Mary Kaumana Widemann

A Native Hawaiian whose lineage could be traced through both the Kamehameha and Kaumualii dynasties, Mary Kaumana Widemann (1833-1899) was born at Anahola, Kauai, and would, in the course of her life, become one of the most highly esteemed residents of Honolulu, whose character endeared her to all her acquaintances.

Her German-born husband, Herman A. Widemann (1822-1899), whom she married on Kauai in 1854, and with whom she would have two sons and seven daughters, became sheriff of Kauai in that same year. A year later, he was elected to the Hawaiian Legislature from Kauai.

Widemann then purchased lands in Halehaka and Huleia valleys in 1856, upon which he founded Grove Farm Plantation, which he sold in 1870 to George Norton Wilcox — who, in turn, built it into a profitable enterprise.

Hermann Widemann was appointed Circuit Judge of Kauai in 1863, and thereafter served on the Supreme Court and in the Cabinet of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Mrs. Widemann died in San Francisco on Christmas Eve, 1899, under heart-rending circumstances.

She’d been visiting in San Francisco at the home of her son, H.A. Widemann, and was decorating a Christmas tree, along with other members of her family, when she retired to her room, apparently fatigued.

Her daughter, Mrs. F.W. Macfarlane, followed her soon afterward and asked if she was feeling well, to which she replied that she was not ill, but only wished to be left alone for a while.

However, Mrs. Macfarlane was not convinced and insisted on sending for a doctor, to which Mrs. Widemann remarked, “Leave me alone. I want to be with my husband.”

Shortly after the physician arrived, Mrs. Widemann was seized with a spasm and died within five minutes, her death being attributed to a heart attack.

In February 1900, she was buried at Oahu Cemetery with her husband, who’d died in February 1899.


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