Mokuumeume – Ford Island

A view of Ford Island from the Waimalu walking trail.

A view of Ford Island from the Waimalu walking trail.

The Hawaiian name for Ford Island is Mokuumeume. Probably the first name attached to the island was Marin’s island, for Don Francisco de Paula Y Marin was no doubt its first real owner. Archibald Campbell, who visited it in 1810, wrote that it was an isle “belonging to Manina (Marin), the king’s interpreter, in which he keeps a numerous flocks of sheep and goat, hogs and rabbits. It was about two miles in circumference”. The year 1825 produced a new name. A map based on a survey of Pearl Harbor by Lieut, C.R Maiden in that year carries the name of Rabbit Island on the present Ford Island. The map is published in the Paradise of the Pacific of May, 1925.

Dr. Seth Porter Ford was born at Washington, Conn. He arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1851 aboard the ship R.B Forbes from Boston. He was a Physician in the United States Marine Hospital. He owned Mokuumeume or Marin’s Island or Rabbit Island and it at last received the name of Dr Ford. Dr Ford died at the age of 48 years on November 1866. His funeral took place on November 25. “The procession, which embraced the Masonic Brotherhood, numbering about sixty, moved to the Nuuanu Cemetary, where Judge Davis read the Masonic burial service.” Governer Dominis was appointed executor of the estate of Dr. Ford.

Somehow the Island of Ford became a possession of the John Li estate. It passed to Irene Li, daughter of John Li, She married C.A Brown, known familiarly as “Cabbie” or “Bandbox” brown. The Honolulu Plantation had extensive sugar cane fields on Mokuumeume but C.A Brown retained a part of the island near the Peninsula for his country home. There, on Mokuumeume the “Chiefs of Hawaii,” led by Prince Kuhio had many parties. A message dated Sept 26, 1917, was received at Honolulu on that date which read: “Secretary of War approved under date of Sept 16. purchase of entire Ford Island.”

Edwin North McClellan
“Fords Island – “Why the name”
Advertiser ” 1927
Bishop Museum Scrapbook