Descendants of
 Captain Robert Brown
                            1809 – 1894



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Kahuku Ranch

June 2006

On a family vacation to the islands, we were fortunate enough to track down the right people and find a ranger-guide to take us into the portion of Kahuku that is now owned by the National Park Service, but not regularly open to the general public. The following images were taken during that visit.

Kauaha'ao Church in Waiohinu
It is this churchyard where the Browns laid to rest a some of their own: 13-year-old Amanda Brown was moved here from her grave at Kahuku ranch after the erruption of 1868. Amy Haley, the two-year-old daughter of Nelson and Charlotte (Brown) Haley was also buried here. Neither grave is marked, and their precise locations are unknown. However, according to the caretaker, the two girls are likely next to each other in two of the three known, but unmarked graves.

Just inside the current entrance to Kahuku Ranch

On the surface, it’s not difficult to see why the Browns thought this would be a good location for a ranch. Grass still grows very tall on some of these southern slopes... it’s what lies underneath that’s creates a problem.

The distinction between the “before” and “after” appearance of the landscape is striking.

Click for movie (.wmv format)

Click the above image for a pan-video of the ranch area

Now, 140 years after the earthquake awakened the volcano, the devastation is still absolute. Relatively little in the way of plant life has come back to reclaim the land.


The crevice from whence the lava flowed is deep, indeed!

Some plant life has returned. Red lehua, unique to the region, flowers in relative abundance.

The lava coating was relatively thin, only a few inches. Broken pieces of lava are popular landscaping material in the area, and the park service has a difficult time in discouraging people from carrying the stone away.

Some old family stories have said that Captain Brown defied the island gods and lost his home because of it. If, by some foolish chance, you may be tempted to bring home a tiny bit of lava as a souvenir, remember the island gods are still watching.

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