Name: George Charles BECKLEY
Birth: 1787 in England 1
Death: 1825 in Honolulu, HI 2
Note: 3 4 2 5 3 4 2 6 7 7 8 1 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 18 19 20 21 22 22 22 22 22 23 23|
Change Date: 25 NOV 2012
He arrived in what was then called the Sandwich Islands around 1804.
According to a researcher cousin of a Beckley descendant, George lived in Veracruz, Mexico with his father and both received privateer's licenses ("legal" piracy) from the Mexican head of state. He claims George's Hawaiian name translates as "snatcher of Ships" and that he waylaid ships on the high seas and later sold them to Kamehameha.
According to an article in the "Sunday Advertiser" 12 Aug 1906, he brought to the islands a vessel, which was purchased by the chiefs and he was called "Humehume" by the natives. He afterwards made numerous voyages between Hawaii and Mexico as well as Hawaii and China. Family tradition has it that he made the first flag in 1806 or 1807, but Prof. W.D. Alexander believes it was at least 6 years later. Unfortunately, his log-book was lost about the year 1887. The original flag was made into a child's frock, which was worn by each one of his children in succession and long preserved as an heirloom in the family.,
In "Hawaii: A History" by Kuykendall and Day, he is listed as "a trusted advisor of Kamehameha".
In the diary of missionary Hiram Bingham, Bingham states "Whatever of hostility may have been manifested against the spiritual claims of the Gospel by foreigners and others, we were encouraged in our efforts to commence a school by several residents, some wishing their wives, and others their children to be instructed. Among there, were . . . Beckley (English). . . These cherished a desire that their long neglected children, whose morals, habits, language, and manners differed little from their contemporaries - the children of aboriginal fathers - might now, at length, if they wished it, have the advantage of a school for their improvement.
His son, William Beckley, was brought up together with Kauikeaouli, who was afterwards known as Kamehameha III. His two eldest daughters were brought up by Queen Kaahumanu.
On the occasion of the birth of the Princess Nahienaena at Keauhou, Kona, Hawaii, in 1815, Beckley was made a high chief by Kamehameha I so that he might, with impunity, enter the sacred precinct and present the royal infant with a roll of China silk, after which he went outside and fired a salute of 13 guns in her honor. In consequence of his having become a tabu chief, his wife Ahia was thenceforth obliged by the ancient code of etiquette to "kolokolo" or crawl prone on her hands and knees when she entered the house of her lord.,
In a listing for Emma K. Metcalf Beckley in "History Makers of Hawaii" by A. Grove Day, he is said to be "an Englishman who was commandant of the fort begun by the Russians in Honolulu in 1816". This fort was apparently started by Georg Anton Scheffer in Honolulu in 1816. Kamehameha kicked him out and the fort was completed by the Hawaiians under John Young. George Beckley was the first commander of the fort. It is remembered in the name of Fort Street in Honolulu and was located at the corners of Queen St and Nimitz highway and extending to Fort St. It continued to be a stronghold until 1857.
According to Elizabeth Punchard's diary, he had the Beckley Estate on what in 1904 was Alakea Street, Honolulu. It was called "Alakea House" and later kept by Mrs. Captain Hudson. George Beckley was buried in a stone or cemented grave on Beckley property. The property was later owned by Dr. Herbert.
He was said to have had his own ship and to be engaged in the fur trade between Alaska and Canton, China. He wintered in the Hawaiian islands and took on "refreshments". All foreigners were required to go to the Big Island, either Kawaihae or Kailua, and receive permission from Kamehameha to trade, and Beckley became a friend of Kamehameha in his trading activities. If not supervised by Kamehameha, John Young supervised at Kawaihae. In 1814 or 1815, Beckley received permission from Kamehameha to marry the young and attractive chiefess Ahia-Kalani-Kumai-e-iwilani. Marriage did not make Beckley a landlubber. Instead, he followed the custom of the day and took his wife with him on his long trips between the Spanish Main (Mexico and California) and Canton, China.
Beckley lived in a stone house in the fort. Documents in the Archives of Hawaii show how Beckley engaged in the sale of foreign ships to Kamehameha and his chiefs. He signed a sandalwood deal on 26 Sept 1816 in payment for the ship Albatross. On 26 Dec 1821 he witnessed a note by which Kalanimoku paid 3760 piculs of sandalwood as the purchase price of the brig Inori. Beckley only remained on land about 2 years, then he returned to the sea. He was of the Church of England, therefore not mentioned by the missionaries. He traveled from Vera Cruz, Mexico to Canton. He kept a home in Vera Cruz and his youngest child, Emmeline Keka-ili-moku was born off the coast of Mexico.
