Part II: Kaua‘i History
Mythology and Pre-Contact History of Kaua‘i
Wākea and Hāloa
The Old Way of Life
Taro—The Hawaiian Staff of Life
Hula Heiau—Sacred Hula Training Site of Ancient Hawai‘i
The Origins of Hula
Traditions of Hula
Sacred Heiau of Wailua
‘Oahi—The Fire Throwing Ceremony
‘Alekoko (Menehune) Fishpond
Inter and Intra Island Struggles
King Kaumuali‘i and the Invasion Attempts of King Kamehameha I
Kekaiha‘akūlou—Queen Deborah Kapule
Humehume—Leader of Kaua‘i’s Last Rebellion
Prince Jonah Kūhiō—Kaua‘i’s Native Son
Queen Emma’s Journey to the Alaka‘i
Western Contact—Explorers, Russians, and Whalers
The Arrival of Captain Cook—First Landfall at Waimea
Ships Visiting Kaua‘i in the 1700’s
Russian Forts on Kaua‘i
The Whaling Era
Missionaries and Churches
The Wai‘oli Mission Station
The Wilcox Legacy
Plantations and Mills
Lihue [Līhue] Sugar Plantation
Kilauea [Kīlauea] Sugar Company
Grove Farm Sugar Plantation
McBryde Sugar Plantation
The Rice Era
Kaua‘i’s First Cattle Ranch
Movies on Kaua‘i—Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and John Wayne
The Story of Princeville
Mythology / Pre-Contact History
Wākea and Hāloa
Polynesian legends describe how kalo (taro) existed even before the first humans. An ancient chant recounts how Wākea, the god of the sky, had to bury his first son because the child was born as a shapeless mass. The next day a taro plant grew up from the location and Wākea named the plant-child Hāloa-naka (“Long, trembling stem”).
Wākea’s second son was a boy that Wākea named Hāloa-naka-lau-kapalili (“Long-stalk-quaking-trembling-leaf stem”). Hāloa was considered to be the first human, thus the taro plant was considered the oldest ancestor of all humans.
The legend of the Menehune describes an ancient race of Kauaians who were very small, but very skilled, and with a supernatural strength. The Menehune were said to have built many structures, including roads, dams, ‘auwai (irrigation canals), and heiau (sacred places of worship)—and everything they built was constructed in a single night.
Each Menehune was a master of a certain craft and had one special function they accomplished with great precision and expertise. The Menehune would set out at dark to build something, and if they failed to complete the project in one night it would be abandoned.
There remains some mystery surrounding the exact origin of the stories about Menehune. Some speculate the word Menehune comes from the word “manahune,” or “common people” (common laborers), referring to the early Marquesan[i] settlers of Hawai‘i who were later dominated by Tahitian settlers, and made to perform the hardest work, including stonework.
The term “Menehune” may have been a reference not to the Marquesan settlers’ small size but instead to their lower status in the social system, leading to a myth about a small race of people. This is just one possible explanation of the still very mysterious story of the Menehune.
The Menehune Ditch, located just above Waimea town, is a remarkable feat of engineering and stonework built to bring water from the upper Waimea River to the lo‘i kalo (taro patches) in the valley.
As the name implies, Menehune Ditch is said to have been built by the legendary ancient race of people known as Menehune. The Hawaiian name for the Menehune Ditch is Kīkī-a-Ola, which translates to “Container [Acquired] by Ola,”[ii] referring to the chief who ordered the building of the watercourse (the “channel”), which was said to have been constructed in a single night.
Just a small section of Menehune Ditch remains today, measuring about 50 feet long by two feet wide. The aqueduct originally spanned several miles and had walls that were an estimated 24 feet high, with a footpath along the top.[iii]
The stones of the Menehune Ditch, some of which are 3 feet wide, 5 feet long, and 3 feet deep, are flanged and fitted so that the smooth, flattened surfaces fit closely together, some with a peg in one stone that fits into a whole in another stone. This type of cut and dressed stonework is not found anywhere else in the Hawaiian Islands. The origins and methods used in the construction of the Menehune Ditch remain a mystery.
Some researchers theorize that the Menehune Ditch was built by the first native Hawaiians, the early Marquesan settlers who arrived in Hawai‘i about A.D. 200 to 800.[iv] These first settlers of the Hawaiian Islands may have been responsible for the unique method of stonework used on the Menehune Ditch, since this type of craftsmanship is not seen in the projects of later Tahitian settlers, who began arriving in the Hawaiian Islands around A.D. 1200.
The Old Way of Life
Taro—The Hawaiian Staff of Life
Hawaiians grew taro for centuries before Western contact was established by Captain Cook in 1778. Taro is an ancient crop, mentioned in Chinese sources dating to 100 B.C. It was eaten in ancient Egypt and later in many other places around the globe, including Africa, Indonesia, and Central America.
It was only in the Hawaiian Islands, however, that taro cultivation reached intensive levels, with as many as 300 varieties grown from only about twelve original varieties brought to Hawai‘i by the early Polynesian settlers on their voyaging canoes.
The taro plant may reach heights of more than three feet, with large heart-shaped lū‘au (leaves) that arise in a cluster from an underground corm that is similar to a large potato. In ancient times, most taro varieties were grown for poi production, and were distinguished from one another by variations petioles (leaf stems) and the corms. Taro corms may be bluish lavender, purple, red, white, or yellow.
Taro was a staple food of the Polynesians, and all parts of the taro plant are edible when cooked, including the lū‘au. A pudding-like mix known as kūlolo was made by sweetening grated taro corm with kō (sugarcane) and mixing it with the grated flesh and water of niu (coconut). This mixture was wrapped in leaves of kī (ti), and baked in an imu (underground earthen oven).
Taro also had numerous other important uses to the ancient Hawaiians, including as a bait for ‘ōpelu fish (mackerel scad), an adhesive to hold pieces of kapa (tapa) barkcloth together, a dye used to color kapa barkcloth, and numerous medicinal uses.
One medicinal formulation including taro was used as a purgative, and was prepared by mixing the corm of taro with the sap of nuts of kukui (candlenut). The sap of the taro leaf stem was applied to cuts in order to help stop the bleeding and begin the healing process.
Offshoots of a mature taro plant are known as ‘ohā, and grow in a circle around the parent plant. The ‘ohā eventually grow into mature taro plants producing their own circle of ‘ohā.
In this way a single taro plant may eventually produce enough offshoots to fill a whole lo‘i kalo (taro patch). The ever-widening circle of ‘ohā is called the ‘ohana, and serves as a model for the extended Hawaiian family, also known as ‘ohana.
Taro was one of the most important crops of ancient Hawai‘i. Using well-engineered canals called ‘auwai, water was diverted from rivers into lo‘i kalo, the large ponds where taro was grown. The water was then channeled back into the stream. This irrigation process continues today, and some of the original ‘auwai are still in use.
In ancient Hawai‘i, the poi making process involved using a sharpened shell of an ‘opihi (limpet) or another shell or a stone to peel the cooked taro corm. The corm was then broken up and mashed with a stone poi pounder as small amounts of water were added to prevent sticking.
Calabashes to hold poi were made from ipu (bottle gourds), while bowls to hold poi were made from particular types of wood, including the native kou tree as well as the Polynesian-introduced milo and kamani trees. These species were preferred for calabashes because their wood, unlike koa, does not have tannic acid that spoils the poi’s flavor. During journeys, poi was stored in lau hala (leaves of the hala tree), and these food bundles were known as holo ‘ai.
The most common poi pounder used in ancient times was the pōhaku ku‘i ‘ai, which had a flared base and a narrow neck with a knob on top to keep the hand from slipping. Another style of poi pounder, which was used on Kaua‘i, was the pōhaku ku‘i ‘ai puka, often referred to as a ring pounder because of the hole through the center of the handle that forms an arch that is gripped with the thumbs of both hands.
Poi was pounded on papa ku‘i ‘ai (poi boards), which were usually made from the trunk of the ‘ulu (breadfruit tree).
Hula Heiau—Sacred Hula Training Site of Ancient Hawai‘i
In pre-contact times, hula dancers and chanters came to Kaua‘i’s north shore from throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and perhaps from throughout Polynesia, to receive intense training from a kumu hula (hula master) in the sacred arts of Hawaiian hula and mele (chanting).
According to legend, the first hula occurred when Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes, wanted her sisters to entertain her with song and dance. Only Pele’s youngest sister, Hi‘iaka, would comply, and she performed gracefully and powerfully for Pele to the amazement of all. Today hula is a beautiful art form and culturally significant practice that embraces and perpetuates Hawaiian history, legends, and culture.
Two heiau (sacred areas) are located at the base of the cliffs just above the shoreline of Kē‘ē Beach on Kaua‘i’s north shore. One of the heiau at Kē‘ē is known as Ka-ulu-Paoa (“The inspiration [of] Paoa”[v]), referring to a legend regarding the Kaua‘i chief Lohi‘au and his friend Paoa, who trained in the art of hula at the site beneath the lava cliffs.
Nearby to Ka-ulu-Paoa is another heiau, known as Ka-ulu-o-Laka (“The inspiration of Laka”[vi]). A flat area and the remnants of a stone wall are all that remain of this important heiau dedicated to the hula goddess Laka, who is said to have begun her hula at this location. This is also said to be where the volcano goddess Pele first fell in love with the handsome Lohi‘au.
Towering above the two heiau is the mountain peak called Makana (“Gift”[vii]), a north shore landmark. A large rock located along the Kē‘ē shoreline at the base of the trail is known as Kilioe. The deeply-grooved basalt boulder is considered a pōhaku piko, where a baby’s piko (umbilical cord) is placed to help ensure a long and healthy life for the child. The hula heiau site at Kē‘ē is an important cultural area still revered for its place in Hawaiian history as well as its continuing mana (spiritual power).
Just beneath the peak of Makana and the sacred hula heiau is Kē‘ē Beach, one of the north shore’s most scenic beaches. Known for its crystalline clear blue waters as well as its prime location, Kē‘ē is the gateway to the majestic cliffs of the Nāpali Coast.
According to Hawaiian legend, the body of the Kaua‘i chief Lohi‘au was placed in a cave on a cliff near the beach after Lohi‘au died of his love for the volcano goddess Pele. Hi‘iaka (Pele’s sister) and her friend Wahine‘oma‘o (“Green woman”[viii]) ascended the cliff and used prayers and herbs to bring Lohi‘au back to life, causing three rainbows to appear in the sky.
A fringing reef surrounding Kē‘ē Beach provides a great protected swimming area unless the waves beyond the reef are too large. Nearby is the trailhead leading to the spectacular cliffs and spires of the Nāpali Coast. The Kalalau Trail leads over a rugged eleven miles, climbing and descending along the weather-worn coastline to the remote Kalalau Valley.
The Origins of Hula
Hula and mele chants are the ancient way that Hawaiians tell their stories, pay reverence to nature, and unite mind, body and spirit with all of creation. The essence of hula is to go inward, to touch one’s center.
Dancers are especially aware of their feet touching the earth, and of the earth itself, which is felt to be the source of the power of the dance. Hula and mele are also a celebration of the beauty of the heart of the Hawaiian people, their love and aloha.
The two main forms of hula are ‘auana and kahiko. ‘Auana is the more modern style of hula, which is characterized by undulating movements and is usually accompanied by a Hawaiian band. Kahiko, which means ancient, is the older and more traditional form of hula.
In kahiko, an invocation precedes each dance, and the women often wear knee-length skirts made from flat green leaves of kī (ti). They may also wear a necklace made from the polished nuts of the kukui tree, or lei ‘ā‘ī (draping vines or flowers).
Bracelets of ferns around their wrists and ankles are known as kūpe‘e. The lei po‘o encircles the dancer’s head, which is traditionally graced with long, dark flowing hair.
