High Chiefess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani Keanolani Kanāhoahoa was born on February 9, 1826 and was the daughter High Chiefess Pauahi I (grand daughter of King Kamehameha I). High Chief Kahalaiʻa Luanuʻu was Ruthʻs father, although Mataio Kekūanaōʻa claimed to be the father, therefore, she was raised as a sister to King Kamehameha IV & V and to Princess Victoria Kamamalu.
For various reasons, Ruth was not considered an heir to the throne or named eligible to the throne. Ruth was married to High Chief Leleiohoku and with this marriage had a son whose name was John William Pitt Kinaʻu. This son was proclaimed eligible to the throne by King Kamehameha III and was sent to be groomed to rule at the Chiefs Children's School (Royal School), but he was admitted much later than the rest of the royals. Unfortunately the young High Chief William Pitt Kinaʻu passed away on September 9, 1859 at only 16 years old.
In the year, 1856, Ruth married her second husband, Isaac Young Davis, with this marriage, she gave birth to another son whose name was Keolaokalani Davis born in February of 1862. Unfortunately he also died when he was only one and a half years of age.
Ruth also adopted a brother of David Kalakaua naming him William Pitt Leleiohoku, who became an heir to the throne during Kalakaua's reign, but Leleiohoku passed away when he got pneumonia while visiting in California on April 9, 1877, he was 23 years old.
Ruth was considered the richest woman in the islands because of her vast inherited estate of King Kamehameha V. In 1883 Princess Ruth built Keoua Hale Mansion, she considered it to be her palace and gave a grand luau to celebrate the event. This was followed by a ball in the evening, which was attended by all the best society of Honolulu.
Soon after the princess was taken suddenly ill, and left for Kailua on Hawaiʻi island, hoping to restore her health. She received medical attention, but did not recover. Princess Ruth died at Huliheʻe Palace, Kailua Kona, Hawaiʻi Island in May of 1883, her remains were brought back to Honolulu, and lay in state at Keoua Hale.
Her Royal Highness Princess Ruth was buried in the Kamehameha Crypt of the Royal Mausoleum, Mauna ʻAla, in Nuʻuanu Valley, Oahu. Her will had only one major bequest to her cousin Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, (a great grand daughter of King Kamehameha I), she was given the elaborate mansion, Keōua Hale as well as approximately 353,000 acres of Kamehameha lands. This totaled nearly nine percent of the land in the Hawaiian Islands. Princess Bernice Pauahi later passed away in Keoua Hale and her lands became entrusted for education with preference for Hawaiians, known as Kamehameha Schools. Today the site of Keōua Hale is now Central Middle School.
Princess Ruth Keelikolani
Royal House of Keoua Nui
Keoua Hale, Palace of Princess Ruth