Builder of the State – Friend of Youth – Benefactor of Hawai’i by Roy Alameida
January 25, 2007 marks the 185th anniversary of the birth of Charles Reed Bishop-philanthropist, businessman, educator and husband of Princess Bernice Pauahi Pākī, founder of the Kamehameha Schools in Hawai‘i. Born in Glen Falls, New York and raised on his grandfather’s 120 acre farm, Charles, an orphan, learned at an early age the nature of working diligently. He attended seventh and eighth grade at Glens Falls Academy. Shortly after completion of 8th grade education, Charles began work in the mercantile businesses as a clerk, bookkeeper, inventory clerk and manager of a lumber yard and farm.
By 1846, his interest to broaden his horizons led him and his friend, William Little Lee, to seek their fortune in Oregon. Lee would practice law and Bishop would be a land surveyor. But, their travel ended in Hawai‘i in October 1846 where they decided to remain for a short period of time. With his prior work experience, Bishop had no difficulty finding employment. He first worked for Ladd and Company, a mercantile and trading company that also established the first sugar plantation in Hawai‘i. After taking the oath to “support the Constitution and Laws of the Hawaiian Islands” Bishop was appointed customs collector for the Kingdom. For Bishop, that short stay stretched to nearly half a century and included a marriage to Hawaiian royalty.
The courtship between Charles and Bernice Pauahi alienated her from her parents, but she was able to reconcile with them. They were married in 1850 in a simple ceremony in the home of the Cookes who were teachers at the Chiefs’ Children School where many of the children of the Ali‘i attended including Pauahi.
A respected citizen of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Charles Bishop became involved in business and politics in the Kingdom which laid the foundation for his leadership in the community. Financially, he started a bank under the name of Bishop and Company which is the predecessor of First Hawaiian Bank in Hawai‘i today. Soon after the death of Pauahi in October 1884, Charles Bishop became the executor of his wife’s estate and in accordance of her will, began the process that resulted in the founding of the Kamehameha Schools. Because much of Pauahi’s vast land inheritance had no cash value, Bishop contributed his own funds for the construction of the school’s first buildings. In addition, he established and endowed the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum as an enduring memorial to his wife.
In the Founder’s Day address in 1888 honoring his wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi, Charles remarked in part that
In 1894, Bishop left Hawai‘i and made his home in San Francisco. He continued to guide the fiscal and educational policy-making of the Kamehameha Schools. When he died in 1915, his ashes, in accordance to his wishes, were returned to Hawai‘i and interred next to his wife in the Kamehameha Tomb at Mauna ‘Ala (Royal Mausoleum). The stone marker honoring Charles Reed Bishop includes the words: Builder of the State – Friend of Youth – Benefactor of Hawai’i His Ashes Rest in the Tomb of the Kamehamehas.
Source: Kanahele, G. (2002). Pauahi The Kamehameha Legacy. Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools Press.
E Ho'ohanohano 'ana i ka wā ma mua, a e Ho'olako 'ana i ka mua aku
The island of Lāna`i, located west of Maui, is 141 square miles, the smallest of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands. Native Hawaiians inhabited Lāna`i for at least 800 years before Western contact in 1778, and had a population at one time estimated at 6,000. On August 6, 1853, a Hawaiian newspaper, The Polynesian described Lāna`i: “…on the west side is…a remarkable plain 2 or 3 miles wide. All this plain appears to be very rich, being covered with rank grass, weeds and bushes…sweet potatoes are raised in all parts…”
In the 1850s, ranching was introduced and dominated until 1922, when James Dole purchased the island for $1.1 million and started growing pineapples. He eventually turned Lāna`i into the largest exporter, producing 75% of the world’s pineapple.
By 1980, Hawaiian pineapple could not compete in the world market and in 1985, Lāna`i was sold again, to David Murdock. The last harvest of pineapple was in 1992 and is no longer grown for export.
The Lāna`i Culture & Heritage Center has a mission to educate about the island of Lāna`i’s heritage, history and traditions According to Nā Hoaloha o Lāna`i (The Friends of Lāna`i) newsletter, the Center “seeks to inspire people to be informed, thoughtful and active stewards of their heritage by preserving, interpreting and celebrating Lāna`i’s Hawaiian heritage, natural history, diverse cultures, and ranching and plantation histories.” Kepā Maly, Executive Director of the charitable, non-profit corporation says, “Our goal is to provide long-time island families, youth, new residents, visitors, businesses and all interested parties with a sense of place and attachment to the unique cultural and natural histories of Lāna`i. By doing this work together, we will foster an environment that will cherish and appreciate the heritage of Lāna`i.”
Everyone is invited to visit the Lāna`i Culture & Heritage Center, open Monday to Friday, 9am – 3pm in Room 126 of the old Dole Administration Building, on Lāna`i Ave in Lāna`i City. For more information about the Center and Nā Hoaloha, visit the website at www.LanaiCHC.org, contact Kepā Maly at (808) 565-7177, or write them at P.O. Box 631500, Lāna`i City, Hawai`i 96763.
From www.LanaiCHC.org and Kepā Maly
Copyright © 2004-2009 by Northwest Hawai`i Times