Hula and mele help Hawaiians remember their origins and give thanks for all of the many natural wonders that enrich their world, including the birds, fish, flowers, trees, mountains, streams, ocean, wind and sky.
Chants are enhanced by hula, and both are integral parts of Hawaiian spirituality that carry on the ancient legends and history of the Hawaiian people and help Hawaiians retain a connection to their past.
Hula brings forth the meanings of the chants, similar to how the form of poetry may give life to a poem. Performed by those trained in the art, hula and mele are infused with all the power and history of the Hawaiian people, telling tales of migrations, genealogies, myths, customs and traditions.
There are stories of longing for loved ones and stories of grief over deaths, stories of heroic explorations and stories of love. The Hawaiian culture is sustained by this oral tradition captured in the lyrics of the chants.
Traditions of Hula
Traditional instruments that accompany hula include the pahu hula, a drum made from the trunk of a coconut or breadfruit tree, with a drumhead made of sharkskin. Drumming sticks to keep beat are called lā‘au ho‘okani pahu. Also used are pū‘ili (split bamboo rattles) and ‘ulī‘ulī, gourd rattles that contain seeds and are adorned at the top with colorful feathers.
Dancers gather the lacy pala‘ā fern and most frequently the palapalai fern, and since post-contact times the hardier laua‘e fern. The forest plants used in hula are symbolic—the palapalai fern is a representation of the hula goddess Laka; pala‘ā is an incarnation of Pele’s sister, Hi‘iaka; and blossoms of ‘a‘ali‘i symbolizes strength.
Hula students learn about the ‘āina, and how to respect and care for the ferns and flowers. Plants are conserved for future generations, and never taken by the roots.
The dancers give thanks to the source of the plants, the fragrant maile and leaves of kī (ti) and woodland ferns, and ask permission for their use, paying reverence to Laka, the goddess of the forest and hula, as well as other ancient (kahiko) Hawaiian gods. Today many hālau also thank the god of Christianity.
I le‘a ka hula i ka ho‘opa‘a.
The hula is pleasing because of the drummer.
The lesser details that one pays little attention to are just as important as the major ones. Although the attention is given to the dancer, the drummer and chanter play an important role in the dance.
Sacred Heiau of Wailua
Wailua, on Kaua‘i’s east side, was a political and religious center of Kaua‘i in ancient times. It was also home to Hawaiian royalty and chiefs, and the site of numerous heiau (sacred places of worship).
An ancient trail along the course of the Wailua River led to six different heiau aligned from the shoreline to the top of the island at Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale. The chiefs traveled up through the groves of native koa, sandalwood, and ‘ōhi‘a lehua trees to finally reach the small plateau atop Wai‘ale‘ale’s summit where a heiau named Ka‘awakō (“The kava drawn along”[x]) was dedicated to the Hawaiian god Kāne, the spirit of the water and the lord of the forests. It is said that Kāne remains there today beneath the clouds of Wai‘ale‘ale.
Hauloa (“Dew of life”[xi]) is a large heiau located at the mouth of the Wailua River, and is thought to have included a pu‘uhonua, or place of refuge. The religious center at Hauloa was Hikina-a-ka-lā (“Rising of the sun”[xii]), located where the sunrise first touches the island on Kaua‘i’s eastern shore each morning. The altar at Hauloa is said to be the site of the first human sacrifice on Kaua‘i.[xiii]
Hikina-a-ka-lā was a stone enclosure about 395 feet long and 63 feet wide. Built an estimated 1,200 years ago, Hikina-a-ka-lā was oriented to Hōkūpa‘a (“Immovable star”[xiv]), the Polynesians’ name for the North Star. Māla‘e Heiau is located near Hauloa at the mouth of the Wailua River, and is one of Kaua‘i’s oldest heiau and also the largest, encompassing about two acres, with a stone structure measuring 273 by 324 feet. The walls of the heiau were constructed up to ten feet high and thirteen feet thick at the base tapering to eight feet wide at the top.
According to legend, Māla‘e Heiau was built about 1,500 years ago by the ancient race of people known as Menehune, and is said to be an example of the Menehune trait of forming a single line of people many miles long to pass rocks from one person to the next. A ledge lined the heiau’s inner wall, providing a place to sit and watch the events occurring within the heiau.
Deborah Kapule, Kaua‘i’s last queen as the wife of King Kaumuali‘i used Māla‘e Heiau as a cattle pen after she converted to Christianity. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the rocks of Māla‘e Heiau were taken by the sugar companies for use in construction projects. More recently, volunteers have worked to restore the ancient sacred site.
Holoholokū Heiau, named after a kahuna (priest),[xv] is located on the north side of the Wailua River, was a luakini where human sacrifices were performed. Holoholokū Heiau is one of Kaua‘i’s oldest heiau, and is relatively small, measuring about 20 by 40 feet.
The pōhaku hānau (birthstones) on the western side of the site is where high chiefs were born, including Kaua‘i’s King Kaumuali‘i. A nearby pōhaku (stone) was where the baby’s piko (umbilical cord) was left to ensure the child’s health.
Poli‘ahu Heiau is located on the south side of Kuamo‘o Road just up from Holoholokū Heiau, and beneath Kālepa Ridge and the peak of Mauna-kapu (“Sacred mountain”[xvi]). Considered the sister heiau to Māla‘e Heiau, Poli‘ahu is 242 feet long by 165 feet wide, and the site of ancient religious ceremonies led by a kahuna (priest).
The overthrow of the kapu, or traditional Hawaiian religious system, in 1819 led to the dismantling of Poli‘ahu’s religious structures, which included a three-story ‘anu‘u (wooden oracle tower) as well as a lele (raised altar platform), hale pahu (temple drum house), and a hale umu, where temple fires were maintained and offerings were prepared. In ancient days, the ringing of the nearby pōhaku kani (bellstone) could be heard throughout the valley, signaling that a royal birth had occurred.
The bellstone may also have been used to warn of approaching danger, such as invading warriors in canoes. Poli‘ahu’s expansive view of the eastern Kaua‘i’s shoreline includes Māla‘e Heiau, and it is likely that communication took place between the two locations in ancient times.
‘Ōahi—The Fire Throwing Ceremony
On Kaua‘i’s north shore, Hawaiian royalty marked special occasions with the ‘ōahi (fire throwing) ceremony, which involved throwing burning logs of native hau and pāpala trees into the seaward winds blowing off the shoreline cliffs of Makana, Mākua and Kāmaile.
Carried by the strong winds, the firebrands soared out over the water and showered sparks into the sea to the delight of crowds that arrived in canoes from as far away as Ni‘ihau. People in canoes beneath the cliffs attempted to catch the burning embers and sometimes tattooed themselves with the fiery logs to commemorate the event.
The fire-throwing ceremony began in ancient days and was also done during the post-contact period. After visiting Hanalei in 1860, Theo Davies described watching “...several natives climb to the summit of a stupendous and almost perpendicular peak and taking light dry stakes about six feet long, ignite them at both ends, and throw them far out and the wind carries them backwards and forwards until they reach the sea.”[xvii]
‘Alekoko (Menehune) Fishpond
The ‘Alekoko Fishpond, commonly called Menehune Fishpond, is located along a bend in the Hulē‘ia Stream just above Nāwiliwili Harbor. Constructed of earth and faced with stone, the 900-foot levee was built for the purpose of trapping and raising fish.
Building the massive ‘Alekoko Fishpond was a remarkable engineering feat that is attributed to the legendary ancient race of Menehune. The huge aquaculture facility is said to have been built in a single moonlit night by a 25-mile-long, double row of Menehune who passed rocks to each other all the way from the Makaweli Quarry in Waimea.
According to legend, the chief ‘Alekoko requested that two ponds be constructed—one for him and one for his sister Hāhālua. The Menehune agreed to build the ponds but told ‘Alekoko that no one must look while the work was being completed.
When ‘Alekoko could not resist the urge to look out during the night, the Menehune immediately stopped their work and washed their bloody hands in the river, giving the fishpond the name ‘Alekoko, which means “Bloody ripples.”[xviii]
The walls of ‘Alekoko Fishpond are about four feet thick and five feet high. In the 1800’s, two of the three gaps in the levee were filled in by rice farmers. Makaweli means “Fearful features.”[xix]
Inter and Intra Island Struggles
Parents: Kā‘eokūlani [Kā‘eo] (father) and Kamakahelei (mother).
Grandparents: Kekaulikenuiahumanu [Kekaulike] and Holau (parents of Kā‘eokūlani [Kā‘eo]).
Sons: Prince George Kaumuali‘i (also known as Humehume); Keali‘iahonui.
Grandchildren: Queen Kapi‘olani; Virginia Kapo‘oloku Po‘omaikelani; and Esther Kinoiki Kekaulike (children of Kūhiō and Kinoiki).
Great grandchildren: Edward Keali‘ihonui, David Kawānanakoa; and Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole (children of David Kahalepouli Pi‘ikoi and Kinoiki Kekaulike).
Wife: Queen Deborah Kapule (Kekaiha‘akūlou).
and the Invasion Attempts of King Kamehameha I
King Kaumuali‘i was Kaua‘i’s last native ruler. Born in 1780 at the sacred royal Birthstone at Holoholokū Heiau in Wailua, Kaumuali‘i was the son of Kā‘eokūlani [Kā‘eo] and Kamakahelei.[xx] Kā‘eokūlani [Kā‘eo] first became king of Maui and in the late 1870’s also became the ruler of Kaua‘i, replacing Keawe.
Kaumuali‘i’s mother, Kamakahelei, was Kaua‘i’s ruling chiefess and a descendant of O‘ahu ali‘i (high chiefs). She was also said to possess the feared prayer known as Aneekapuahi, and her marriage to Kā‘eokūlani [Kā‘eo] led to his unquestioned rule over Kaua‘i.[xxi]
When English Captain George Vancouver visited Waimea, Kaua‘i in 1792, he met the young Kaumuali‘i, who was twelve years old at the time. Arriving at Waimea Bay on March 9, 1792, Vancouver was impressed by Kaumuali‘i’s friendliness and intelligence.
Kaumuali‘i was referred to as King George, after the English sovereign.[xxii] In the spring of 1793, the young prince Kaumuali‘i again met Vancouver.
Kā‘eokūlani [Kā‘eo] left Kaua‘i 1791, leaving as Regent a chief named Inamo‘o. In 1794, Kaumuali‘i’s father, Kā‘eokūlani [Kā‘eo], died in a battle against the forces of Kalanikūpule on O‘ahu. Soon Inamo‘o also died, and Kaumuali‘i became the paramount ruler of Kaua‘i.
In February of 1796, when William Robert Broughton arrived at Waimea, Kaua‘i on the Providence, Keawe and Kaumuali‘i were still fighting to control Kaua‘i. Keawe had apparently gained control in the Waimea region, and he boarded the Providence, but hurried to shore when he saw the approaching fleet of Kaumuali‘i, who then spent the night aboard the ship.
King Kamehameha I launched his first invasion attempt on Kaua‘i in April of 1796, having already conquered the other Hawaiian Islands, and having fought his last major battle at Nu‘uanu on O‘ahu in 1795.
Kaua‘i’s opposing factions were extremely vulnerable as they had been weakened by fighting each other. Keawe stated that he intended to join Kamehameha’s forces if attacked. The invasion fleet of King Kamehameha I left O‘ahu at midnight with an estimated 800 or more canoes and more than 8,000 soldiers.
About one-fourth of the way across the ocean channel between O‘ahu and Kaua‘i, a storm thwarted Kamehameha’s warriors when many of their canoes were swamped in the rough seas and stormy winds, and then were forced to turn back. Some of the advance troops made it to Kaua‘i and were killed when they reached shore. Kaua‘i remained unconquered.
