George Prince Tamoree of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau

Author: 
Helen G. Chapin, Courtesy of the Hawaiian Historical Society

 

Photo Courtesy: Hawaiian Historical Society

Born on Kaua‘i in 1798, the son of Kaumualii, king of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, was first known as Humehume. When he was six, the American ship Hazard anchored off Waimea. The king, wanting his son to receive a formal education, entrusted him to the captain's care. George Prince Tamoree sailed in January 1904, via the Orient to America, arriving in Rhode Island in June 1805 after one and a half years at sea.

From the time he was eight years old, the young prince lived with a series of families. He worked as a carpenter and served in the U.S. Navy. Discharged in Boston when he was 18, he met several other Hawaiian youths who were in New England. This was a period of religious revival, and he and the other young men attended the Foreign Mission School at South Farms, Massachusetts. George wrote a number of letters home about his adventurous life, including a proposal for him to attend West Point.

The prince sailed as an independent passenger with the pioneer company of Protestant missionaries in October of 1819. Arriving at Kailua, Kona, he met and married Betty Davis, daughter of Isaac Davis, advisor to Kamehameha the Great. The couple traveled to Waimea, Kaua‘i, where his father happily greeted them. But the many changes meant that George’s princely dreams were dashed. His father had ceded Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau to the Kamehameha line. At his father's death, George engaged in an unsuccessful rebellion against the Kaua‘i chiefs, and in 1826, this young man of great talent died of influenza.