Travel Log for “Hawai‘i Week in New England”
From October 17-23, over 55 people will travel from Hawai‘i to New England for events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the 1st Company of Protestant missionaries sailing from Boston for Hawai‘i. Participants include members, trustees, staff, and congregants from Hawaiian Mission Houses and Kawaiaha‘o Church, members from other Hawai‘i-based organizations, independent travelers, and Hawaiian history buffs.
This log is your chance to travel with us! Check it daily for pictures, and updates.
We will definitely keep you updates on events planned by Hawaiian Mission Houses, with info on extra events as possible. Follow us as we travel to:
- Thurs, 10/17—New Haven, CT
- Fri, 10/18—Mystic Seaport, CT
- Sat, 10/19—Salem, CT
- Sun, 10/20—Wed, 10/23—Boston, MA
**Wednesday, October 23, 2019, is the 200th anniversary of the 1st Company’s departure. They would be allowed to anchor in Kailua-Kona on April 4, 1820.
Wed., October 23, 2019—Day 7, the 200th Anniversary of the Pioneer Company’s Departure
I began this log last night, on the 23rd, after all the activities. Turns out between needing to pack for an early flight and trying to absorb all the amazing interactions I had with people all day, I just wasn’t ready to either log activities or reflect on it yet. I’m including what I wrote last night here, then continuing below today, as I travel back to Hawai‘i.
I have to begin at the end. The last part of the last performance on this day, which is also the last day of “Hawai‘i Week in New England” and the last day of our month-long tour, was singing “Hawai‘i Aloha.” As usual, everyone stood up and held hands, surprising many of the New Englanders who really had no idea what was going on. We started singing, and these beautiful harmonies and incredible counterpoints on the “‘Oli ē! ‘Oli ‘oli ē!” and other parts were soaring. I was singing and enjoying all this, when it struck me that I was standing in Boston, singing with so very many people from Hawai‘i and we were all so very many, many miles away from Hawai‘i. My brothers were watching via livestream in their homes on the continental U.S., and so were my co-workers back in Honolulu.
I was overwhelmed by the fact that I could stand in Boston, singing a deeply precious Hawaiian song, because I have been given the opportunity to have a home and a deep, deep connection with Hawai‘i. I could do this because of all the people who came before me—those I know and those I don’t. They also have passed down the importance of ‘ohana, and there was a palpable sense of community both in the room and in connection with loved ones far away. I am grateful for the beauty that is Hawai‘i. I am grateful to be part of the fabric of life in Hawai‘i, and I hope to live up to the part I can play in kuleana and mālama for Hawai‘i. I am grateful for family, friends, and all the community of Hawai‘i. And for me, this wouldn’t have been possible without what happened on this day, 200 years ago.
This feels very emotion-driven when I re-read this, but itʻs still true. Yesterday I felt like I lived with one foot in contemporary life and one foot in 1819. (And I think I was also constantly thinking about what the commemoration of this day holds for me and us in the future… no wonder I felt so drained by the end of the day.). It was, appropriately, the day with the most overlap between people following our itinerary, groups from Kawaiaha‘o and Hana Hou tours, others from Hawai‘i, people from Boston, New England and tons of other states. We started with a historical program at Park Street Church, where we heard part of the commissioning speech that sent the missionaries off—if we heard the whole thing we’d probably still be sitting in Boston! We then walked a little less than a mile to the Long Wharf, where the Thaddeus waited for the 1st Company. We paused for a delicious lunch at the Chart House, where we also heard some readings from the missionaries’ first entries in their journal, then we baorded a ship for a cruise out to where the Thaddeus moored over night. I didn’t realize this until this trip, but after all the excitement and hoopla getting the 1st Company on board, the Thaddeus sailed about 10 miles out into the harbor, then waited overnight for better tides and to be sure they hadn’t forgotten anything. Turns out they had—on October 24, 1819, the captain took a small boat BACK into Boston to get more bread and … wait for it… spirits. I love it!! Don’t know if he looked at who he was sailing with and HE thought they were all going to need more spirits, or if the missionaries suddenly realized the scope of what they were undertaking!
At any rate, the boat was glorious. Bingham family members led us in singing hymns the missionaries actually sang as they departed, such as “When shall we meet again?” That one hit home. We also had to wait for a safety announcement before singing, not something I think Rev.s Thurston or Bingham had to deal with, I doubt. We also sang Hawaiian songs, there was hula, and Neal talked some about the history of the area and of shipping in general. For me it was a great chance to relax and have some real talks with people, with whom I had been a ship passing in the night the last few days, if you will.