The record of Beckley's activities in 1816 are known through the journal of Lieutenant Von Kosubue, a Russian explorer whom Beckley guided about the Island of Oahu at the command of Kalanimoku.
"The will of Captain George Beckley may be found in the Archives of Hawaii . . . The Beckley will is well written in clear handwriting and is obviously the work of an educated man. It is a simple document in which Beckley left all his property to his wife Ahia as administrator. Our old friend Alexander Adams was made the executor. Captain Adams was appointed guardian of the Beckley girls and the eldest son, William Frederick Malulani Beckley was left to the care of the king with the hope that the lad would be given a trip to the Spanish Main. Witnesses to the will were I. Temple, W. Hamilton and George Fife, all gentleman of the Honolulu English colony. Of all the pieces of land held by Beckley, the largest was probably the 182.80 acres held at Kealahewaeloa at Waimea, Hawaii. . . Beckley's will was made just in time. He died in 1826.
"A sad incident in Julia?s Beckley family seemed to symbolize what was happening to their Hawai?i. At the height of the Reform Party takeover of the government, one of its supporters, Edmund Kistler, married Julia?s Aunt Maria Beckley on her sick bed. An unscrupulous man, Kistler inveigled Maria to sign over to him all her wealth and possessions. Maria, sixty-nine, died in August, and Kistler left for San Francisco with his booty, which included Captain George Beckley?s diary. The personal record of the man who had served Kamehameha the Great as commander of the Honolulu fort and designed the Hawaiian flag had gone the way of other Hawaiian treasure, as a memento of some unheeding haole?s Pacific adventure."
Details to be entered., , ,
In Kotzebue?s Journal he states: "the natives not being familiar with the use of cannon, they have appointed an Englishman, named George Berkley, who had formerly served in a merchantman as commandant. The fort is nothing more than a square, supplied with loop-holes, the walls of which are two fathoms high, and built of coral stone. . . Early on the 8th [of Dec] . . . we called for Mr. Berkley at his house, where we found the two soldiers already waiting for us. . . Here we had a fine view of the harbour; I took out my instruments and made a few angles, at which the surrounding natives were much terrified, expecting, as Berkley said, a piece of enchantment. . . Mr. Berkley told me of a species of wild-duck, such as we have in Europe, which came there in January from the north, hatch their eggs, and return again in the beginning of spring. This account, which I had no reason to doubt, Mr. B. Speaking from his own experience."
In another journal of Captain Otto Von Kotzebue, he states "Kareimoku was expecting yet another ship, a handsome schooner, which, under the command of Mr. Bekley, commandant of the fortress here, was transporting sandalwood from Atuai".
"An English Captain (George C. Beckley) some time near the beginning of the century brought a small ship to the Islands and sold it to the chiefs. He then settled in Honolulu and became a friend of the king, who made him a ?tabu-chief.? He married an Hawaiian woman of high priestly family. Nevertheless ?she had to kolo-kolo or crawl on her hand and knees whenever she entered the house of her husband, the tabu-chief.? To Captain Beckley was entrusted the task of probably designing and making the first Hawaiian flag. The pattern flag, the first one made, was afterward ?fashioned into a child?s frock and worn on special occasions by each one the the children in succession, and was long preserved as an heirloom in the family.? This was apparently a compromise between the flags of the two antagonistic English-speaking nations. The Jack was retained to show the king?s friendship for England. The stripes were said to represent the red, white and blue of the American flag. They were eight in number, to represent the eight principal Islands of the group. It was a combination of Hawaiian with European and American interests. The old king was very proud of his beautiful new flag, and displayed it from his palace and over the royal homes in other Islands. It superseded the Russian flag on Kauai. He built a new coral rock fort, 300x400 feet thick. In it he placed forty guns, six, eight and twelve pounders, from which thundering salutes were fired on every possible occasion. He gave command of this fort to Captain Beckley, and over it probably flung his new flag to the breeze."
"George Beckley, an Englishman who was commandant of the fort begun the Rusians in Honolulu in 1816."
"Most of the white men surrounding Kamehameha were Englishmen, such as Young, David, George Beckley and ?Alika? Adams, and mostly Church of England men. Captain Beckley?s prayer book remains a prized relic in the keeping of one of his descendants today. It was his own prized possession. He was close to the person of the king, for he was a military adviser and commander of the first fort. It is certain these Church of England men discussed their religion with Kamehameha and those of his court."
