|Died||6 April 1887 69) (aged|
|Spouse||Jane Emma Harrison|
Thomas Powell: 58–59 was a British missionary sent by the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1844 to Samoa where he remained for 43 years. He was interested in botany, zoology and anthropology and was elected as a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. During his time on the islands he recorded details of flora, fauna and the culture of the indigenous people.(18 June 1817 – 6 April 1887)
Thomas Powell was born in Cookham Dean, Berkshire and attended Hackney Theological Academy from 1839.He was ordained 29 May 1844 and left London 6 June 1844 with his wife on the inaugural voyage of the missionary barque John Williams . They arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on 24 August; Hobart, Van Dieman's Land on 10 October; Sydney, New South Wales, on 27 October; and Tutuila, Samoa, on 31 January 1845 and Apia, Upolu, Samoa, on 3 February 1845, en route to their posting at Savai'i. In the absence of Archibald Murray from Pago Pago, Tutuila, he took charge of that station, arriving there 13 March 1845.
Powell had little knowledge of the language at this time so his missionary work was initially limited, but he did have medical knowledge and used this to treat those in need. Powell left Pago Pago on 23 July 1846, to take charge of the district around Samata on the western side of Savai'i, from Alexander Chisholm departing for Tahiti. In 1848 he went with John Geddie to Aneityum, in what is now Vanuatu, returning in 1849 in bad health to Samoa.He was suffering from malaria but went against Geddie's wishes. He later wrote that a disagreement had occurred between the missionaries. On his return to Samoa, Powell was stationed at Tutuila where he remained for a large part of his time.
As a botanist, Powell had special interests in bryophytes, fungi and lichens. Herbarium specimens collected by him in the south Pacific region between 1860 and 1890 have been indexed by the Linnean Society of London and a list of the material was published by the society in 2011.He identified many of the Samoan names of plants and his paper on the subject, On Various Samoan Plants and Their Vernacular Names, was published in the 1868 Journal of Botany, British and Foreign, volume 6. Other papers forwarded to the Linnean Society by Powell included details of the poisons used by Samoan islanders to tip arrows and spears. He also submitted a paper on the formation of Atolls. The paper was read, but due to a critical review by Charles Darwin, it was not published.
Powell helped George Pratt compile his dictionary of the Samoan language.He also transcribed the Samoan story of the creation, told to him by a Samoan chief—Taua-nu'u. This is a valuable record of the islanders beliefs before the arrival of the missionaries. In 1886, he published a book called A Manual of Zoology Embracing the Animals of the Scripture, in the Samoan dialect. Many of the animals would have been unknown to the Samoans, so Powell included illustrations where possible. After his death his wife forwarded some of his papers written in Samoan to the Rev. George Pratt in Sydney Australia. Due to failing eyesight Pratt was unable to make use of the works but a colleague, John Fraser, translated the manuscripts of Samoan myths and folks songs and published them in 1896.
His interests extended to ornithology and he corresponded with Philip Sclater, secretary of the Zoological Society of London, sending specimens for identification. These were passed to Osbert Salvin who presented his findings to the Society in a report 6 January 1879.
Bully Hayes was a notorious recruiter of native labour in the South Seas using trickery or kidnap. The practice referred to as blackbirding, supplied plantation owners with workers who often never returned to their homeland. In 1872 Hayes was arrested by Captain Meade of the USS Narragansett in Samoa. However, after investigation, he was released due to lack of evidence. Powell, who had tried before to have Hayes prosecuted, wrote:
How is it that with such a mass of evidence as was collected on his detention here, which is in British blue books proving his kidnapping of the people of Manahiki, that he is allowed to go at large?
He had previously written:
It will be a lamentable inconsistency on the parts of the British and French governments if this iniquitous traffic be allowed under their flags after their intervention, only a few years ago to put a stop to Peruvian proceedings of the same character.
Bully Hayes was killed by a crew mate in 1877.
Powell arrived home on furlough in England on 10 May 1885. Though intending to return to Samoa, he died at Penzance, Cornwall, on 6 April 1887. Jane Emma died at Eltham, London, on 6 July 1890, aged 68. They are buried in St John the Baptist Churchyard, Eltham, along with one of their daughters—Hannah. : 58–59 Thomas and Jane Powell had at least seven children; their eldest daughter, Jane Anne (1846–1920), married wealthy James Spicer Jr. (1846–1915), who ran the wholesale paper merchants James Spicer & Sons Limited with his brother Sir Albert Spicer. James Spicer was named as Powell's executor in his will.
Plant and animal genera and species named after Thomas Powell:
Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa. It is in Maoputasi County on Tutuila, which is American Samoa's main island.
The Linnean Society of London is a learned society dedicated to the study and dissemination of information concerning natural history, evolution, and taxonomy. It possesses several important biological specimen, manuscript and literature collections, and publishes academic journals and books on plant and animal biology. The society also awards a number of prestigious medals and prizes.
The Samoan Islands are an archipelago covering 3,030 km2 (1,170 sq mi) in the central South Pacific, forming part of Polynesia and of the wider region of Oceania. Administratively, the archipelago comprises all of the Independent State of Samoa and most of American Samoa. The land masses of the two Samoan jurisdictions are separated by 64 km (40 mi) of ocean at their closest points.
