Thursday, September 11, 2014

THE AFLAGUE SISTERS



In the early 1900s, several sisters, descendants of a Chamorro settler, enjoyed great success entertaining Hawaiians with song and dance.

Ignacio Aflague left Guam in the late 1800s and set up home in Hawaii, on the Big Island. In 1885, he married a Portuguese settler, Maria (or Mary) de Rego Souza.

In 1890, they had a son Joseph, whose middle name, Enos, is interesting. Pronounced by an American, it would sound like ee-nos, which is the same pronunciation for the Chamorro nickname for Ignacio, which is Inos or Inås. Did Joseph's parents give him, for a middle name, the nickname his father Ignacio usually went by? Inos?

Joseph worked for the Oahu Railway and Land Company and married a Portuguese woman, Angela M. Medeiros in 1916. It seems they moved to California at some point because Angela dies there many years later.

Another child was born the following year, this time a daughter named Constance. Again, her middle initial is E, possibly for Enos (Inos).  The record says Constance's mother was Maria da Conceição, which we would recognize in Spanish/Chamorro as Maria Concepción (Mary of the Immaculate Conception).  Many Spaniards and Portuguese had such combinations for first names, so this is probably the same Maria de Rego Souza, except that her full name would have been Maria da Conceição de Rego Souza.

Constance was a teacher (at one time in Waipahu) and eventually married Louis Vivien in 1911 at Saint Augustine Catholic Church in Waikiki.

The oldest child, though I lack more documentation that I'd prefer, seems to have been a Gloria Aflague, who was a pianist and who married as early as 1902, to one J.E. Lewis.

But the stars of the family, the ones getting all the attention on the stage, were one Lucille and one Adeline Aflague. They performed in concert halls and at benefit events. They did it all; Spanish dances, current hits and Hawaiian songs. William Fernandez was often the producer of their shows.

That they were Catholics is shown by their church weddings and also from the help they gave Sacred Heart Church in Punahou, performing at a benefit show for the church.

The timing seems right that Adeline and Lucille (sometimes called Lucy) should be the youngest and often billed as the "Little Aflague Sisters."  If mom and dad had married in 1885, and these two were born around 1895 (after Gloria, Joseph and Constance), that would make them teenagers around they time they were delighting crowds performing on stage.

Though being Aflagues, they were not in touch with their father's Chamorro heritage and identified more with their mother's Portuguese culture, there being a large Portuguese community all around them in Hawaii.  In fact, a newspaper said that they were "well-known members" of Hawaii's Portuguese community.






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