"George [George Pekelo Kalawaia Ahia] says he was named for Capt. George Beckley, one of Kamehameha the Great?s English officers. . . The admiral had used what the Hawaiians called the ?English method,? but, says George Pekelo, Ahia had been taught this method by Capt. George Beckley, the Englishman, whose daughter, later on, he had married. . . . That Ahia should have known so many methods was due to the catholicity of foreigners dwelling in Honolulu at that time. From Captain Beckley he learned the English method; from Jose, a Spaniard in Captain Beckley?s employ, he learned the Spanish method."
Black and white photo made from his portrait on file with Barbara Fleming.
He was called "the English friend and military adviser of Kamehameha the Great."
"For near a century a flag of eight stripes, alternately, white, red and blue, each representing an island of the Hawaiian group, with the English Jack in the upper left corner, forming one of the most beautiful and colorful flas that ever floated in any breeze, waved over the Hawaiian Islands. .. Captain George Beckley, an English sea captain who came to these islands about 1801, was undoubtedly the originator of the flag of Hawaii. He brought to the Island a vessel which was purchased by the chiefs and was called ?Humehume? by the natives. He afterwards made numerous voyages between Hawaii and Mexico and also between Hawaii and China. According to the family traditions he made the first Hawaiian flag about 1806 or 1807. The logbook of the captain, in which was recorded the fact that he had made the flag, was unfortunately lost by his descendents several decades ago. It is certain, according to family records, that he made this first flag into a child?s frock which was worn by each one of his children in succession, and was long preserved as an heirloom of the family."
"On the occasion of the birth of the Princess Nahienaena at Keauhou, Kona, Hawaii, in 1815, Captain Bckley was made a High Chief by Kamehameha, so that he might with impunity enter the sacred precincts of the grass house and prsent the royal infant with a roll of China silk, after which he went outside and fired a salute of thirteen guns in her honor.
When Captain Beckley entered the house he took the infant in his arms and the little one immediately clutched his whiskers with her tiny baby fingers. When Queen Keopuolani saw this she said to the king, ?Look at the big sweetheart and the little sweetheart. George from henceforth you are Princess Nahienaena?s name husband. He was called keiki (son) ever afterwards by the chiefs, and his daughter Maria was called ?Kaiponui Kaipoliilii? after this incident, at her birth, it being a custom for Hawaiians, very frequently, to name children after an incident, historical event, the names often having a beautiful and poetic figurative meaning. In this way much of the old history was conveyed generation to generation."
"Captain Beckley was the first commander of the Honolulu fort which was erected near the waterfront near the foot of what is now Fort street. It was build on the advice of the High Chief Kalaimoku, a general under Kamehameha, and who was a historical figure, later being the one to meet the first missionaries on behalf of Kamehameha II, in 1820. The fort was to command the harbor and its channel. It was begun in 1816 and completed in a year. It was nearly square, measuring three hundred yards on a side, with walls about twelve feet high and twenty feet thick and built of coral blocks hewn from the reefs, pierced with embrasures for cannon. it stood on the sea-ward side of Queen street and across the lower part of Fort street. About forty guns were mounted, consisting of six, eight and twelve pounders. It was placed under the direct command of Captain Beckley, who soldiery were malo-clad natives of the warrior class which had been trained by Kamehameha the Great. To supplement this fort eight thirty-two pounders were afterwards mounted on Punchbowl hill behind the city."
"Captain Beckley?s oldest son, William Beckley was born at Keauhou, and was brought up with Kauikaeouli, afterward Kamehameha III. His two oldest daughters were brought up by Queen Kaahumanu. This indicates the high esteem in which the Englishman was held by Kamehameha, and also the probability that he would confide to his officer the task of designing a flag for Hawaii. Captain Beckley died in Honolulu in 1825.
the national banner, adopted officially by the legislative council was unfurled on May 25, 1845, differing very little from the former one."
