The demand for sugar exportation to California meant that sugar plantations were developing on the outskirts of town. In the mid-1860s workers began arriving from abroad. Most of them were from China, some from Japan. Along with them came the disease of leprosy. It came to be known as the "Chinese Disease." At some point during her time in Hawaii, Helen was witness to lepers kept in a compound while awaiting transfer to Molokai.
Helen also told of seeing King Kamehameha V whose feather cloak was valued at a million dollars! It is said that he was skeptical about the power of the United States, although he was welcoming to most Americans. Unfortunately, the King grew in weight until he could no longer ride a horse or move about on his own. Soon confined to bed, he grew weaker and died, at the age of 42, on Dec. 11, 1872.
Other wives and children of whaling masters who participated in the Arctic season took up temporary residence in Hawaii like the Jernegans. Laura became friends with Fannie Halsey, daughter of Captain Charles E. and Hannah Smith Halsey from Bridgehampton, New York. They provided support for each other while encountering the unique culture that surrounded them.
Courtesy of Hawaii State Archives