OHE May 14, 1999 (Gladstone Wright Memorial)

From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" <802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>

Re Greg's message about rocks, liability, etc.

How many of you are familiar with the Gladstone Wright memorial? Since it is directly relevant to the discussion, I'll type in the text of a May 19,1991, article by Bob Krauss from the Honolulu Advertiser, p. A-3.

"Research of Manoa Rock breaks a century of silence"

The 100-year-old mystery of the Manoa Rock celebrated a bittersweet birthday last week when Gene Dickens made a pilgrimage to the stone that has become part of his life.

This boulder is located in Waiakeakua Stream in Manoa Valley. [It's about 50' upstream from the top of the first falls and pools. The trail climbs some steps to the left of the pool past a water tunnel opening. At the top of the steps the trail crosses the stream and continues, but if you head directly up the streambed instead, you'll soon see the memorial rock on your left. Brandon] Chipped into the gray stone is an inscription, "Gladstone Wright, Killed May 14, 1891."

A cross is chipped into another boulder close by.

Dickens discovered the stone when he made a wrong turn on the way to the Manoa Falls Trail. Nobody he asked could tell him who Gladstone Wright was or how he was killed.

"At first, I thought it was a murder," said Dickens, who operates a small T-shirt business.

But when he looked through The Pacific Commercial Advertiser for May 1891, he discovered that Gladstone Wright was an 11-year-old boy struck by a falling rock on a Sunday school picnic in Manoa Valley.

"The Sunday school teacher carried him unconscious down the trail to his carriage and drove madly to Queen's Hospital [where Dr. Hillebrand, of Hillebrand Glen, aka Mo'ole Valley had worked until 1871. Brandon]," said Dickens. "Gladstone Wright was treated by the doctor but he died. The rock weighed 7 1/2 pounds."

Dickens said the story of the boy haunted him. "probably because I was an abused child," he said. "I just had the sense that his parents loved him very much.

"But nobody knew anything about Gladstone Wright. I read a story once about the death of a nobody. The last person who knew him died. The last piece of paper with his name on it burned up. That was the end of him."

"It was like Gladstone Wright. Nobody remembered him. I can imagine his Sunday school mates making the trek to the rock every year in his memory. Then they died off one by one. When they were all gone, he was forgotten.

"It was kind of like, if I could find Gladstone, I'd find the child within myself."

So Dickens called cemeteries until he located the grave of little Gladstone Wright. He visits the grave often. He went to the state Archives and got more information.

It turns out that Gladstone was born in England in 1880, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Wright.

Thomas was a carriage maker who came to Hawaii with two brothers who apparently operated a carriage business.

"Gladstone had a sister who died of an undisclosed disease the year after he was killed," said Dickens. "So the family suffered a double tragedy. His parents opened Wright's Villa in Waikiki, one of the first hotels, not long after.

"Gladstone's cousin was George Wright, an early surveyor who became mayor of Honolulu. [Mayor Wright Housing in Kalihi? Brandon]

"Gladstone's parents disappeared in the 1890s. At about the same time, I found an Elizabeth Wright on the Big Island. But it turned out to be a blind trail. For a long time, I didn't know what happened to the family.

"Then I decided they might have gone back to the village of Staindrop in England where they came from. So I wrote to the editor of the newpaper in the nearest town. He published my letter.

"Then a woman in England wrote to me: 'Imagine my surprise to read your letter about Thomas Wright, who has been dead over 50 years. I sat on his knee as a child.' I think this woman was his niece."

Dickens said he feels very close to Gladstone Wright. And so he made a special trip up the trail to his boulder on the 100th anniversary of his death. [end]

I had known about the rock for years, either because I stumbled over it or because someone showed me; I can't remember. I knew nothing more about it though, and I hadn't seen this article in the newspaper. One evening I spoke very briefly to librarian and archivist Mary Judd at Punahou School. Somehow the conversation turned to hiking in Manoa and for some reason I mentioned the Gladstone Wright memorial. "Oh, yes, I believe I have an article on that subject...right...over.....here!" And with that she pulled the article right out of her files with a flourish.

This is one indication of what a 7 1/2 pound rock can do, if anyone had any doubts.


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