St. Andrew’s, the early days, 1909.



A few weeks ago the old St. Andrew’s Pro-Cathedral was sold to a Chinese, torn down, and the old lumber used in the erection of quarters for Orientals. It was built in 1866, on land which Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma had given to the Anglican Church in April 1863. The adjoining building of St. Andrew’s Priory was erected in 1867.

Services were held in Hawaiian at 9:30 a. m. and 4:00 p. m. on Sunday and in English at 11:00 a. m. and 7:30 p. m.

Queen Emma was a regular attendant and Kalakaua acted as interpreter of the sermon. He was sometimes relieved by Hiram, the husband of Poomaikelani, who was at that time a sort of steward to Queen Emma. Among the regular attendants were Theo. H. Davies, Henry May, Daniel Smith, Thomas Brown (the father of the late Mrs. Alex. McKintosh), Judge Robertson, the McKibben family, Capt. Luce, T. R. Walker and Tom May. The last three were in the Choir.

In 1869, Alex. Mackintosh, not then ordained, and the late A. L. T. Atkinson came to Honolulu, and Mr. Atkinson acted as organist for many years. When Bishop Staley left in 1870, Mr. Mackintosh came from Lahaina and took charge of the native congregation, which consisted largely of the friends and followers of Queen Emma.

When Kalakaua was elected in 1874, and some of the Queen Emma faction were in jail, word was sent to Nahaolelua that an attempt was to be made on the life of the Queen on a certain night at 12 o’clock. She said that she did not believe it and tried to quiet her friends, but they insisted that the Queen should leave her house on the corner of Beretania and Nuuanu and go to St. Andrew’s Priory and stay with Sister Bertha for the night. Word was sent to Mr. Wodehouse, the British Commissioner, who went to the King and told him of the report. Queen Emma went to the Priory and passed the night in the parlor still standing just inside the gate, and close to the Pro-Cathedral. Under the Pro-Cathedral a number of men hid so as to be ready in case of need. The clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Dunn, in order to appear loyal and a avert suspicion, had the Cathedral grounds decorated with lanterns. The occasion was the return of Kalakaua from a tour of the island, and there was a procession that night in his honor.

The hour when it was said the attempt was to be made was at midnight. While Sister Bertha and a native lady-in-waiting, now living, kept watch, the Queen slept. She awoke about 2 p. m. and asked the time. When she was told that it was 2 o’clock, she said quietly, “Thank God.”

This is not the only time that a Queen sought refuge in the Priory, but that is another story.

Inside the Priory gate a small building still stands. It was attached to the Pro-Cathedral and originally opened into it. Here the Sisters and girls of St. Andrew’s Priory sat during the services, not seen by the congregation but themselves able to see the clergyman and choir. It has been used for seven years as an office for Miss Taggart, treasurer of the Priory.

Services were held in the Pro-Cathedral until Christmas, 1886, when the choir of the Cathedral was ready for occupancy, and the old building was given over for general parochial use, including the Sunday School.

The fald-stool, the lectern, font and altar-cross now in the Cathedral were all used in the old building until they were moved into the new stone structure in 1886. So were the altar cloths which Queen Emma brought from England. These are now used in the side Chapel of the Cathedral.

A portion of the Pro-Cathedral was used for school purposes from time to time. Here a clergyman had a school for white boys. Here St. Peter’s Chinese school was started.

When Bishop Willis left, what remained of Iolani school was gathered together by Bishop Nichols in April, 1902, and put under the charge of the Rev. Frank Fitz, until the new Bishop should come, and it was given a place in the Pro-Cathedral, where it remained until Bishop Restarick purchased the old Armstrong house in 1905.

The old building had many associations for the Churchmen of Honolulu. Some men of family tell how they used, when small, to watch the rats run across the timbers of the roof, a diversion that formed a relief from the tediousness of the sermon. Here were married many who are now in middle life and older. From it many were taken to their last resting place. But like other things which have had their day, it is gone. Its site has already been planted to grass, and the rising generation will soon forget that the old building stood there for forty-three years, serving varied purposes in the life of the Church. It was one of the articles in the agreement accepting the gift of the Davies Memorial Parish House that the old Pro-Cathedral was to go, and it has gone.

(Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 9/18/1909, p. 3)


The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Volume L, Number 8459, Page 3. September 18, 1909.