"It was shortly after this time that Kotzebue met Capt. George Beckley, the Englishman, in the train of Kemehameha, at Oalua, on this island. The High Chief Kalanimoku, Governor of the island, designated Beckley to accompany the navigator on a tour of Oahu. Kotzebue met Beckley at the new fort which John Young and Kalauimoku, built by order of Kamehameha at Honolulu, Beckley having been chosen as commandant. The Russian was halted in true fortress style by sentries. He also refers to Beckley?s house at which he called, which was built of stone in modern style. The officers went to Moanalua and to the salt lake where Beckley, according to Kotzebue showed he has been used to shooting in Europe, for he spoke of the migrations of certain ducks, Kotzebue saying ?this information, which I could not doubt, as Beckley, from his love of the chase, often remains for days on this lake, led me to suppose ther must be some undiscovered land in about latitude 45 degres whence these birds of passage came.? "
"On leaving Honolulu the Rurick saluted Kalauimoku with seven guns and Captain Beckley, at the fort, did not neglect to return this politeness. The European custom had that day, December 14, 1816, been introduced into the Sandwich Islands."
"Kahea Beckley a strong family member of the William Beckley descendents and curator of Kamehameha Museum in Kona, Hawaii, stated to me when we first met, that Captain Beckley was a Pirate and that he lived a very secretive life and that they have a different version of why William was well versed in the Spanish ways. William was not kidnapped but was given to his Grandparents in Mexico and returned when they could no longer care for him."
"In 1812, Veracruz was the only port loyal to the Spanish crown. Veracruz was equipt to manage commerce to and from Mexico City and Europe (Spain). The people of Veracruz were patriotic and supported the mother country. However, the rural areas on the coast outside Veracruz were in the hand of the sons of the old slaves and Spaniards not born in Sprin. Their allegiance was to the Indpenedence Movement. The noose began to tighten when rural bands began to intercept even the most common food shipments, not allowing them to pass until they had paid a ?tax?. Guadalupe Victoria by this time controlled traffic on the Camino Real at Puente Nacional, then called Puente del Rey."
"The Hawaiian monk seal, Monachus schauinslandi, may be considered one of the rarest and least known of our living mammals. . . This animal was well known to the Hawaiians prior to the discovery of the islands by Europeans, for they called it ?ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua,? which freely translated means ?the dog that runs in the tough elements.? Early reports give evidence that during the early part of the nineteenth century this seal was relatively abundant. Bryan (1915) stated that the brig ?Ainoa? set out in 1824 from Hawaii on a sealing trip to these islands."
"The Maui Chief, Kalaimoku, gives a note for three thousand seven hundred and sixty ?pickules? of sandal wood, on December 26th, 1821, it being the purchase price of the Brig ?Inori? (Ainoa)."
"July 9, 1823 . . . Wednesday, 9. Mr. Ellis embarked this morning in the brig Ainoa, for Hawaii. I should have accompanied him, but for an indisposition with which I have been affected for some days, and which has disqualified me for undertaking the hardships of the tour."
"Sept. 8, 1823 . . . Monday, 8. This morning, the Ainoa, a native brig, arrived from Hawaii, bringing Mr. Harwood, a young American, who has resided some time with the Mission family at Honoruru, and who accompanied the deputation on their tour through Hawaii."
"Sept.11, 1823 . . ..Thursday, 11. Yesterday and to-day the surf has been excessively heavy, and often by its beauty and sublimity has attracted our attention and admiration. But the dark wing of death has been over it, and its loveliness for a time is shrouded in gloom. At eleven o?clock this morning the long-boat of the brig Ainoa was overturned in attempting to land by the usual passage, and four white men narrowly escaped drowning, while a fifth sunk to rise no more alive. The report flying among th enatives, Ka habri make roa i ka nalue, ?The foreigner is dead in the surf,? collected a number of foreigners on the beach, by whom exertions were made to restore him to life, but without success. The spirit had fled through the foaming surges to the world of retribution! Mr. Butler humanely had the corpse removed to his enclosure; from whence in the evening, attended by most of the foreigners then at Lahaina, we bore it to a more decent grave, than is the last abode of many an inhabitant of Christian lands, whose destiny is to die among the heathen."
"Feb. 9, 1824 . . . Feb. 9. Mr. and Mrs. Richards, in company with Karaimoku, sailed in the brig Ainoa this evening, for a short visit to Oahu."
"Feb. 9, 1825 . . . Wednesday 9. . . . Before reaching the village, we descried a sail, coming from Tauai; it proved to be the native brig Ainoa, which came to anchor just after dark. Shortly after, a messenger from the royal family arrived, requesting a visit from us to Kaahuman, who had been absent some months to the leeward, and had just landed."
