Maria Paton Chamberlain


Maria Paton Chamberlain


Maria Paton Chamberlain


Maria Patton Chamberlain (March 19, 1803 - January 19, 1880)

Looking across Mission Lane, which divides this cemetery from the Mission Houses grounds, you will see the Chamberlain House, the tall stone-built building on the left. Imagine the yard full of children, and the continually busy storehouse receiving and sending goods. The Chamberlain House was the home of Maria Patton Chamberlain , her husband Levi, and their children during the years 1831 until 1877.

Maria was born in Salisbury Township, Pennsylvania in the year 1803. Unusually for a missionary, her deep interest in religion was not shared by her family. She sailed as a missionary in 1827 as one of four single women in the third company of missionaries to the islands, on the ship Parthian.

Her first assignment was as a helper to Reverend William Richards and his family in Lahaina, Maui. There she met Levi Chamberlain, the head of secular affairs for the mission, and they married soon after in 1828.

Maria’s first home at the Mission Houses compound in Honolulu was a grass house; most of the early missionaries lived in them to begin with. By 1831, however, the Chamberlain House was built and the couple moved in. The Chamberlains had eight children: one died in infancy, but they raised seven children in the house, although the two eldest were sent back to the United States for schooling, as the earliest missionaries did not feel it safe to raise their children among the Hawaiians. Maria was particularly interested in child welfare and taught classes with a view to lessening the rate of child mortality in the islands.

The congregation of Kawaiahaʻo church, which borders this cemetery, met at the mission compound each Sunday and Wednesday. Newly arrived missionaries were welcomed there. The annual meeting of all of the mission stations around the islands took place there. The Chamberlain House was busy with classes and home care of children and orphans.

When her husband Levi died in 1847, Maria was forty-six. With a small inheritance from her husband, Maria continued her teaching, sending her children to Punahou School while supplementing her income by taking in boarders. She managed her business by herself, for the rest of her life, a further thirty-one years.

Maria returned to the United States once to visit family and friends, in 1859. She is buried alongside her husband and five of their children in this cemetery.

Maria Patton Chamberlain
Born Salisbury Township, Pequa, Pennsylvania, March 19, 1803
Died Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, January 19, 1880

Partners in Change, David Forbes, Ralph Kam, Thomas Woods, editors; Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society, 2018
Notable Women of Hawaii, Barbara Bennett Peterson, editor, University of Hawaii Press 1984
Sojourners Among Strangers:The first two companies of missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands, Sandra Elaine Wagner, PHD Dissertation, University of Hawaii, 1986


Hawaiian Mission Children's Society Library at the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives.


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“Maria Paton Chamberlain,” Hawaiian Mission Houses Digital Archive, accessed August 19, 2022,

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