Voyage to Hawaii
The first boat to ship out a load of German workers was the bark "Cedar" which left Bremen on January 4, 1881. The ship manifest included twenty-one families of 128 individuals. Among these were 14 Swedes and Norwegians, the rest Germans. This first group didn't arrive in Honolulu until June, making the voyage about six months long. They had one birth and five deaths. The next year the "Ioloni" brought nearly 200 more workers and their families. The Germans from this group went to the island of Kilauea. In 1883 the steamer "Ehrenfels," in only a two months voyage, brought over eight hundred passengers. During this voyage, however, twenty-one children died. The surviving immigrants were divided between the plantations Lihu'e and Koloa. Several smaller groups of one to three families continued to arrive on other boats until 1897.
Among the first families to arrive in Honolulu on June 18, 1881 were the Kiesel and Blackstad families. The entire voyage took six months including being dismasted in one of several storms they must have encountered. The following letter describes in great detail what hardships our relative endured. We feel very fortunate to be able to make this story known to other researchers. [immigration records of Bremen, Germany and immigration records to Hawaii after 1860,Hawaii State Archives]
In 1880 two ships left Bremen Germany with labor for Hawaii. They had free passage from Norway but had to sign a contract for three years. One ship left in October and one in November, a cold day in November when the fog came in from Christiania Bay _came in like ice in the Artic_ it went clean through you as you were in a ice machine. I took the train for Bremen to the Consul H.P. Faye as I knew both him and his wife, Ida Knudsen, Waldamar Knudsen's sister. L'Orange was married to their daughter, and he had been a slave trader stealing negroes from Africa and selling them but the English government made it too hot for him. He came to the Pacific Ocean and he went to the Gilbert Islands and he had lots of red blankets and he hung them on the ships' sides and he went ashore and had drinks and gave them drinks and got them on board and when he got enough he sailed away to Hawaii and sold them to the sugar plantations for $100 a piece. That's how Kilipaki came here. But the English found it out so he had to quit. Then Knudsen got him to start Kekaha plantation but he couldn't handle the natives so he had to quit. Anton Faye and William Meier got it. Then he went to Norway for more slaves so I went to see about it, but when I saw the contract they had to sign I would have nothing to do with him. Then I found out a ship was going from Germany with immigrants. I found out from Jacob Faye that he was to send some to his brother so I arranged with him to come along and I paid $600 ($200 for me, $200 for my wife, and $200 for Theodore and Anna). We were to be notified what thime the ship would leave on Dec.25. At noon we got a cable that we had to leave at 4 AM the 26th and I had very little time to take my furniture and other things. And I had 500 Kroner out but no time to collect it although as soon as I came the money was ready for for it was only by the week and I gave some to my father-in-law to collect and we left Christiania at 4, dec, 26 for Goteberg in Sweden where we were to arrive at 8 PM but it was so much snow on the mountain between Norway and Sweden that we had 5 engines _three for the snowplow and two for the train. But we came only Mellerud and there they had made a tunnel through the snow from the railroad to the hotel, and as they locked the railroad cars nothing was taken out and we came in and had a good meal and it was 12 midnight before we gotto bed and then we slept to 7 AM. Then we had breakfast and that cost $1 for night and breakfast for four of us and pretty good at that. Then they made horses 6 feet high from the hotel to the train and layed planks for us to go on as it was no more snow but 6 feet of water as about midnight it started to rain. Then at 8 we left for Goteborg and we arrived at 4 PM. We had one engine going in front in case the track was not safe. Then we would not have any trouble because it was water all over and when we arrived in Goteborg flowers were in blossom like midsummer and they hadn't seen any snow. So we went to Sille Gatan Kjugs Fyra to a man that I knew and there we had it like home, plenty to eat and drink and it cost about 50 cents a day. And on the 30th we took a steamer over Kattegat to Fredricks Havn in Denmark and it was a very rough voyage, but none of us were seasick, and all around on deck they were laying sick. At noon we went down to have dinner so I asked the captain what was the trouble and he said sick. At 4 PM we arrived at Fredricks Havn and then took the train through Denmark to Hamburg and there the snow was as high as the train and cold as at the North Pole. After 14 hours we came to Kiel First place in Germany and then we all had to go through customs house and I never saw people so rough as they were standing in the snow. They open all your clothing, went through your pockets, opened your valises, threw everything in the snow for you to pick up. Then when it came our time, my wife was first and he began the same. Then I spoke to him in German to be careful and he asked me "Are you German ?" and I told him "Ja vool." Then he said "Passen the male on go ahead." and he never looked for anything but we were all stiff from cold. At noon we arrived at Hamburg and then went to the hotel to get something to warm us up and a good meal as we had nothing for 24 hours in the cold railroad cars. We were sitting at a table. In