Norwegian and Portuguese
On November 12, 1887, Gulbrand married Libana De Freitas from Kingstown in the West Indies. They had 14 children, and one of them was Annie (1892-1971), who married Joseph Carvalho. They were Eugene’s paternal grandparents and gave him his last name.
Eugene has quite a large number of Portuguese relatives. There were many Portuguese immigrants in Hawaii.
“Most of the Portuguese immigrants came from the Azores and Madeira. That is why I think it was easier for them to get acclimated to Hawaii than it was for those coming from Northern Europe. Scandinavians longed for trees and a cooler climate. The humidity in several places in Hawaii is very high. There are also significant cultural similarities between those two Portuguese islands and Hawaii,” says Eugene.
Eugene’s family members have always been very aware of their Norwegian roots.
“I am proud of my Norwegian heritage,” says Eugene.
He tells that his grandparents had to work hard. It was necessary for survival.
“I remember that grandmother saved everything. She sewed clothing out of burlap bags,” Eugene says, and then adds that his family felt that education was very important. Eugene has benefited from that set of values, as he now has his doctorate and works as a psychiatrist in Kailua on the island of Oahu.
Could not write the truth in letters to Norway
Eugene Carvalho has several letters in his possession. Most interesting is one from Lina Bjerke to Anne (Gulbrandsen). Line wrote on April 9, 1882 from Papakou Sugar Plantation on the eastern coast of the island of Hawaii. Hitchcock was the owner of that plantation.
She writes: “I have written only one letter to Norway since I come here and I don’t want to lie about the condition here and I will not tell the truth so they will be disapointed so I will wait intil I get away from this slavery. Three children born by Norwegian have died this month. There is no hospital here and no midwife to help at the time of the birth.”
She concludes: “I have to quit. I buy me free from the contract and move away.”
Those were poignant words.