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The man who built San Diego behind the scenes with his grandchildren.

John D. Spreckels at home in Coronado with a few of his beloved grandchildren from daughters Grace and Lillie and son Jack. Left to right: Adolph Bernard II (1906–1974), Grace Alexandria (1907–1977), John Diedrich III (1910–1973), Harriet (1911–1997), and Marie (1903–2001). The swing hooks still remain in the ceiling today at the Glorietta Bay Inn, which is what the Spreckels mansion became. 
(Courtesy photo / Permission granted from the Terrence and Virginia Wilson Private Family Collection)
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An Archival Trip to Hawaii Posted on November 20, 2013 by Archivist Barbara Austen


The Connecticut-Hawaii connection is still going strong. My post about Cooke's letters home led to correspondence with a descendant of Cooke, which led to correspondence with scholars of Hawaiian history and educators in both Connecticut and Hawaii. The archivist at the Kamehameha Schools, Stacy Naipo, and her assistant Candace W. Lee , have offered to have their library assistants, their partners at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and college interns transcribe Amos' letters for us (and them). This will be a great help since some of Cooke's letters contain sentences and phrases in Hawaiian, which I would never understand. I have also made contact with a descendant of Henry Obookiah's family, the person who brought Henry back to Hawaii for reburial, and a scholar in California, Sandee Bonura, who is writing about education in Hawaii and is interested in Amos Cooke. The circle widens

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The Chief’s Childrens' School, renamed the Royal School in 1846 was one of the biggest cooperative efforts between American missionaries and the royal Hawaiian leadership. IT WENT HORRIBLY WRONG!


The Cookes had arrived in Honolulu in 1837 with the largest assemblage ever sent by the ABCFM. The company was primarily composed of married teaching teams and was charged by the American Board with Christianizing the nation through trained educators.


Amos Cooke was offered the momentous responsibility of teaching and living with the children of Hawaii's highest chiefs.

He left behind twelve leather-bound volumes of intensely private diaries full of self-admonition, frustration, and confessions that spanned his decade in the school. Amos enjoyed keeping detailed records of living with the royal "scholars," as evidenced by thousands of meticulous pages that are now nearly two centuries old.  


One incident among many occurred where royal children were punished above and beyond what a jailed criminal would have received during this time. Moses, the lineal descendant of Kamehameha I was especially treated harsh by Mr. Cooke throughout the years. One episode involved the opening of a blind to peer out into the yard by young Moses, who had been sent to his room for confinement. He was given "15 stripes on the back with a whip[i]" for that small peek outside the window. The following Saturday morning, eleven-year-old Prince Alexander and his brother, fifteen-year-old Prince Lot, were accused of withholding the "whole truth" on some incidental matter. Amos recorded that he used his "rawhide whip" to administer an astounding fifteen "stripes" on future King Kamehameha IV and twenty stripes on the future King Kamehameha V.

The Cookes ultimately educated sixteen royal children, five of whom became the last rulers of the Hawaiian Kingdom from 1855 to 1903, namely: Alexander Liholiho, Lot Kamehameha, William Lunalilo, David Kalakaua, and Lydia Liliuokalani. King Kalakaua and his sister Liliuokalani would be the last of the ruling monarchs.


I have just finished editing 15 years of his diaries. MY OH MY! I now wonder what I should do with this "hot mess." These royal children were abused. No doubt about it. 

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