Elizabeth Kekaaniau

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Elizabeth Kekaʻaniau
Ambrotype of Elizabeth Kekaaniau, c. 1859, Honolulu Museum of Art (cropped).png
Born (1834-09-12)September 12, 1834
Laʻanui Estate, Waialua, Oahu
Died December 20, 1928(1928-12-20) (aged 94)
Honolulu, Oahu
Burial Oahu Cemetery
Spouse Franklin Seaver Pratt
Issue Theresa Owana Laʻanui (adopted)
Eva Kuwailanimamao Cartwright (adopted)
Full name
Elizabeth Kekaikuihala Kekaʻaniauokalani Kalaninuiohilaukapu Laʻanui
House House of Kamehameha
House of Laanui
Father High Chief Gideon Peleʻioholani Laʻanui
Mother High Chiefess Theresa Owana Kaheiheimalie Rives
Signature Elizabeth Kekaʻaniau's signature

Elizabeth Kekaʻaniau Laʻanui Pratt, full name Elizabeth Kekaikuihala Kekaʻaniauokalani Kalaninuiohilaukapu Laʻanui Pratt (12 September 1834 – 20 December 1928) was a great grandniece of Kamehameha I, being a great granddaughter of Kalokuokamaile, the older brother of Kamehameha I, founder of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Early life[edit]

She was born September 12, 1834 in her family home at Waialua. She was given the name Elizabeth after her mother's adoptive mother Queen Elizabeth Kaʻahumanu, and the Hawaiian name after High Chiefess Kekaikuihala, her father's older sister. Her full name was Elizabeth Kekaikuihala Kekaʻaniauokalani Kalaninuiohilaukapu Laʻanui.[1][2] Her father was High Chief Gideon Peleʻioholani Laʻanui who escaped the slaughter of Kawaihae when Keōua Kūʻahuʻula was killed. Her mother was High Chiefess Theresa Owana Kaheiheimalie Rives, a relative of Queen Kaʻahumanu and daughter of Kamehameha II's French Secretary Jean Baptiste Rives. Through her father's first marriage to Namahana Piʻia, she was the step-niece of Queen Kaʻahumanu.[3] She was of one quarter French and three quarter Native Hawaiian descent.[4]

At a young age, she was placed in the Chiefs' Children's School, also known as the Royal School, a select school for the royal children of the highest rank who were eligible to be rulers. Along with her other classmates, she was chosen by Kamehameha III to be eligible for the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii.[5][6][7] Called Lizzy by her classmates, she was taught by the missionary couple Juliette Montague and Amos Starr Cooke. In the classroom students were divided by their age and length of time at the school. she was a member of the senior level class.[8] During their Sunday procession to church it was customary for boys and girls to walk side by side, she would walk beside James Kaliokalani, the eldest brother of future monarchs Kalākaua and Liliʻuokalani.[9] During her school years, she developed a close relationship with her cousins Emma (who married Kamehameha IV and became queen consort) and Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who later founded Kamehameha Schools. She was one of the few invited guest at the wedding of the latter and served as bridesmaid and lady-in-waiting to the former.[10][11][12][13]

Marriage and later life[edit]

She married Franklin Seaver Pratt (1829–1894) on April 27, 1864.[14] Pratt, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, was a respected businessman and sugar plantation owner and held a few court and governmental positions during the monarchy. However, he was kept on the "periphery of power".[4][15] They became close friends and associates of Queen Emma. Kekaʻaniau was present at the deathbed of King Kamehameha V with Queen Emma, Pauahi and other members of the royal court. She later claimed that the dying monarch had offered her the throne before asking Pauahi to succeed him. Historian James L. Haley noted that if this was true she would have a been a strong candidate, being a descendant of an elder brother of the kingdom's founder. Neither women accepted and Kamehameha V died without naming an heir.[4][16] After the death of Kamehameha V's elected successor King Lunalilo, the Pratts became supporters of Queen Emma during her unsuccessful candidacy during the royal election of 1874 against Kalākaua.[17] During the final years of the monarchy, the Pratts lived in San Francisco where her husband served as Hawaiian Consul General for the Pacific states of Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada, until the time of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.[15][18]