come a customs officer--asks if a man named 0. Blackstad was there. I say "Yes." Then he ask "Do you want anything out of trunk before you leave Germany?" Then I say "No." Then he say "I will seal them up." And that seal was not broken before I came to Kekaha. Well I wanted to go see an old friend of mine in Hamburg but then came order that we had to take this extra train to Bremen as somebody had broken a dam in the river Weser and the whole country was flooded. In Hamburg was all summer like Sweden Then we came on the train. We had one engine going ahead as you could see nothing but water. Some places on high land it was full of cattle, horses, pigs and people and many houses half under water as that part is almost level. And as we arrived at Bremen train could not go any further, for they sat in a boat to light the street lights and the lamps were only about 8 inches above the water and the boats were made fast in the second story of the houses. Then we had to leave the train there and take one other for to come to Gestimynde where the ship was that we should go with. Then we had to go through a cemetery and it was the largest I have seen and it took us over 1/2 hour to go straight through and I had to carry the valise and Anna was tired. When we came to the train for Gestimynde and there we arrived at 12:30 AM and it was raining and not a sail to be seen. And we went to the ship and walked the dock until 6 AM before we saw anybody. So we went out to get something to eat and I went up to the railroad station to get a bottle of cognac, but as Lybeck and Bremen were free states, cities were divided into districts. If you crossed the street from one to the other you had to pay duty. So when I came out with the bottle, policeman came and asked me, "Have you paid duty?". I pretend I didn't understand but he made me go back and when I come back come a sailor and he spoke Russian, Italian, French and finally he spoke Swedish. Then I told him I understand but in the railroad station was no customs officer. Then he spoke to the policeman ____?____ ____?____ . He gave me the corkscrew, I open the bottle and we all had a drink. Then I went and get one more. Then it was O.K. We had one Norwegian with us that said German and he went out and got arrested as he only knew some bad word. So I had to go and be interpreter and I got him free but he was not allowed to come in there any more. So you see we had a fine New Year's Eve. At one in the morning in the rain and cold walked the ship's dock, while second Germans came, 175 labormen, women and children. And I went out in the city and bought several things as I had to see my trunk came on board. And I bought four loaves of bread and if I didn't bought them we had never come here. They lasted us four months and the last piece was just as good as the first. And in the after noon all the Germans had arrived, 175 ships laborers, four cabin passengers, a verterinarian, a far drunken son of a doctor, Willing Gartner Koller, the one that came to Lihue that has planted all the first trees there, 18 sailors and captain, first, second mate, sailmaker, carpenter, and 12 of us. Quite a little family when they all come together. Then come H.H. Hackfield. a man like you old grandfather but with full beard, about 2 feet long, white as snow. He was a fine man. One of the sailors, a Swede, introduced me to him, and we talked German for a long time. He told me it was plenty of food for six months but he hopes we will do it in three. Something for you to think of. Well then a steamer pulled us out and we left Europe for never to return. At 12 PM the steamer left us and at 3 AM we saw the light of Dover, England but it look like a star. And it was pretty rough and any place you look you saw people was laying and calling New York. Some life. For two days we were in the British Channel. Then last glint of land disappeared and we saw none before April when we came to the Strait of Magellan. I will only touch when we passed the Equator on this passage as it is too miserable to describe. It was a beautiful day, in the beginning of March, A Sunday, the Germans wash day. They do nothing all week but on Sunday they a11 washed clothes. But this Sunday not. I think it was too hot for the __?__. On the ships deck was boiling. And we always had clean clothes on Sunday as long as we served together. So I was sitting on the front of the ship reading and I saw the sailor filling a large barrel with water and one was mixing stove blacking and thick grease together in one bucket but I didn't pay any attention to him as I was interested in the story I was reading. First thing I know they begin to take the girls with full clothing on, put them head forward in the water tank for to give them a bath for Neptune as all have to do first time they pass the Equator. And then when they come out of the water they made a cross on their forehead with the black stuff. And then this sailor turns around to me and said "Du Norke Swinehund." And he threw a pail of that black stuff all over me and my whole shirt and face was black. I threw away the book and I jumped down on deck and grabbed the bucket with the grease in it and put it over his head so the bottom fall out of it and I was not to play with them. When he had washed his face so he could see he come for me with his shut knife and I kicked his hand so he lost it. Then first mate come and said, "Halt murderer ! You killed one in Germany before you left. You will try to do the same here and I will put you in irons." That stopped the whole bathing, but at 12 midnight it started raining and we all had a bath _ the only one we had before we came to Honolulu.
