Obookiah “Henry” Opukahaia

Obookiah “Henry” Opukahaia

Hawaii County, Hawaii, USA
Death 17 Feb 1818 (aged 25–26)
Cornwall, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Cornwall, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
Plot *Cenotaph (Deceased was reinterred in Hawaii. See bio.)
Memorial ID 14564528 · View Source
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Henry Opukahaia was orphaned at age 10 after witnessing the tribal warfare murders of his parents and younger brother. He signed onto a ship leaving Hawaii and eventually wound up at the ship captain's home in New Haven, Connecticut. He was a bright boy, but he had no formal education. One day he sat on the steps of Yale College and explained to a passer-by that he was upset because, "No one gives me learning." (This quote is on the plague at his graveside in Hawaii.) He was taken under the wing of, and into the home of, Yale president, Dr. Timothy Dwight.

Henry embraced Christianity and converted in 1815. In 1816 he enrolled in the new Foreign Mission School, established by the American Board across from the Congregational Church in Cornwall, Connecticut. He became very involved with plans to send missionaries to Hawaii to teach the people about Christ.

He had plans to return to Hawaii himself to preach, but contracted typhus fever and died in 1818 in Cornwall at the age of 26. Henry is credited with starting Hawaii's conversion to Christianity.

On Aug. 15, 1993, Opukahaia's remains were laid in a vault facing the sea at Kahikolu Church near Napoopoo. It was the third church established in Hawaii by missionaries inspired by Opukaha'ia. Hawaii's churches observe the third Sunday in February as a day of commemoration in honor of its first Christian. Obookiah "Henry" Opukahaia

Plaque at the Cornwall, CT grave site:
"In July of 1993, the family of Henry Opukahaia took him home to Hawaii for interment at Kahikolu Congregational Church Cemetery, Napoopoo, Kona, Island of Hawaii. Henry's family expresses gratitude, appreciation and love to all who cared for and loved him throughout the past years. Ahahui O Opukahaia"

  • Maintained by: BSGfan
  • Originally Created by: EOB
  • Added: 10 Jun 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 14564528
  • Lonnie
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Obookiah “Henry” Opukahaia (1792–17 Feb 1818), Find a Grave Memorial no. 14564528, citing Cornwall Cemetery, Cornwall, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by BSGfan (contributor 48615632) .