The Keko'olani Family of Hamakua, Hawaii

By Dean Pua Keko'olani

 

Genealogy (Mo’o Kū’auhau)

 

Na Makuakane (Father)

Na Makuahine (Mother)

Na Keiki (Child)

 

 

 

 

 

Husband's Pedigree (Charles Peleioholani Keko'olani)

 

1

Gov. George Cox (Kahekili Keeaumoku III "Opio")

Ikanaka (Ali'i-o-Hilo)

Kahahana (w)

2

Kalaniulumoku II (Maui High Chief)

Kahahana (Kapalikaukini)

Noah Peleioholani (Ulunoa-a-Peleioholani) (born 1823)

3

Noah Peleioholani

Piikeakaluaonalani (Kalua-o-Piikea)

Solomon Lehuanui Kalaniomaiheuila Peleioholani (born 1844)

4

Solomon L. K. Peleioholani

Aina (Inakuaina Keomalu)

Charles Peleioholani Keko'olani (born 1875)

 

 

 

 

 

Wife's Pedigree (Lillian Kalaniahiahi Kaeo)

 

1

Isaac Davis

Nakai

Sarah Kaniaulono Davis

2

Capt. Alexander Adams

Sarah Kaniaulono Davis

Isaac Keaumoku Adams

3

Isaac Keaumoku Adams

Keliiopunui Kalanikaukeha Kaahukoo

Sarah Kaniaulono Adams

4

Samuel Kaeo (Kanakaole)

Sarah Kaniaulono Adams

Lillian Kalaniahiahi Kaeo (Kanakaole)

 

 

 

 

 

Posterity (Children and Male Grandchildren)

5

Charles Peleioholani Keko'olani

Lillian Kalaniahiahi Kaeo (Kanakaole)

Charles Peleioholani Keko'olani, Jr.

 

 

 

Sarah Kaniaulono Keko'olani

 

 

 

Nawai Keko'olani, Sr.

 

 

 

Lillian Kalanikiekie Keko'olani

 

 

 

Pearl Kauwanakililani Keko'olani

 

 

 

George Hoolulu Keko'olani, Sr.

 

 

 

Aina Keko'olani

 

 

 

Bertha Kahaumanu Keko'olani

 

 

 

Lucy Kuuleialoha Keko'olani (Kaeo) *

 

 

 

* (Lucy adopted by Lillian's brother William)

 

 

 

 

6

Nawai Keko'olani, Sr.

Emily Kaelehiwa Hussey

Norman Nawai Keko'olani

 

 

 

Nawai Keko'olani, Jr.

 

 

 

Katherine Olivian Kahanohano Keko'olani

 

 

 

Amy Charlotte Kaelehiwa Keko'olani

 

 

 

Charles Peleioholani Keko'olani (III)

 

 

 

Pearl Piilani Keko'olani

 

 

 

Myra Naomi Kealoha ("Kolani") Keko'olani

 

 

 

Vivian Shirley Keaolani Keko'olani

 

 

 

Winifred Napualeialohaakuku Keko'olani

 

 

 

Henry Paakiki Keko'olani

 

 

 

 

6

George Hoolulu Keko'olani, Sr.

Alice Gonzales

George Hoolulu Keko'olani, Jr.

 

 

 

Diane Keko'olani

       
       
       
       
       

Keko'olani: Branch of the Peleioholani family

  In 1875, a male child named Keko’olani was born on the Big Island of Hawai’i. He is the beginning of the Keko'olani family line. His mother was a Hawaiian woman of unclear pedigree named Aina. His father was an ali’i named Solomon Lehuanui Kalaniomaiheuila Peleioholani, one of the last surviving high chiefs in Hawaii. Peleioholani was the the childhood companion of Prince Albert (son of King Kamheameha IV), a decorated British war hero, and a respected expert in Hawaiian culture, genealogy and antiquities. After living through the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarch Queen Liliuokalani, he refused to exercise his right to vote as an American citizen in the new Hawaiian Republic and Territory. He was always staunchly Pro-British and the overthrow made him a confirmed anti-American.

