«Jean Greenwell October 22, 1868. Awful tidings from Kona. The false prophet, Kaona, has killed the sheriff.... Entry from the Reverend Lorenzo ...»
Attorney Albert Francis Judd and Colonel David Kalakaua were appointed for the defense of the prisoners. At the trial, however, Kaona chose to speak for and to defend himself.47 He must have been an eloquent speaker. One newspaper correspondent said Kaona, conducting his own defense, made a "most wonderful speech, mild, vehement and sarcastic."48 Kaona claimed the attorney general was "lalau, lalau loa" (very mistaken) in what he said. He also referred to 72 himself as Kaona the Renowned. All this must have had some effect, because he was only charged with the murder of the constable, Kamai, and found guilty of manslaughter in the second degree. He was sentenced to ten years at hard labor.49 A great many other Kaonaites were charged with riot.50 These individuals wrote a letter of apology to the Attorney General and were pardoned. The longest sentence was given to Kahikoku, who was charged with the murder of Sheriff Neville. He was found guilty of manslaughter in the first degree and sentenced to 16 years hard labor.51 The trials took place in May of 1869. The whole episode cost the government $3,673.9c).52 When Kalakaua became King in February 1874, one of his first acts was to give a Royal Pardon to Kaona in March of that year.53 Kaona was obviously a man with a great deal of charisma.
The Kaonaites were still making news in 1870. A news editorial that year expressed fear that they were still banded together and might cause trouble.54 The group evidently did stay together because Kaona returned to Kona after his Royal Pardon and was soon writing letters to the Minister of the Interior inquiring after various pieces of land where his large family and all the children could live "without temptations."55 No evidence has been found that he was able to lease or buy any land. The population of the Kainaliu beach area never regained its former numbers, and in time the main road near the beach running from Kailua south stopped at Keauhou and turned inland. Kainaliu makai (by the ocean) was bypassed.
Kaona died in Kona in 1883. The remains of his large church can still be seen at Kainaliu Beach, in Lehu 'ula, Kona. Alongside the ruins is the large empty tomb. Kama'aina (native born) of the area say that the tomb was never used for a burial. Some speculate the Kaonaites stored their Bibles there. But time and weather have erased any evidence of this, and the tomb stands empty today, a lonely reminder of the tragic events that took place there.
NOTES 1 Emma Lyons Doyle, Makua Laiana, the Story of Lorenzo Lyons (Honolulu: HSB, 1945) 198.
2 HG 12 Feb. 1868; PC A 24 Oct. 1868; Ke Alaula Dec. 1868; HG 28 Oct. 1868.
3 Ralph S. Kuykendall, The Hawaiian Kingdom, vol. 2, Twenty Critical Tears 1854-1874 (Honolulu: U of Hawai'i P, 1966) 105-106.
73 * Rev. J. D. Paris, Journal and Notes, ms., Kona Historical Society, Captain Cook. Hilo Boarding School Enrollment Records From 1836-37 Through 1914-15, ms., Lyman House Memorial Museum Library, Hilo, records that J. Kaona, North Kona, entered Oct. 1839 and was dismissed in 1841; Ka Hae Hawaii, 19 May 1858, reported that Kaona attended Lahainaluna Seminary on Maui in 1841 and was there four years.
5 "A young scamp by the name of J. Kaona has been fleecing the natives of this district by surveying their land with a spy glass and rope, and charging them an exorbitant price, as I am told on all hands. His surveys are worthless, and I trust that you will heed them as such. A deed made out from one of his surveys would be invalid for want of certainty in description": William L. Lee, Ka'u, letter to Keoni Ana, 20 Sept. 1851, Interior Department Letter File, AH.
* Arthur C. Alexander, Land Titles and Surveys in Hawaii, paper read before the Honolulu Social Science Association, 1 March 1920, appendix A.
7 HG 12 Feb. 1868.
8 David Dayton testified for the defense that he was Deputy Sheriff in Kalihi at the time of Kupaula's death in 1866: Criminal Case 346, Third Judicial Circuit Court, AH.
9 PC A 24 Oct. 1868.
10 KeAu Okoa 5 Nov. 1868.
11 Rev. J. D. Paris, Fragments of Real Missionary Life (Honolulu: F, 1926) 50-55.
12 "North Kona," letter, HG 18 Nov. 1868.
13 Doyle, Makua Laiana, 9 April 1868 entry reads, "Terrific earthquakes in Kona tore down great masses from Kaawaloa pali. Families have left for Honolulu"; HG 12 Feb. 1868.
14 Caroline Ralston, "Early Nineteenth Century Polynesian Millennial Cults and the Case of Hawaii," Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 94, no. 4 (Dec. 1985): 307-331.
15 Miscellaneous Letters 1867, Public Instruction, AH.
19 HG 12 Feb. 1868. During the process of choosing a jury for Kaona's trial, a man named Hanai was objected to by the prisoner's counsel, as he claimed that no minister should be allowed on the jury because the feelings of the clergy were against Kaona and the churches felt threatened by him: Criminal Case 346, Third Judicial Circuit Court, AH.
17 Edwin G. Burrows, Hawaiian Americans: An Account of the Mingling of Japanese, Chinese, Polynesians, and American Cultures (New Haven: Yale U P, 1947) 150.
18 Ralston, "Early Nineteenth Century Polynesian Millennial Cults."
19 PCA 21 Nov. 1868; HG 12 Feb. 1868.
20 PCA 21 Nov. 1868.
21 Ke Au Okoa 5 Nov. 1868.
22 Ernest Beaglehole, Some Modern Hawaiians (Honolulu: U of Hawai'i Research Publications 19) 83, in discussing religious movements, states: " T h e y compound native belief a n d practice with ill-assorted customs a n d ideas from the invading culture. They spread through a community gathering new members by the force of suggestion, attracting to themselves all those dissatisfied, for personal reasons, with established systems of faith."
