S. of Matthew Hunkin
& Ann Lelean
Born 2.9.1815 at Mevagissey, Cornwall, England
Bap. 15th Oct. 1815 at Mevagissey, Cornwall
Marr. Fatumalama Fai'ivae Llaoa Aumavae (Fatu Malala) in 1838 at Leone, Tutuila, American Samoa, Pacific Isles
Died 15th April 1888 at Leone, Tutuila, American Samoa
Buried at Leone, Tutuila, American Samoa
Viliamu Alfred (William)
Mere Fai' ivae (Mary)
He was part of the London Missionary Society, a member and a helper resident from 1841-1849.
This document (Will) was written on 16 April 1879, by Matthew Hunkin, as his last will and testament.
He states he was born at Megavissey, Cornwall, England on 22 Sept 1815, and has lived in Leone, Tutuila for 43 years.
He was married to Fatu Malala in 1838 by Rev'd George Baradon, but there was no registration of this marriage, because "there was no register office in these islands" at the time. After their marriage his wife was known as Mataio fafine.
They had seven children; 4 sons and 3 daughters; the sons' names were; John, Alfred, George and William Hunkin- in order of birth, and the daughters' names were; Ann, Mary and Jane Hunkin.
Matthew Hunkin left all his "real" property (land)including boats, boatsheds and copra sheds, to his sons, and to his daughters he left the right to have access to any of his lands or houses to dwell in "according to necessity". His wife too was to have access and dwelling rights in his houses and lands.
He left his wife to the "consideration, affection and love of all her children to me, to take care of her, to nourish and to cherish her till death."
signed 16 April 1879.
T A Carter and J Meredith; witnesses
At some time prior to 1852 Talamaivao Saisaofai, a chief of Upolu, began to claim certain lands on the island of Tutuila in the vicinity of the village of Leone. Plaintiff Tony Willis testified that Talamaivao had been given these lands by Malietoa. An earlier Talamaivao family tradition is that Saisaofai's ancestor Ulualofaiga saved the life of a great chief of Upolu called Fonoti. According to this tradition, Fonoti then declared mualofaiga to be a Togiola (life-giver or saviour) and gave him the Tutuila land as a reward.
In 1852 Saisaofai sold Matthew Hunkin a tract of land in Leone. Hunkin paid "One hundred dollars (or its value [in] pork)." Matthew Hunkin, also known as Mataio, settled in Leone at some time during the 19th century and became the progenitor of a prominent family of that village and its environs. The tract he purchased was described in the deed of sale as "Lepule with its 'Tuafanua.'"
The term Tuafanua (or tua fanua) means "back lands." It was a generic term used to describe the unsettled and uncultivated land, if any, behind a tract of settled or cultivated land. Samoan land owners often regard their property rights as extending not only over the land they actually occupy, but also over any unoccupied land extending behind them to the mountains and forward to the ocean reef. The most logical construction of the term "Lepule with its 'Tuafanua'" in a deed of sale would be that the buyer acquired the tract called Lepule, together with whatever rights the seller would have had to cultivate the adjacent bush. As is further discussed below, however, by around 1900 the term "Tuafanua" was being used as a collective term for various tracts of land to the mountain side of the village of Leone.
In 1894 Matthew Hunkin's executors sought confirmation by the Samoan Land Commission in Apia of his claim to "'Lepule' & its 'Tuafanua' adjoining it." They based their claim on the 1852 purchase from Saisaofai.
A person named Iulio, sometimes calling himself Talamaivao Iulio, was the only objector to the Hunkin claim. He objected not to Hunkin's claim to Lepule itself, but only to "its Tuafanua." Iulio's objection was signed and apparently prepared by "Natives' Advocate" E.W. Gurr. The stated reason for the objection was "Fact of sale is disputed."
Julio was a son of Talamaivao Saisaofai. He was also the half-brother of Talamaivao Lei, who was (at least from 1895 until 1910) the holder of the Talamaivao title. Iulio was a catechist from Upolu who spent a good deal of time in Leone. He sometimes claimed to be the true holder of the Talamaivao title, and he sometimes also claimed to be the individual owner of the Talamaivao or Saisaofai lands in Leone. It is clear, however, that in the trial against Hunkin he was acting as agent for Talamaivao Lei. See Exhibits 6 (letter from Iulio to Misitea dated 12 March 1906 re land Le Gaoa, from record of LT 5-1906) and 12 (letter from Julio to Misitea dated 12 March 1906 re land Le Pala); see also Iulio v. Talamaivao, No. 6-1910, 1 A.S.R. 217 (1910).