The boy born to the ali'i Solomon L.K. Peleioholani by Aina would be his only son. Throughout his life, the name this son used would change several times. These different variations on his name appear in church and government records and has caused confusion among people researching our genealogy. At birth, he was given only a single Hawaiian name Ke-ko’o-lani by his father Solomon L.K. Peleioholani, following an old-fashioned custom that was still being practiced by chiefly families in the 1800's. He was nicknamed “Koolani” for short by friends.  Like most Hawaiians living in the late 1800's, he was also given an additional Western name, Charles at his christening while still an infant. Because it was known he was the son of Peleioholani, by early adulthood he was known in English speaking circumstances as Charles Peleioholani.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

Signature of 19 year-old Charles Peleioholani (Keko'olani) from the 1897 Anti-Annexation Petitions (Hamakua District Petitions)

 
 

 

Whether out of disappointment with his nearly non-existent relation to his father, or for other reasons, Charles eventually chose to drop Peleioholani as his surname and use instead his original Hawaiian birthname Kekoolani. We are sure there is probably a sad and complicated story behind this decision, but what it was we will never know. All that is certain is that Charles himself did acknowledge that Solomon Peleioholani was his father, but he never talked about him. It could not have been a happy aspect of life.

But he did preserve the family name of his father as a middle name and by the time of his marriage to Lillian Kaeo Kanakaole (daughter of Sam Kaeo Kanakaole) in December of 1897, he was officially Charles Peleioholani Kekoolani. Since then, he has had three descendants who have carried his name: his son Charles Peleioholani Kekoolani, Jr. (died young), his grandson Charles Peleioholani Kekoolani (III) of Mililani, O’ahu (the son of Nawai Kekoolani, Sr.) and his great grandson Charles Peleioholani Kekoolani (IV) of Hilliard, Ohio (son of Henry P. Kekoolani, Sr.).

 

The Life & Times of the High Chief Solomon Lehuanui Kalaniomaiheuila Peleioholani

 

It is good to know more about the man who sired the Keko'olani family line, because he is important not only to our ohana but to Hawaiian history in general as well. Solomon L.K. Peleioholani was born on the Big Island, being descended from the high chiefs and kings of that island through his paternal grandmother Kahahana .

Following custom, the boy Solomon was sent to be raised by hanai parents of chiefly descent in Paauilo, Hamakua, Hawaii. As an adult, he would frequently visit and spend time in nearby Hilo, one of his family's hereditary chiefly domains. But he lived most his adult life in the city of Honolulu on O'ahu. Solomon had an impeccable chiefly and royal pedigree, being a direct lineal descendant of all the royal houses of each major island. Besides being a direct lineal descendant of all the last independent ruling kings, he was also descended from what Hawaiian scholar Mary Pukui called the “chiefs of Pōkano”, chiefs of unblemished bloodline from remote times. As such, young Solomon was one of the few Hawaiian children of high enough rank to be a companion to young Price Albert, son of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. Solomon was also related to the young heir to the throne through their shared royal bloodlines.

Solomon was raised by his grandmother in the old traditions of the chiefs. Therefore, he was one of the last high chiefs made familiar with the oral genealogical chants and other esoteric knowledge once reserved for chiefs and priests. Many of these were written down and preserved by Solomon. Among the traditions he preserved is the very ancient knowledge that the original Hawaiian people are from the North (welau lani), not the South (he says those people were later arrivals). He was taught that Hawaiians are descended from the man Kalonakikoke and his wife Hoomeapule who came from Alaska. They were joined later by Nu'u and his wife and four sons who arrived after a great flood in North America on the canoe called Ka-waa-halau-alii-o-ka-moku (great canoe of the continent).  The depth and broadness of this kind of ancient nearly forgotten knowledge is demonstrated in such works as his 1903 commentary entitled The Ancient History of Hookumu-ka-lani Hookumu-ka-honua (click to see), now housed in the Bishop Museum Archives.

Solomon's vast genealogical knowledge made him one of Hawaii's premier genealogists, he wrote several genealogies specializing in the lineages of the chiefs and kings of Hawaii. James Bartles, former director of Iolani Palace and Washington Place (Liliuokalani's residence) once said, "Every important chiefly family in Hawaii is indebted to some degree to Solomon Peleioholani for the preservation of their correct family genealogy". Among his genealogical masterworks are The Genealogy of the Robinson Family and ancient chants and legends of Hawaii (Edited by J.M. Poepoe, Honolulu Bulletin Company, 1902, Hawaii State Achives) and The Complete Ancestry of John Liwai Ena (click to see), first printed in the Aloha Aina newspaper and then later translated in Hawaiian Genealogies Volume II by Edith McKinzie and Ishmael Stagner.

