That's how my father's father got off the Island following a cholera epidemic in Asia. He had come to Honolulu as an indentured servant from Germany. His family was from Austria -- teamsters driving wagons of beer -- but he couldn't break into the job. So he went to Germany and became an apprentice carpenter.Lani wrote: ↑Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:15 pmIt's official - Hawaii is shut down. The governor has ordered "any individual who arrives from international areas or the continental U.S. will be subject to a two-week quarantine. It applies to all travelers, whether Hawai`i resident or visitor, and regardless of the mode of travel."
One day he passed by a travel agent's window and saw a sign, in German, inviting Germans to visit the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Catch was, they indentured themselves for 7 years. (Asian and Hawaiian laborers refused to work in the sugar cane and pineapple fields so Europeans, mostly Germans, were imported.) I'm not sure which German magnate was advertising his trip -- probably Spreckels or Kaiser -- but he signed on, became cabin boy on the trip in a three masted schooner around Cape Horn and landed in Honolulu.
Once he made it to Honolulu he worked on a sugar plantation building houses and furniture. The other indentured servants, who were ordinary laborers, had it rough. They looked to him as a leader. After all, he could read and they couldn't. (It turned out he could read and write both in German and Yiddish.) The indentured servants revolted -- petit treason -- and my grandfather led them. The revolt was quickly subdued and they all went to jail. My grandfather wrote postcards home to his mother -- in Yiddish -- and the jailers wanted to read them before they went out. But the language wasn't German.
Finally they figured out it was Yiddish. In the mid 1890s there was exactly one Jewish family on the Island of Oahu. They owned a hardware store and the owners had three eligible daughters they wanted to marry off. So they translated the postcards, discovered he was a nice Jewish boy, bailed him out, paid off his indenture and set him up earning a dollar a day in the hardware store. He ignored the hardware store owners' daughters and went down to Waikiki Beach to surf.
Then the cholera hit in Asia and the Hawai'ian Territorial Government needed coast guardsmen to keep ships from docking until they were quarantined an additional 21 days when they arrived from Asia. After the cholera threat was over, each coast guardsman would be given 640 acres of land, many of them the land they had guarded.
My grandfather guarded Waikiki Beach, because of his familiarity with it (and the Pualanis -- he was blonde, blue eyed and quite handsome). After the plague ended he worked the land for 18 months, received vested title and then immediately sold it to Kaiser and skipped to San Francisco, just ahead of a shotgun marriage from the hardware store owners.