23 Reverend L. H. Gulick, letter, described a small box that was found belonging to the Kaonaites in which was kept written copies of Kaona's prophecies, wrapped in seven handkerchiefs, along side of a small bird's skull (Dr. Gulick served as Secretary to the Hawaiian Board of the Evangelical Association from 1863 to 1870); PCA 31 Oct. 1868.
24 Ke Au Okoa 5 N o v. 1868 stated, " K a Baibala k a p o k a a l a k o u " ( t h e Bible w a s their bullet).
25 "Ohana" (a follower of Kaona), letter, PCA 24 Oct. 1868.
26 Criminal Case 346.
74 27 Ciminal Case 346; Kilinahi, testifying for the prosecution, said, "The lanai was built for the worship of God; it was square with a flat roof, covered with coconut leaves, with open places.... " It was called auolo lanai halepule in Ke Au Okoa 5 Nov. 1868.
28 Indices of Awards Made by the Board of Commissioners to Quiet Land Titles in the Hawaiian Islands (Honolulu: HSB, 1929), land commission award 8559 B, Lehu'ulanui, royal patents 7536 and 7455, and Honuainonui royal patent 7534, all awarded to Lunalilo.
29 HG, 18 Nov. 1868.
30 "Ohana," letter, PC A 24 Oct. 1868. The writer called Mr. Roy, his neighbor, "the Noble Duke." Roy was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He married Eliza Davis, widow of William Johnson, in Lanakila Church, Kainaliu, 24 May 1866.
31 Ke Au Okoa 5 Nov. 1868.
32 PC A 24 Oct. 1868. Neville had been a resident of the Hawaiian Islands for 15 years He had recently moved to Kona to enjoy a quiet life with his family.
33 HG 18 Nov. 1868.
34 "Ohana," letter, PC A 24 Oct. 1868, stated that they only cultivated crops that could mature quickly and that they lived mostly by psalm singing.
35 PC A 5 June 1869: "... it was proven that Kahikoku, while Neville was prostrate on the ground and in a dying condition, took a club and beat him to death which, Kahikoku avers, was done by command of his superior, Kaona...."
36 HG 28 Oct. 1868. Due to lack of official news, HG used letters written by private citizens to personal friends, one from H. N. Greenwell, a Kona businessman, and the other from Reverend J. Charles Williamson, a Church of England priest who had recently arrived in Kona to establish a church. Both wrote that they had gone together to Kaona's camp and asked for Sheriff Neville's body. Mr. Greenwell asked in the name of the law, and the Reverend asked in the name of the church. The body was not forthcoming.
37 HG 4 Nov. 1868, reported: "... the natives were under the control of Kupake'e, whose gigantic frame overreached them all, while all acknowledged his great qualities as a leader, together with his sound judgment and moderation. It was his influence that had restrained the natives from committing violence upon the prisoners." PC A 5 June 1869, claimed; "It was proven that... Alika, aided and abetted by Kamaka and Kalama, beat the constable's brains out, probably by command of Kaona."
38 W i l l i a m C. P a r k e, Personal Reminiscences of William Cooper Parke, Marshal of the Hawaiian Islands, From 1850 to 1884 ( C a m b r i d g e, M a s s., 1891) 1 0 2.
39 W. F. Roy, letter, PCA 24 Oct. 1868.
40 Cabinet Council Minutes 1866-1874, AH.
41 HG 28 Oct. 1868.
42 HG 4 N o v. 1868.
43 PCA 31 O c t. 1868.
44 HG 4 Nov. 1868.
45 PCA 7 Nov. and 31 Oct. 1868.
46 Ke Au Okoa 5 Nov. 1868.
47 Albert Francis Judd, son of Gerrit P. and Laura Fish Judd, members of the Third Company, ABCFM, served as Supreme Court Justice in Honolulu from 1874 to 1900.
Colonel David Kalakaua became King in 1874.
48 PCA 5 June 1869.
75 49 Criminal Case 346 and PC A 5 June 1869: Rex vs. Alika, Kaona, Kamaka, and Kalama—Indited for the murder of Kamai. The trial was from May 24 to May 28.
The jury deliberated six and a half hours. All were found guilty of manslaughter in the second degree. Alika and Kaona were sentenced to ten years at hard labor; Kalama and Kamaka to five years at hard labor.
50 Criminal case 1073, Third Judicial Circuit Court, AH: a John Tatina or Kakina (the Hawaiian spelling of Thurston) who may have been attached to the missionary Thurston family in some way, was among those charged with riot.
51 Criminal case 776, Rex vs. Kahikoku, Third Judicial Circuit Court. AH.
52 The trial was also reported in Ke Au Okoa 1,8, 15, and 22 July 1869; Minister of Finance Reports 1870, AH.
53 Privy Council Report, vol. 12: 45, AH, states that at the Privy Council meeting, held 14 March 1864, Kaona, a convict in Ofahu jail, was recommended to royal clemency.
After considerable debate for and against him, the motion was put to the Council by King Kalakaua and carried 15 for and 5 against.
54 PC A 16 Jan. 1870.
55 J. Kaona and Co., letter to Hon. W. L. Moehonua, applying for the ahupua'a of Pufuanahulu; Kaona, letter to the Minister of the Interior concerning the land of Kukuiopae, 17 March 1877; Kaona, letter to Moehonua concerning the land of Honalo, 8 March 1876: Interior Department Letter File, AH. Koana, letter applying for the lands of Hokukano, Onouli, Honuaino, and Honalo, 25 March 1875; letter to Kaona: Interior Department Letter Book 12,672 and 15,333, AH.