By July of 1796, Keawe finally emerged victorious on Kaua‘i after two years of brutal fighting. Kaumuali‘i was taken captive and then allowed to roam freely on his own lands in Wailua.
About one year later Keawe was killed by one of his own men, Ki‘ikīkī, the konohiki (headman) of the ahupua‘a of Wainiha, who had conspired with another man, Kāne‘ekau, to take control of Keawe’s supply of weaponry. After Keawe’s death, Kaumuali‘i seized Ki‘ikīkī’s weapons and became mō‘ī ‘ai moku (paramount chief) of Kaua‘i.
In 1804, King Kamehameha I moved his capital from Lahaina, Maui to Honolulu on O‘ahu, and continued planning an attack on Kaua‘i. Kamehameha’s forces for this second invasion attempt included about 7,000 Hawaiians along with about 50 foreigners (Europeans). Kamehameha’s troops were armed with muskets as well as eight cannons, 40 swivel guns, and other Western weaponry. Kamehameha’s massive fleet of double-hulled canoes was accompanied by 21 armed schooners.[xxv]
Kamehameha’s plans were thwarted again when an epidemic of ma‘i ‘ōku‘u (thought to be cholera) swept through the population, killing thousands of native Hawaiians. The sickness also infected Kamehameha, and many of his warriors died from the disease, including the prominent chief, Ke‘eaumoku Pāpa‘iaheahe. The sickness delayed for a second time Kamehameha’s goal of conquering Kaua‘i.
In a renewed effort for a large-scale attack on Kaua‘i, Kamehameha began assembling a formidable armada of sailing ships in Waikīkī, using foreigners to construct the vessels. The invasion never took place, however, because Kaua‘i’s King Kaumuali‘i ceded Kaua‘i to King Kamehameha in 1810 to avoid war. This allowed King Kamehameha I to declare a united Hawaiian Kingdom.
“Let us go and drink the water of Wailua, bathe in the water of Nāmolokama, eat the mullet that swim in Kawaimakua at Hā‘ena, wreathe ourselves with the moss of Polihale,
then return to O‘ahu and dwell there.”
King Kamehameha I, inspiring his warriors before
launching an attack on Kaua‘i[xxvi]
After King Kamehameha I died in 1819, Kaumuali‘i pledged his allegiance to King Kamehameha II (Kalaninui ‘Iolani Liholiho), who apparently remained distrustful of Kaua‘i’s vassal ruler.
In 1821, King Kamehameha II anchored his royal ship Ha‘aheo o Hawai‘i (Pride of Hawai‘i) in Waimea Bay, and invited Kaumuali‘i aboard. After boarding the ship, Kaumuali‘i was taken prisoner and the ship sailed for O‘ahu.
On O‘ahu, the powerful Ka‘ahumanu, Kuhina Nui (Premier) and former queen, married Kaumuali‘i to ensure the monarchy’s control over Kaua‘i. Kaumuali‘i passed away on O‘ahu in 1824.
Kekaiha‘akūlou—Queen Deborah Kapule
Around 1817, Kaua‘i’s King Kaumuali‘i married the beautiful chiefess Kekaiha‘akūlou, the daughter of the chiefess Haea and the high chief Hā‘upu. Kekaiha‘akūlou later became known as Queen Deborah Kapule,
In 1821, after King Kamehameha II (Kalaninui ‘Iolani Liholiho) took King Kaumuali‘i to O‘ahu and held him as a prisoner, Ka‘ahumanu married Kaumuali‘i to formally sever his ties to the former queen and any of his claims of leadership on Kaua‘i. Furthering her efforts to eliminate potential threats to her power, Ka‘ahumanu also married Keali‘iahonui, the son of Kaumuali‘i by another wife.
Despite the removal of her husband from power by King Kamehameha II (Kalaninui ‘Iolani Liholiho), Deborah Kapule was loyal to the Hawaiian monarchy. When the forces of Kaumuali‘i’s son, Humehume, attacked the Waimea fort in 1824, Deborah Kapule arrived with her sword drawn to help fight against the rebels.
In 1824, Deborah Kapule married Kaumuali‘i’s half-brother, Simeon Kaiu, who was a devout Christian. Deborah officially became a member of the Christian church in 1825, and was one of the first Kaua‘i natives to learn how to read and write. She also supported a school of 50 students with two teachers.
In 1835, Deborah Kapule moved to Wailua with Simeon Kaiu and 16 other church members to found a new church on the current site of the Coco Palms Hotel. Unfortunately, Simeon Kaiu died soon after the move. About one year later Governor Kaikio‘ewa became jealous of the Deborah Kapule’s popularity and ordered her arrested and sent to Honolulu.
An appeal to King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) by Reverend William Richards brought Deborah Kapule back to Kaua‘i in 1838. She was later excommunicated from the church due to an affair with Oliver Chapin, a married man, though she was reinstated in the church in the 1840’s.
Oliver Chapin and Deborah Kapule lived together in their house at Wailua until the end of the 1840’s. Deborah Kapule’s residence became well known among travelers as a nice place to rest. Fishponds were located nearby, and ferry service was provided across the Wailua River. Close by was Māla‘e Heiau, which Deborah Kapule had converted into a cattle pen.
In the 1850’s, Deborah Kapule was personally involved in the construction of the Waimea stone church, providing oxen to haul the large stones and then riding on horseback alongside the procession of rocks. Deborah Kapule, Kaua‘i’s last queen, passed away on August 26, 1853.[xxvii]
Humehume—Leader of Kaua‘i’s Last Rebellion
Prince George Kaumuali‘i, also known as Humehume, was born about 1797 to King Kaumuali‘i and a commoner wife. As a child, Humehume was sent to the United States for an education, but the money given to the boy’s guardian to pay for his education was either squandered or lost. Humehume eventually enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was wounded during the War of 1812. Humehume later worked in the Boston Navy Yard and then studied at the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut.
On May 3, 1820, Humehume returned to Kaua‘i and was reunited with his father after many years apart. Humehume arrived on Kaua‘i aboard the Thaddeus, the same ship that brought the First Company of American missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands.
Joyous at his son’s return, King Kaumuali‘i placed Humehume second in command and rewarded the captain of the Thaddeus with a valuable cargo of ‘iliahi (sandalwood), which could be sold for a high price in China.
In 1824, after King Kaumuali‘i passed away on O‘ahu, Humehume challenged the rule of King Kamehameha II (Kalaninui ‘Iolani Liholiho) with a surprise attack on the fort at Waimea, Kaua‘i. The fort was successfully defended, and Humehume’s troops retreated to nearby Wahiawa and Hanapēpē. King Kamehameha II was away in England at the time of the attack, leaving Kuhina Nui (Premier) Ka‘ahumanu in charge of the Hawaiian monarchy.
In response to Humehume’s rebellion, the well-armed troops of Ka‘ahumanu’s Kālaimoku (Principal Counselor), Kalanimoku [Kālaimoku; William (Billy) Pitt], marched on Hanapēpē and the Wahiawa plains. Kalanimoku (1768-1827) was also known as “Billy Pitt.”
Kalanimoku was the right hand man, Treasurer and Kālaimoku (Principal Counselor) to King Kamehameha I and to later to Kuhina Nui (Premier) Ka‘ahumanu. Kalanimoku was present at the death of Captain Cook, and took the nickname of “Billy Pitt” after William Pitt, the English Prime Minister; guardian of young Liholiho (the future King Kamehameha II (Kalaninui ‘Iolani Liholiho)).
Commanding the warriors putting down the rebellion on Kaua‘i was Maui’s Governor Hoapili. These warriors included about 350 Maui soldiers and up to 1,000 from O‘ahu. On August 18, 1824 the warriors marched from Waimea toward Hanapēpē about two miles up the east side of Hanapēpē Valley.
Kalanimoku’s warriors easily defeated Humehume’s meager and ill-prepared forces, who were armed only with spears and relatively few muskets. An estimated 50 to 130 of Humehume’s group were killed, including women and children. It was said that many of the dead were left on the battlefield to be eaten by pigs, and thus the event is known as ‘Aipua‘a (“Pig eater”[xxviii]).
Kalanimoku further avenged Humehume’s rebellious attack on the fort by searching out and slaughtering or deporting anyone remotely connected to the failed rebellion, including many Kaua‘i chiefs. Humehume, who had fled on horseback into the mountains with his wife and child, was captured about two weeks after his initial attack on the fort.
Ka‘ahumanu arrived on Kaua‘i on August 27, and soon replaced virtually all of Kaua‘i’s chiefs with chiefs from O‘ahu and Maui who were loyal to her and to King Kamehameha II (Kalaninui ‘Iolani Liholiho).[xxix] Kaikio‘ewa, a cousin of King Kamehameha I, was appointed governor of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, replacing Governor Paul Kanoa (1802—1885).
Even loyal Kaua‘i chiefs were taken from their positions of power, and were replaced by O‘ahu and Maui chiefs, most of whom were relatives of King Kamehameha I. Humehume remained imprisoned on O‘ahu until his death of influenza on May 3, 1826.
Prince Jonah Kūhiō—Kaua‘i’s Native Son
Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi
Born: March 26, 1871.
Died: January 7, 1922, at age of 50.
Parents: David Kahalepouli Pi‘ikoi and Princess Esther Kinoiki Kekaulike (sister of Queen Kapi‘olani).
Brothers: David Kawānanakoa and Edward Keali‘ihonui.
Wife: Elizabeth Kahanu Ka‘auwai.
Grandparents: Kūhiō and Kinoiki (parents of Esther Kinoiki Kekaulike).
Great grandparents: King Kaumuali‘i and Kekelaokalani [Kapuaamohu] (parents of Kinoiki).
Prince Kūhiō [Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi] was born on March 26, 1871 to David Kahelepouli Pi‘ikoi and Princess Esther Kinoiki Kekaulike near Hō‘ai Bay at Kukui‘ula (“Red light”[xxx]) west of Kōloa, Kaua‘i. Prince Kūhiō was the nephew of Queen Kapi‘olani (sister of Princess Esther Kinoiki Kekaulike), who adopted him, and the great grandson of Kaumuali‘i, the paramount ruler of Kaua‘i who ceded the island to King Kamehameha I in 1810 to avoid war.
Prince Kūhiō was born in the Kōloa region of Kaua‘i’s southern coast near Hō‘ai Bay in a grass house at an ancient fishing village called Kukui‘ula (“Red light”[xxxi]). He was the youngest of three boys, all considered ali‘i (royalty) due to their royal descent from Kaua‘i’s paramount ruler (king) Kaumuali‘i. One brother, Edward Keali‘ihonui, died in his teens.
Jonah Kūhiō and his other brother David Kawānanakoa were adopted into the childless royal family of King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua] and Queen Kapi‘olani after the boys’ father, David Kahalepouli Pi‘ikoi, died when Kūhiō was ten.
Kalaniana‘ole, means “The royal chief without measure,”[xxxii] referring to the prince’s noble heredity, which includes the royal lineage of Kūhiō’s mother, Esther Kinoiki Kekaulike, who was appointed governor of Hawai‘i Island by King Kalākaua.
When Kūhiō was 13 years old, King Kalākaua declared Jonah and his brother David princes by royal decree with the intent that they would carry on the Kalākaua dynasty. King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani held an official coronation on February 12, 1883 at ‘Iolani Palace, and the jeweled royal crowns were carried by Prince Kūhiō and his brother David Kawānanakoa.
Due to his cherubic and handsome looks, Prince Kūhiō was sometimes referred to as Prince Cupid, a name given to him in his youth by his French teacher. Prince Kūhiō attended the Royal School (known as Chiefs’ Children’s School until 1846) and Punahou School on O‘ahu, and then attended St. Matthew’s College in California before enrolling in the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, England. He then graduated from an English business school.
