Our greatest Portuguese/Luso historymaker: Christian Pastor Ernest Gomes De Silva 1873-1955 (fka Da Silva) for his ethnic inclusion (his Congregational calling) & social class integration (upward mobility)

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Coat & tie Rev. De Silva with wife and children

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+ernest+gomes+de+silva&qpvt=images+ernest+gomes+de+silva&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=F7DA45637823E25855D0EF25F5E049F1A62D2E54&selectedIndex=0

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In social class lingua, our multi-ethnic Catholics were of the unwashed — rough-hewn Irish/brimstone Belgian/Luso laborers/Puerto Rican fireplugs/Pinoy peasants/Spanish cowboys.

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Which are why our Catholics were the 1st outfit to shelter/nurture society’s forsaken ones, as you see w/the auspicious Mickey Rooney Boys Town movies.

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In contrast, Protestant outreaches (Congregational/Episcopalian) entailed community centers/settlement halls (YMCA/later YWCA).

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In turn, later Catholics outreached via CYO/YMI.

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Ethnically, Portuguese/Luso, ever resurgent/resilient, had the greatest non-haole charity clubs (Hilo Foresters/YMI/CYO/Lions thanks to Paul De Silva’s dad Ernest B. De Silva), originally cut along sectarian lines — YMI Catholic/Foresters Christian emanating from Ernie’s immigrant dad Rev. Ernest Gomes De Silva, in my opinion our greatest Luso for his ethnic inclusion/multi-lingual knack/social class integration-upward mobility/literary publishing, followed by Wainaku’s Catholic Bishop Stephen Alencastre, our 1st local Bishop, immortalized for Bishop Alencastre’s mantra on education–St. Louis College — River St. area College Walk pre-Wai’alae/post-Wai’alae — & on health care–St. Francis Hospital.

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Luso strength?  Its spiritual tradition, regardless of sectarian bent.  Paralyzing power of the spirit/Providence.

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Aside:  Secular social service orgs owe their birth to our Midwest commerce hub (Great lake shipping/rail/Miss. river link between Northern industry/Southern Planters), triggered by our Chicago Haymarket labor riots, where social stratification was egregious — culminating with Teddy Roosevelt’s muscular cleanup/anti-trust busters vs. chokehold industrial cabals (rail/banking/shipping) — thence emerged every secular charity org you know today — Lions/Kiwanis/Exchange/Rotary/etc.   All Midwest, except for labor elites — NY Shriners/etc.

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2014 note to chronicler Gloria Kobayashi  —

Rev. De Silva is a revered god in the plantation villages. I’m from Wainaku mill camp (Ha’aheo school area). Rev. De Silva spoke fluent Ilocano/Hawaiian & broken Visayan/Chinese/Japanese/Korean. Rev. De Silva lifted out from Big 5 bondage the enslaved teeming masses/immigrants. Rev. De Silva catered to the forsaken least/last/lost/little ones of society, including the Portuguese/Luso rival Japanese, which is why Rev. De Silva’s son Ernest B. De Silva (1900-1959) always catered to the stigmatized Japanese, esp. after the 1924 “Jap” Exclusion Act. Ernest’s longtime squeeze was DOE secretary Sadako Okimoto from Kino’ole St.
Of course, Ernest’s 2nd wife is Frances Chang (1st wife was Serrao Lane familia/direct kin).

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http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2009/07/08/dispatches-from-curt-%E2%80%94-mary-kawena-pukui-pastor-ernest-gomes-de-silva-and-the-scribes-of-hawaiis-past-pete-beamer-the-history-of-the-ymca-church-bell-and-the-cannon-at-the-old/

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Pastor Ernest Gomes De Silva And The Portuguese/Luso Scribes Of Hawaii’s Past

