A Hawaiian Lady – Ellen Kamae

25 Jul

Ellen Kamae was a half sister of Joseph Kauhimaka my Great-great-grandfather through my FERNANDEZ line. They shared the same mother Anahua.  She was born in April 1858 and died at the age of 70 in March 1929.

Ellen falls into the history books due to her marriage to the prominent Chinese merchant Goo Kim Fui (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goo_Kim_Fui). He came to Hawaii in 1867 and married Ellen in 1872. Mr. & Mrs. Goo Kim were members of the Bethel Church under the pastorate of the Rev. Dr. Damon. Source: Annual Report, Volume 86 by the Hawaiian Evangelical Association “A Pioneer Chinese Christian”

Together they had the following children: Annie A., Ella S.Y.  and John K..  Annie and Ella took up teaching positions at Royal School and Kaahumanu Elementary respectively and were also very active in the operations of the Aala Sunday School their father pastored. (1910 US Census)

She is in the 1900 Census as Kamae Goo and her husband as Kim Goo.  It states that she had four children with only two living… so will have to uncover where Ella comes in as only Annie and John are listed as children.. There are a few other children listed as a neice and boarder.. so perhaps one of these children were hanai’d or adopted as their own later.  Ellen’s brother Joe Kauhimaka, sister Kuhihewa married to Aaron KANAI, and her mother Anahua are in nearby households.

Goo Kim Fui and my great-great-grandfather LEE Toma were from the same province of China.  Goo Kim was a contemporary and friend of LEE Toma which shows the link between my LEE and KAUHIMAKA lines much earlier in Honolulu history then the meeting of my Great-grandmother’s at Ma’eMa’e Chapel which later led to the marriage of their children / my grandparents Marilyn Han Jin LEE and Lino FERNANDEZ III.

Both LEE Toma and Goo Kim Fui are buried at Makiki Cemetery in the Chinese Christian section. Goo Kim Fui precedes Ellen in death in 1908. He and Ellen Kamae are buried in a gated section on the lower walkway near the Wilder Street Corner.  Their son John Kameeualani Yin Fook Goo Kim (1889 – 1963) is also in the family cemetery plot in a nearby grave.

Headstones at Makiki Cemetery of Ellen & Goo Kim Fui

Headstones at Makiki Cemetery of Ellen & Goo Kim Fui

She was a remarkable woman dedicated to her husband’s Christian values in uplifting the Chinese community and building the Chinese Christian faith and following in Honolulu and beyond.  She learned his language and traveled with him to Leen Tong to erect a church.

“Mrs. Goo Kim accommodated herself to this change in life and work so gracefully as to make a strong impression upon her husband’s country folk.” Source: The Friend, Volume LXV, Number 6, 1 June 1908 Edition 01 – The State of Hawaii.

An influencer in the elite circles of Honolulu life – Ellen’s prowess stood on its own and afforded her invites to the most posh events like those hosted by the Dillinghams or Queen Liliuoukalani.  She hosted her own share of gala events like her husband’s 60th birthday bash in their Nuuanu home (on Liliha between Judd and Wylie).  Ellen could often be found traveling with the who’s who of Honolulu on occasions like an impromptu lava viewing excursion aboard the steamer Kinau.

Other Sources & References

1878 – pupils for the Sabbath School at Makiki are from Mr. Goo Kim’s rice field in Waikiki.



1880 – Property Ownership – Transfer of deed  [IMAGE]  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cosmorific/4716330473/

Transfer of deed….
Mika Kauhao to Samuel Smith, then Samuel Smith to Ellen Kamae Goo Kim on Feb. 20, 1880, 4pm.


1887 – Lava Flow viewing excursion aboard the Kinau – but too late for the show from madam Pele

The daily herald. (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands), 07 Feb. 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85047239/1887-02-07/ed-1/seq-2/>


1897 – Goo Kim’s 60th Birthday Dinner — hosted lunch for the Chinese ladies as thanks at their home on Nuuanu Avenue

The Hawaiian gazette. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]), 22 Oct. 1897. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025121/1897-10-22/ed-1/seq-1/>


1904 Children: Daughters help with Sunday School at AALA MISSION.



1905 – Mention of daughter Annie Goo Kim

The Independent. (Honolulu, H.I.), 07 July 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85047097/1905-07-07/ed-1/seq-4/>


1908 –

The Friend, Volume LXV, Number 6, 1 June 1908 Edition 01 — THE STATE OF HAWAII. [ARTICLE+ILLUSTRATION]

he married a Hawaiian lady, Miss Ellen Kamae, a most fortunate and happy union. Mrs. Goo Kim set herself to learn her husband’s language and succeeded remarkably well.

