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#23 Kumeric

Passengers, Who Are A Fine Lot of Immigrants, To Be Landed on Quarantine Island

The British ship Kumeric, Captain Baird, bringing 1058 Portuguese Immigrants from Funchal, Madeira, arrived off port last night at 6 o’clock and will come into the quarantine dock early this morning. There were 3 deaths from small-pox and on the way over and a good many more cases in which all the patients recovered. There are 5 cases on board at the present time, all convalescing.

When the Kumeric was sighted off port, Dr. Moore went out in the Customs launch to meet her. He was accompanied by Collector of Port E.R. Stackable, Acting Governor Atkinson, an Advertiser reporter, and the regular boarding force of the Customs and Immigration authorities. When nearing the Kumeric it was seen that Captain Macaulay, the pilot, who had gone out to meet the vessel was not on board and it was supposed at that time that there was contagious sickness of some kind on the ship. Dr. Moore, therefore, was the only person on the launch to go up the Kumeric’s gangway, which she lowered at once.

He remained on board for about 20 minutes, then returning to make his report to Dr. Cofer, who was waiting at the Fort Street wharf. The latter immediately decided to go on board himself to make a closer investigation of the matter. He found that the 3 deaths from smallpox had occurred, 2 on May 17, 1907, 16 days after leaving Funchal, and one more two days later. There were cases cropping out every now and then throughout the entire trip, but how many he was unable to state on account of the fact that the doctor’s records had not been made up when he was on board.

The Kumeric will come along side the Quarantine dock this morning and her passengers will be landed. They will be kept on the Quarantine Island for 14 days and, if other cases have not occurred by that time, will then be given their liberty. The members of the crew will be kept in Quarantine as well as the passengers and for the same length of time, while the vessel will be thoroughly disinfected.

At the time the Kumeric left Funchal, there was 200 cases of small-pox in the city and it was from this source that the sickness came. Dr. Cofer states that the two doctors on the Kumeric, one English and one Portuguese, and two nurses, both English, are greatly to be praised for their work in keeping down the disease.

If it had not been for the precautions taken by Collector Stackable before the immigrants were allowed to go on board the Kumeric, there is no telling how many deaths might have occurred. Each immigrant was vaccinated before being allowed on the vessel and this, in a good great measure, accounts for the light attacks of the disease which were experienced by those who were taken down on the way over.

The Immigrants themselves are a fine looking lot, being stronger and sturdier than the Spaniards who came on the S.S. Heliopolis. They greeted the launch, as she came along side the ship, with waving of hats and cheers, and when it left for the shore, they cheered so lustily that it sounded like a football yell in a mainland college.

There are a great many children on board, and they seem as a rule to be younger than in the case of the S.S. Heliopolis immigrants and are very lightly clothed, in single garment being all that many of them have on and that one, none too expensive. The men are a strong looking lot and everyone seems to have a satisfied look which showed that they had experienced good treatment on the way to this city.

Collector Stackable stated to the Advertiser reporter as the launch was coming in that the immigrants appeared to be more healthy and in a better physical condition than they were when they went on board the vessel.

The women are hardly as good looking as was the case with the Spanish senoras, but there were one or two visible who were really beauties and they seem to know of the fact. Both men and women were clean to their personal appearance though they showed poverty. The women’s hair was tidy and that of the men carefully cut.

Among the passengers of the S.S. Kumeric is a Mr. Hendricks, a representative of the Bureau of Immigration from Washington D.C. He was sent to Funchal, Madeira, for the purpose of seeing that the immigrants were treated with every consideration possible and seems to be perfectly satisfied.

There were two nurses on board the vessel, the Misses Poppleton, two English girls of good family who took this opportunity of seeing something of the world. Collector Stackable speaks of them in the very highest terms.

The S.S. Kumeric made a fine passage from Lota, the last port at which she sailed, putting in there to get coal. She made the 5909 miles in 22 days, which is considered very good time for a vessel of her class. In speaking of the conditions on board the S.S. Kumeric, Dr. Moore seemed to be very favorably impressed. There were by no means as many passengers on her as there were on the S.S. Heliopolis and she seems to be a more roomy vessel. She was in fine looking condition on reaching this port, on June 27, 1907.