Prince Kūhiō was a master of the traditional Hawaiian art of lua (ancient Hawaiian form of martial arts). He also competed on school teams in the sports of football and track.
In 1884, Kūhiō was appointed to the Cabinet of the Hawaiian Kingdom by Kalākau to administer the Department of the Interior. With the support of King Kalākaua, Prince Kūhiō studied Japanese culture and government for one year in Japan. The king hoped the Prince would find a royal Japanese bride and form a marital alliance between the Hawaiian Islands and Japan.
Prince Kūhiō was named as presumptive heir to the throne by Queen Lili‘uokalani after she ascended to the throne in 1891, making Kūhiō the last royally-designated heir. After he returned to the Hawaiian Islands just before the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893, Prince Kūhiō worked to restore Queen Lili‘uokalani [Lydia Kamaka‘eha Pākī-Dominis Lili‘uokalani] to the throne.
In 1895 at the age of 24, Prince Kūhiō participated in a royalist uprising (a counter-revolution) against the Republic of Hawai‘i, and was arrested by the Provisional Government, charged with treason, and imprisoned for one year.
After his release from prison, Prince Kūhiō married Elizabeth Kahanu Ka‘auwai, a full-blooded Hawaiian chiefess who was the daughter of a Maui chief, and they took a trip to Africa. Disheartened by the events in the Hawaiian Islands, Prince Kūhiō joined the British Army in South Africa in the Boer War.
Prince Kūhiō was next in line to ascend to the throne after Princess Ka‘iulani passed away in 1899, but the restoration of the monarchy became more unlikely with each passing year.
Prince Kūhiō and his wife returned to the Hawaiian Islands in 1901. He helped organize the Republican Party in 1902 and that same year he was elected as the Territory of Hawai‘i’s second, non-voting delegate to the United States Congress (after Robert W. Wilcox (1855—1903)), serving in the position for a total of 20 years (ten, two-year terms) until he died in 1922.
Prince Kūhiō helped to found the Order of Kamehameha in 1903 and the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu in 1918. The Civic Club’s tradition of community involvement continues today.
Due to his political efforts to help Hawaiians and promote self-sufficiency among the native population, Prince Kūhiō was known as Ke Ali‘i Maka‘āinana, which means “Chief of the Commoners,” “Citizen Prince,” or “Prince of the People.”
Throughout his life, Prince Kūhiō worked to preserve the traditions and culture of native Hawaiians. One of Prince Kūhiō’s legacies was his inspired involvement in the passing of the Hawaiian Homestead Commission Act, which was enacted on July 9, 1921 to provide low-cost homestead and farming land to Hawaiians with at least 50% native Hawaiian ancestry based on blood quantum.
A total of 203,500 acres (82,354 ha) was designated as “available lands” for the program, but the sugar companies had lobbied to exclude all areas that were not used for sugar, which included most of the best agricultural land in the Hawaiian Islands. No money was available to develop the second-tier parcels and thus most of the lands were not used.
During the first 70 years after the passage of Hawaiian Homestead Commission Act of 1920, just 3,000 families received lands and many people who were on the original list of applications passed away before receiving land.
Of his political efforts, Prince Kūhiō stated, “The legislation proposed seeks to place the Hawaiian back on the soil, so that the valuable and sturdy traits of that race, peculiarly adapted to the islands, shall be preserved to posterity.”[xxxiii]
Prince Kūhiō’s home was called Pualeilani, which means “Flower from the wreath of heaven.” The home was located across Kalākaua Avenue from Kūhiō Beach Park.
Prince Kūhiō passed away due to heart disease on January 7, 1922 at the age of 50. He was given the last state funeral held for a Hawaiian ali‘i (royalty), and was laid to rest at the Royal Mausoleum in Nu‘uanu, O‘ahu at Mauna‘ala (“Fragrant mountain”[xxxiv]).
Prince Kūhiō Park is located near the Prince Kūhiō’s birthplace on Kaua‘i’s southern shore west of Kōloa. The park features a pond and terraced stone walls, Hō‘ai Heiau, and a statue of the prince that was unveiled on June 17, 1928 with about 10,000 people in attendance.
Prince Kūhiō’s life is celebrated with an annual state holiday each year on Prince Kūhiō Day, the prince’s birthday, March 26. Prince Kūhiō Day is traditionally a day of canoe races and other local events, including a ceremony at Prince Kūhiō Park on Kaua‘i.
Kūhiō Beach Park in Waikīkī is named after Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi, whose home fronting the beach was torn down in 1936. (See Kūhiō Beach Park; and Statue of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole in O‘ahu section, Chapter 2; Prince Kūhiō Park/Hō‘ai Heiau in Kaua‘i section, Chapter 2; and Chapter 11: Timeline: 1871, March 26 for Biographical Sketch of Prince Kūhiō.)
[Emma Na‘ea Rooke; Kalanikaumakeamano; Kaleleonālani]
Died: April 25, 1885.
Parents: George Na‘ea and Fanny Keku‘iapoiwa Kekelaokalani Young.
Husband: Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani (King Kamehameha IV).
Grandparents: John Young (I) [‘Olohana] and Ka‘o‘ana‘eha [Melie Kuamo‘o] (parents of Fanny Keku‘iapoiwa Kekelaokalani Young).
Great grandparents: Keli‘imaika‘i [Keali‘imaka‘i; Kalanimālokuloku; Kalanimāloku; Kalanimālokulokuikepo‘okalani; Kalanimālokulokuikapo‘okalani] (the brother of King Kamehameha I) and Kaliko‘okalani (parents of Ka‘o‘ana‘eha [Melie Kuamo‘o]).
Great great grandparents: Keōuakupuapāikalaninui [Keōuanui] and Keku‘iapoiwa (II) (parents of Keli‘imaika‘i [Keali‘imaka‘i; Kalanimālokuloku; Kalanimāloku; Kalanimālokulokuikepo‘okalani; Kalanimālokulokuikapo‘okalani]).
Queen Emma’s Journey to the Alaka‘i
Emma Na‘ea, the future Queen Emma, was given the name Kalanikaumakeamano at birth. She was adopted by Dr. Thomas Charles Byde Rooke, and his wife, Grace Kamaikui Young Rooke, Emma’s maternal aunt. Dr. Rooke belonged to the Church of England.
Emma was the great-granddaughter of the brother of King Kamehameha I. In 1856, Emma became Hawai‘i’s queen as the wife of King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani).
The royal newlyweds visited Kaua‘i in 1856 as part of a “Royal Progress” through the Hawaiian Islands. On May 20, 1858, they gave birth to Prince Albert [Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Leiopapa o Kamehameha] (1858—1862), a godchild of England’s Queen Victoria.
King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma returned to Kaua‘i in 1860, this time with two-year-old Prince Albert.[xxxv] Tragically, Prince Albert passed away in 1862 at the tender age of four. His father, King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani), passed away in 1863 at the age of 29.
Queen Emma returned to Kaua‘i in 1870 and journeyed up to the highland forests of the Alaka‘i Swamp and Kōke‘e. Accompanying the queen was her sizable retinue including hula dancers and musicians, all guided by an elderly Hawaiian named Kaluahi.
The group rested while music and hula dancing entertained Queen Emma, who also recited chants.[xxxvi] The horses were then left behind as the group descended on foot into the valley toward the Alaka‘i. The first night was spent at Waineki (“Bulrush water”[xxxvii]) in the Aiponui forest where a platform for Queen Emma was made using branches of ‘ōhi‘a lehua.[xxxviii]
The royal party eventually reached the end of the trail where the overlook called Kilohana (“Lookout point”[xxxix]) provided spectacular views of Wainiha Valley and Kaua‘i’s north shore. In honor of the mountain journey the queen’s Lāwa‘i, Kaua‘i estate was renamed Mauna Kilohana.
After Queen Emma returned from her mountain journey, she was the guest of honor at a large lū‘au (Hawaiian feast) in Waimea. The lū‘au took place on January 29, 1871 at the Kapuniai residence of Kaikio‘ewa, the former governor of Kaua‘i.[xl] The house was built in 1830 above the old Waimea dispensary, and today serves as the home of the pastor of the Waimea United Church of Christ.
During the queen’s 1870 visit to Kaua‘i, she stayed at her 4,200-acre Lāwa‘i estate, which had been deeded to her by her aunt, Hikoni. Mauna Kilohana encompassed the entire ahupua‘a (natural watershed land division) of Lāwa‘i. Queen Emma’s large frame house at Mauna Kilohana was built in 1869. The thatched roof home was situated on a hill on the Kōloa side of the valley overlooking Lāwa‘i Bay.
Accompanied by George Norton Wilcox and William O. Smith, Queen Emma rode on horseback to an area upland of her estate to plan an irrigation ditch. George Norton Wilcox was the son of Wai‘oli missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox, and William O. Smith was the son of missionary doctor Dr. James Smith. At Mauna Kilohana, they surveyed a water source and planned the ditch to the queen’s estate.
Two men were hired to construct the two-mile-long ditch, which began functioning on March 11, 1871. Queen Emma then personally assisted in the planting of numerous native and Polynesian-introduced species such as kalo (taro), kī (ti), kō (sugarcane), pia (Polynesian arrowroot), hala, ‘ōhi‘a lehua, and hau along with many non-native other species, including rose apple, bamboo, mango, and bougainvillea.
After King Lunalilo passed away on February 3, 1874, Queen Emma put forth her claim to the throne of the Hawaiian kingdom, but David La‘amea Kalākaua was elected king. When the results were announced the Honolulu courthouse was attacked and ransacked and legislators were beaten.
One delegate was thrown out of a window. The violence left many injured and one dead, and armed marines from American and British warships restored order.
The Lāwa‘i estate, Mauna Kilohana, was later leased by Queen Emma to Duncan McBryde, a Scot, who was also the district court judge.
Western Contact—Explorers, Russians, and Whalers
The Arrival of Captain Cook—First Landfall at Waimea
British explorer Captain James Cook first sighted the Hawaiian Islands in the dawn hours of January 18, 1778. Cook’s two ships, the HMS Resolution and the HMS Discovery, were kept at bay by the weather until the next day when they approached Kaua‘i’s southeast coast.
On the afternoon of January 19, native Hawaiians in canoes paddled out to meet Cook’s ships, and so began Hawai‘i’s contact with Westerners. This first encounter with the Hawaiians took place in the waters near Kīpū Kai. The Hawaiians traded fish and sweet potatoes for pieces of iron and brass that were lowered down from Cook’s ships to the Hawaiians’ canoes.
Cook then sailed along Kaua‘i’s southeastern coast searching for a suitable anchorage. His two ships remained offshore, but a few Hawaiians were allowed to come on board on the morning of January 20, before Cook continued on in search of a safe harbor.
On the afternoon of January 20, 1778, Cook anchored his ships near the mouth of the Waimea River on Kaua‘i’s southwestern shore. On January 20 at Waimea Bay, Cook went ashore with 12 armed marines. As they stepped ashore for the first time, Cook and his men were greeted by hundreds of Hawaiians who offered gifts of pua‘a (pigs), and mai‘a (bananas) and kapa (tapa) barkcloth.
Cook went ashore at Waimea three times the next day, walking inland to where he saw Hawaiian hale (houses), heiau (sacred places of worship), and agricultural sites. At the time, Waimea was a thriving village with many thatched homes as well as lo‘i kalo (taro patches) and various other food crops such as niu (coconuts) and ‘ulu (breadfruit).
Cook’s crew traded iron and other items to the natives in return for food products including moa (chickens) as well as corms of kalo (taro). Cook’s men estimated Kaua‘i’s population to be about 30,000, with a total of about 300,000 people living throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Cook named the archipelago the Sandwich Islands in honor of his patron, the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Sandwich.