In — therefore he and his wife went to Leen Tong and labored with such success that he was soon enabled to erect a Church building, for which he himself paid,and to gather a number of converts. Mrs. Goo Kim accommodated herself to this change in life and work so gracefully as to make a strong impression upon her husband’s country folk. After…years of successful evangelism the exigencies of business called Mr. and Mrs. Goo Kim back to Honolulu.


1908 – Mrs. Goo Kim — aboard the Bethel Street Workers Reunite Train Ride and Dinner party hosted by the Dillinghams

Evening bulletin. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii), 04 June 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016413/1908-06-04/ed-1/seq-4/>

1913 – At Queen Lilioukalani’s 75th birthday at Washington Palace:

Honolulu star-bulletin. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii), 06 Sept. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014682/1913-09-06/ed-1/seq-13/>

8 Responses to “A Hawaiian Lady – Ellen Kamae”

  1. jamie March 18, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    i have pictures of ellen kamae and goo kim fui also annie goo kim

    • purealoha March 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

      Thank you very much. Hope we can exchange and share resources.

  2. Rachael hagner March 19, 2014 at 8:06 am #

    Hello Purealoha: My name is Rachael Leu Hagner and I am the great-ganddaughter of Goo Kim Fui and Ellen Kamae. Annie Goo Kim Awana was my grandmother and I spent 11 wonderful years with her.

    This was a most well researched and written article. I can shed some light on your questions:

    Annie and John were Goo Kim Fui and Ellen Kamae’s children. Ella was adopted. Goo Kim “adopted” quite a few children, according to my mother, and many have the surname of “Goo.” I just drove past the gravesite yesterday. In fact, I grew up on a street near the cemetery and walked past the graves every day to and from school. Also buried there are my grandmother and Grandfather. There is grave of baby in there also so that might have been the fourth child.

    I live in San Francisco and my cousin, Jamie Awana, sent me your blog. However, I am currently in Honolulu until Monday to help and care for my mom, the youngest of Annie and James Awana’s 5 children. I can give you more info, but would like to get more from you too.

    Here’s my phone no: 41/420-6421

    • purealoha September 11, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

      Aloha Rachael. Sorry i hadn’t seen this comment sooner — Let me know next time you plan to be in Honolulu – -I’d love to schedule a coffee or tea chat with you.

      • Rachael Hagner October 29, 2014 at 10:04 am #

        Hello again: I did not see your response as don’t go on this blog often. I will be in Honolulu for my aunty’s (Ivy Awana Mau, granddaughter of Ellen Kamae and my mother’s sister) funeral–Nov. 12-16 and then again for longer stay Dec. 26-Jan. 10. Please contact me at rae@hagner.org and maybe we can exchange some data. I am most interested in learning more about the family.

        Rae Hagner

  3. jamie September 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    I told you you would like this article cousin… have tea for me too.

  4. Debbie Young April 4, 2022 at 2:13 pm #

    Aloha Purealoha, I just found this wonderful article with so much info. My grandmother Ella is hanai daughter to Goo Kim Fui and Ellen Kamae. I did meet ohana when my tutu passed. I do not have a way to contact any ohana as my mother (daughter of Ella Wong) has passed.
    I look forward to someday hearing back from you.
    Debbie Young

    • Rae Hagner May 20, 2022 at 10:38 am #

      Hi Debbi: i am the great-granddaughter of Ellen Kamae. My grandmother was Annie Goo Kim Awana and my mother was Annie’s youngest daughter, Camellia.

      I know of you and have met your mother and father. I also know you are classmate of my good friend, Carole Tsuchiya Harlow. I own several sketches and watercolors gf your Dad’s and a horse ink painting.

      I live in SF but will be in Honolulu for the summer and would be interested in meeting you. Carole will be there too in July.

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