Until the sudden and tragic death of Prince Albert, Solomon lived at court with the prince and at the residence of his uncle Mataio Kekuanaoa, father of Pauahi (Bernice Bishop). Like many ali'i, Solomon Peleioholani and his family had strong ties to British social circles in Hawaii. It is sad that the strong bond between the Hawaiians and British is often not remembered. We shouldn't forget, for instance, that Prince Albert's godmother was Queen Victoria. Like many Hawaiians from royal families, Solomon traveled and lived abroad, eventually making his way to Australia, then England. He entered the service of British Army as an officer. After fighting in the Boer's Wars in South Africa, he returned a decorated war hero to Hawaii around the year 1874.

The story of his chiefly upbringing and his time abroad is covered in a fascinating front page article appearing in 1902 in the English language newspaper The Pacific Commercial Advertiser (click to see).

 

 
 

Solomon Lehuanui Kalaniomaiheuila Peleioholani

Picture here in 1903 in a holiday pageant costume. His own real feather cape, helmet, spear and hair necklace inherited from his great grandfather Keeaumoku were all destroyed  in the great fire of 1900 at Honolulu Harbor while awaiting shipment in a warehouse to an exhibition in Paris. This incident is an article in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, January 22, 1092 (above).

 
Beginning of the Keko'olani Family
 

Shortly after his return to the Hawaiian islands, Peleioholani made his way back to his boyhood home of Paauilo for a visit. There he either discovered or returned to the arms of the woman Aina, who lived there. Charles P. Keko'olani was most likely during that visit and was born in 1875.

Although she was the mother of his only son, Aina (Inakuaina Keomalu) was not destined to become Solomon's wife. These were the final years of the Hawaiian monarchy system, and the old high chiefs, like the modern royals, were bound by it's many new western-style rules. During the historic period in which Solomon lived (1844-1916), the customary chiefly prerogative of enjoying more than one wife (or husband in the case of a high chiefess) was replaced by the more respectable and "civilized" practice of Christian monogamy.

Although his own father, the great ali’i Ulunoa-a-Peleioholani (Noah Peleioholani), an advisor and personal attendant to King Kamahemaha IV, had three official wives, Solomon himself could now only have one. The woman he chose must have impeccable genealogical credentials and chiefly reknown. Unfortunately, that woman was not Aina, the mother of Charles P. Keko'olani. Rather, it was Elizabeth Kekumano. She was a distinguished ali’i woman whose great chiefly family hailed from Kohala. She was the great granddaughter of Alapai, former King of Hawaii Island. With Elizabeth, Solomon had a daughter named Annie Kahalelehua Peleioholani, born 12 years after Charles. She was his half-sister.

The Hawaiian scholar Mary Pukui recorded the wives (official and “common law”) of Solomon Peleioholani, and his children, in her collection of genealogies from the island of Lanai entitled, “Fragments of Genealogy”.

 

 
 

Table No.1  Wives and Children of Solomon L.K. Peleioholani  from Mary Pukui’s Fragments of Genealogy

 
 

 

Because Solomon and his father were both widely referred to as simply “Peleioholani”, there has been some confusion regarding wives and children. For instance, in the table above, Mary Pukui incorrectly relates that Pakele (Melissa Pakele) was a wife of S.L. Peleioholani. She was in fact a not a wife of Solomon, but a wife of his father. Kekulu Peleioholani is the half-sister of Solomon Peleioholani, not his daughter.

Today, we know that Solomon’s wives and children are, in order of birth:

Male

Female

Offspring.

Year

S.L. Peleioholani

Malie Kalauao Honuakaha

Hattie Kahahana Peleioholani

1874

S.L. Peleioholani

Aina (Oinaku Aina)

Charles Keko'olani Peleioholani

1875

S.L. Peleioholani

Elizabeth Kekumano

Kaenaokalani Peleioholani

1882

S.L. Peleioholani

Elizabeth Kekumano

Annie Kahalelehua Peleioholani

1886

Table No.2  Wives and Children of Solomon L.K. Peleioholani from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints International Genealogical Index

 

 

Hattie Kahahana Peleioholani

  Missing from Mary Pukui’s genealogy is a common-law wife named Malie Kalauao Honuakaha, who was from Maui and who gave Solomon Peleioholani a daughter named Hattie Kahahana Peleioholani. Like all of Solomon’s children, Hattie was given her Hawaiian name by her father. Her middle name Kahahana, comes from his own beloved grandmother, the ali’i wahine Kahahana (also known as “Kapalikaukini”), daughter of Governor George Cox the high chief Keeaumoku III (Opio) and I-kanaka, hereditary Ali’i of Hilo.

