The most talked about species is the 150 foot tall Kapok tree with Alfred Wight’s grave stone in the center of its trunk. The Kapok is from the west Indies and historically has been planted near graves for the spirits to live in after death. This particular tree was planted just before Alfred’s death caused by a fatal horse accident. It's my understanding two of Dr. Wight's three sons met their death this way. The tree eventually grew around the stone but never disturbing its structure or position. No other example of this combination of stone and tree exist in Hawai'i.
The Jewell of the Big Island
Descendant Names on the Gravestones:
Ada Wight, Died Aug. 2, 1850 age 13 months
Alfred Wight, July 22, 1850 to Aug. 2, 1879 (stone in the kapoc tree)
Alice Atkins, wife of henry Remus Atkins, Aug. 5, 1851 to May 3,1910
Arthur Cleghorn Wight, Dec. 2, 1857 to June 12, 1881
Clara G. Bryant, Sept.4, 1863 to Jan. 12, 1927
Florence Wight Patton (related marriage to General George Patton’s family) Jan. 30, 1860 to July 31, 1947
James Wight son of Col. James Wight Aug. 4, 1814 to Sept. 1,1905
Jane Wight, Sept. 18, 1826 to Aug. 14, 1915
Kate Wight, Jan. 12, 1863 to June 17, 1917
Leonora Emma Atkins daughter of Alice Atkins Dec. 2, 1878, 7 months old
Lino the caretaker, 1840 to 1916.
Mary Mist, June 24,1872 to March 24, 1911
Maude m. Bucholtz, 1872 to 1942
At one time the Kapok tree was being choked with fines from the valley floor. Fortunately the majority of the vines were removed and the tree continues to prosper.
Note how tall the stone is in relation to the six foot gentleman walking past.
The fence you see surrounding the graveyard was a gift from the famous English writer Quincy Adams. Although the fence looks worse for ware, its been at the bottom of the property for over 130 years and still stand today.
One of the intension's of the Greenbank Group is to refurbish the fence and attempt to get it back into a presentable condition. Just to make the job a little more difficult, the fence is imbedded in a shell concrete making the repair more interesting.
Note: The Kapok tree has not only slightly lifted the stone but the soil along with it. Alfred is secure and resting comfortably. Notice how white the stones are in the graveyard. This is by way of the effort made by cousin Stan Atkins and James Parker along with a crew of volunteers who continually dedicate their time to maintain the family graves.
The stones remain resonably intact however these photos where taken shortly before the earthquake which caused some additional dammage.
To the left and and below, are both the grave stones of Dr. James Wight and Mrs. Jane Wight. You will find both their grave in good condition. This is made possible threw your donations to keep them preserved for you and your childrens vist to the island one day.
We can arrange a tour through the property so that you may walk the paths of the ancient Hawiaians and visit the old family property and points of interest over 22 acres.
Go to our contact page for more information.
Getting down to the graveyard is an experience all it's own. You will walk down the path of the ancient Hawaiian's and their Kings to reach the Halawa gulch. your journey will drop you 200 feet below this natural botanical umbrella. As you travel along this historic path you will encounter the old oil lamps used to light the way of the ancient ones. Then as you look up you will gaze upon one of the most unique graveyards in the state of Hawai'i.
So what happens when you don't take care of this historical graveyard?
Unfortunetly the Greenbank Group knows only to well what happens when our funding is deminished and the work come to a screeching hault. below you will see what just one or two seasons with out care can do to this beautiful Island tresure.
Below is what our graves look like with out your donations and our care!
Notice the overgrowth on the Kapok tree after just two seasons with out care. The stones grow mold with in 6 months with out bleach and a proper cleaning. The pathway to the graveyard takes on fallen tree branchs the size of 55 gallon drums that need to be cut and removed. Currently, we have not been funded to clean in over a year. Your support is greatly apprciated.
To become a "Friend of Greenbank" go to our Greenbank today page and ask how you can become part of the Greenbank experience.
If you are a descendant of Greenbank we encourage you to visit this entire page to learn how you can help maintain your heritage.