The culminating Bicentennial Commemoration Event at Park Street included performances from a New England high school choir who had a Kamehameha graduate as their guest conductor—they were phenomenal! There was song and dance from Kawaiaha‘o members and Kahu Ken, there were historical talks by Peter Young and Chris Cook, and a duet that Revs. Thurston and Bingham used to perform all the time apparently. And of course, there was the final performance of “My Name is ʻŌpūkahaʻia.” It was stunning. Such an amazing way to close out the month-long tour, “Hawai‘i Week in New England,” and the day. And, as I mentioned above, singing “Hawai‘i Aloha” brought me to tears.
So. Week done. Travels completing as I type. What am I taking home with me?
- History matters. Learn it. Learn from it.
- Realize that every day, I am creating new history. What do I want to leave, be, and do?
- The last day felt like the end of summer camp, leaving all sorts of new friends. How can I keep these ties strong, whether they be with people in Hawai‘i or from New England? I’m hoping to see many of these people and many others in April 2020 in Hawai‘i for our commemoration events at home.
Done for now. Grateful to all who made this trip possible and all who came before that inspired this trip. As I fly over the blue ocean, I’m aware it’s the same water the Thaddeus sailed on, and the same water that’s washed up on Hawai‘i’s shores for thousands of years. I can’t wait to put my feet in it.
Tues., October 22, 2019—Day 6, your own adventures…
Today was an unplanned day. Folks from Hawaiian Mission Houses left this day free, so everyone could do what they wanted—including just take a break from being on the go all the time. Some people went to New Bedford, MA, a little over an hour south of
Boston and the port from which the 4th and 5th Companies left. Some people explored Boston. Some people worked.
Our group went to Lucy Goodale’s home near Hudson, MA. Asa Thurston proposed to Lucy Goodale in mid-September, 1819; she paced that night trying to decide; and she accepted him the next morning. They had the usual courtship timeline and events for missionaries of the day—Asa was ordained on September 29, he and Lucy were married on October 12, and on October 23, 1819, they departed from Boston with the 1st Company, heading to Hawai‘i. Thatʻs not a whirlwind of activities, it’s a definite hurricane.
It took us about 30 minutes to get there on a lovely fall morning. We drove up to beautiful, open, grassy spaces, brown-sided wooden buildings, and a sign welcoming the Goodale family. Spent the day looking around the house, seeing the rooms where Asa courted Lucy (for mere minutes) and where she paced at night. There was a question about when they got married, so we pulled out the copy of Partners in Change weʻd brought, and I read aloud the start to the entry on Lucy. One happy moment for me was reading a quote that my great-great-great-great-greatgrandfather, Rev. William P. Alexander, said to his wife after visiting Lucy and Asa… it was a great surprise to have my lineage come up on a day about the Goodale family. Although he did refer to Lucy as “the old lady” when she was only 37. I have some words for my GGGGGgrandaddy…
Best moment was watching the two Goodale cousins I was traveling with, and the two Goodale cousins who were hosting today, meet a Goodale cousin they didnʻt even know they had. This new cousin is a descendant of Lucy Goodale’s sister. She saw the tour of “My Name is ʻŌpūkahaʻia” in her nearby town, then heard about this Open House and came over. So fun!
Lots of time at the house, then long lunch at Wayside Inn (the “oldest continually operating Inn in America”) with new and long-lasting friends. Back to Boston and now getting ready for tomorrow, the actual 200th Anniversary of the Pioneer Company’s departure.
I was thinking that today seemed about right. The past days I’ve spent with many of the same people, attending things together, talking about plans for the next day, making sure everyone’s on the same page (or the same street, in some walking tour instances). Today, the day before the big voyage, everyone broke up and did what they needed to do. For most people, this included spending time with someone they cared about. What would you do on your last night at home, as it was for the New Englanders, or on your last night in your new land before returning home, as it was for the Hawaiians? What were their biggest thoughts this night? What are mine?
Tomorrow… October 23, 2019–Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Mission to Hawai‘i.
Mon., October 21, 2019–Day 5 Boston, MA
What a hilarious day! Every day so far has been fun, but today included two of the funniest and most informed docents Iʻve ever had (at a museum other than Hawaiian Mission Houses, of course). I think we all laughed equally as much as we learned, and we learned a LOT, from every experience today.
Todayʻs theme was “What was life like in the times leading up to October 23, 1819?” The day was filled with wonderful Boston history and tourist spots, all of which likely many visitors go to to learn about Revolutionary War history, but we approached these sites to learn about early 1800s life.
We began at Old South Meeting House. This is a puritan/Congregationalist meeting house, which also served as a general community discussion center. Church here for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon every Sunday (and I get mad when church makes me hit the Brunch Rush Hour on Sunday mornings in Honolulu!), and a place for open discussion then and any other day of the week. Benjamin Franklin grew up across the street from here and was baptized in the first building built on this spot, and poet Phyllis Wheatley attended church here (and wrote poems in her head during long sermons?). Itʻs also where the rebels who led the Boston Tea Party set out from, with some debate whether or not they received coded instructions from Samuel Adams and other leaders from the pulpit to start this rebellion.