After leaving Kaua‘i, Cook sailed north in search of the “Northwest Passage,” an elusive (because it was non-existent) route from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. On January 17, 1779, Cook returned to the Hawaiian Islands, sailing into Kealakekua Bay on the island of Hawai‘i. Less than one month later, on February 14, 1779, Cook and several of his men were killed in an encounter with the natives on the shoreline of Kealakekua Bay.
Ships Visiting Kaua‘i in the 1700’s
After Captain Cook established Western contact with the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, the next foreign ships to come to Kaua‘i were the Queen Charlotte under the command of Captain George Dixon, and the King George under the command of Nathaniel Portlock.
Both the Queen Charlotte and the King George were sponsored by the King George Sound Company, which had gained exclusive trading rights on America’s Northwest Coast in an attempt to avoid conflict with the East India Company and the South Sea Company.
The two ships were on their way from America’s Northwest Coast to China when they arrived at Waimea Bay in 1786. George Dixon had been an armorer on the Discovery under Captain Cook, and Nathaniel Portlock had also sailed with Cook.
In 1779, the Grace arrived under the command of Captain William Douglas, who left two of his crew on Kaua‘i to search for sandalwood and left one deserting crew member behind on Ni‘ihau. In 1791, Captain John Kendrick (c.1740—1794) on the Lady Washington left three men on Ni‘ihau, instructing them to travel to Kaua‘i and search for sandalwood and pearls.
Other men from Western ships also remained on Kaua‘i, and some of these Westerners became part of the entourage of Island chiefs.[xli]
Captain George Vancouver arrived at Waimea Bay on March 9, 1792 in command of the Chatham and the Discovery (not the same ship that Cook sailed). Vancouver had served under Captain Cook on Cook’s second Pacific voyage, and was Cook’s midshipman on his third voyage when Cook first found the Hawaiian Islands.
Vancouver returned in 1793 and 1794, bringing sheep, cattle, goats, and geese to the Hawaiian Islands along with a variety of seeds and plants. When William Robert Broughton arrived at Waimea Bay on the Providence in 1796, the future King Kaumuali‘i stayed on board overnight.
Russian Forts on Kaua‘i
In 1806, Kaua‘i’s King Kaumuali‘i offered to supply food to the Russians in exchange for pelts. The Aleutian Islands and Alaska provided the Russians with a profitable commerce during the second half of the eighteenth century, and the Hawaiian Islands provided a convenient stopping point for ships going to or from China, where the furs were sold.
The first ships of the Russian-American Company to come to Kaua‘i were the Nadezhda and Neva arriving in 1804. In 1815 the 210-ton, three-masted Russian ship Behring arrived under the command of Captain James Bennett. The Behring was carrying sealskins (otter pelts) bound for the Russian-American Company’s headquarters at Sitka, Alaska, the capital of Russian-America.
After the Behring anchored at Waimea Bay and the captain went ashore, an unexpected southwest wind rapidly intensified and pushed the Behring broadside onto the shore. An estimated 2,000 Kauaians attempted unsuccessfully to save the vessel. King Kaumuali‘i had the valuable pelts on board the ship taken to his home near Makaweli.
The loss of the ship’s cargo caused the Russian-American Company to send Georg Anton Schäffer to Hawai‘i to retrieve the cargo or seek appropriate payment. After falling into disfavor on Hawai‘i and O‘ahu, Schäffer sailed to Kaua‘i. King Kaumuali‘i had ceded Kaua‘i to King Kamehameha I in 1810 to avoid war.
As Kaua‘i’s vassal ruler, Kaumuali‘i conspired with Schäffer to reclaim the island from King Kamehameha. Kaumuali‘i also wanted to launch expeditions against other Hawaiian Islands that he felt he had a hereditary right to rule, including O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, and Maui.
Kaumuali‘i signed an agreement with Schäffer that put Kaua‘i under the protection of the Russian Empire, and promised Schäffer land in the Hawaiian Islands that were to be conquered, including half of O‘ahu. Schäffer would also get rights to all of the valuable sandalwood growing on O‘ahu.
Ships, ammunition, and men would be supplied by Schäffer, and Kaumuali‘i would supply 500 men as well as food and provisions for the forces. Kaumuali‘i also gave Schäffer Hanalei Valley in exchange for the ship Lydia. Schäffer began construction of a fort at the mouth of the Waimea River, and named it Fort Elizabeth, in honor of Empress Elizabeth (1779-1826), the consort of the Russian Emperor.[xlii]
A significant portion of Fort Elizabeth was completed by November of 1816, including the walls facing Waimea River and the ocean.[xliii] A Russian flag was raised over the fort and 38 cannons stood pointed at Waimea Bay to protect trading vessels arriving at the important anchorage. Fort Elizabeth stood up to 20 feet high and up to 17 feet wide at the base, with a total wall length of more than 1,200 feet.
Things changed quickly for Schäffer when Russian Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue arrived in Hawai‘i on November 21, 1816, aboard the Russian Navy brig Rurik. Kotzebue repudiated the activities of Schäffer and informed King Kamehameha I that Schäffer did not have the support of the Russian Emperor.
In May of 1817, Kaumuali‘i was misled to believe that Russia and America were at war. This was part of a plot by Americans in Hawai‘i who wanted to make Kaumuali‘i fearful of his association with Schäffer, which could put Kaumuali‘i in a precarious position as an enemy of America. The plan against Schäffer worked perfectly, and Kaumuali‘i promptly renounced his previous agreement with Schäffer, who was then run out of Waimea.
Schäffer soon left for O‘ahu on the Kodiak, which was leaking badly. The ship took about five days to reach Honolulu, barely making the voyage as the crew continuously pumped out water.
After reaching O‘ahu, Schäffer was told not to come ashore unless he wanted to be taken prisoner. Fortunately for Schäffer, Captain Isaiah Lewis on the American vessel Panther happened to sail into port. Lewis had been treated medically by Schäffer just one year earlier, and provided Schäffer safe passage from Hawai‘i.
Schäffer later emigrated to Brazil where he purchased a title for himself, assuming the title of Count von Frankenthal. The remains of Fort Elizabeth at the mouth of the Waimea river include sections of the lava rock walls up to ten feet tall as well as informational displays.
The Whaling Era
The Nantucket whaling ship Maro came to the Hawaiian Islands in 1820 under the command of Joseph Allen, who later discovered rich whaling waters off Japan. Soon hundreds of whaling ships were headed for the area to exploit the bountiful sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) resource, and the Hawaiian Islands became a major staging area, centrally located between the American west coast and Japan.
The first whaling ship to visit Kōloa arrived in 1826, and Kōloa increasingly became a major port for Yankee whalers as well as interisland steamers. In the 1830’s, up to 60 whaling ships visited Kōloa each year, making it the third busiest port in the Islands after Honolulu and Lahaina. Some products that were not available at other ports were available in Kōloa, sometimes at lower prices.
Whaling in the Pacific Ocean continued strongly for the next few decades, with more than 500 whaling ships visiting Hawaiian ports in 1859. That same year, oil was discovered in Pennsylvania and soon became a new source of lubricants for industry. This was the beginning of the end of the whaling era.
Missionaries and Churches
The First Company of American missionaries sailed from Boston on August 23, 1819 on the 85-foot brig Thaddeus, under the command of Andrew Blanchard. The Thaddeus arrived at Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawai‘i on March 31, 1820, and the missionaries began their congregational mission work in the Hawaiian Islands, then known as the Sandwich Islands.
On board the Thaddeus were missionaries Samuel and Nancy Ruggles as well as Samuel Whitney and his wife Mercy Partridge Whitney. Samuel Ruggles and Samuel Whitney continued on to Kaua‘i aboard the Thaddeus to reunite Humehume (Prince George Kaumuali‘i) with his father, King Kaumuali‘i. The Thaddeus arrived on Kaua‘i on May 3, 1820. Kaumuali‘i was exultant at the return of his son, and rewarded the missionaries by giving them land a residence.
The Ruggles and the Whitneys soon moved to Waimea and founded Kaua‘i’s first mission station. Samuel and Mercy Whitney remained on Kaua‘i for many years. By April of 1821 they had built a large, Western-style wooden house near the Waimea River, where they ran a school and held church services. Samuel frequently traveled around the island preaching and helping to establish other mission stations.
Dr. Thomas Holman was Kaua‘i’s first medical doctor, spending four months on Kaua‘i in 1821 with his wife Lucia, the sister of missionary Samuel Ruggles. Lucia Holman delivered babies for both the Ruggles and the Whitneys. Dr. Holman was later excommunicated from the church due to grievances brought against him by Reverend Hiram Bingham (1789—1869). The Holmans left the Hawaiian Islands on October 10, 1821, sailing back to Boston.
At the end of 1822, the Ruggles started a school in Hanapēpē. About six months later they left for Hilo and soon returned to the United States. Samuel Whitney produced Kaua‘i’s first refined sugar at a small mill he staffed with local Chinese immigrants. The Whitneys also saw to the construction of a large thatched church on the Waimea River’s western bank.
Hiram Bingham visited Kaua‘i in 1824, drawing sketches of the region and writing a memorable account of the attempt to save the royal yacht Ha‘aheo o Hawai‘i after it became shipwrecked in Hanalei Bay. In 1829, Reverend Peter Johnson Gulick (1796—1877) came to Kaua‘i to assist Samuel Whitney at Waimea. Gulick also traveled to Hanalei where he preached to about 1,200 native Hawaiians. William Patterson Alexander (1805—1884) arrived on Kaua‘i in 1834 and established a mission station at Wai‘oli to serve the Hanalei region.
Kaua‘i’s first physician was Dr. Thomas Lafon (1801-1876), who earned his medical degree from Transylvania University in 1827 and was ordained at Marion College, Missouri in 1835. Lafon and his wife, Sophia Louisa Lafon, arrived in the Hawaiian Islands with the Eighth Company of American missionaries in 1837 and were initially assigned to the Kōloa mission, where Thomas served as a minister and teacher.
When Dr. Lafon first landed at Kōloa, his medicinal supplies were accidentally dropped into the water, and Reverend Peter Gulick had the supplies unpacked and dried.
In 1839, Lafon was assigned to minister to the large, thatched church built in Līhu‘e by Governor Kakio‘ewa at the current site of the Līhu‘e Post Office and Bank of Hawai‘i. The church had 52 members. In 1841, Lafon resigned from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in protest over their continued acceptance of money from slaveholders. Lafon also served as the doctor for the Ladd & Company sugar plantation, which employed about 100 Hawaiians.
Medical missionary Dr. James Smith was stationed at Kōloa but served the whole island, being the only doctor on Kaua‘i for much of the 1840’s and 1850’s. Dr. Smith was known for his tireless efforts to come to the aid of those in need. (See Princeville section.) When a smallpox epidemic was killing thousands of people on the other Hawaiian Islands, Dr. Smith vaccinated virtually every person on Kaua‘i.
Reverend George B. Rowell arrived at the Wai‘oli mission station in 1843 with his wife Malvina Rowell after arriving in Honolulu in 1842 on the Sarah Abigail with the Tenth Company of American missionaries. George Rowell was born in New Hampshire, and had previously graduated from Amherst College and Andover Theological Seminary. Rowell became the minister at Wai‘oli, taking over the duties of Reverend William Patterson Alexander. Rowell was then reassigned to Waimea and moved in to the former home of Reverend Peter Gulick.
Rowell was expelled from the church by the American Board of Commissions for Foreign Missions, but soon opened a new Protestant church in Waimea called the Independent, or Makai Church. Rowell, who spoke fluent Hawaiian, served for 41 years on Kaua‘i, passing away on June 15, 1884.
