L I F E     I N      H A W A I I


Life in Hawaii, by Titus Coan

Copyright ©1882, 1997 (electronic edition by Edward J. Coan)

This document format is HTML. Although the file is not physically protected against modification, the contents are protected under copyright law. Comments are welcome via e-mail to Ed Coan at e.coan@verizon.net or the HCV web master, Ken Rubin at krubin@soest.hawaii.edu, who will forward them to Mr. Coan.

THE task of reading the proofs of the following sketches has fallen to one whose recollections include more than a few of the scenes and events described. It seems to him that this record of mission life and labors will appeal to all those who have followed the wonderful changes wrought in Hawaii during a life time, from the period of "the great awakening" until now. The accounts of visits to the Marquesas Islands have their own independent interest. Still more, the greatest volcano in the world is in Mr. Coan's parish, and other readers will turn to the chapters on its eruptions for vivid and faithful descriptions of the most imposing volcanic phenomena on record.


T. M. C. [Titus Munson Coan]


A PILGRIM of four-score years, standing near the margin of the Border Land, essays to give a sketch of his life and why?

Because many personal and Christian friends have long urged it as a duty to my beloved Master to leave my testimony behind me of His faithfulness and grace.

To publish my autobiography was far from my thoughts.

It is a difficult, delicate, and dangerous task. One does not choose to publish his own follies and sins, and surely it is not modest for one to proclaim his own goodness. I will, therefore, only say in the words of the great Apostle, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."

Let me then ask, if in reading this narrative there shall seem to be the weakness of egotism or of vain boasting, that the fault may lie at the door of the writer, or be pardoned on account of the great difficulty of relating one's own experiences and observations without often repeating the pronoun I.

On the other hand, if it shall appear that during a ministry of almost half a century a blind man has been led into the light, a lame man has been helped to walk in the Way of Life, a leprous soul has been washed in the Fountain opened for sin and uncleanness; if a heathen has found the true God, and cast away his dead idols, if a fierce cannibal has been persuaded to cease to eat the flesh of his enemies, and taught to trust the Son of Man for pardon, or if some who were dead in trespasses and sins have been raised to life by the quickening power of the Gospel, then let God have all the glory.

T. C.

(see also the Summary of Contents near the bottom of the preceeding page)

Chapter I. Parentage, Childhood, and Early Years; Militia Service; Asahel Nettleton; Three Years in Western New York; Sickness; Home Again; Auburn Seminary

Chapter II.

Marriage; Embarkation for Hawaii; Santiago, Callao, and Lima in 1835; Arrival in Honolulu; Passage to Hilo; Our New Home; First Labors

Chapter IIII.

The Field; The People; Hilo District; Crossing the Torrents; Perils of a Canoe Voyage; Puna District

Chapter IV.

First Tours in Hilo and Puna; The Work of 1837-38; Spontaneous Church-Building; The Great Awakening; The Volcanic Wave; Pastoral Experiences and Methods; The Ingathering

Chapter V.

Mrs. Coan's School for Girls; Common Schools; Medical Work; The Sailors' Church; Sunday Work; Visits of Foreign Vessels; The U. S. Exploring Expedition

Chapter VI.

Mauna Loa; Kilauea; The Eruption of 1840; The River of Fire; It reaches the Sea at Nanawal; Lava Chimneys; Destruction of a Village

Chapter VII.

More Church-Building; Commodore Jones' Visit; Progress of Conversions; The Sacraments under new Conditions

Chapter VIII.

Arrival of Catholic Missionaries; Admiral de Tromelin; Proselytism Controversies with the Priests; Arrival of the Mormons; The Reformed Catholics Bishop; Staley Lord George Paulet

Chapter IX.

Isolation of the Mission Families; Sufferings on the Inter-Island Voyages; Their Dangers; Parting with our Children; School Discussions and Festivals; Native Preachers; Cheerful Givers; Changes and Improvements

Chapter X.

Hawaiian Kings; The Kamehamehas; Lunalilo Kalakana, the Reigning King; The Foreign Church in Hilo; Organization of Native Churches under Native Pastors

Chapter XI.

Compensations; Social Pleasures; Some of our Guests and Visitors

Chapter XII.

Seedling Missions; Hawaii sends out Missionaries; Need of a Missionary Packet; The Three "Morning Stars"

Chapter XIII.

The Marquesas Islands; Early English and French Missions; The Hawaiians Send a Mission to Them; My Visit in 1860; The Marquesan Tabu System

Chapter XIV.

Second Visit to the Marquesas; The Paumotu Archipelago; Arrival at Uapou; An Escape by Two Fathoms; Nuuhiva Hivaoa Kekela's Trials; The Propitiatory Canoe; Savage Seducers; A Wild Audience

Chapter XV.

Visit to the United States; Salt Lakr; Chicago; Washington City; Brooklyn; Old Killingworth; Changes in the Homestead; Passing Away; Return to Hilo; Death of Mrs. Coan

Chapter XVI.

Notes on the Stations; Hawaii Governor Kuakini; Maui Crater of Hale-a-ka-la; Molokai; The Leper Settlement; Oahu; Kauai; The State of the Church

Chapter XVII.

The Hawaiian Character; Its Amiability; Island Hospitality, Patience, Docility Indolence, Lack of Economy, Fickleness, Want of Independence, Untruthfulness; Decrease of the Population
Of particular interest to visitors of this web site... Chapters XVIII through XXIII describe volcanic activities on the island of Hawaii from 1840 to 1881.

Chapter XVIII.

Kilauea Changes in the Crater; Attempt to Measure the Heat of its Lavas; Phenomena in Times of Great Activity; Visitors in the Domains of Pele

Chapter XIX.

Eruptions from Mauna Loa; The Eruption of 1843; A Visit to it; Danger on the Mountain; A Perilous Journey and a Narrow Escape

Chapter XX.

Eruptions of Mauna Loa; The Eruption of 1852; The Fire Fountain; A Visit to it Alone on the Mountain; Sights on Mauna Loa

Chapter XXI.

The Eruption of 1855; A Climb to the Source; Mountain Hardships; Visits to Lower Parts of the Lava Stream; Hilo threatened with Destruction; Liquidity of the Hawaiian; Lavas Are the Lava-Streams fed from their Sources only?

Chapter XXII.

The Eruption of 1868 from Kilauea; The March and April Earthquakes; Land-Slips; Destruction of Life and Property; The Lava-Stream; Bursts from Underground; The Volcanic Waves of August, 1868, and of May, 1877

Chapter XXIII.

The Eruption of 1880-1881; Hilo Threatened as Never Before; A Day of Public Prayer; Visitors to the Lava-Flow; It Approaches within a Mile of the Shore; Hope Abandoned; After Nine Months the Action Suddenly Abates; The Deliverance; The Mechanism of a Great Lava-Flow; An Idolater Dislodged; Conclusion


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Last page update on 8 Aug 2001