 

 

Annie Kahalelehua Kaonohiulaokalani Peleioholani Notley Hall

 
 

Born in 1886, Annie Peleioholani was Solomon’s last child. A younger sister named Kaenaokalani had been born in 1882 to Kekumano and Solomon Peleioholani, but the girl died in early childhood.

Annie is usually remembered in history by her married name, Annie Notley Hall. Most people remembered she was the daughter of a high chief. Even up to the 1950’s, her father was still being referred to in newspaper articles as “His Highness the late Solomon L.K. Peleioholani”.

Annie became heir to her father’s chiefly legacy. During her lifetime, she was considered one of the highest ranking Chiefesses in the Hawaiian monarchial system. She was a lady of great refinement and a frequent figure at court during the reign of Queen Liliuokalani. Considered one of the most gracious and respected socialites to have ever graced Honolulu, she frequently eclipses her own father in later contemporary histories. For instance, when a researcher working in the Bishop Museum Archives was asked about Solomon Peleioholani, he remarked, “Oh yes, he was the father of Annie Notley Hall”.

At the time of her father's death in March 1916, Annie was married to John K. Notley. It was she who signed Solomon Peleioholani's death certificate and who buried him at Pueu Cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii. She later remarried to Arthur Richard Hall of Hilo, the son of George South Hall and Emma Smith Rickard. From Arthur Hall, Annie had a son, Arthur Lehuanui Kawohilanikapu Hall. From him descends the distinguished and important Hall family of Hilo, Hawaii. They are the living chiefly descendants and the heirs of the high chief legacy and honors of the ali'i Solomon L.K. Peleioholani through his named successor his daughter, their great-grandmother, the great and gracious High Chiefess Kahalelehua.

 

 

Charles Peleioholani Keko'olani

 
 

In the 1970’s, David Kalani, Sr., the son of Kekulu Peleioholani (Solomon’s half sister), told Alberta “Bert” Leionaona Nalimu Harris (a granddaughter of Keko'olani), that his uncle Solomon Peleioholani acknowledged all his wives and their children, including Charles Keko'olani. That may be true, but as of June 2005 we have yet to find anything in Solomon’s own writing which mentions his only son, Charles Keko'olani. Our search will continue.

It is clear that Charles Peleioholani Keko'olani barely knew his father and was raised entirely by his mother. He grew up happily with Aina and her relatives on the Big Island’s pleasant Hamakua Coast. The backdrop of his life was the quiet towns of Pauilo and Honokaa and, later, the new Hawaiian homestead of Kalopa.

Although his mother had no visible means of support, Aina resided in what her granddaughter and namesake Aina Keko'olani Keawe described as a “mansion”. It therefore appears that Solomon Peleioholani must have been partly supporting Aina and his son from a distance. The sparsely furnished home had previously been a plantation owner’s residence. Aina Keko'olani (her granddaughter) remembers that its large size seemed at odds with grandma Aina’s few humble possessions. She also remembers visits from extravagant men driving Ford Model-T’s when automobiles were still almost unknown on the Big Island. The strange juxtaposition of poor and rich seemed to reflect the ambiguous status of Aina in the life of her son’s father.

Aina remarried and had another male child with a different man named Paakaula. This child was called Keomalu, which was Aina's family name. The son would later be known as Joseph Keomalu. The Keomalu and Keko'olani families together formed a closed knit kin group, tied together through their common mother Aina..

Aina eventually settled down and spent the rest of her life with her third and final husband, a kind and gentle man named Kaai Palea. He was a fisherman, who spoke only Hawaiian. Kaai was a loving man, who functioned as a father figure for the children and grandchildren of Aina, including our own grandfather Nawai Keko'olani. These grandchildren would never really know much about their true biological grandfather Solomon Peleioholani other than his name, which they spelled Paleiholani (a common alternate spelling of the name).

In his “Personal History”, Nawai Keko'olani Sr. mentions grandparents with names that do not match any known blood relations or even Kaai Palea. It is possible that one or more other married couples may have served as substitute parents for Aina’s sons Keko'olani and Keomalu, in a network of informal “hanai” relations that would have been commonplace at the time. It is certain that Charles Keko'olani never spoke of his true father Solomon Peleioholani.

As his daughter, Aina Keko'olani put it, “When I was a little girl, you didn’t talk about Peleioholani. It was disrespectful. So I never really understood what had happened. Later on, when I was an adult, I needed to know more, so I went and investigated and came to understand what had happened between Peleioholani and my grandmother.”

