Samoan Natives in the Hurricane of 1889.

Samoa Resident's Stories of the men present during the Hurricane.

A number of Samoan Natives and other Apia residents on the island of Upolu were present at the time of the storm. I have not been able to find out much about them, but there are some data available on the web or in contemporary publications, and in Kimberly's "Special Report" dated April 16th, 1889.

This page of my site is intended to make sure that their names are not forgotten. I am sure that there were many more residents who helped during the storm, and whose names were never recorded or have since been lost. If there are any visitors to the site who have information about someone who was there, either listed on this page or not, please let me know the details, and I'll include them here.

The Samoan names are spelt as per the various sources, but I am afraid that some may have been incorrectly recorded.

The names underlined are links to images of the individual, where I have found them. The other links are web-sites which carry some data about the particular man. It may be very brief, and may be deeply hidden so you might need to use your browser's "search" or "find" facility with his name.

Please Note: Any visitors to this site who object to the images of family members being portrayed, please contact me and I will remove the images, and /or the details, immediately.


Quick Links:

American Vice Consul William Blacklock (1856?-1960?)

William Blacklock and Family

Possibly born in Melbourne Australia and died there aged 103, but there are a number of Blacklocks on the internet and I may be recalling data for a different person. Married the Samoan Apele Tietie and had a number of children. Was born British and naturalized American in 1880.

Details obtained from the internet. Image Source: Andrew, Thomas, 1855-1939. Andrew, Thomas, 1855-1939: [The American Vice-consul General's house, "Matamoana" (Sea-View), Samoa]. Cusack-Smith, Thomas Berry (Sir), 1859-1929: Photographs of Samoa. Ref: PA1-o-546-19. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22649916

British Vice Consul Henry de Coetlogon (?-1908)

Henry de Coetlogon

The family name is French, from Brittany. Was with Gordon at Khartoum and sent out of the city to carry out assistance to invalids a few days before the entire garrison was massacred, so was fortunate to escape. Died in Oxford, England.

Details obtained from the internet.

German Vice Consul Dr. Wilhelm Knappe (1855-1910)

Dr. Wilhelm Knappe

Was suspended in 1889 after his "unauthorised" actions against the Samoan people, and heavily criticised in many quarters for them, but was reinstated in 1894.

Details obtained from the internet.

Associated Press Correspondent John Preston Dunning (1863?-1907)

JP Dunning

Wrote a compelling account of the storm from his viewpoint on the beach. Helped many German and American sailors out of the surf. His life was plagued by gambling and alcohol addiction, and he had numerous affairs. One of these was with Cordelia Botkin, who, when Dunning ended the affair and returned to his wife, murdered Dunning's wife and sister-in-law with arsenic-poisoned chocolates.

Details obtained from a contact Lynn Ludlow in California. Film short: IMD. A Wiki page about the murder.

Samoa Native Chief Tupua Malietoa To'oa Mata'afa Iosefo (1832-1912)

Malietoa Mata'afa

A very brave and courageous man who, with many unknown and un-named fellow Samoans, tried desperately to give assistance to the crewman of both American and German vessels in the storm. I think his name means "strong eyes". Despite his heroic assistance to the foreigners in his land during the storm, many of those same foreigners engaged in battle with him and his follows only a few years later. Mata'afa was ultimately victorious, but his country remained under German rule until 1914, when it was annexed by New Zealand at the start of World War One. It finally achieved independence, the first island nation in the Pacific to do so, in 1962. It was re-named Malotutu'atasi o Samoa, the Independent State of Samoa.

Details obtained from this Wiki Page.

H J Moors (c.1854-1926)

Born c. 1854 in Detroit in the United States, died 1926 in Samoa. The following text from the "Sydney Morning Herald of Tuesday, March 16th, 1926" reads: "A cable message was received in Sydney yesterday announcing the death on Saturday last of Mr H J Moors, at Apia, Samoa. The late Mr Moors was a merchant, and had a large business at Apia, which has been established for many years. He was a frequent visitor to Sydney where he was also very well known He was a personal friend of the late Robert Louis Stevenson, and was author of the book entitled "With Stevenson In Samoa." Mr. Moors settled In Samoa In 1879, having come from the United States. He was about 72 years of age."

