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The Ward ‘Ohana

Jul 21, 2015

3 Things You Didn’t Know About The Ward ‘Ohana

'O Ke'alekūpuna ke kilo, nāna nō e kuhikuhi nei i ke ala e naue aku ai.

The pathways once traversed by our ancestors are the same paths that we should follow toward success. Just as Victoria Ward cared for her beloved land, so to do we; following in her footsteps to preserve her unique heritage.

Join us for Ward Wednesdays – a series of blogs where we recount the stories of old and immerse ourselves in the history of Victoria Ward and her 'ohana.

As the daughter of James and Rebecca Robinson (who was of Hawaiian descent), Victoria Ward was born in 1846 under the reign of Kamehameha III and was raised by her mother in ke 'ano Hawaii (the Hawaiian style) where Hawaiian was the first language spoken in the household. Throughout her life, Victoria remained deeply connected to the people, culture, and history of Hawaii. In fact, when she married CP Ward in 1865, Kamehameha V and the entire royal court attended the ceremony. Victoria also held a close and very supportive relationship with Queen Lili'uokalani. When the monarchy was overthrown in the 1890s, Victoria expressed her stern disapproval and proved to be an ardent supporter of the Queen. At one point, during the provisional government, she was reported to have forbidden the speaking of English in her presence. When she passed away, in accordance with Hawaiian tradition, many of her personal papers were burned. Before her demise, she had the Hawaiian flag draped from the corners of her four-post bed so she could die beneath the flag of her country.

Although various members of the Ward 'ohana held residences throughout Honolulu, Victoria made her home at the "Old Plantation," as it came to be known, on the land where the Blaisdell Center currently stands. The home, with its sweeping verandas, was built in 1882 by C.J. Wall—the same architect who helped to design 'Iolani Palace. It's been said that many of the carpenters that worked on the Old Plantation also worked on the palace. Surrounded by coconut trees, fishponds, and gardens, Old Plantation was an oasis in the city. However, in 1958 the city purchased Old Plantation and gave tours of the historical residence that housed some of Honolulu's most influential figures before demolishing it to erect the arena.

The ornate "Old Plantation" home, built in 1882 on the land that the Blaisdell Center presently occupies.

CP Ward and Victoria Ward were the parents of seven daughters. While many married, three—Hattie Kulamanu, Lucy Kaika, and Victoria Kathleen— remained on at the Old Plantation. The sisters remained close and the family dined together once a month with their nieces and nephews for lunch at the Wo Fat restaurant in Chinatown. In the 1950s, as they aged, the three unmarried sisters quietly began spending more of their time at the Old Plantation and were rarely seen in public. The last of the seven sisters passed away in 1961. "They were the last of our ali'i," a Hawaiian man recalled in the book, 'Victoria Ward and Her FamilY' written by Frank Ward Hustace III. "We were proud of them, and when they grew old, we began to feel our own age, too."

Some of the seven Ward sisters pose for their photo in front of their home.

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