The National Park of American Samoa is a national park in the United States territory of American Samoa, distributed across four islands: Tutuila, Ofu, Olosega, and Ta‘ū. The park preserves and protects coral reefs, tropical rainforests, fruit bats, and the Samoan culture. Popular activities include hiking and snorkeling. Of the park's 8,257 acres (3,341 ha), 2,500 acres (1,000 ha) is coral reefs and ocean. The park is the only American National Park Service system unit south of the equator.
Tutuila is the largest and most populous island of American Samoa and is part of the archipelago of the Samoan Islands. It is the third largest island in the Samoan Islands chain of the Central Pacific. It is located roughly 4,000 kilometers (2,500 mi) northeast of Brisbane, Australia and lies over 1,200 kilometers (750 mi) to the northeast of Fiji. It contains a large, natural harbor, Pago Pago Harbor, where Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, is situated. Pago Pago International Airport is also located on Tutuila. The island's land expanse is about 68% of the total land area of American Samoa. With 56,000 inhabitants, it is also home to 95% of the population of American Samoa. The island has six terrestrial and three marine ecosystems.
Berthold Carl Seemann, was a German botanist. He travelled widely and collected and described plants from the Pacific and South America.
The London Missionary Society was an interdenominational evangelical missionary society formed in England in 1795 at the instigation of Welsh Congregationalist minister Edward Williams. It was largely Reformed in outlook, with Congregational missions in Oceania, Africa, and the Americas, although there were also Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and various other Protestants involved. It now forms part of the Council for World Mission.
The islands of Samoa were originally inhabited by humans as early as 850 BC. After being invaded by European explorers in the 18th century, by the 20th and 21st century, the islands were incorporated into Samoa and American Samoa.
Fagatogo is the downtown area of Pago Pago. Located in the low grounds at the foot of Matafao Peak, it was the location of the first American settlement on Tutuila Island. It includes the sub-village of Malaloa. Today, Fagatogo is the government, commercial, financial, and shipping center of Tutuila. It is also the administrative capital of American Samoa. It is the location of the American Samoa Fono (legislature), and is listed in the Constitution of American Samoa as the territory's official seat of government. Its population is 1,737.
John Gilbert Baker was an English botanist. His son was the botanist Edmund Gilbert Baker (1864–1949).
Aunuʻu is a small volcanic island off the southeastern shore of Tutuila in Saʻole County, American Samoa. It has a land area of 374.83 acres, and a 2010 census population of 436 persons. Politically, it is a part of the Eastern District, one of the two primary political divisions of American Samoa.
Raukaua is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araliaceae. It has an austral distribution, being indigenous to southern Argentina and Chile, as well as New Zealand and the island of Tasmania.
Henry Fletcher Hance was a British diplomat who devoted his spare time to the study of Chinese plants.
Leone is the second-largest city on Tutuila Island's west coast. The village is on the south-west coast of Tutuila Island, American Samoa. Leone was the ancient capital of Tutuila Island. Leone was also where the Samoan Islands’ first missionary, John Williams, visited on October 18, 1832. A monument in honor of Williams has been erected in front of Zion Church. Its large church was the first to be built in American Samoa. It has three towers, a carved ceiling and stained glass. Until steamships were invented, Leone was the preferred anchorage of sailing ships which did not risk entering Pago Pago Harbor. Much early contact between Samoans and Europeans took place in Leone.
Journal of Botany, British and Foreign is a monthly journal that was published from 1863 to 1942, and founded by Berthold Carl Seemann who was the editor until his death in 1871. It was initially published by Robert Hardwicke. Seemann himself took on most of the financial responsibility for the journal, which was never profitable, although he was assisted by various other botanists. He was succeeded as editor by Henry Trimen an employee of the British Museum, who also probably took on the expense of running it. Trimen resigned as editor on being appointed director of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Ceylon in 1879, and was succeeded by James Britten, another employee of the British Museum, who continued in the post for 45 years.
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the island country of Samoa. Centered on , it is east of the International Date Line and the Wallis and Futuna Islands, west of the Cook Islands, north of Tonga, and some 500 kilometers (310 mi) south of Tokelau. American Samoa is the southernmost territory of the United States and one of two U.S. territories south of the Equator, along with the uninhabited Jarvis Island.
Afao is a village in southwest Tutuila Island, American Samoa. It is located on the island's short southwestern coast, between 'Amanave and Leone, to the southwest of Pago Pago. It includes the settlement of Atauloma. Afao is home to two places listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: Afao Beach Site and Atauloma Girls School.
Vaitogi is a village in American Samoa. It has many missionaries and tourists who are attracted by shopping for local products. Vaitogi might be most famous of its legends about the Turtle and Shark. It is said that once, at a time when food was scarce, an old woman took her granddaughter to the bluff at Vaitogi, and holding hands, they leaped into the sea down below. While the young girl was transformed into a shark, the blind grandmother became a turtle. It gives its name to a local U-shaped cove in town, which was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2014.
Vailoatai is a village in southwestern Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa. It is located on the eastern end of Leone Bay. The village is known for its beautiful malae, nested along the island's rugged southern coast and lined by the fale tali mālō of its village chiefs.
Fagasā is a village in the Eastern District of Tutuila Island in American Samoa. The village lies by Fagasa Bay, on the north shore of the island. Its name is Samoan and translates to “Forbidden Bay.” The village borders the Tutuila-section of National Park of American Samoa. The trailhead to Mount ‘Alava is located near the village by Fagasa Pass.