Then it got cooler every day as we came to the Strait of Magellan. Then First Mate put up all sail for to have good speed as Strait is narrow and inside wide. So before you come to wide place you drop all sail and you have speed to get through the wide as in there you get wind against you from all sides. Then Captain came up and ordered all sail down except 2 so we just get in and laid there one week and there was nothing but snow. And we saw natives there, naked, go in the snow. Only have skin over their backs. Then we had to go around the Cape Horn and let me tell you it is no fun to go around there in the winter. Your mother and all the others were not on deck one month but I was there every day helping the sailor. After one month sailing ahead we saw the sun and we had gone 60 miles back by the current. Cronometer busted so that time we saw the sun, first mate asked me what time I had and I told him Christiania because I wanted to see how much different it was. And he asked me if I had a good watch and I answer Yes. And the time we had there, I will not write only part of it. We had 5 deaths and 2 births. Nearly everybody was sick. Bernhard Bergersen was sick one month and he went to the toilet one day and he got hold of the door as the ship (game and overholding?) and he swinged around a couple of times. Finally him and the door fall on the deck and first mate and me carry him to bed. And he was laid up one month because he was starved. You see his companion, Baron Anderson, ate up all their grub so he hardly got any.
Before this I stood in the front of the ship one day. It was so foggy you could not see half of the ship. Suddenly I saw land right in front of the ship. I hollered "Land ahead!" First Mate came Brasse sail. We had only two triangle. And as we turned, if it had been beach I could have jumped ashore, but it was a cliff a thousand feet high. Mate say that breakers went 75 feet up on the cliff and everything was ice. A rope as thick as my finger were over 2 inches. One day we had just put up a new sail and a wind broke it like it had been a piece of paper and it sounded like a cannon shot and __?__ we took it downn it was just like they were burnt.
The waves down there were just like mountains with deep valleys between. We had a Red Ship sailing with us for two months and one day it suddenly got lost and we all searched for it for two weeks as they were trying to see if they could save some of them but no sign of it. So one day mate and __?__ was down in freight room for taking up some grub, and I looked up and saw the ship almost in line with the mast from our ship and I called the mate, but before he came it had disappeared and we got up on deck and no sign to be seen of the ship so the mate say it was their ghost. But, when we an hour later, got on top the big wave the Red Ship was right in the way and we went down the mountain side and they went up. And that was cause of it ___ lost because it had been one wave between us. That give you an idea of the water down there.
And, we saw many water spouts, and Cap Doves_ a very fine bird. They stand on water like you do on land and we had a number of them on deck, and albatross and many other birds. Down there see them coming down from the air like an arrow and diving up again with a fish in their bill ___ standing on the water like a man and then fly away to land suppose but we didn't see any more land after that day. He took the sun and got his bearing ___ first mate was the one ___ Capt. was only humbug but he got it later on. I will come to that later. Very seldom a wave break over the ship as they was too large, but salt water always come over the ship from the wind and that salt just like ice. One night we collided with a ship and we was almost thrown out of bed because of the jar on the side. He never carried lanterns you see. The anchor chain got loose on the deck and run in __?__. It sounded like thunder. A few days later about noontime a wave broke over windward side and took half of lay side out on midships. Water barrel on deck got loose and went across the ship and within 2 inches it would have killed me but I had hold of a Kap. That saved me. I only fell but barrel went to __?__ and into the ocean with the side of the ship. Then we got around it and every day it got better. Then we saw Valparaiso in the telescope and weather got to be fine and people that had been in jail 1 1/2 months came on deck again.
One day we saw a flock of big white swans swimming on the ocean and we were over 1000 miles from the shore. Mate took the __?__ after my watch. And finally we saw Hawaii and mate wanted to go farther out but capt. insisted on go closer so he could see if it was Hawaii. First thing we know all sail went flat no wind. There we lay 2 days and 2 nights no wind. We saw the volcanoes at night and only clouds at day. Then we went on. We anchored, I think, between Molokai and Lanai as we had one island on each side. And we had to put out 2 anchors current was so strong at it looked like we were going 10 miles an hour. At 2 AM we hoist sail for Honolulu and as we drop the anchor first mate took the sun 12 noon. Then he said you got a good watch. You are only 2 minutes out and perhaps it is my __?__. When laying off Hawaii we took off the provisions second mate and me. We have 15 barrels of meat, 1 1/2 barrels of bread, 15 hams which we never saw used, 6 cases of tea, 40 barrels of water. Now to show you, that grub was only for 175 Germans, sailors had other grub but that was never open. Now then 223 persons had lived on grub for 175 in 5 1/2 months and still had that balance. Here is one more. We were going ashore but the Germans had to stay 'til some vessel took them to their destination. Then I say, "Captain can we have a drink?" He say, "Alright. Don't give the Germans any. They are going to have dinner." Then they get their ration, 1 bottle to its number if it was one man or 7. Just think laying in the starboard of Honolulu with 40 barrels of water and denies his own nation a drink of water. All that he saved up of provisions he sold in Honolulu and gave the money to a German girl that had been his mistress all along. But he had to suffer for it later as those German cabin passengers had written to Hackfield all about how he handled us all.