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Rev. De Silva follows steeped journalistic icons Affonso/Santos/Costa/Silva, & contributed to opening up of public lands for homesteading. Homesteading is our Luso claim to fame. Hilo-based literati/men of letters – 1. Godofredo Ferreira Affonso born 1875 in Funchal, died 1950; came here in 1878; solon who got us Lincoln Park 1909 [Lincoln’s centennial birthday]; 2nd editor Hilo’s A Setta [the Watch] 1904-1911; sole editor Hilo’s A Voz Publica [the People’s Voice] 1899-1904Â 2. Manuel G. Santos born 1871 in British Guiana, died 1932; came here 1900; ordained minister 1906; 1st editor of A Setta 1903-1904 3. Augusto Souza Costa born 1887 Terceira Azores; came here 1898;  prexy/mgr. Wailea [Hakalau] Milling Co.; 3rd editor A Setta 1911-1914  4. Manuel A. Silva born 1868 Madeira, died 1940; came here 1879; HSPA agent; 4th editor A Setta 1915-1918  5. Ernest Gomes de Silva came here
1888; ordained minister 1899; longest-serving pastor Portuguese Christian Church 1899-1939; 5th & final editor A Setta 1919-1921 6. Antonio Carvalho Oak born 1856 & died 1936 Hilo; sole editor Hilo’s O Facho [Our Feature] 1906-1927

O`ahu-based scribes: 1. Auguste Baptiste Marques born 1841 Toulon France, died 1929; came here 1878; bored 1st artesian well O`ahu 1880; Kingdom solon 1890-1891; French Consul 1912-1929; 1st editor O Luso Hawaiiano 1885-1888 2. Jose Augusto Monteiro Osorio [Elroy’s kin] born 1858 Celorico da Beira Portugal, died 1947; came here 1888; 3rd editor O Luso Hawaiiano 1889-1891; Hilo icon 3. Pedro Augusto Dias born 1855 Funchal, died 1908; came here 1878; 2nd editor O Luso Hawaiiano 1888-1889; mgr. Waipahu mill store 4. Manoel Jose de Freitas came here 1886; Bd. of Election member 1887; left for San Francisco, Calif. 1891;sole editor Aurora Hawaiiana [Breaking News Hawai`i] 1889-1891  5. Camillo Pereira born 1858 Ponta Delgada Sao Miguel Azores, died 1911; came here 1882; sole editor A Uniao Lusitana-Hawaiiana [Luso-Hawaiian union] 1892-1896  6. Joao M. Vivas born 1863 Madeira, died 1912;
came here 1879; sole editor A Sentinella [the Sentinal] 1892-1896  7. Joao de Sousa Ramos born 1857 Sao Miguel Azores, died 1918; came here 1888; 1st editor O Luso 1896-1911 [regarded as the most important/influential Portuguese newspaper in the Hawaiian Islands]; Hilo’s Godofredo Affonso is its 2nd editor 1911-1912; Manuel A. Silva is its 3rd editor 1912-1913; Manuel G. Santos is its 4th editor 1913-1918; Mr. Affonso is its 6th editor 1923-1924; Augusto Onorio Vieira is its 5th editor 1918-1923 [born 1874 Funchal Madeira, died 1934; came here 1883; educator/jeweler] 8. Antonio Jose Rego born 1851 Sao Miguel Azores, died 1929; came here 1881; sole editor O Directo [our Direction] 1896-1898  9. Jose Ferrreira Durao born 1869 Lisbon Portugal, died 1942; came here 1900; editor Liberdade [Of Liberty] 1906-1907.

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http://apps.ksbe.edu/kaiwakiloumoku/ola-na-iwi/da_silva_revgomes

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Ernesto Gomes da Silva arrived in Honolulu on April 12, 1888, aboard the English sailing vessel Thomas Bell after a 156-day journey around the Horn. He traveled with his parents and sister Carmen; they were met by three of his brothers who had already established a family home on Miller St. Ernest learned English at Queen Emma Hall and put aside his early training as a cabinetmaker to became a jeweler’s apprentice at Wichman Co., a trade that he pursued until 1895 when he opened a grocery business with August G. Serrao. A year later, he began to study for the ministry at the North Pacific Missionary Institute of Honolulu.

Raised as a Roman Catholic, Ernest had turned Protestant in 1892 when Central Union Church established its Portuguese mission in Punchbowl. According to family member Mary Frias, the contentious da Silva boys all headed to the mission looking for an argument: “Ernest in particular was ready for a fight, but to their amazement, he was converted to the religion. Tony [his oldest brother] was so mad…that he asked him to move out of the house and [said] that he didn’t want to ever speak to him again.”

Ernest da Silva was ordained by the Portuguese Evangelical Church on June 11, 1899, after working for the Hawaiian Evangelical Board in Maui where he sold Bibles and distributed religious tracts, mostly from donkey-back, on the Hāna to Lahaina circuit. A month after his ordination, he was sent to Hilo to replace R.K. Baptist as pastor of the Portuguese Christian Church (later renamed Central Christian Church), a post that ended five months later with Baptist’s return. Da Silva spent the next two years in Maui where he opened a church at Portuguese Camp above Pā’ia Mill and ministered to other plantation camps at Huelo, Hāmākuapoko, and Pu’unēnē.

