Tuesday, April 3, 2018


Apparently, one of Hawaii's oldest residents in 1923 was a Chamorro man named Ramón Mesa. People thought he was at least 100 years old, if not older.

As was usual in those days, his name was spelled in a variety of ways, like Raymond Messa. When Chamorros moved to English-speaking places, they often changed their Spanish first names to the English equivalent. As for the spelling of the last name, that was at the mercy of the official's whim. Sometimes the Chamorro changed his last name, as well.

According to the Hawaii newspapers, Mesa was born on Guam and had moved to Hawaii around the year 1863.

In 1905, the Honolulu City Directory listed Ramón as a laborer.

In his later years, Mesa lived in a shack on Houghtailing Street in Kalihi. Towards the end of his life, he depended on the kindness of people to meet his physical needs. Evidently, Ramón never married nor had children. Evidently, people around him checked on him every day to see if he was alright or if he needed anything.

At ten o'clock in the morning, on the day he was discovered dead, someone brought him food and reported that Ramón seemed to be doing fine. But a little past 6 o'clock in the evening, a motorcycle policeman dropped in to see how Ramón was doing and found him dead, by his bedside in an "attitude of prayer." It was December 17, 1923. He was later buried at Maluhia Cemetery, just in his neighborhood.

U såga gi minahgong. Rest in peace.

1335 Houghtailing Street today, not far from the Bishop Museum
This may not be where 1335 was in 1923, but maybe it was

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