When Abner and Lucy Wilcox along with their four sons sailed into Hanalei Bay in 1846 to work at the Wai‘oli mission station, the Rowells were transferred to the Waimea mission station. The Wilcoxes then served at Wai‘oli for the next 23 years, giving birth to four more boys.
Edward Johnson served as minister at Wai‘oli after being ordained a preacher in 1848, and his wife Lois Johnson was also a teacher at Wai‘oli. The Johnson home was later moved and became the Hanalei Hotel.
The Johnsons’ home was built in 1838 adjacent to the Wai‘oli Mission House. It was later moved and became known as the Hanalei Hotel.
Reverend Peter J. Gulick arrived in Hawai‘i with his wife and infant son in 1828. Though native Hawaiians had built Gulick a thatched home, he desired a drier structure, and so he began construction of a new house in Waimea in 1828, using quarried limestone, which was brought to the site by a team of oxen that had been caught in the mountains and harnessed for use as draft animals. Gulick paid his workers with Bibles, textbooks, and goats.
Reverend Gulick was transferred to Kōloa in 1835, and his Waimea home was completed by Reverend George Rowell in 1846 after Rowell was transferred from the Wai‘oli mission in Hanalei to the Waimea mission.
Rowell increased the size of the home’s second story, extending it to cover the whole house. George and Malvina Rowell’s youngest daughter, Adelaide, was born in the house in 1853.
Rowell constructed a barn nearby to the home, and his wife used the structure to teach classes to Hawaiian women. George Rowell was buried on the property after he passed away on June 1, 1884.
Today the Gulick-Rowell home remains standing, and is Hawai‘i’s oldest continuously occupied house. It is also a classic example of the New England style architecture that missionaries introduced to the Hawaiian Islands. The Gulick-Rowell home is a private residence, and tours are not available.
Original features in the home today include the large brick fireplace and the wood rafters and beams that are made from the now rare kauwila wood.
The Wai‘oli Mission Station
On July 15, 1834, Reverend William Patterson Alexander and his wife Mary Ann, along with their young son William DeWitt, arrived at Waimea Bay on Kaua‘i’s southwest shore. Five weeks later the Alexanders sailed to Kaua‘i’s north shore in Governor Kaikio‘ewa’s double-hulled canoe. Leaving at night, they sailed along the Nāpali coast and arrived the next morning at the mouth of Wai‘oli Stream in Hanalei Bay.
The Alexanders were the first “outsiders” to settle on Kaua‘i’s north shore, establishing a mission station at Waioli. Native Hawaiians at Wai‘oli had built a grass-thatched dwelling in anticipation of the arrival of the missionaries, and it became the Alexanders’ family’s home.
Kaua‘i’s Governor Kaikio‘ewa donated land at Wai‘oli for a school and church, and in April of 1835 Reverend Alexander oversaw the construction of a new pole-and-thatch meetinghouse to replace an earlier native-built structure that burned down just a few months before the Alexanders arrived.
The new church meetinghouse was an open-sided building measuring about 90 feet by 40 feet and thatched with lau hala (leaves of the native hala tree). Missionary Samuel Whitney of the Waimea mission station attended the dedication.[xliv]
[Note: During a 1979 excavation, researchers discovered ‘ili‘ili floor paving (layered pebbles) on the southern half of the structure.]
In April of 1837, a Western-style, two-story, four-room mission house was completed at Wai‘oli was finished using native ‘ōhi‘a lehua timber from the nearby mountains. In 1841, the new Wai‘oli Church was completed, also built in the Western style, and timber-framed using logs of ‘ōhi‘a lehua.
Coral from the ocean nearby provided lime for the masonry, and the church was plastered on the inside and outside.[xlv] The building’s hipped, split-pitch roof (thatched with lau hala), and four-sided lānai made the structure a blend of Hawaiian traditions and American architecture.[xlvi]
In the tradition of English and colonial American missionary churches, a separate church belfry was also built, and a church bell arrived from Boston in 1843. Also arriving in 1843 were Reverend George B. Rowell and his wife Malvina.
George Rowell took over ministerial duties from Reverend Alexander, serving at Wai‘oli until 1846 when Abner and Lucy Wilcox and their four young sons arrived to teach at the mission station. The Wilcoxes moved into the Wai‘oli mission house and the Rowells were transferred to Waimea, Kaua‘i.
For the next 23 years, Abner and Lucy Wilcox and their growing family lived in the Wai‘oli mission house. Abner Wilcox taught at the Wai‘oli Select School for Hawaiian boys, which sought the brightest and most promising students of the various schools on Ni‘ihau and Kaua‘i. The finest of these students were sent to Maui’s Lahainaluna Seminary, which had been established in 1831 as Hawai‘i’s first English school.
The spired green Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church, located just mauka (on the mountain side) of the main road in Hanalei, was built in 1912 by Sam, George, and Albert Wilcox in honor of their parents, Abner and Lucy Wilcox.
Designed in the American Gothic style, the 1912 church is notable for its beautiful stained glass windows as well as its bell tower, which now holds the bell that was in the old Wai‘oli Belfry, which still stands just behind the church, along with the old Wai‘oli Church. Behind the trees is the original Wai‘oli Mission House, completed in 1837.
In 1921, an extensive restoration of the Wai‘oli Mission House and the old Wai‘oli Church was undertaken by Elsie and Mabel Wilcox and Lucy Etta Wilcox Sloggett, the grandchildren of Wai‘oli missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox. Prominent Honolulu architect Hart Wood (1880—1957) was chosen to oversee the restoration project.
Hart Wood came to the Hawaiian Islands in 1919 as chief designer for prominent Hawai‘i architect, Charles William Dickey (1871—1942), and eventually designed many prominent buildings and homes in Honolulu and other locations. Wood’s plan encompassed the whole of the 20-acre site, including draining and leveling the adjacent area to create Wai‘oli Park.
In 1973, the 1837 mission house and 1841 Wai‘oli Church were placed on the National Register of Historic Places along with the 1912 Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church.
When Hurricane ‘Iniki[xlvii] struck Kaua‘i on September 11, 1992 it caused extensive structural damage to Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church, lifting the church off its foundations and damaging the church’s precious stained glass windows. After an extensive restoration, dedication ceremonies took place in April of 1994.
The Congregational hymns that are still sung by the Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church Choir in the Hawaiian language were originally translated by the early missionaries.
The Wilcox Legacy
The descendants of pioneering Wai‘oli missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox were significant in the history of Kaua‘i. Following is a summary of some of their major accomplishments.
Albert Spencer Wilcox (1844-1819), the fourth son of Wai‘oli missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox, was a member of the House of Representatives of the Hawaiian Kingdom from 1891 to 1892, and settled a stock ranch at Kilohana in Līhu‘e in 1898. Albert also helped to found the Samuel Mahelona Hospital in Kapa‘a in memory of his stepson, and helped establish the Kauikeōlani Children’s Hospital in Honolulu.
George Norton Wilcox (1839-1933), the second son of Wai‘oli missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox, developed Grove Farm into a major Kaua‘i sugarcane plantation. George was a member of every Hawaiian legislative body from 1888 until 1898, and was Prime Minister of the Cabinet of King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua] in 1892.
Samuel Whitney Wilcox (1847-1929), the fifth son of Wai‘oli missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox, became Sheriff of Kaua‘i in 1872, and served in that capacity for 25 years. He was also a member of the House of Representatives in 1901-1902 and a Senator from 1903 to 1907. Samuel had six children with Emma Washburn Lyman. In 1912, Sam, George, and Albert Wilcox built Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church in honor of their father.
Mabel Isabel Wilcox (1882-1976), the sixth child of Samuel and Emma Wilcox, was selected by the Territorial Board of Health as Kaua‘i’s first public health nurse in 1913 and helped establish the Samuel Mahelona Hospital in 1917. That same year, Mabel volunteered for duty in World War I and served for 18 months in Belgium and France.
Mabel and her sister Elsie helped to found Kaua‘i’s Wilcox Hospital with funding provided by the trust of their uncle, George Norton Wilcox.
Elsie Hart Wilcox (1879-1954), the daughter of Samuel and Emma Wilcox, was Chairman of the Kaua‘i Board of Child Welfare and Commissioner of Education for twelve years. She resigned to take a post as the first woman Senator in the Territorial Legislature and served in that capacity for eight years.
Sugar – Early Days
Hawai‘i’s commercial sugar industry began on Kaua‘i’s south side in Kōloa in 1835 when partners William Ladd, William Hooper, and Peter Brinsmade organized as Ladd & Co. They began the sugarcane plantation on land originally leased from King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) for $300/year.
William Hooper was the manager of Koloa [Kōloa] Plantation, and the initial planting consisted of 25 acres of sugarcane and coffee. The Koloa [Kōloa] Plantation used techniques first developed in China to grind and process their sugarcane. The plantation also invented new methods of grinding, harvesting, and milling sugarcane, serving as the model for sugar plantations throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaiians inhabited the Kōloa region long before Western contact in 1778, but the town grew rapidly after the sugarcane plantation began operations. A Congregational mission was also established in 1835. Kōloa soon became a thriving plantation town as well as one of Kaua‘i’s main commercial centers, including a bustling port.
After World War II, Kōloa’s population and business climate declined. Koloa [Kōloa] Plantation survived under various owners until McBryde Sugar Company shut the plantation down in 1996. Still visible at the entrance to Kōloa town are the remnants of the 1841 chimney of the third Kōloa Mill
When Hawai‘i’s legislature passed the Masters and Servants Act in 1850, it established a contract labor system that began the mass importation of laborers to work on the sugar plantations. The following decades saw increasing numbers of immigrant laborers arriving in the Hawaiian Islands from China, Japan, Portugal, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Korea, Germany, Norway, and other countries.
Plantation owners eventually became extremely powerful, and living conditions on many plantations became exceedingly harsh for many workers. Strikes and protests began in the early 1900’s as labor unrest grew.
A tragic event of Hawai‘i’s history occurred in 1926 when 16 Filipino sugar plantation workers and four police officers in Hanapēpē were killed during a brutal suppression of the strike.
Plantations and Mills
Lihue [Līhu‘e] Sugar Plantation
Lihue [Līhu‘e] Plantation was established in 1849 eventually becoming Kaua‘i’s costliest and most modern sugarcane enterprise. In 1853, the plantation’s sugar mill became the first steam-operated sugar mill in the Hawaiian Islands. A ten-mile long ditch completed in 1856 under the direction of William Harrison Rice was a pioneering irrigation project.
Kilauea [Kīlauea] Sugar Plantation
The Kilauea [Kīlauea] Sugar Plantation began growing sugarcane in 1877 and produced its first crystallized sugar in 1880, the same year the company was incorporated. About 3,000 acres were irrigated by a system of ditches and reservoirs. C. Brewer & Co. purchased the plantation in 1910. Sugarcane operations shut down in 1969, and the Kilauea [Kīlauea] Sugar Plantation closed in 1971.
Grove Farm Sugar Plantation
Grove Farm was built into a major sugarcane plantation by George Norton Wilcox, the second son of Wai‘oli missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox who served on Kaua‘i’s north shore from 1846 to 1869.
George Norton Wilcox grew up at Wai‘oli and then studied at Yale College’s Sheffield Scientific School where he earned an engineering degree. In 1870, George purchased Grove Farm from Judge Herman A. Widemann (1802—1899).
In 1881, Widemann added another 10,500 acres to Grove Farm by purchasing land from Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani. George used his engineering skills to direct the construction of extensive irrigation ditches that made Grove Farm one of the most productive plantations in the Hawaiian Islands at the time.
The original home of George Norton Wilcox at Grove Farm, just south of Līhu‘e and north of Nāwiliwili Harbor, was built in 1864, and was a relatively sparse cottage. A two-story main house was later built by George for the family of his brother Samuel. It was later home to Mabel Wilcox, the niece of George, who established the museum at Grove Farm in the 1970’s.