He was recalled to Hilo’s Portuguese Church in 1902. In time, he built a branch chapel in Kaiwiki and expanded his ministry to the labor camps of ‘Ōla’a, ‘Amauulu, and Honomū. The Rev. Richard Wong, da Silva’s successor at Central Christian, remembers that da Silva was unique in two respects: he went to all the labor camps regardless of nationality, and he often preached in the language of his audience. The Hawaiians loved him for this, as did the Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Chinese, and Japanese.

Ernest da Silva tried to retire in 1939, but his congregation would not allow it. His grandson Edwin de Silva Jr., who was raised on the third floor of the Haili St. parsonage, remembers that even as an older man da Silva held to a busy schedule. A typical Sunday began with an early-morning service at Kaiwiki, followed by Sunday school on the first floor of the parsonage, followed by 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. services next door at Central Christian. He continued to serve his church until his death in 1955; his 53-year tenure is one of the longest of any minister in Hawai’i.

Ernest married Luisa Dias on June 21, 1899. Her 1898 Honolulu Directory listing as a teacher at the Portuguese Kindergarten on Miller St. identifies her as one of Hawai’i’s first teachers of Portuguese descent. Edwin Jr. remembers that ministers’ wives of those days weren’t supposed to work, but Luisa, like her husband, did not bend readily to convention. In Hilo, she took employment as a clerk and seamstress at E.N. Holmes. Later, she opened the Vogue Shop, a clothing store that she and her daughter-in-law Hazel de Silva ran for many years.

Ernest and Louisa had ten children; eight survived to adulthood. Of these, six became educators, one a politician-businessman, and one a mechanic who could “fix anything that ran.” The da Silva family, re-situated in the 1940’s to a multi-dwelling tract on the outskirts of Hilo, continued to revolve around its avô, its grandfather: da Silva required everyone’s presence at church, family dinners, and all holiday celebrations. Skill at self-expression was ever the sine qua non of his household; his children and grandchildren engaged in constant discourse: singing, laughing, arguing, analyzing, and teasing – often at the tops of their lungs, often at the cost of injured feelings, and always as part of the impassioned process of forging – for all its quirks and contradictions – an unmistakable “de Silva” identity.

Although he was my bisavô, my great-grandfather, I was raised to call him “Avu,” a variation of avô. Avu lived on Kīlauea Avenue, across the street and a little bit Hilo-side of our place, in the main house of the Portuguese “kauhale” whose matriarchs, by then, were his daughter Lu and the irrepressible Mary Frias. Avu died when I was five; my memories, therefore, are of a frail, dignified man seated on a doily-armed, stuffed chair in the living room of a house surrounded by brilliant, contentious, impassioned de Silvas. My memories are faint, but his legacy is still powerful. Today – even for my children, nieces, and nephews – the admonition “you’re a de Silva” carries spine-stiffening impact and irrevocable meaning.

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Rev. De Silva’s son Ernest B. De Silva was our greatest educator next to Oren E. Long (Long’s tenure as Territorial public school chief 1934-1946 — Long opened up the 9th-12th grades to plantation kids who were blocked by Oligarchy tuition fees from advancing beyond the 8th grade, starting with kids born in 1920)  — for Pomona College alumnus Ernest B. De Silva’s ethnic inclusion and social class integration (upward mobility) — like Ernest’s dad Rev. De Silva.     Ernest was Hawai’i Island head and not Territorial chief.

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Eminent and esteemed educator Ernest B. De Silva’s son Paul M. De Silva born 1934 is our greatest mob-buster “DA” and would have gone on to be  our greatest elected chief executive (mayor, governor) had Paul acceded to the public exhortations for Paul to be “political.”     Paul’s greatest strengths  were rooted in his advocacy for “salt of the earth” common folks — actually his spiritual/mystical DNA (Matthew 5:25/Isaiah 58/Micah 6:8), though Paul is not “religious.”

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One Response to Our greatest Portuguese/Luso historymaker: Christian Pastor Ernest Gomes De Silva 1873-1955 (fka Da Silva) for his ethnic inclusion (his Congregational calling) & social class integration (upward mobility)

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