Article: Upon hearing that news Liliu‘okalani decided to...


“John (Dominis) was, to use a euphemism, rather irregular as a husband – as many husbands in my experience are. He was fond of society, sometimes took more liquor than was good for him, and occasionally (although he never kept a regular mistress) had some love adventures.”

“In this small community they were reported to his wife, and I can vouch to how she suffered by it. She was exceedingly fond and jealous of him. But, like most unfaithful husbands, he would not have for one moment shut his eyes on even any sign of unfaithfulness on the part of his wife.”

“As long as he was alive, any one slandering his wife would have, I assure you, been severely punished.” (Trousseau, Blount Report)

“In November of 1882, Dr. Trousseau had the unpleasant duty of telling Lili‘uokalani that John Owen Dominis was about to have an illegitimate child born to a young half-Hawaiian woman”.

“This young woman was a retainer of Lili‘uokalani’s; a part of her ‘family’; she was also, however, officially married to a young Hawaiian by the name of John Lamiki Aimoku.” (Kelley)

“On January 9, 1883, a child was born in the household of Lili‘uokalani at Waikiki. The mother gave her child in Hawai’ian fashion in hānai to its maternal grandmother, Mary Purdy (Pahau), who was at the time 53 years old.”

“She claimed him as her own, (however) Princess Lili‘uokalani took over his support … (S)he followed the letter of law … that a child born out of wedlock took the legal surname of his mother, Aimoku. … Thus John Dominis Aimoku came into being.”

“In 1910, at the age of 27, young John told Lili‘uokalani that he was in love with Sybil McInerny, the daughter of a prominent Honolulu merchant, and wanted to marry her.”

“Upon hearing that news, Liliu‘okalani decided to officially adopt him and change his name to John Aimoku Dominis. She did so that May, 19 years after her husband’s death.” (Tsutsumi)

In Lili‘uokalani’s will, she left “For John Dominis Aimoku, the premises known as “Washington Place," with the appurtenances, on Beretania Street, in Honolulu, for his lifetime …”

“… and on his death to the lawfully begotten heirs of his body during their lifetime (or so long after the death of said John Dominis Aimoku as the law will permit, with reversion then to the Trustees).” (Liliuokalani’s Will)

“John Aimoku Dominis, a ward of Queen Liliʻuokalani and one of the trustees of the Liliʻuokalani Trust, died on Saturday afternoon (July 8, 1917) after a long Illness and on Sunday the remains were cremated.”

“Following a long illness which developed into a condition which had been regarded hopeless for several days, Mr. Dominis died shortly before midnight on Saturday night at the McInerny residence at Kahala.”

“Mr. Dominis was 34 years of age. He was adopted by the queen … and for a Jong time was under the immediate care of Mrs. Paakaiulaula Bush. He received his education In Iolani College.”

“For nearly five years Mr. Dominis was a circuit court clerk, being assistant to Clerk Henry Smith in the main office. After leaving, this position he entered, the insurance business in which he continued until ill health necessitated his giving it up.” (Honolulu Star Bulletin, July 9, 1917)

Later, the Territorial Legislature noted, “those certain premises in the city of Honolulu known as Washington Place have for almost three-quarters of a century been associated and identified with the government of Hawaii”.

“Prince Jonah Kūhio Kalaniana‘ole has indicated his earnest desire that Washington Place should be acquired by the Territory of Hawaii as an executive mansion for its Governor, thus preserving to posterity the said Washington Place as a memorial to the late Queen Liliuokalani”.

“Prince Jonah Kūhio Kalaniana‘ole and the Trustees of the Liliuokalani Trust have agreed that the said Washington Place should be conveyed to the Territory of Hawaii for a price not to exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00), upon the condition that the Territory shall also, at the same time, acquire the life interest or right of occupancy of the heirs of John Dominis Aimoku”.

“The said premises known as Washington Place, when so acquired, shall be and are hereby set apart for use exclusively as an executive mansion for the governor of Hawai‘i.” (Act 229, approved April 39, 1919)

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