In 1948, Gaylord Wilcox, the heir of Grove Farm, bought Koloa [Kōloa] Plantation, increasing Grove Farm’s landholdings to more than 22,000 acres. The Grove Farm Corporation shut down its sugarcane operations in 1974, and McBryde Sugar Company bought most of Grove Farm’s land along with the Kōloa Mill and Factory.
Today the restored plantation home estate at Grove Farm features period furniture, Hawaiian quilts, a koa staircase, and floors made from wood of the native ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree.
McBryde Sugar Plantation
The McBryde Estate was founded in 1829 by Walter Duncan McBryde and W. A. Kinney. In 1899, Benjamin Franklin Dillingham merged the McBryde Estate (which then included the Wahiawa Ranch and Kōloa Agricultural Company), with the ‘Ele‘ele Plantation, forming the McBryde Sugar Plantation.
Coal-burning steam pumps became increasingly expensive for the McBryde company, leading to their construction of two power plants. The first was the Wainiha hydroelectric power plant, built in 1906, becoming the first significant hydroelectric plant in the Hawaiian Islands, and still Hawai‘i’s best producing hydroelectric plant.
In the first decade of the 1900’s McBryde built dozens of reservoirs, including the Alexander Dam, one of the world’s tallest hydraulic fill earth dams with a capacity of more than 800 million gallons. Measuring 640 feet thick at the base and 120 feet high, and 620 feet long at its crest, Alexander Dam cost $2.2 million to build and became the second highest earthen dam in the Hawaiian Islands.
As the dam neared construction on March 26, 1930, torrential rains broke the dam and caused a mudslide that killed six people. The structure was eventually rebuilt, finally opening in December of 1932.
In 1974, the McBryde Company purchased Grove Farm’s Kōloa Mill and Factory along with most of Grove Farm’s sugarcane land. In 1996 the last sugarcane was processed, and coffee trees now cover much of the land.
The parent company of both Kaua‘i Coffee Company and McBryde Sugar Plantation is Alexander and Baldwin, Inc. e Alexander Dam in Kalaheo was the site of the McBryde Plantation’s second hydroelectric plant, which was built in 1928.
Located just west of Līhu‘e, the 16,000-square-foot Tudor mansion at Kilohana Plantation Estates was built in 1935 in the English country house tradition. Kilohana was built on the site of a home owned by Albert Spencer Wilcox and Emma Napoleon Mahelona, who lived there from 1896 to 1935. Albert, the son of Wai‘oli missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox, had purchased the land from the Lihue [Līhu‘e] Plantation when he worked as their manager.
Albert’s nephew, Gaylord Parke Wilcox, and his wife Ethel, moved to Kaua‘i from Honolulu in 1936 when Gaylord took over the management of Grove Farm Plantation. The old home at Kilohana was torn down, and a new home was designed in the English country house style by renowned architect Mark Potter. Considered Kaua‘i’s first “mansion,” it was the most expensive home on the island at the time it was built.
After construction of Kilohana was finished, the Wilcox’s furnished the home with a large order from the high-class Gump’s store of San Francisco. Many of the furnishings may still be seen in the home.
The self-sufficient Kilohana Estate included a cattle ranch and a dairy herd as well as a milking shed, piggery, poultry house, carriage house, and horse stables. Taro and other vegetables were grown at the estate along with coffee and various flowers.
Kilohana became a commercial venture in 1985 with the opening of Gaylord’s Restaurant in a garden courtyard area. Various shops on the site sell local arts and crafts and specialty items. On display at the 35-acre estate are rare Hawaiian artifacts as well as historic cottages, flower gardens, and agricultural exhibits.
Carriage rides pulled by Clydesdale horses allow tours of the estate’s grounds, including gardens, livestock, and buildings that once housed workers for the plantation. A Sugarcane History Tour carriage ride is offered as well as a weekly lū‘au (traditional Hawaiian feast).[xlviii]
The Rice Era
By the end of the 1800’s and well into the 1900’s, rice was a primary agricultural crop in Hawai‘i, second only to sugarcane. Ninety percent of rice produced in the Hawaiian Islands came from Kaua‘i and O‘ahu, and the single largest rice-producing region in the Hawaiian Islands was Hanalei on Kaua‘i’s north shore. Hanapēpē on the southwest shore, was also a major rice growing area.
The rise of rice as an agricultural product on Kaua‘i and throughout the Hawaiian Islands was due to several causes, including the abandonment of many traditional taro farming areas after the tragic decline in the native Hawaiian population due to foreign diseases.
These former taro lands had good irrigation and were perfect for growing rice. Changes in land laws also led to increased foreign ownership of land, which then became available for foreign-run agricultural pursuits.
Another factor in the rise of rice farming was that many Chinese workers had come to Hawai‘i to work on the sugar plantations and then were free to start their own enterprises after they finished their work contracts, which often lasted for three years. The strong demand for rice among the many Asians that came to Hawai‘i made rice farming a profitable business.
Chinese rice farmers dominated Hawai‘i’s rice industry during its early years, but the annexation of Hawai‘i to the United States in 1898 meant that people from China could no longer travel freely to and from Hawai‘i. Agreements with the Japanese government led to the immigration of large numbers of Japanese, who became the predominant rice farmers in the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1900’s. This was followed by the integration of numerous other ethnicities, including an influx of Filipino rice farmers in the 1930’s.
California rice producers began to dominate the rice industry in the 1920’s, causing Hawai‘i’s rice exports to steadily decline and eventually leading to the end of the rice industry in the Hawaiian Islands.
A crop of rice, from planting to harvest, takes about four months to grow. Hawai‘i’s rice farmers were busy year round, however, completing the many tasks involved in rice farming, including field preparation and ditch clearing as well as milling and equipment repair. The farmers also grew other food products to eat.
The climate of some rice-growing areas, such as Hanalei, allowed just one rice crop per year, and it was usually planted in May. Drier areas on Kaua‘i, such as Hanapēpē, could produce two crops per year.[xlix] In the early years, oxen and water buffalo were used to plow the fields.
Seed was soaked in a stream for two days, germinated on a threshing floor for up to three days, and then planted in seed beds immersed in about two inches of water. After about three weeks the seedlings were tied into bundles and then transplanted into the rice paddies.
During harvest the stalks were cut with a serrated sickle and allowed to dry before being bundled and brought to the threshing floor. Threshing took up to five days, and was done by horses attached to ropes tied to a pole at the center of the threshing floor.
The horses walked in circles, trampling the grain to separate the seed from the stalks, which were then raked away as each successive layer was threshed. Tractors eventually replaced horses.[l]
Winnowing separated the chaff and dust from the grain. The rice was raked into rows aligned with the wind, repeatedly sieved, sifted, dried by spreading and raking, and then placed in 100 pound sacks that were sewn closed and stored in a granary.
Rice milling was done to clean and shell the threshed rice, removing the hulls and bran. The mills’ wheels were usually powered by water, thus the rice mills were usually located near a river or other water source.[li] After the rice was husked and polished, it was graded and then bagged for shipment to market.
Kaua‘i’s First Cattle Ranch
On August 27, 1831, Englishman Richard Charlton, the British Consul for Hawai‘i,[lii] secured a 20-year lease from Kaua‘i’s Governor Kaikio‘ewa for a portion of Hanalei from the eastern side of Hanalei Valley to Kalihiwai. With longhorn cattle brought from “Norte California,”[liii] Charlton started one of the first cattle ranches in the Hawaiian Islands, and the first cattle ranch on Kaua‘i. By 1840, Charlton had about 100 head of cattle.
Charlton’s fee for use of the land was “560 boards,”[liv] of lumber to be cut by Charlton and used by King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) to build a house. Though apparently the fee was never paid, Charlton retained use of the land until the lease was purchased by Captain Jules Dudoit in 1845.
Dudoit was the first French Consul to Hawai‘i, serving from 1837 to 1848 when he moved to Hanalei with his family of five children: Maude, Adele, Blanche, Charles, and Jules. From 1848 until the early 1950’s, the Dudoits lived in the Kellett House on the bluff of Lanihuli overlooking Hanalei Bay.
Dudoit exported butter and packed salt beef for whaling ships, and also shipped beef to Honolulu. Behind the Kellett home was an area where cattle were slaughtered. In 1917, Elsie Wilcox wrote: “The slaughter-pens were in the little valley back of the Lanihuli home, directly back of where Mr. Birkmyer’s house now stands.”[lv]
In February of 1850, when Albert Lyman of Connecticut sailed the trading schooner Samuel Roberts into Hanalei Bay, he visited several Hanalei families and noted that fine milk was available from the Dudoit/Dudaver estate: “We every day procure a bucket of the most delicious rich and new milk from the estate of Mr. Dudaver/Dudoit, on which he has about 1800 head of fine cattle. Milk is a most acceptable article on board, and a rare treat for us all.”[lvi]
Movies on Kaua‘i—
Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and John Wayne
Frank Sinatra first came to Kaua‘i in the early 1950’s when he performed at the Kaua‘i County Fair. In April of 1964, Sinatra returned to Kaua‘i, directing and starring in None But the Brave, the story of a group of United States Marines who crash land on a Pacific island controlled by the Japanese during World War II.
The main set of None But the Brave was located at Pila‘a Beach on Kaua‘i’s northeastern shore, and Sinatra stayed at the Coco Palms Hotel in Wailua.
One Sunday afternoon while Sinatra was swimming at Wailua Beach he saw Ruth Koch, wife of movie producer Howard Koch, in trouble in the strong ocean currents. Sinatra swam out to help her but instead found himself quickly pulled out to sea while Koch made it safely to shore.
After about 20 minutes in the water, Sinatra was rescued, apparently just in the nick of time as he was starting to turn blue and was on the verge of drowning. An ambulance was called. Fortunately, Sinatra was able to recuperate, only missing one day of work before returning to the set.
On April 12, 1961, Elvis Presley began filming Blue Hawaii, his first movie on Kaua‘i and also his most commercially successful movie. In the film, Elvis plays Chad Gates, who avoids working in his family’s pineapple business by working for a travel agency. Much of the film was shot on the grounds of the Coco Palms Hotel with other filming done at Wailua Beach, Lydgate Park, Kealia Beach, and Anahola Bay.
Notable Elvis songs in the movie included Blue Hawaii, Rock-a-Hula Blues, and Can’t Help Falling in Love. Elvis also sang the renowned Hawaiian song Aloha ‘Oe, which was written by Queen Lili‘uokalani [Lydia Kamaka‘eha Pākī-Dominis Lili‘uokalani]. The Hawaiian Wedding Song was sung by Elvis in the famous wedding scene atop a canoe in the Coco Palms lagoon.
Elvis returned to Kaua‘i in 1964 to film Paradise Hawaiian Style, playing ex-airline pilot Rick Richards who runs a helicopter sightseeing business and finds romance at different Island locations. Co-stars in the film were Suzanna Leigh and James Shigeta, and songs by Elvis included Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home, Sand Castles, and A Dog’s Life.
Paradise Hawaiian Style was released in 1966, and in 1967, Elvis and Priscilla Presley were married in Las Vegas. The couple then came to Hawai‘i, where Elvis re-enacted the famous Blue Hawaii wedding scene at Coco Palms, and renewed his vows to Priscilla.
John Wayne was Hollywood’s most popular star when he arrived on Kaua‘i in 1962 to film Donovan’s Reef. In the movie, John Wayne plays “Guns” Donovan, a former United States Marine who opens a tropical bar in the South Pacific.
