Letter From the Philippines


January 16, 1908

 

Letter From the Philippines.

 

Camp Keithley, Mindanao, P. I.

 

Editor RECORD-PRESS,
Marion, Ky.

 

Dear Sir:--I shall once more try to write you a few lines, and hope that they may not find the waste basket, and trusting that they may prove of interest to the readers of the RECORD-PRESS, I shall try to give them a description of the Hawaiian Islands.

The 18th Infantry sailed from San Francisco Oct. 5, arriving at Honolulu Oct. 12, staying there for four days. The Hawaiian Islands are in the North Pacific ocean between longitude 154 degrees, 50 minutes and 150 degrees, 30 minutes West and latitude 22 degrees, 16 seconds and 18 degrees, 54 minutes North. There are eight inhabited islands, namely: Niihau, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Kohoolaoe [Kahoolawe], Oahu and Hawaii. Three small islands or rocks are uninhabited, Lehua, notth [sic] of Niihau, Kula [Kaula], southwest of Niihau Molokini between Kahoolawe and Maui. Small islands further to the northwest are considered as belonging to the group. The islands are of volcanic formation and each has one or more extinct craters, while on Hawaii, the youngest, there are two living ones. Much of the surface of the islands consists of lava fields, although the major portion is fertile soil. There are no large rivers. The climate is mild and equable; cooler than in similar latitudes on the continent. The northwest trades blow nearly all the year, producing delightful temperatures. The extreme range being from 55 degrees to 89 degrees, with an average 75 degrees. The daily range is about 10 degrees. The average rain-fall for the last sixteen years past at Honolulu is 27 inches. The population by the census of 1900 was 154,000 of which the Hawaiian people comprising nearly 50 per cent.

The principal product of the Hawaiian islands is sugar, about 400,900 tons of raw material being produced annually. One factory refines its product. The physical aspect of the country is that of a volcanic mass, the result of many and continued eruption, weathered down by storms of centuries. On the new island of Hawaii where the upbuilding process still goes on are the highest mountains in the Pacific ocean, Mauna Kea, some 14,000 feet, Mauna Loa is almost as high, while Hulalai [Hualalai] is close to 9,000 feet. Geological faults have cut great valleys into the sides of the vast mountain bulks.

City of Honolulu among the greatest variety of cities that are scattered far over the American possession has the oddest form of government, it is probable that it is the most peculiarly governed city in all the world. Although it has a population of nearly 50,000, and is one of the most important sea-ports on the Pacific ocean, it has no mayor or other officials distinctly its own, and it has no city corporation. Its affairs are directed by county and territorial officials only, and it is only distinguished legally from the remainder of Oahu county, which embraces the entire island of the name, by being a separate judicial district and having its own deputy sheriff and district magistrate who serves as police judge.

Honolulu is distinguished in other ways from all other cities of the world. One of these is its having served successively as the seat of government of a monarch, a republic and an American territory. Its present odd form of government is due to its novel history, but it is quite certain that it will not be many years more before it will have both laws and officials of its own and in this way be like other cities of modern times.

How many of the millions of our people who are ever in search of new fields to stray in, new markets to operate in, or new mountains to climb, new gardens wherein to pluck the sweetest of flowers, to taste of the most delicate fruits, and new seas whose gentle lapping waves are ever caressing new shores; how many know of our garden islands, our own territory? Out here in the midst of the greatest of oceans, although almost lost sight of, just some tiny dots on the map, it is yet so easy and so pleasant to reach, so full of opportunity, so full of all that is desirable and productive, so full of mystery and of history, and with all so loved by nature that she has lavished her best upon them all.

The 18th Infantry sailed from Honolulu Oct. 16, arriving at Manilla, P. I. Nov. 3, leaving there the same date for Camp Overton, Mindanao, P. I., arriving there the 7, leaving there the morning of the 8 for Camp Keithley, which lies thirty miles inland, and is 2206 feet above the sea level, and is a very healthy place, nice and cool the year around.

To-day being Thanksgiving day and I have enjoyed a most delicious dinner, and have thought of my friends so far away and wondered what they were doing. I sincerely hope that they all have had an enjoyable time. So wishing all who read the RECORD-PRESS a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, I will close for this time with best wishes to all.

Very respectfully,
BURT E. WOODY.

 

Source:  Crittenden Record=Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1907-1909, January 16, 1908, Image 6 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.

 

[My comments are in brackets.]