Keeaumoku (the father of Kaahumanu) and finished shortly before the battle of Mokuohai (July, 1782) between Kamehameha and Kiwalaó. Keeaumoku’s wife gave it to Peleioholani’s grandmother. Principally mamo* feathers with a small crescent of red iiwi in each upper corner; between the shoulders a round spot of black oo feathers, from which a line of red iiwi led down to a trifle below the middle of the cloak. The cords at the neck were of human hair, an unusual thing. It must be remembered that the design (Fig. 16) as well as the following measurements are from the description given to Mr. Walcott by Peleioholani and are of course only approximate. They are worth recording as differing from any robes described. Length, about 4 feet 9 inches; neck measurment about 2 feet; circumference at bottom about 5 feet 8 inches. It is a matter of tradition that 27,000 birds were captured to furnish the feathers for this cloak. In the left side were seven spear holes that were never patched, and about which were blood stains. Keeaumoku was severely wounded in this battle, and it was rather a fancy with the old chiefs to retain the honorable scars in the ahuula, as in the cloak given by Kamehameha to Vancouver to be taken to England for King George.

*Probably oo, for a genuine mamo ahuula was devoid of any adulteration by other colored feathers. It should be stated that Peleioholani’s claim to be the owner of this cloak was disputed and it was said to have been taken from the palace years ago; but from what I have seen of the observation of natives whose duty it was to care for the royal robes, I do not believe one of them could describe the pattern of the cloaks he or she had seen for years.

[And a note on the note by Brigham. I am not sure the oo instead of mamo feathers comment should be considered true when even the great mamo feather ahuula of Kamehameha Paiea has red iiwi feathers within it…]

(Brigham, William T. Additional Notes on Hawaiian Featherwork. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1903. pp. 15–16.)

"Eheukani"

Brigham, William T. Additional Notes on Hawaiian Featherwork. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1903. p. 17.

Peleioholani’s response to the Queen? 1902.

COMPANION OF A PRINCE

A Hawaiian Chief Who Fought in Africa.

HE TELLS A ROMANTIC TALE

Decapitated Morrocan of High Rank—Was Owner of Famous Feather Cloak.

WITHIN THREE months a stalwart Hawaiian will leave Honolulu and journey to London to attend the reunion of the survivors of one of England’s wars of conquest fought more than thirty years ago. Upon the Hawaiian’s body are the scars inflicted by sword, spear and bullets, received while he was fighting under the flag of St. George in the service of Queen Victoria upon the battlefields of Southern Africa. According to a romantic story which the Hawaiian tells, few amongst the veterans who will gather in the capital of the British nation will have more honorable records for bravery and conspicuous gallantry in the face of a dark-skinned enemy than he, and few will there be whose entire lives are so wrapped in a halo of romance. Linked with this Hawaiian’s life are those of Kings and Queens, Dukes and Admirals, Generals and Captains, and yet today he is an humble resident of the Hawaiian Islands. Continue reading

Keeaumoku ahuula destroyed in Peleioholani house fire, 1901.

Couple of years ago, I posted two articles on an insurance claim by Peleioholani after a priceless ahuula was destroyed in the great Chinatown fire of 1900. I just ran across this just now:

ROYAL FAMILY CLAIM

THE FEATHER CLOAK DESTROYED BY FIRE

Liliuokalani Will Testify—Alleged That the Cloak Was Stolen From the King’s Palace.

Queen Liliuokalani will testify before the Fire Claims Commission regarding the royal feather cloak lost in the big fire by Peleioholani.

It is said that the royal family lays claim to the ownership of the destroyed cloak. The costly article is alleged to have belonged to King Kalakaua, and been stolen from Iolani Palace many years ago.

[See: Ancient Relics Were Destroyed & Pau ka Ahuula i ke Ahi]

(Evening Bulletin, 11/2/1901, p. 1)

ROYAL FAMILY CLAIM

Evening Bulletin, Volume XI, Number 1984, Page 1. November 2, 1901.

Peleioholani’s home is destroyed by fire, 1901.

ANCIENT RELICS

WERE DESTROYED

Valuable Feather Cloak In Peleioholani’s Fire Claim.

BELONGED TO KEEAUMOKU

THE CLAIMANT’S ANCESTOR

While Husband and Wife Were Shut Out By Quarantine the Flames Swept Away Their Home.

Claims of native Hawaiians were resumed before the Fire Claims Commission yesterday morning. Two of these were called this morning, one of which is of more than ordinary interest.

S. L. Peleioholani presents a claim for $2000 and it appears to be a perfectly straight one. The claimant is a lineal descendant of high chiefs and among his household possessions were heirlooms of great value. Indeed, it is scarcely practicable to measure their value in money, the articles having both historical and ethnological—it might be added without joking, ornithological—interest.