Today, Docent Dan gave us the context of how the early 1800s connected all the way to the 1600s with the puritans coming from England. I canʻt do his hilarious and very informative 25 minute monologue justice here, but the moments that stuck out to me are:
- We had been in a period of war (French and Indian), not war, war (Revolutionary), not war, war (1812), and were again in “not war” from 1815 on;
- During the Revolutionary War, John Adams said he needed to study war, so that his sons could study math and philosophy, so that their children might study art, music, and architecture (full quote here https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/42294-the-science-of-government-it-is-my-duty-to-study)… By 1819 we are in this third generation;
- The Revolutionary War was a land war, whereas the War of 1812 was a naval war, so when it was done in 1815 there were more boats and naval knowledge for commerce and travel;
- And most importantly, there was a huge feeling of OPTIMISM leading up to 1819. New inventions happened via the Industrial Revolution, weʻre not at war, we appreciate life… itʻs in the optimistic milieu that the ABCFM kicks into high gear.
So I have this context in mind as we then walk to the Old State House. Itʻs famous for being the oldest public building in Boston (and thatʻs saying something), the site of the “Boston Massacre” in 1770 (note that in 1819 weʻre heading for the 50th anniversary of this massacre… this sense of independence and urgency of life is having a resurrgence), and for the place from which the Declaration of Independence was read from the balcony to Bostonians, on July 18, 1776. Just a taste of history here.
Ferry ride across Boston Harbor, then lunch. On to…
The USS Constitution Museum. Yay. Wow. What a thrill, to go to a museum about a big naval ship. Whoppee. So excited. It was great! This docent (and Iʻm so sorry I canʻt remember his name) may not have been as funny as Dan, but he was incredibly knowledgable and full of anecdotes and hands on experiences with implements used to make the Constitution. And my favorite thing—he could use “Huzzah!” in both story telling and real life with perfect ease.
Back up a second… the USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned naval warship still afloat. She first set sail on October 21, 1797—222 years ago today! Sing with me… HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OLD IRONSIDE! She got the nickname “Old Ironside” during a battle, when a sailor stuck his head over the side and saw a cannonball bounce off its incredibly hardwood hull made of Live Oak and White Oak lumbar. The sailor said, “Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!” (truly, it was just strong wood) leading to her nickname—and to my love of our docentʻs “huzzah!”
The Constitution had a significant role in the War of 1812 (remember, it was a naval battle), and has been kept in active warship preparation ever since. It sailed around the world from 1844-1846, and Paul Dahlquist, a Judd descendant, said his Judd predecessor served as translator for the ship when it stopped in Hawai‘i! Such a great connection.
After the USS Constitution Museum, we got to go on the USS Constitution itself. Usually closed on Mondays, they opened for us and we spent almost 2 hours laughing and learning with Docent and Naval Midshipman Jordan, as well as walking on 222 year old wood still part of the boat. Look up for more on: holystoning, where “scuttlebutt” comes from, and the history of Captain Bainbridge (2nd captain of the Constitution, helped institute Port of Call and eating fruit to put off scurvy).
Overall, an amazing day of information and fun. And all of it has helped me put the Bicentennial Commemoration of October 23, 1819, into a larger context—ships were hitting a heyday, there was a sense of duty to the world, and even though life was hard, everyone was very innovative about making each nook and cranny of a boat or meeting house, or every potential action, as useful and usable as possible. Iʻm imagining the people sailing on the Thaddeus in this context…
Last take aways from today:
What Iʻve learned about life in leading up to 1819, especially in New England…
- Some things take a long time—the Constitution was involved in a 3-day battle with just her against 5 British ships. Everything took so long because moving the boat, moving the sails, finding new ways to attack all took a long time.
- Some things happen very quickly—like the actions before and during the Boston Massacre.
- Theyʻll use and reuse an old building for anything—Old South Meeting House, established as a church and community center, has had the pews removed several times during its history and was used at different points for officers to train on horses and as a post office.
- One of the differences between a sailor and a marine… a sailor had to pay for his own uniform, while a marine was given an “eye-catching uniform” (haha).
- “Old tech” works pretty well… we saw a stick that when you back up 6 paces and hold it in front of a huge log will tell you how many ship planks you can get, and the “tithing stick” was used by ushers to keep people awake in church at Old South Meeting House—one end has a feather to tickle women and children awake, the other a wooden ball to smack men on the head.
- Optimism… itʻs both potent and powerful.