Gravestone at Oahu Cemetery

After the Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, her husband defended her traditional claims to the Hawaiian crown lands as an heir of Kamehameha III and was removed from his government post as Hawaiian Consul. These lands transferred to the United States Federal Government after the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands in 1898. During Queen Liliʻuokalani's attempts to seek restitution and compensation for the lost crown lands, Kekaʻaniau and her niece Theresa Owana Laʻanui petitioned in 1903 the Senate Subcommittee on the Pacific Islands and Puerto Rico in order to support the petition of the queen.[19] Following the death of Liliʻuokalani in 1918, Kekaʻaniau became the last survivor of the Royal School. In 1920, Kekaʻaniau wrote History of Keoua Kalanikupuapa-i-nui: Father of Hawaii Kings, and His Descendants, with Notes on Kamehameha I, First King of All Hawaii, as a tribute to her great-grandfather Keōua Kalanikupuapaʻikalaninui Ahilapalapa and his descendants.[20][21] She died at the age of 94 in Honolulu, Oahu, on December 20, 1928. She was buried at the Oahu Cemetery.[21][22] Her book was republished in 1999 by her great-great nephew, David Castro. It was republished again in 2009. Castro also wrote a biography of her titled Princess Elizabeth Kekaaniau Laanui: Member of the Kamehameha Dynasty, Eligible to Hawaiian the Throne in 2008.[20][23][24]


The Pratts did not have any children of their own, although they adopted her niece, Theresa Owana Laʻanui, daughter of her younger brother Gideon Kailipalaki Laʻanui II, after he died in 1871. She married four times and had descendants by her first and second husband: Alexander Cartwright III, son of Honolulu fire chief Alexander Cartwright, and Robert William Wilcox, a Hawaiian revolutionary leader and the first Congressional Delegate from the Territory of Hawaii.[25][26][27] The Pratts also later adopted Alexander and Theresa's younger daughter Eva Kuwailanimamao Cartwright. who married Dwight Styne and had descendants.[22]

These descendants continue to claim to be the rightful successors of the Kamehameha line and claimant to the Hawaiian crown lands through Kekaʻaniau's status as the last surviving member of the Royal School. One notable contemporary member of this family is Hawaiian musician and activist Owana Salazar who with her son were involved with the Hawaiian activist group Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi from 1988 to 1998.[28][29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pratt 1920, pp. 50–51.
  2. ^ Cooke & Cooke 1937, p. vi.
  3. ^ Pratt 1920, pp. 9–17, 43–51.
  4. ^ a b c Haley 2014, p. 216.
  5. ^ Pratt 1920, pp. 52–55.
  6. ^ "Princes and Chiefs eligible to be Rulers". The Polynesian. 1 (9). Honolulu. July 20, 1844. p. 1. 
  7. ^ Van Dyke 2008, p. 364.
  8. ^ Kanahele 1999, pp. 30–34.
  9. ^ Liliuokalani 1898, pp. 1–9.
  10. ^ Kanahele 1999, p. 68.
  11. ^ Krout 1908, p. 100.
  12. ^ Kanahele 2002, p. 73.
  13. ^ Cooke & Cooke 1937, p. 344.
  14. ^ Hawaiʻi State Archives (2006). "Pratt marriage record". Marriages – Oahu (1832–1910). Retrieved June 5, 2014 – via Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library. 
  15. ^ a b "Pratt, Franklin S.office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  16. ^ Krout 1908, pp. 210–211.
  17. ^ Kanahele 1999, p. 285.
  18. ^ "Frank S. Pratt Dead – He Passes Away Late Yesterday Afternoon". The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu. January 12, 1894. p. 4. Retrieved December 22, 2016. 
  19. ^ Van Dyke 2008, pp. 229, 365.
  20. ^ a b Pratt 1920, p. front.
  21. ^ a b Haley 2014, p. 244.
  22. ^ a b Nucciarone 2009, p. 113.
  23. ^ Pratt 1999, p. front.
  24. ^ Castro 2008, p. front.
  25. ^ McKinzie 1983, pp. 33–38.
  26. ^ Pratt 1920, p. 361.
  27. ^ Van Dyke 2008, p. 363.
  28. ^ Van Dyke 2008, pp. 362–367.
  29. ^ Boylan, Dan (August 7–13, 1998). "Battle Royal". Midweek. Honolulu. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • "Elizabeth". The Royal Family of Hawaii Official Site Elizabeth. Ke Ali'i Publishing. Retrieved March 8, 2010.