Pitman Tomb

July 30, 2012

In 1920, Benjamin Keolaokalani Franklin Pitman constructed a white granite sidehill tomb on the west side of Auburn Lake for his family.  This tomb is unique in that its door bears the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  There are two reasons for this:  Benjamin is the son of Hawaiian High Chiefess Kinooleoliliha Hoolulu and he is also a direct descendent of one of the famed ‘royal twins’.  His mother Kinooleoliliha descended from a long line of Hawaiian royalty and was an important member of the royal family.  Though her remains stayed with her people in Hawaii when she died in 1855, her husband brought most of their children back to Massachusetts.  Thus, the coat of arms announces to all that this tomb is home to some of the last descendants of the Hawaiian Royal Family.

The Kingdom of Hawaii’s coat of arms depicts two men, the ‘royal twins’, standing on either side of a shield that is surmounted by the Crown of Hawaii.  The man to the right of the shield is Kameeiamoku, Kinooleoliliha’s grandfather and also uncle and advisor to Kamehameha the Great.  The green inescutcheon in the center of the shield depicts the ancient flag of Hawaiian chiefs leaning against two crossed spears which together represent tabu and protection.  The two quarters of the shield that contain red, white and blue stripes represent the eight inhabited Hawaiian islands.  The two yellow quarters of the shield contain pulo’ulo’u, which are staffs with gold balls.  These are a symbol of royal protection.  The coat of arms bears the motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono”, meaning The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness” or “The life of the land is perpetuated in universal balance.”  

Kingdom of Hawaii Coat of Arms on Pitman Tomb Door



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