By 1956, Aina Keko'olani Keawe had managed to collect enough documentary information to later satisfy Mormon church officials that Aina had been a wife to Solomon Peleioholani. We are sure she had established this in by 1956 because she named her newborn son Lehi Peleioholani Keawe that year. In 1973, she arranged for the Mormon ritual of eternal celestial marriage of Solomon Peleioholani to Aina, in a temple ceremony in California.

 

 

Charles and Lillian Keko'olani

 
 

Charles Keko'olani went on to marry Lillian Kalaniahiahi Kaeo, the daughter of Samuel Kaeo and Sarah Kaniaulono Adams. Sarah was the great granddaughter of the Hawaiian chiefess Nakai and Isaac Davis, the Englishman who helped Kamehameha I conquer the islands and become king. She was also the granddaughter of Captain Alexander Adams, who served Kamehameha I as a leader of his Royal Navy and who is also often credited with designing the Hawaiian flag.

Lillian Kaeo’s  father Samuel had been born Samuel Kaeo Kanakaole of the Kanakaole family. But his name became shortened to Sam Kaeo. In some records, therefore, Lillian is referred to as Lillian Kaeo Kanakaole, but she is usually referred to as Lillian Kaeo. Nonetheless, we are of the Kanakaole family, descended from Kanakaole, the son of Mukoi. This connects us to the family of Mary Pukui, the Hawaiian scholar, whose mother was Mary Kanakaole from the Big Island.

 

 
 

The Kalopa Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints (Mormon) photographed in 1923 . The congregation was composed mainly of Keko'olani and Keomalu families.

 

 
  Lillian’s father Samuel Kaeo was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) during its formative years in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Lillian’s L.D.S. upbringing set the tone for the tightly knit and loving Mormon family she would raise with her husband Charles Keko'olani.

Charles Keko'olani became a member of the L.D.S. church. He went on to become a branch leader and was active in church activities all his life. Together he and Lillian raised a large happy family in a home built on the modest earnings of Charles Keko'olani, who worked as a luna or overseer of local work crews. Charles Keko'olani would ride on the family horse, “Daisy”, supervising crews of Filipino and Japanese laborers who had been recently imported to Hawaii to work on the plantations.

Charles and Lillian had 10 children, all born near the turn of the century. Seven lived to adulthood. From these come the extended Keko'olani family, now in its 5th generation and looking forward the 6th and 7th.

 

 

Nawai & Emily Keko'olani

 
 

Nawai Keko'olani is one of the sons of the Charles and Lillian Keko'olani. He married Emily Hussey of Waipio Valley. She is the great granddaughter of Alexander Pollard Hussey, who is the progenitor of the two Hussey clans on the Big Island, the first in Waipio Valley and the second in Kohala.

Through Emily Hussey, the Keko'olani family has inherited two small but important parcels of land in Waipio Valley. These are an inheritance from her great grandfather the chief Opunui. One parcel contains an ancient taro lo’i and the other a former house lot with a small family cemetery. Among the dead who rest at that cemetery are George Alika Hussey, Sr. and George Alika Hussey, Jr., Emily Hussey’s grandfather and father. Most of this land (6/7ths) has been placed in the custodial care of the Keko'olani Family Trust, created in 2003 to protect the aina in perpetuity for all of the descendants of Nawai Keko'olani and Emily Hussey.

Nawai was a well-known school teacher. He was an excellent musician and songwriter. He was also a professional calligrapher and made extra money for the family by penning graduation certificates for the local high schools. Beautiful penmanship continued to be a Keko'olani trait for the next generations.

 

 
 

Tutu Nawai Keko'olani hula dancing at informal gathering of friends (Honolulu 1955) from church. Tutu Emily is sitting (picture center) playing ukulele and singing.

 

 
 

Nawai and Emily lived with their family in Kalopa until their house burned down in 1947. An accidental kitchen fire started the blaze. After the fire, Nawai sold his grandmother Lillian’s sugar cane field land in Kalopa and the family used the money to relocate to a new home in Honolulu, where Nawai pursued a career in education.

In 1955, Nawai Keko'olani became the first delegate from Hawaii to the NEA (National Education Association) Convention in Washington, D.C. Several grandchildren followed in his footsteps and became teachers themselves.

His surviving children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of gathered in 2005 at Hilo, Hawaii for a family reunion dedicated to the memory of Nawai and Emily Keko'olani.

 

 
   

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