Yesterday afternoon four hundred of the Portuguese brought from Funchal by the S.S. Kumeric were released from quarantine and brought over to the Immigrant sheds for inspections. The majority of them were passed by the inspectors with only a routine questioning, and the few held for further examination will probably pass muster when their reexamination comes. The immigrants are undoubtedly the best appearing lot that has so far been brought to the islands. It may be that their detentions on Quarantine Island has given them an opportunity to clean up and recover from the hardships incidental to a long voyage in an immigrant ship, but, whatever the cause, their appearance yesterday, was such as is, impress favorably everyone who saw them.

“I am certainly greatly pleased with the appearance of these people” said Inspector of Immigration Brown, after some two hundred of them had passed through the aisles of the receiving room and had joined their waiting friends outside the gate of the sheds. “I should think too, that The Territorial Board of Immigration should be greatly pleased with them, for a better appearing lot of persons has never before passed through this office. The men are strong and sturdy looking, the women are good looking and the children are clean and to all appearance healthy. Whatever these people do, whether they go out on the plantation or not, they are an acquisition to the Territory. They show that a great deal of care and discrimination has been shown in selecting them for transportation here.”


While the majority of the newcomers are agricultural laborers, there are many tradesmen and mechanics among them and some of them have fair amount of money. Among the very first examined by the authorities was a particular dandy, a young man dressed in a well-fitted suit, high standup collar and carrying a neat walking stick. At the Planter’s shed, when asked his name and destination, he informed the clerk that he had been the overseer of his father’s sugar plantation at home and expected to go into the sugar business here. He did not appear to be looking for any job in the canefields, however, and paid little attention to the list of available plantations.

Many of the Portuguese are anxious to get at work and settle at once, but there are also a number who are not so anxious, informing questioner yesterday that they preferred to first consult their friends and relatives here before deciding what they would do. There was none of the anxiety for jobs displayed as there was among the recently arrived Spaniards, and few remained at the station after being formally admitted to the American Territory. As soon as they had answered the questions of the authorities they passed through the adjoining premises to register their names and numbers with the clerks representing the Planters and then hurried out through the big gates to where a group of Honolulu Portuguese waited for them in the street.

Here greetings and exuberant welcomes were given them from relatives and friends and many questions asked and answered from both sides. There were very few of the waiters outside of the gates who appeared to be idly curious. Nearly everyone there was present to meet someone and went away as soon as the waited ones appeared.


The fumigated baggage of the newcomers was brought over to the channel wharf by the Pioneer and was neatly piled out in the shed to await claimants. A first glance at this pile of baggage conveyed the impression that it was that of the first-class passengers of some big liner. The trunks and boxes were for the most part new and among these were more wicker steamer chairs than probably ever before came to Honolulu on one steamer. There must have been more than fifty of these of all shapes and sizes, but all new and particularly well woven. One or two big bundles of the reeds from which the chairs were made went to show that the chairs were the handiwork of the owners themselves, suggesting a new Hawaiian weaving and plaiting industry. Many of the trunks were of this woven wicker work. Among the baggage were numerous bird cages, also of wicker, and the collection of livestock within them included doves, canaries, parrots, rabbits and other small deer. Scores of the stringed musical instruments, violins, guitars, zithers were piled around as well as a number of what looked very much like the ukulele.


The inspection being given by the immigration officers is exactly the same as that given to any of the other immigrants that arrived at this port. The rumor that was circulated about the city on Wednesday that at least two hundred of the Portuguese were to be refused admission, presumably to embarrass the new charterers of the S.S. Kumeric, is declared by Inspector Brown to be the wildest kind of invention. If 200 or any numbers of the newcomers are to be refused admission it will not be because of coming on any steamer. About the only appreciable difference to be noted in the examination of these people is that it is being done with less confusion than was the case with those that arrived on the S.S. Suveric and the S.S. Heliopolis, the reason being that they are being sent over from the Quarantine Station in batches of 200, preventing any crowding and making the work easier for the officials. “We will examine these people in exactly the same way as we would any other,” said Inspector Brown. “Those that pass at once will be turned loose to do as they see fit, those who fail to pass at once will be held here to await the action of the Board and those who finally failed to pass will be deported. We will work tonight until about dark and by that time will have examined the 400 so far brought over. So far very few have not been passed at once, Tomorrow morning we will start in as soon as the first batch arrives. They will be brought over from the Quarantine Station at half past six o’clock. By tomorrow night we will have passed nearly all of them. If there are any to be refused admission I will notify Davies & Co. as soon as the Board has decided.”