From the journal of trader Charles H. Hammatt: "Thursday, Mar. 4 . Bailed Brig Ainor, Sunmer & Beckley, on a sealing voyage for account of Krymaku. This is about the second expedition the natives have undertaken on their own account, and I expect will turn out no better than their China voyage in the Bondeana Packet where they sunk stock & fluke [nautical term indicating that nothing was saved from the vessel]. "
"Fur from seals, particularly seal pups, was valued both in the China Trade and in the greater fur trade. References to a ?sealing voyage? or to going ?sealing? refer to the hunting of seal either from a ship or by a crew stationed on an island such as Fanning?s Island (see Hammatt, March 17, 1824)."Page: pg. 215
Father: ? BECKLEY
AHIA KALANIKUMAIKI'EKI'E b: 1792
- William Charles Malulani BECKLEY b: 1815 in Keauhou
- George Frederick Hoapili BECKLEY b: 1823
- Maria K. BECKLEY b: 1817
- Localia BECKLEY b: 1818
- Mary BECKLEY b: 1820
- Hannah BECKLEY
- Emmeline Maria Guadaloupe BECKLEY b: 1825 in Bay Of Mexico, Mexico
- Type: Book
Author: Bob Dye
Periodical: Merchant Prince of the Sandalwood Mountains: Afong and the Chinese in Hawai?i
Publication: (Honolulu: University of Hawai?i Press, 1997)
- Type: Periodical
Author: W.D. Alexander
Title: The Maker of the Hawaiian Flag
Periodical: Hawaiian Historical Society Reports
- Text: From notes submitted by Cherissa DeShannon (CDeShannon@aol.com).
- Text: From article in "Sunday Advertiser", August 12, 1906, transcribed from a copy by Cherissa DeShannon.
- Type: Book
Author: Hiram Bingham
Periodical: A Residence of Twenty-One Years in the Sandwich Islands
Publication: (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1969)
- Text: Clarice B. Taylor, "Tales about Hawaii", 6 July 1960.
- Text: Clarice B. Taylor, "Tales about Hawaii", 7 July 1960.
- Text: Clarice B. Taylor, "Tales about Hawaii", 9 July 1960.
- Type: Periodical
Title: The Story of Hawaii?s Flag
Periodical: Honolulu Advertiser
Date: Sunday, May 17, 1925
- Type: Newspaper
Title: Captain George C. Beckley
Periodical: Sunday Advertiser
Date: August 12, 1906
- Type: Newspaper
Title: Fort of Honolulu of Century Ago Inspiration
Periodical: Pacific Commercial Advertiser
Place: Honolulu, Hawaii Territory
Date: Tuesday, September 19, 1916
- Type: Newspaper
Title: Bits from Island History
Periodical: The Sunday Advertiser
Place: Honolulu, HI
Date: April 6, 1919
- Type: Book
Author: Otto Von Kotzebue
Periodical: Voyage of Discovery in the South Sea and to Behring?s Straits
Publication: (London: Sir Richard Phillips & Co., 1821)
- Type: Book
Author: Adelbert Von Chamisso
Periodical: A Voyage around the world with the Romanzov Expoloring Expedition in the years 1815-1818
Publication: (Honolulu, HI: University of HI Press)
- Type: Periodical
Author: Rev. W.D. Westervelt
Title: History of Hawaii?s Flag
Periodical: Paradise of the Pacific
Date: (July, 1901)
- Type: Book
Author: A. Grove Day
Periodical: History Makers of Hawaii: A Biographical Dictionary
Publication: (Honolulu: Mutual Publishing of Honolulu, 1984)
- Type: Book
Author: Albert Pierce Taylor
Periodical: Under Hawaiian Skies
Publication: Honolulu: Advertiser Publishing Co, 1922
- Type: E-Mail Message
Author: Warren Tsark (email@example.com)
Title: Ancestor Research
Date: 30 Oct 2007
Location: In files of Barbara Fleming
- Type: Web Site
Author: John Todd, Jr.
Title: The Search for Boquilla de Piedras
Date: Accessed 9 Nov. 2009
- Type: Periodical
Author: Arthur Svihla
Title: Notes on the Hawaiian Monk Seal
Periodical: Journal of Mammalogy
Date: May, 1959
- Type: Periodical
Author: Robert C. Lydecker
Title: The Archives of Hawaii
Periodical: Papers of the Hawaiian Historical Society
Date: June 9, 1906
- Type: Book
Author: C.S. Stewart
Periodical: Journal of a Residence in the Sandwich Islands, 2nd Edition
Publication: New York: John P. Haven, 1828
Date: 1 APR 2010
- Type: Book
Author: Charles H. Hammatt
Periodical: Ships, Furs and Sandalwood: A Yankee Trader in Hawaii, 1823-1825
Publication: Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1999