The Land Commission confirmed Hunkin's claim to Lepule but rejected his claim to the Tuafanua. The Land Commission's decision with regard to the Tuafanua was limited to a rejection of Hunkin's claim. It did not purport to declare Iulio or anyone else to be the owner of the disputed lands. Exhibit 2; see also Iulio v. Talamaivao, supra, 1 A.S.R. at 220 ("[T]his Court is convinced that it [the Land Commission] merely rejected or recommended the rejection of the petition of the foreign claimant for a court grant.")
Alfred Hunkin appealed to the Supreme Court of Samoa, sitting at Apia, from the decision of the Land Commission. The appeal was heard in 1895. Alfred Hunkin was the part-Samoan son of Matthew Hunkin and was one of Matthew's executors. He was also, at all times relevant to the 1895 and 1906 proceedings, the holder of the title Fai' ivae in Leone.
Fai' ivae Alfrod Hunkin claimed on appeal ---contrary to his original claim before the Land Commission ---that "the Tuafanua" which he had purchased from Saisaofai included various lands that did not directly adjoin Le Pule but were in back of the village of Leone. He said there were about a hundred parcels of land included in the Tuafanua of Leone, but that he laid claim to only fifteen. These fifteen parcels, he said, were in addition to three that had "already been confirmed to me." According to his testimony, these three parcels had been awarded to him in a previous proceeding in which he had claimed all 100 pieces of the Tuafanua of Leone, including the nearby village of Amanave. In the 1895 proceeding he specifically disavowed any claim to Amanave.
Seven of the fifteen parcels claimed by Hunkin in the 1895 appeal were in a portion of the Tuafanua called Lepala or le Pala ("the swamp.") The remaining eight parcels were in another portion of the Tuafanua called Lega'oa, "about 1 1/2 miles from Leone." The dimensions of Lega'oa were "about in width from the court house to Blacklock and about the same distance in lengths." Hunkin had originally estimated the size of his entire claim, including at least Lepule, Lepala, and Lega'oa, to be 50 acres. In his testimony he estimated that his entire claim was about 100 acres.
The Supreme Court denied Hunkin's claim to the aforementioned 15 parcels of the Tuafanua. Hunkin v. Iulio, Rehearing of Claim No. 2791, Supreme Court of Samoa, decided September l0th, 1895.
It is difficult to discern the precise grounds for the 1895 opinion, or even what the court thought it was deciding. Hunkin's claim had been to "'Lepule' & its 'Tuafanua' adjoining it". The most obvious ground for the court's rejection of Hunkin's claim to any "Tuafanua" was that by 1895 there was no unsettled back land adjoining Lepule. All adjacent tracts had been sold and occupied by others. See Exhibits 5 and 6. Although Hunkin may well have cultivated other lands behind Leone in an area known as "the Tuafanua of Leone," any rights he may have had to such lands would seem to have been unconnected to his purchase of "Lepule and its Tuafanua." In any case such rights were not put at issue by his claim before the Land Commission to"'Lepule' & its 'Tuafanua' adjoining it." (Exhibit 2, Description of Land, emphasis added.)
The Apia court appears, however, to have addressed matters not raised by the appeal that was before it. It "confirmed by ten years occupation and cultivation undisputed" Hunkin's ownership of Onu'uolupe and Pagaloa (Pugaloa) although he had not claimed them. (Exhibit 6.) Perhaps these were among the three parcels he said had already been confirmed to him, or perhaps they were parts of the larger tracts Hunkin called Lepala and Lega'oa. (The record of Hunkin's testimony, Exhibit 5, is ambiguous: Pugaloa may be the name of one of the fifteen parcels claimed by him, but seems more likely to have been the name of the land immediately to the west of that parcel.)
The evidence establishes that the following tracts, some of which were registered as freehold land prior to 1906, are within plaintiffs' survey: the "Sisters' Land"; Fai'ivae land called Lefega; Le'oso land called Lesolo; Uo land called Leifi; and two tracts called Lepala, out of at least three by that name in the vicinity. The evidence establishes that the following lands are outside the survey: Hunkin's land called Pugaloa; Hunkin's land called Lepule; Lalopua; and the French Roman Catholic Mission. These lists are not exhaustive of the tracts within and without Lega'oa, but only of the lands of whose location plaintiffs submitted sufficient evidence to allow us to make a finding.