The Portuguese Consul A. de S. Canavarro, was at the Immigrant office all yesterday afternoon, spending a great deal of his time with those who had been told to stand aside for the present. Among these was one family with a number of small children and two or three women. Other officials who had business at the Immigration office yesterday was the United States Marshal Hendry and the United States attorney, R.W. Breckons. Their arrival in a hack on the scene of operations boded nothing of importance, however, the Marshal stated in reply to questions that there was nothing doing.

Newcomers Admitted to the Land Without Delay -- All Are Well Pleased

By 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon all the S.S. Kumeric Portuguese had passed through the hands of the Inspector of Immigration Brown with the exception of about 50 who are being held for further examination. This will probably be down to the least desirable by tonight, when what few are to be definitely refused will be turned back to the S.S. Kumeric agents and the rest allowed entry. Of those held up so far, eleven are detained because of trachoma, being held for a further diagnosis. None, as yet, have been definitely rejected and Inspector Brown could not say yesterday whether any or all of the fifty would be held.

The Immigrants commenced to come from the Quarantine Island early yesterday morning and was passed through the examination room as rapidly as was possible. By 3 o’clock only a few remained, among these being some of the stowaways. Concerning these stowaways, who are fine looking young men, it is stated by Consul Canavarro that the fact that they were stowaways at all was due to a misunderstanding. When the recruiting began in Funchal, Madeira, for the S.S. Kumeric it was announced that only men who had families would be taken. The young men who later stowed away were ambitious to come to Hawaii and better their conditions, but they had not the qualified families to get them aboard. Consequently they failed to apply for passports, although it was deemed advisable later to take on a number of single men. In the Planter’s Association shed yesterday, the principal question that the clerks were called upon to answer was as to how the newcomers could quickly get their luggage. The question of going to work was one that few of them wished to decide upon before having a consultation with relatives and nine out of ten had relatives or friends waiting for them outside the gates. As soon as the newcomers and their relatives would meet, all would hurry off to the direction of the rapid transit line, the Alakea Street branch doing a big business all day in taking people to and from Punchbowl. In very many cases this ride was the first one ever taken in a street car, and although none of the Portuguese were noted stepping off the cars backwards, all hung grimly on to the back of the seat in front of them and with looks of determination to take whatever was coming.

Those who landed on Thursday and had had a chance to talk over the Plantation situation with their friends here returned to the Planter’s shed yesterday and announced that they were ready to go to work. In nearly every instance the applicants stated that they would prefer to go to either the Ewa or the Waipahu Plantations, but the number applying is more than these plantations want. The management of Ewa has sent word that only those among the newcomers who have relatives at the Plantation can be taken. The number needed at the Waipahu Plantation is limited also, so the laborers will, many of them, be sent over to other Islands, some going today.

Throughout the examinations the Portuguese Immigrants have been easy to handle and there has not been the least suspicion of ill-temper or rowdy among them. Of the treatment accorded them on the S.S. Kumeric and by the various officials they have met since landing, the Immigrants have only words of praise to say, and the officials are returning the compliment.

Three Immigrants Make Short Stay and Start for the Coast

That all the Immigrants that came on the S.S. Kumeric, did not come with the intention of remaining in Hawaii, was shown when the S.S. China sailed for the Coast. Among the passengers who left was three Portuguese, two women and a man, who came over from the Quarantine Island only Saturday and who had no intention of remaining in Hawaii any longer than was necessary. They were perfectly frank in their statement, that they had only come over on the S.S. Kumeric because it was the cheapest way in which they could reach the mainland. They disclaimed any intention of staying here and thought that their stratagem, through which the Board of Immigration had paid their passage here, was about as clever as could be thought of. One of the women was apparently very well educated and had money. She wore a number of valuable rings and seemed to be well satisfied with herself and with everything in general. She talked fairly good English. When asked why she would not stay in this Territory, she laughed and said: “What use is there in my staying here. I can not make any money here, but in San Francisco I can get a good job and make plenty of money. I never thought of staying here. I have friends in California, but have none here. I want to go there and will have a good time with plenty of money and not hard work. I have money now.” She then proceeded to show a handful of bills, all of rather small denomination, but she evidently had upwards of $150.00 in her possession. From information given by interpreters and others in the Immigration service, it is learned that a large number of the Portuguese who came on the S.S. Kumeric will leave for the Coast as soon as they have enough money to pay their passage on a steamer. They have evidently come here with that intention.

Excerpts taken from the Pacific Commercial Advertiser. State of Hawaii Library on microfilm, State of Hawaii Archives.

Thank you to Sandy Sakai for this contribution.
© 2003 Melody Lassalle

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