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ISLAND HISTORY: Joseph Lovell, kama‘aina forefather of Kaua‘i’s Lovell ‘ohana

Joseph Lovell (1806-86), the forefather of Kaua‘i’s Lovell ‘ohana, was born in England.

When and why he left England, and exactly when he settled in the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, is not available in the public record.

However, it is known that he resided in Massachusetts for some time prior to settling in Hawai‘i.

Lovell was a carpenter by trade and in appearance he was 5 feet 8 inches tall with red hair, blue eyes and a freckled complexion.

He married Mele Holokahiki (1817-1910), a woman of 100 percent Hawaiian ancestry, in 1837 on O‘ahu. They were the parents of eight children: Loika Haili, Louisa, John Kekuhaupio, Elijah, William Kekaua, Jannie Kimi, Daniel Kaopaulu, and Joseph Jr. Lovell.

In 1847, he became a naturalized citizen of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i.

A year later, he was peddling goods in the streets of Honolulu.

Then in 1849, an advertisement published in a Honolulu newspaper informed readers that he had opened a blacksmith shop near the Honolulu Custom House and was looking to hire one or two good journeymen of temperate habits.

The ad further stated that his shop would provide all sorts of blacksmithing services with particular attention paid to horse shoeing.

There is also a record of a passport being issued to him dated May 29, 1849, for passage from Honolulu to California on the ship “Mary,” which may indicate that he participated in the California gold rush.

Another record, also dated 1849, is of Joseph Lovell being the registered owner of the small schooners “Lydia” and “Spry.”

Such schooners were the mainstay of interisland transportation in Hawai‘i for much of the 19th century.

Joseph Lovell also worked as a carpenter in Maui for a spell and was employed as a carpenter by Grove Farm Plantation owner George Norton Wilcox in 1865.

Kaua‘i philanthropist Dora Rice Isenberg (1862-1949) once said that Lovell, William Hyde Rice and others would go to Nawiliwili Landing to get mail in the late 1800s.

In 1883, Joseph Lovell was residing at Nawiliwili in a cozy house amid taro patches and mango trees.

He died at Nawiliwili in 1886.
Source: The Garden Island

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