Although we assume for the purpose of this motion that the 1895 decision of the Apia court is binding on us, it has no bearing on the outcome of this litigation. The only issue properly before the Court was Alfred Hunkin's appeal of the denial of his father's claim to "Lepule and its 'Tuafanua' adjoining it." The land in dispute in the present case clearly does not adjoin Lepule. Even if we are bound by what the court seemed to think it was deciding ---the denial of Hunkin's expanded claim to an area of 50 to 100 acres in the backland of Leone, part of which he called Le Ga'oa ---the official record of the decision purports only to reject Hunkin's claim and not to confirm that of Julio as against the world. Moreover, even if Julio had won Hunkin's eight portions of the backland called "Le Gaoa" in 1895, we would have no evidence of how much of the 297-acre survey was included in those tracts. Finally, the far more specific ruling of the High Court of American Samoa in 1906, which did define the rights in Lega'oa of the Talamaivao legatees and of the Leone chiefs, would seem to supersede any contrary implication of the earlier Apia decision.
The Court is of the opinion that it can take judicial notice that the Court House and Blacklock's store (later Parkhouse & Brown's store) were both located in downtown Apia. See Cyclopedia of Samoa at 27, 99, 110 (1910). If Hunkin's estimate was correct, the land called "Lega'oa" involved in the 1895 case therefore constituted only a few acres. Such a finding, however, is unnecessary to our decision; it is sufficient that the evidence establishes Hunkin's entire claim to have comprised only 50 to 100 acres. See also Conclusion of Law No.1, infra.
Gurr also wrote a letter in 1895 to the "Chiefs and Councillors of Amanave," telling them that Iulio had "put before the judge an objection to protect your town & cultivations & also land." He informed the chiefs that "the Case is now over & the town Amanave & its lands are saved. " The only hitch, according to Gurr, was that "you [the chiefs of Amanave] are to pay taxation for the investigation of the land, the sum of one hundred dollars, then your land will be saved." Otherwise the Chief Judge and the Government would "be at a disposal of selling your land to whom they choose." Gurr suggested that each resident of Amanave contribute two or three dollars. The letter was signed "Misitea, Councillor for Samoa" and was dated September 16, 1895, six days after the Apia trial. The chiefs later claimed that they had paid the $100 to Iulio. (Gurr's letter to the chiefs and the chiefs' claim to have paid the money to Iulio are part of the record of Julio v. Talamaivao, supra.) The official report of the Apia case, contrary to Gurr's letter, assesses $100 not against the chiefs of Amanave but against Iulio himself. Moreover, the assessment appears on its face to have to do with "all the rest of the Tuafanua" ---that is, such portions of "the Tuafanua of Lepule" as were not confirmed to Hunkin ---rather than with Amanave in particular .Assuming that "Councillor for Samoa" was something other than a self-description, and whatever the official duties of that post might have been, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Gurr was operating as an advocate for Iulio.
Fatumalama (b. 1819), of Leone, Tutuila. This family from American Samoa has been recorded on an ancesral file (by Tuiluaai Hunkin Vanisi) as well as on the IGI with conflicting dates, names & places. So because of this I've chosen to be very careful about adding further information.
Ann may have originally been called 'Mata'u' & Mata'u originally called 'Mele'. (Although the IGI records the children as above). Mata' u is recorded to have marr. Saini Taua (isafune).
One major confliction is between his 3 daughters Ann, Mata'u & Saini (Jane) as the IGI records for the first two the same husband (although different dates & the name spelt a little different) which both marriages lead to a dau. Saini (Jane) who marries Uaine (Wayne) Tuitele. And to make things even more complicated there sister Saini (Jane) is recorded to have marr. in 1900 at Leone (again, taken from the IGI) a Uaine (Wayne) Tuitele ? A descendant of this line Saini (Jane) Tuitele insists it was Saini (Jane) dau. of Ann Hunkin who indeed marr. Uaine (Wayne) Tuitele but others (including her cousins) disagree. All these discrepancies came about because no official records were kept in American Samoa so 'word of mouth' passed down through the generations is all we have to go on.
Matthew's Samoan name was 'Mataio' & his middle name may have been 'Alfred'.
Another child (IGI) called Jane Matauitafa Hunkin, 1856, Leone, Tutuila, American Samoa is recorded. According to Tuiluaai Hunkin Vanisi marr. a man called Mata' Ituli circa 1877 & had the following children: Laipisi (1878), Elipisi (1880), Foga'A (1882) & Maioa (1884). Although Saini (Jane) Tuitele states that it was the above Ann Hunkin who marr. this man (Mata' Ituli) being his first name. Both Jane & Jane Matauitafa are clearly the same person although their birth dates are slightly different & also both have different children.
Researchers may be interested in 'Religious Crusades in Polynesia.
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