Waimanalo: Historical Highlights

Queen Emma’s Visit to Waimanalo

“In October 1875, the queen decided to take a trek around the islands. She asked part-Hawaiian John A. Cummins, a member of the House of Representatives, to organize the trek and to accompany her. ”

Emma, Hawaii’s Remarkable Queen

by George Kanahele

Chief John A. Cummins

John A. Cummins, owner of the sugar plantation that first built the landing at Waimanalo, was born in 1835. He was the son of High Chiefess Kaumakaokane Papali’ai’aina and Thomas A. Cummins. His mother was a cousin of King Kamehameha I. His father first developed the land in the 1840s as a cattle ranch and horse ranch. It wasn’t until the 1880s in the face of the diminishing return of the cattle market that his son, John, began to grow sugar cane in place of cattle. This plantation was known as the Waimanalo Sugar Company (WSC).

* Information regarding the identity of the father of Chief John A. Cummins:

The information below (in italics), regarding Chief John A. Cummins and his father Thomas A. Cummins, and half-brother, Thomas Jefferson Cummins, was provided by Jan Enright, a Cummins family historian andBeth Peterson ( great­great­great­great­granddaughter of Thomas (A.) Cummins).

“Thomas (A.) Cummins (1802 – 19 Apr 1885) arrived in the Territory of Hawaii in 1828 at the age of 26. Although his tombstone indicates he was born in England, coming to the United States in 1814, he sailed to Hawaii from Massachusetts where he had been married to wife UNKNOWN, and had two children … a son, Thomas Jefferson Cummins (1826 – 29 Jun 1903), and a daughter, UNKNOWN. Thomas Jefferson Cummins joined his father in Hawaii as a young man.

I assume his (Thomas A. Cummins) wife in Massachusetts died, because he married for a second time, Kaumakokane Papaleaiana Keaui’Aole, and they had one son, John Adams Kuakini Cummins (17 Mar 1835 – 21 Mar 1912).

In the probate after Thomas A. Cummin’s death, his son Thomas Jefferson Cummins speaks of his own birth in Lynn, Massachusetts, and mentions his sister still living there without naming her, but indicates he has not been in touch with her for several years. Thomas A. Cummins is buried at Oahu Cemetery, Plot 173-G3.

It is mentioned in the probate for Thomas A. Cummins that he had settled an inheritance upon John Adams Cummins before his death, and the only beneficiaries after his death were to be his three granddaughters by Thomas Jefferson Cummins and Maria “Maraea” K Piikoi, daughter of Ionah “Jonah” Piikoi and Kamakee. The three granddaughters were: Lydia “Lilia” Kekaulike Cummins, Elizabeth Kamakee Cummins (married George H. Fairchild and our line descends from her), and Maria Maiopili Cummins (married first to Ralph P King, and second to Samuel Keaoulilani Parker (son of Samuel Parker and Harriet “Hattie” Panana Napela Richardson). The estate was to be held in trust for them and their heirs with the interest ONLY of that estate to go to Thomas Jefferson Cummins during his lifetime. Upon the death of Thomas Jefferson Cummins the interest ONLY would go to the three granddaughters, upon their deaths their children, then, their grandchildren, etc., forever.”

Jan Enright: “There is a great deal of misinformation on the web regarding the Cummins men. Any assistance we can have from you or the Hawaiian Genealogical Society, etc., would be greatly appreciated. I have been corresponding with a descendant of John Adams Cummins, and we have shared some information back and forth. She was very confused by the practice of referring to a Thomas Cummins Jr. I suppose if one disregards middle names, they were indeed Sr. and Jr. based on the first name of Thomas, alone.”

I continue to work on the family histories of these people daily, and find there is a wealth of information on the web, but wish I could return to Hawaii in person to pursue some of the records that I know are available in special collections in museums, etc.”

Anyone with information on the Cummins family, may forward it to Jan Enright via an email to olomanagardens@hawaii.rr.com.

Mauna Rose:

The outside of Mauna Rose, the home of John A. Cummins, can be seen today on Poalima Place. Turn mauka off the highway at the main Waimanalo traffic light, onto Poalima Street. Make the first left turn onto Poalima Place Mauna Rose can be seen at the end of the street on your right.

Mauna Rose
Sport of Pue-wai (1875)

“In the meantime I had a gang of men at work preparing to open the bar at the mouth of the Puha River. This bar or dam had accumulated for some years and much water was backed up. I had seen this opened on a former occasion and the sports of the natives in swimming the raging water, and determined to give her Majesty (Queen Emma) and party a view of this ancient sport…. An opening of 20′ or more having been made in the dam, the water rushed out at the rate of 30 knots or more. The bore or surge caused was very high, and only two men and two women dared to play on this water surf called Pue-Wai.”

John A. Cummins
Around Oahu in Days of Old
The Mid-Pacific Mag., Sept. 1913, p 235

“The stream in Bellows Field is Pu-ha.” Charles Alona, Informant, Sept. 14, 1939 Waimanalo, Oahu Place Names

The stream that crosses Bellows Field is today called Inoaole Stream. The mouth of the stream, can be reached from inside Bellows, along the beach, or from the Waimanalo Beach Park.


A spring called Wai-kupanaha was pointed out to us( in valley mauka of mill), surrounded by tall taro plants, banana trees and fragrant white gingers.

Waimanalo – 1847

At that time, it seemed that the valley was filled with breadfruit, mountain apples, kukui and coconut trees. There were taro patches, with banks covered with ti and wauke plants. Grass houses occupied the dry lands, a hundred of them here and sweet potatoes and sugar cane were much grown. It was a great help toward their livelihood.

The old kamaaina, Edward Niaupio, named nine terrace sections whose water came from small streams and springs flowing out of the high mountain range. These sections ran for 1.5 miles in a semicircle at the foot of the mountains round the broad base of Waimanalo Valley