The ships name was Cedar and was built in Bordeaux in France in 1853. With cabin for 500 emigrants but it had taken out some of them to give room for freight. It was the finest ship ever entered the harbor of Honolulu as it was all painted up and it was brass all overit and it looked like a demon in the sun.
Then we finally left for the shore and I tell you it was a sight something unusual on shore. We were met by about 150 men, women and children all dressed like Eve in Paradise. Only a few of them had a malo on and they looked like negroes to us who had not seen brown people. As you see they all were sun burnt, always go without clothes on. As we landed we all had to go in quarantine as it was small pox in the city and if we went in there we could not go out again as long as it was quarantined. Well, we were there nearly two weeks. As we landed they had Chinese to carry our flabingest and there I saw something I never forgot. The Chinese always carry everything on sticks and one of my trunks weighed 500 lbs. So the man that was boss got a large wheelbarrow for them to carry that on and he helped them to get it on and showed them how to use it but they all begin to talk something we did not understand. Then they all put their sticks under the wheelbarrow and carried the whole thing.
There we had good grub _ something unusual to us that had been starved for 5 1/2 months. So finally one day the Thomas Bishop came and took us to Kauai. We left Honolulu at 5 PM for Nawiliwili __ came there about 6 AM. Laid there the whole day and in the evening we left for Kipoikai. There we laid that second night. Then we left for Koloa and Eleele and then came to Kekaha about 8 PM but it was too rough to land so we had to go back to Waimea. There we landed at 11 PM. Then we had to walk to Kekaha and arrived there at 12 in the night and had nothing to eat from the time we left Hono1u1u___ only a few crackers the men in the quarantine station gave us. That ended our wonderful voyage to Hawaii.
Then I will give a little of what happened to our wonderful Captain in Honolulu. All his sailors left him except First Mate, and Christian the Swedish sailor and Jan Roos, the murderer that I had trouble with. They all wanted to get to San Francisco and they loaded with sugar for that port. Then all left him and they loaded with cotton and kerosene for Germany and then he got an American crew and after being out one week they went for the captain and told him they wanted some different grub as they was not used to hard tack and Svartre Knakin as the Germans called the black crackers that we got. They look exactly as a ___?____ when it is hard and dry. That was what we had been living on all time except every dinner we got soup that was made of salted meat and pork. And he always got two buckets of sea water to put in to save the fresh. Well, he came against them with a revolver and told them to behave and they told him to go into to Panama and get new grub. They had very good wind and the Cedar made easy 10 miles and hour, so the Mate told them they had passed Panama a week ago and they went for him again and when he showed his revilver the first mate told them they were near Valparaiso and they asked him to go in there for new grub and he anchored and went in but not for grub but for holding them up for mutiny and as he left the ship took fire and the sailors had all they could do to get into the boat and get ashore and as the boat had not been in the water for perhaps two years it leaked like a sieve. As the captain came to the German consul, the Americans went to the Amerincan Consul and the captain nearly landed in jail for going to sea and not having boats and life buoys. So he cabled H. Hackfield in Bremen for help and Hackfield answered he had no more to do with him. In fact he was just like a dog that is driven from house to house and at last he died in the poor men's house as he had always been troubled with Swine Toth. I never knew the English name for that sickness, only the German.
One of the cabin passengers with us is the one who came to Lihue and planted all them pine trees there, but I have forgotten his name. And the gardner, Mr. Willing _ he was the one who had the Royal Hawaiian gardens on King Street next to the old plantation where they now have built the annex to McKinley High School He got married to a German girl that came out with us by name Stina Stag. And the Veterinary surgeon, Mr. Ring_ he went to the U.S.A. and Kahler came to Otto Isenberg to be bookkeeper but it didn't last long as he only wanted to drink. Johan Bourke that came out with us is a brother of Aug. Bourke that came out from Germany with the Ehrenfals in 1883. He had five children. One of his daughters married to Mr. Winter that used to be engineer with Lihue sugar mill and his son Karl used to drive a train at Kekaha.
Martin Blackstad was born the 18 Sept. 1854 in Landrud, Eidsvoll, Norway. He died 15 June 1932 in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii. The letter was written about a year before his death. There are many, many descendants with the Blackstad surname still living on the island of Kauai.
Martin was passenger #120 on the passengers list when they arrived at the port of Honolulu on 18 June 1881. He was listed as Jenssen Blackstedt. His wife, Maren, and his son and daughter, Theodor and Anna, are also listed. Maren was listed as Marie. Martin went to Hawaii to do carpentry work on the sugar plantations
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