Louis Keave

Louis Keave, a native of Hawaii, began his employment with the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1840 and was sent to Fort Taku, in the Alaska Panhandle. During 1843, he worked at Fort Victoria, where he was employed as a labourer until 1848. The Fort Victoria Journal recorded that during 18th April, 1848, Keave was ill with measles, and that Keave’s child, unregistered, died of the disease. This is one of the few references to a child or relation of an inhabitant of the fort. In the Journal, a third of the references to Keave indicated his being ill, suggestive of the persistence of illness among the fort’s inhabitants. Barman and Watson note that Keave returned twice to O’ahu, in spring of 1845 and mid-November 1848. Entries in the Fort Victoria Journal do not directly identify Keave as embarking for O’ahu in mid-November, 1848, or of his returning the following year. However, a reference on 28th November, 1848 identified several Hawaiians intent on leaving by the Cowlitz, of which Keave was likely one (the Cowlitz departed Fort Victoria for Honolulu and London on 7th December, 1848). It is likely he returned aboard the barque Columbia on 16th March, 1849, which came from England via Hawaii. In 1849, at a Catholic ceremony held in Victoria, Keave married Emilie, a Clallam woman. In that year, they had a son, Jean Baptiste. A second marriage to Ursule resulted in a daughter, Elizabeth. Keave’s name of ?Louis? may have come about during the time of his first marriage. Entries for Keave in the Fort Victoria Journal do not reference him by a first name. Through 1849 and 1852, Keave continued with the HBC, though there is no record of his name for this period in the fort’s Journal. Thereafter, he settled in Victoria along Kanaka Street (Humboldt Street), owning property, and where the Keave family lived next door to a possible relation, Thomas Keave and his family.


  • Barman, Jean and Bruce Watson, Leaving Paradise: Indigenous Hawaiians in the Pacific Northwest. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006).
Frederick Gentz