Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Irony: an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected #3

John Kendrick (c. 1740 – 12 December 1794) was an American sea captain, both during the American Revolutionary War and the exploration of the Pacific Northwest alongside his partner Robert Gray ....

... Kendrick arrived in Fairhaven (now Honolulu) on December 3 [1794]. Two other ships were there also, British vessels: the Jackal under Captain William Brown and the Prince Lee Boo under a Captain Gordon.

This was coincidentally when a Hawaiian chief named Kaeo invaded Oahu, meeting little resistance from Chief Kalanikupule. Brown sent eight men and a mate to aid Kalanikupule’s forces. Kendrick also probably sent some of his men to help the Hawaiian chief in what was later called the Battle of Kalauao. The muskets of the sailors drove Kaeo’s warriors into some hills that overshadowed Fairhaven. They finally retreated into a little ravine. Kaeo tried to escape, but Brown’s men and Kendrick’s men saw his ahuula, his scarlet coat with yellow feathers, and fired at the enemy chief from their boats in the harbor to show his position to Kalanikupule’s men. The Oahu warriors killed Kaeo along with his wives and chiefs. The battle ended with Kalanikupule as the victor.

At 10:00 the next morning, December 12, 1794, Kendrick’s ship fired a thirteen-gun salute, to which the Jackal answered with a salute back. One of the cannons was loaded with real grapeshot, though, and the shot smashed into the Lady Washington, killing Captain Kendrick at his table on deck along with several other men. Kendrick’s body and the bodies of his dead men were taken ashore and buried on the beach in a hidden grove of palm trees. John Howel, Kendrick’s clerk, read the prayer book for the captain’s funeral. The Hawaiians thought it an act of sorcery and stole Kendrick’s winding-sheet (Shroud that the body is wrapped in) that night. He was 55 years old.

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