The main filming set for Donovan’s Reef was Hanama‘ulu Beach and nearby Ahukini Pier on Kaua‘i’s eastern coastline. Various other Kaua‘i sites were also utilized for filming, including Waimea Canyon, the Wailua River, and the Allerton Estate at Lāwa‘i.[lvii]
The Story of Princeville
The Princeville Plantation was begun by Scotsman Robert Crichton Wyllie in 1853. Wyllie paid $1,300 for the Government (Crown) lands leased to the Rhodes & Co. Coffee Plantation in Hanalei Valley, and later added to his Hanalei land holdings by purchasing a great deal of adjacent land to the east above Hanalei Valley.
Wyllie was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, and had previously been a surgeon aboard British ships. He then became wealthy as a merchant in London, Mexico, and South America.
When Queen Emma [Emma Na‘ea Rooke; Kalanikaumakeamano; Kaleleonālani] and King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani) visited Hanalei in 1860 with their son, Prince Albert [Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Leiopapa o Kamehameha] (1858—1862), they were the guests of Robert Crichton Wyllie, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Hawaiian Kingdom.
The royal party stayed at Kikiula, the home of Wyllie’s plantation manager, Gottfried Frederick Wundenberg. In the summer of 1860, to honor the young Prince Albert, Wyllie changed the name of his Hanalei estate to the Princeville Plantation, and made the young Prince the intended heir to the estate.
Tragically, Prince Albert passed away in 1862 at the age of four. His father, King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani), passed away in 1863 at the age of 29.
Wyllie began construction of the Hanalei Sugar Mill in 1861 on the east bank of the Hanalei River. With a brick smokestack rising to 110 feet and $40,000 worth of machinery from Glasgow, Scotland, the 1000-ton capacity mill was the most modern and productive mill in the Hawaiian Islands. The mill’s rollers were able to express 600 gallons of cane juice in 20 minutes.
The Princeville Plantation’s first crop of sugar was harvested in 1863, and by the early 1870’s the mill was processing a crop averaging about 400 tons annually.[lviii] Scows (flat-bottom boats) were used to bring sugarcane down the Hanalei River to the mill, and then a conveyor belt carried the cane in to be processed.
The Hanalei Sugar Mill became the center of a small but busy factory village that included a post office, storage buildings, camphouses, and a butcher shop.
Wyllie passed away in 1865 at his Rosebank estate on O‘ahu, and was buried at Honolulu’s Royal Mausoleum in Nu‘uanu, O‘ahu at Mauna‘ala (“Fragrant mountain”[lix]). Wyllie’s principal heir was his nephew, Robert Crichton Cockrane, who had come to Kaua‘i from Waltham, Illinois to learn the sugarcane business from John Low, the manager of the Princeville Plantation at the time.
In early 1866, Cockrane was in Hanalei preparing to welcome his bride-to-be. Just eight days before the marriage was to take place, Cockrane was at the home of Princeville Plantation manager John Low, where several men had gathered to listen to a musical performance.
Cockrane left the group for a time, and when Low went to look for him he discovered him in the outside privy, where he had cut his own throat with a razor. He was bleeding profusely from the large wound, and fell forward into Low’s arms.
Cockrane’s wound was sewed up, and for the next several days he slipped in and out of consciousness, sometimes acting rational but other times becoming delirious. Cockrane wrote and tremulously signed a bloodstained will that gave Princeville Plantation to his fiance and his mother.[lx]
Elsie Wilcox wrote: “Dr. Smith, the nearest physician, was summoned from Koloa, and made a record-breaking ride with relays of horses, covering the forty-five miles in three hours. Doctors were also sent down from Honolulu, but their skill was of no avail. The young fellow died.”[lxi] Cockrane was buried in the Wai‘oli Church cemetery in an unmarked grave.
The financial difficulties of the Princeville Plantation were said to have been a major cause of Cockrane’s suicide. The Princeville sugar plantation continued to struggle financially due to labor shortages, costs associated with irrigation and milling equipment, fires, droughts, vandalism, and damage caused by an agricultural pest called the cane borer.
By 1880, Princeville Plantation’s sugarcane enterprise employed about 200 laborers and had 900 breeding stock, 400 head working stock, and 150 steers ready to be broken in. About 100 acres of sugarcane were cultivated on the upper slopes and about 200 acres grew in Hanalei Valley.
Sugar in Hanalei remained unprofitable, however, and the Hanalei Sugar Mill was shut down by C. Brewer & Company in 1894. By May of 1899, Albert Spencer Wilcox had secured complete ownership of the Princeville estate, and he converted much of the land from sugar production to a cattle ranch.
The Princeville Ranch House, which was located on a plateau on the east side of Hanalei Valley, had been home to various families since the 1840’s. Though it was modernized at the turn of the century, the Princeville Ranch House eventually fell into disrepair and was abandoned.
The house was torn down in the fall of 1918. In 1919, the Hanalei Sugar Mill was demolished, and the bricks from the 110-foot chimney were sold to the Kilauea [Kīlauea] Sugar Company.
[i] Current research shows that the first humans to reach Hawai‘i most likely came from the Marquesas Islands, about 2,500 miles to the southeast of Hawai‘i. The Marquesas are part of the South Pacific island group known as French Polynesia, an archipelago that includes 130 islands divided into five groups: the Gambier Islands, the Australs, the Tuamotus, the Society Islands, and the Marquesas.
[ii] p. 110, Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[iii] The destruction of Menehune Ditch was caused by the creation of Menehune Road as well as the use of the ditch’s rocks for building projects, including Waimea’s Protestant church.
[iv] These dates are estimates.
[v] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[vi] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[vii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[viii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[ix] p. 133, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 1225.
[x] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[xi] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974. Also: “Live Offering”
[xii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[xiii] p. 9, Wichman, Frederick B. Nā Pua Ali‘i O Kaua‘i: Ruling Chiefs of Kaua‘i. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2003.
[xiv] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. Hawaiian Dictionary: Revised and Enlarged Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.
[xv] p. 29, Wichman, Frederick B. Nā Pua Ali‘i O Kaua‘i: Ruling Chiefs of Kaua‘i. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2003.
[xvi] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[xvii] p. 59, Davies, Theo. An Account of the First Visit to the Island of Kauai in September 1860. Transcription from the original journal written in longhand on board S. S. “Ariel”, on the Atlantic, 22nd August, 1862.
[xviii] p. 10, Wichman, Frederick B. Nā Pua Ali‘i O Kaua‘i: Ruling Chiefs of Kaua‘i. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2003.
[xix] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[xx] The grandfather of King Kaumuali‘i was Kekaulike, who was also the grandfather of King Kamehameha I. Kaumuali‘i’s granddaughter was Queen Kapi‘olani, the wife of King Kalākaua.
[xxi] p. 58, Joesting, Edward. Kauai: The Separate Kingdom. University of Hawaii Press, 1984.
[xxii] p. 48, Joesting, Edward. Kauai: The Separate Kingdom. University of Hawaii Press, 1984.
[xxiii] As the oldest son of Kamakahelei, Keawe was the half-brother of Kaumuali‘i.
[xxiv] p. 449, Desha, Stephen L., translated by Frazier, Frances N. Kamehameha and his Warrior Kekūhaupi‘o. Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools Press, 2000; originally published in Ka Hoku o Hawaii (The Star of Hawai‘i) between December 16, 1920 and September 11, 1924.
[xxv] p. 62, Joesting, Edward. Kauai: The Separate Kingdom. University of Hawaii Press, 1984.
[xxvi] pp. 61-62, Joesting, Edward. Kauai: The Separate Kingdom. University of Hawaii Press, 1984.
[xxvii] Soboleski, Hank. History makers of Kaua‘i: Hawaiian queen Deborah Kapule. The Garden Island, 12/17/2000.
[xxviii] p. 112, 113, Wichman, Frederick B. Nā Pua Ali‘i O Kaua‘i: Ruling Chiefs of Kaua‘i. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2003.
[xxix] p. 113, Wichman, Frederick B. Nā Pua Ali‘i O Kaua‘i: Ruling Chiefs of Kaua‘i. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2003.
[xxx] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[xxxi] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[xxxii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[xxxiii] p. 182. Seiden, Allan. Hawai‘i: The Royal Legacy. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1992.
[xxxiv] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[xxxv] Prince Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Leiopapa o Kamehameha.
[xxxvi] Soboleski, Hank. History makers of Kaua‘i: Queen Emma. The Garden Island, 3/17/2002.
[xxxvii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[xxxviii] Soboleski, Hank. History makers of Kaua‘i: Queen Emma. The Garden Island, 3/17/2002.
[xxxix] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[xl] Soboleski, Hank. History makers of Kaua‘i: Queen Emma. The Garden Island, 3/17/2002.
[xli] p. 55, Joesting, Edward. Kauai: The Separate Kingdom. University of Hawaii Press, 1984.
[xlii] For unknown reasons, Schäffer spelled the name “Elisabeth,” a spelling that persists today on a sign at the site.
[xliii] At least some of the other walls of the fort were completed after Schäffer’s departure.
[xliv] p. 191, Alexander, Mary Charlotte. William Patterson Alexander: In Kentucky, the Marquesas, Hawaii. Honolulu, Privately Printed, 1934.
[xlv] A Brief History of the Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church. Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church Bulletin, 2003.
[xlvi] p. 9. Riznik, Barnes. Waioli Mission House: Hanalei, Kauai. Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i: Grove Farm Homestead and Waioli Mission House, 1987.
[xlvii] Hurricane ‘Iniki struck Kaua‘i on September 11, 1992, causing more than $3 billion in property damage on Kaua‘i, including damage to more than 70% of the island’s homes, and completely destroying 1,421 homes.
[xlviii] Kilohana Plantation Estates, 808-245-5608, 3-2087 Kaumuali‘i Highway, Līhu‘e; located between Kukui Grove Shopping Center and Kaua‘i Community College, 1.5 miles west of Līhu‘e on mauka side (mountain) side of Kaumuali‘i Highway. Open 9:30-9:30, Mon-Sat.; 9:30-5, Sun. Clydesdales horse-drawn carriage tour: 11-6:00, Mon.-Sat: 11-5 Sun. Sugarcane history tour: 246-9529; Historic high tea: Mon. and Sat. at 2 p.m. by reservation; Lū‘au: Tues, Thurs, 5 p.m.; email@example.com.
[xlix] p. 4, Recollecting the Work of Rice Farmers. Hanalei Yesterday, Part II, 1000 Friends of Kauai, 1997.
[l] p. 4, Recollecting the Work of Rice Farmers. Hanalei Yesterday, Part II, 1000 Friends of Kauai, 1997.
[li] p. 3, The Rice Farms and Mills in the Landscape. Hanalei Yesterday, Part II, 1000 Friends of Kauai, 1997.
[lii] Charlton served as British Consul for Hawai‘i in Honolulu from 1825 to 1846.
[liii] Princeville Ranch. p. 2, Na Leo ‘O Princeville. Princeville Corporation & Princeville Utilities Company, Inc., Summer, 2003.
[liv] p. 270, Wilcox, Elsie. Hanalei in History, Wilcox mss. Kauai Historical Society, 4/26/1917.
[lv] p. 275, Wilcox, Elsie. Hanalei in History, Wilcox mss. Kauai Historical Society, 4/26/1917.
[lvi] Damon 1931:335.
[lvii] Cook Chris. The Kaua‘i Movie Book: Films made on the Garden Island. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1996.
[lviii] p. 282, Wilcox, Elsie. Hanalei in History, Wilcox mss. Kauai Historical Society, 4/26/1917.
[lix] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.
[lx] p. 22, Cook, Chris. Princeville’s History. Honolulu, Hawai‘i: Mutual Publishing, 2002.
[lxi] p. 281, Wilcox, Elsie. Hanalei in History, Wilcox mss. Kauai Historical Society, 4/26/1917. Note: Other accounts say the ride was about 40 miles in 4½ hours.