** Ke Ahi Pele Nui Ma Hawaii / The Great Fires of Pele

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** Ke Ahi Pele Nui Ma Hawaii / The Great Fires of Pele

At 3 o'clock in the evening, Thursday, the 2nd of this April, a great, strong earthquake arrived. The people could not stand up neither could the animals. The dirt of the earth rose in the sky like the smoke of the hills that had been demolished. The large trees fell, some of the valleys were filled, and the total houses that were knocked over were more than 30. 3 churches fell, the church[es] of Kahuku, Waiohinu, and Punaluʻu. A large pit at Kahuku, 80 fathoms in circumference, 350 or more feet deep, and from within this pit, steam rose like the steam of the volcanic crater, the length from the harbor of Kaʻaluʻalu to this pit is more than 6 miles. Numerous indeed are the things the Lord has done.

Fifteen minutes after the earthquake, the high tide rose and some folks died because of the sea, the total loss of life to this sea is 46. Those who are left destitute are uncounted. Some corpses have been recovered, and some corpses are at the place where they long floated all the way to where they finish for 167 fathoms. The sea rose twice and then stopped. In the drying [receding] of the sea, numerous fish were seen, and two fish that are not [usually] seen a whale and a shark.

The small minor trembling of the earth began on Friday night until the day stated above, which is the fifth day and sixth night that this large earthquake was seen, all the people here of Kaʻū left their houses, the living place residence of the people took up is among the grasses with the mat tents;, the haole's are cloth tents.  The reason yet for the earth's frequent quakes, is that steam was trapped within the earth, and when the earthquake was done, the lava was seen blazing west of Maunaloa.  Three branches of thate fire were blazing, with the fiery strength onstrength of that blaze from the 28th of March until this morning on Monday, the 6th of April. The quaking of the earth is continuing, therefor, I am finishing my writing. With thanks.

C.J. Waialoha

Kīʻao, Kaʻū, Hawaiʻi, April 6, 1868.


(click image for original Hawaiian text)

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, April 18, 1868
, Book: 7, Number: 16, Page: 4