Of the last-named class was a feather cloak, the only one existing of its class except the famous garment of Kamehameha treasured in the British Museum. This cloak descended to Peleioholani from his great-great-grandfather, Keeaumoku, a high chief whose name is given to one of the streets of Honolulu. Evidence was presented before the Commission showing that the claimant refused $500 from Mrs. Marry Ailau, the well-known dealer and connoisseur in Hawaiian relics, several years ago. Yes, and when she sent a relative to further sound the owner on his selling figure an offer of $700 for the cloak was declined by him.

Peleioholani had also a few calabashes of high value, besides other ancient objects of native art.

Why did not Mr. Peleoholani or his wife rescue all this archaeological wealth from the advancing flames? It is an easy question and its answer is not mysterious. The husband was working at his trade of a carpenter on the Castle house, while his wife was away from home on some errand, when the rigid quarantine came down suddenly as a Pali cloud. In consequence the couple could not gain access to their home and the tempest of flame came and swept it away.

Peleioholani lost sundry articles of latter day manufacture and utility, which went to make up his claim. An item was sixty fathoms of inch and a half rope at $47, this being the price he paid for it at an auction sale. He explained that he used the hawser in connection with building and house-moving operations. Scion of a noble house as he is, Peleioholani gave the Commissioners the impression of an honorable man.

[See what was said in an article from one of the Hawaiian-Language Newspapers here.]

(Evening Bulletin, 10/15/1901, p. 1)

ANCIENT RELICS WERE DESTROYED

Evening Bulletin, Volume XI, Number 1968, Page 1. October 15, 1901.

Ahuula and priceless treasures gone up in smoke, 1901.

THE AHUULA WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE

This Possession Belonged to Keaumoku.

S. L. Peleiholani claims $500 in damages
for this Feather Cloak.

Before the fire inspection Commissioner, seen was the relationship of S. L. Peleiholani to Kamehameha I, the conqueror of the nation [Ka Naʻi Aupuni], and also seen was the destruction of a very valuable ahuula in the bubonic fire. Peleiholani claimed $500 damages for this ahuula, and he said that he was urged to sell the ahuula for $1,000, which he absolutely refused to do. This is an ahuula that was cared for by his grandparents on down to him, and for this reason, he refused money which kept appearing before him until the cloak was consumed by fire.

Peleioholani added a claim of $2,140.05, and the majority of the assets were inherited from his kupuna. He is the child of Peleiholani and Pukeau. His grandfather was a child of Kalanuilumoku [Kalaniulumoku], a grandchild of Kamehameha I. His grandfather married Kahana, a daughter of Keaumoku, the one to whom belonged this ahuula. This Keaumoku was a high chief, and an minister [kuhina] of Kamehameha I, and he received may greatly valuable gifts from the conqueror of the nation. Peleiholani cared for this ahuula for a long time, and showed it to the many people who came before him to buy this cloak. The sum of money desired to offer him reached a thousand, and some ministers of Kalakaua came before him wanting the ahuula for the King. He refused all of these urging, and said to them that there was no way money could buy this ahuula while he was alive. Some men came from the alii Kalakaua bringing wine and money and put it at his side, intending to get him to drink until drunk when he would agree to giving this ahuula to the alii, however they left without.

There is but one other ahuula like it, and that is the ahuula cared for in the Kamehameha Museum [Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum]. When people ask for the actual monetary value of that ahuula, they say Peleiholani’s claim is right, but the actual truth is that the true value of this ahuula reaches $2,000. Mrs. Mary Ailau was a witness called to testify as to the truth of the claim, and according to her testimony, it was correct; and she went before this man many a time and urged him to sell to her this ahuula for $500 and her request was refused. She felt that the true value of the ahuula reached all the way to two thousand dollars. When she was asked if the ahuula was auctioned off, how much would she offer, Mrs. Ailau answered that she would bid as much as one thousand dollars, and if she had a lot of money, she would bid up to two thousand dollars for this ahuula.

In this claim by Peleiholani, it is seen the great amount of valuable antiquities he was caring for and that was destroyed in the bubonic fires. If these treasures were not burned in the fire, and they were bought off of him, he would have gained a large amount of money. This is an example to we Hawaiians, showing the great value of some antiquities which we are just selling off or discarding. Take care of them and find out their value before throwing them away.

[I am guessing not only were there priceless objects in Peleioholani’s collection, but also manuscripts, as he is well known for his writings!]

(Kuokoa, 10/18/1901, p. 6)

PAU KA AHUULA I KE AHI

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XXXIX, Helu 16, Aoao 6. Okatoba 18, 1901.