Details obtained from this Web Page.

See also this article from the The San Francisco Call, Saturday, April 15th, 1899 with respect to the coming conflict later that year.

Samoan Resident Anthony Ormsby (?-1889)

A Ormsby

A resident of American Samoa, who was visiting his friend in Apia when he was on the pilot boat Lily that was run down by USS Nipsic during the storm, and who was sadly drowned.

Details obtained from the internet, and the family web page which presently (March 2017) appears to be removed. I have left the link in, in case it gets restored.

Apia Native Chief Seumanutafa


Another very brave and courageous man who also, with many unknown and un-named fellow Samoans, tried desperately to give assistance to the crewman of both American and German vessels in the storm, at considerable risk to their own. He and his wife were devout Christians.

I have tried unsuccessfully to find out more about this gentleman. There are a great many references to the family name on the internet, but every link to a person seems to end in the dreaded "404 Error" or "nothingness". There seems to be a lot about a number of person's disputed claims to rights to be heirs to the name, which I presume to be very important. It seems unlikely I will get anything detailed about the man, his history and his family, which is a shame.

Image obtained from the publication The Story of Laulii, A Daughter of Samoa, page 168.

Foreign Residents
W. BlacklockU.S. Vice-ConsulSurvivedData and Message Boards
H. de CoetlogonBritish Vice-ConsulSurvivedObituary
Dr. KnappeGerman Vice-ConsulSurvivedWikipedia
J. P. DunningAssociated Press Corres-pondentSurvivedWikipedia and Magazine Article
Charles Fruean Snr. SurvivedData and Kimberly Report
H. J. Moore (Moors)Plantation Owner & AuthorSurvivedNewspaper, Kimberly Report and Descendants
Anthony OrmsbyTrader from TuituilaDrownedFamily Web-site
Peter Paul SurvivedData
J. S. Pike SurvivedKimberly Report
Albert Vicking SurvivedKimberly Report
Unknown, an "old man"Hawaiian Mate from LilyDrownedNewspaper Report Scroll down to second page image, column 5.

Samoa Natives
Alo SurvivedKimberly Letter
AnapuSon of SeumanuSurvivedKimberly Letter
Apiti SurvivedKimberly Letter and Kimberly Report
Auvaa SurvivedKimberly Report
Fanala SurvivedKimberly Report
Folau SurvivedKimberly Report
Charles Fruean Jnr. SurvivedData and Kimberly Report
Fuapopo SurvivedKimberly Letter
William Hunkin SurvivedKimberly Report
Ionia SurvivedKimberly Letter
Malietoa MataafaChief of ApiaSurvivedWikipedia
ManonoChiefSurvivedKimberly Letter
Mose SurvivedKimberly Letter
Muniaiiuaga (Muniaiga)Known as "Jack"SurvivedKimberly Letter and Kimberly Report
Neamea SurvivedKimberly Report
Paniola SurvivedKimberly Report
Papalii SurvivedKimberly Report
Pita SurvivedKimberly Letter
Salu Anae SurvivedMagazine Article
Selu Leauanae SurvivedKimberly Report
Seumanu TafaChief of ApiaSurvivedData, Kimberly Letter and Kimberly Report
Sigito SurvivedKimberly Report
Sofa SurvivedKimberly Report
Taupau SurvivedKimberly Report
Tatopan SurvivedKimberly Letter and Kimberly Report
Tete SurvivedKimberly Letter
Teoteo SurvivedKimberly Report
Tepu SurvivedKimberly Letter
Toga SurvivedKimberly Report
Tualagi (Tuilagi?) SurvivedKimberly Report
Tui KilledMagazine Article
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