What Iʻve learned about contemporary life, especially in New England…
- They are very into “continuously running/still being used” as a label… the Old South Meeting Hall has the “Oldest tower bell ringing continuously since installation,” the USS Constitution is the “Oldest commissioned naval warship still afloat,” and the Inn we ate at in Essex, CT, was the “Oldest continually serving inn in the United States”
- The New England clam chowder at Legal Seafood is INCREDIBLE.
Tomorrow… sleeping in (huzzah!), then going to Lucy (Goodale) Thurstonʻs home with two Thurston sisters
From Elizabeth Lentz-Hill, traveling today to New England…
My day was an early morning Lyft to the airport, sleeping and watching movies on the plane, about 10 minutes of turbulence, long layover in LAX and I’ll end in New England. And still, I feel exhausted, hungry, and already aware of things I forgot at home. Could I have made it, if my 10 minutes of air turbulence was 6 months of rocking waves on good days and storms and heaves on bad ones? And in LAX I saw a child who’s “carry on” bag was a backpack with wheels to pull it, AND a scooter/skateboard that folds out of the bag, so the child was having a blast scooting through the airport. The Chamberlains brought their five children with them in 1819… I can’t help but think that at some point in the 6-month journey Mama or Papa Chamberlain would have LOVED to have wide open hallways where their children could scoot around during a break from travel, and give their parents a break, too!
Thurs., October 17, 2019 Day 1- New Haven, CT
From the people in Connecticut…
And we’re off! Hawai‘i Week in New England officially began today. 8 folks gathered in New Haven, where Yale Archivist Judy Schiff showed the group the university’s Hawai‘i collection. Both Yale University and University of California-Berkeley have extensive collections that match and enhance our own at Hawaiian Mission Houses. Particular highlights of today were seeing Bingham family writings as well as papers from ʻŌpūkahaʻia himself. In the afternoon, the group toured New Haven’s Grove Street Cemetery and the New Haven Museum—a fun overlap to be at this museum about 2 weeks after the Hawaiian Mission Houses’ tour of “My Name is ʻŌpūkahaʻia” performed here. People were still talking about the performance and what they learned new or saw in a new light thru it. Back to today… the museum docent introduced everyone to their maritime exhibit, placing New Haven on the map. The 2nd Company of ABCFM missionaries left from here in 1822, and folks in New Haven are planning to mark that date. Listen up Chamberlains, Bishops, and other 2nd Company families—start planning your trip to New Haven for this! Grateful today for the safe travels of everyone, and for a day that started off cold and warmed up as it went along.
From Elizabeth Lentz-Hill, preparing to travel to New England…
Today was my last day of work before leaving tomorrow to head to Boston. As I tried desperately to send that last email, be sure to remember everything everyone wanted me to bring to them, bring co-workers at home up to speed about ongoing projects, and anticipate everything I could possibly need in the next 7 days, I kept coming back to… what was this POSSIBLY like in 1819??? How did this group of 20-something year olds wrap up any and all of their lives’ work—not just add an outgoing email response of, “Out of the office, will reply ASAP” but actually completing tasks that they’d have no shot of completing if not done TODAY, much less trying to anticipate everything they could need to do their work in Hawai‘i. My day today seemed jam-packed, with every second accounted for with some activity prepping me for travel. Did time feel this crammed for the Hawaiian men who were returning home for the first time in years? Or did each minute drag on and seem to last forever, as if their departure date just couldn’t come soon enough? Anticipation and preparation… part of every traveler’s life. In some ways I bet this is all similar to 200 years ago… and in others, not at all
Wed., October 16, 2019—Travel Begins
The travelers from Hawai‘i will be gathering in New England over the next few days. Several travelers, including Barb and Paul Morgan and Mary Ann Lentz have already been on the continent, participating in parts of the month-long tour of “My Name is ʻŌpūkahaʻia” that has criss-crossed Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington, D.C. Hawaiian Mission Houses Executive Director Neal V. Hitch and Cultural Programs Coordinator Pō‘ai Lincoln have toured with actor Moses Goods, Board of Trustees President Peter Young, Trustee Christopher Cook, and UH professor Dr. Noelani Arista, performing “My Name is ʻŌpūkahaʻia” and leading scholarly forums on the intersection of cultures and how language is used to convey culture.
“Hawai‘i Week in New England” overlaps in with this month-long tour starting on Friday, in Mystic, CT, where Goods will perform ʻŌpūkahaʻia’s story next to the “Charles Morgan.” This is the last known existing wooden whaling ship, similar to one that could have brought ʻŌpūkahaʻia to Connecticut.
Maluhia hele to our travelers—see you in New England!
Tomorrow: Adventures in New Haven, CT, including the Yale University collection of Hawaiian Archives.