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THE QAHDEtf ISLAND. TUESDAY DEC. 1919
Interesting Memories of an
The ollowing chapter of remiscences
of early days on Kauai v.as read at tho
recent meeting of the Historical Soc
iety and deserves a permanent place
in the records of the Island.
The writer, both as Miss Wunden
burg and as Mrs. J. N. Wright, had
special advantages and much inside
information in regard to the matters
of which Bhe writes, in addition to
which she has taken much pains to
verify her facts, particularly her
dates, which adds much to the value
of the paper: f'
After an absence of over thirty
years, I again visited Kauai in 1916.
My early childhood was spent at Hana
lei; and later after my marriage in
Juno, 1874, to Mr. J. N. Wright of
Koloa, I spent a number of years at
Waihohonu, oar pretty plantation
Kauai with its many attractions
rightfully deserves the name of the
"Garden Island," ' its residents are
certainly progressive, and deserve a
great deal of credit.
I saw many changes at nearly every
place that I visited, beautiful gardens
everywhere, valleys planted with
groves of beautiful trees, and shrubs
and vines planted along the road
sides, even in front of fields of cane
the eye was greeted with these flower
ing vines and shrubs, conspicuous
among them were the numerous
shades of our beautiful hibiscus plants.
I was very much taken - with the
pretty park at Wahiawa, which I
understand is the work of Mr. Walter
McBryde, he surely is an artist, i and
has shown a great deal of taste in
laying out the grounds and planting
flowers and plants of all kinds, the
fern baskets too are beautiful, and add
to the beauty of the park.
Nawiliwill over 70 years ago was
a populous native settlement, which
extended to the hills back of the
Governor Kanoa lived where the
present Court House stands.
Near by was Kuhiau, the largest
"Heiau" or temple, on the Island, its
Sister was Paukinl, and it stood on a
neck of rocks jutting out into the bay,
a part of which is still to be seen at
low tide Just south of the landing.
The mail road from the beach ran
up through the valley to the Llhue
H. - A. Wideman lived in a grass
house on the site now known as Grove
Farm; he was at one time sheriff of
Kauai. Later Mr. George Wilcox
bought the place, and started cultivat
ing cane which was ground at Lihue
Hon. Jacob Hardy was Circuit
Judge and lived at Malumalu. He held
a commission as acting Governor of
the Island at that time. Near him
lived Lieut. Wm. Reynolds, afterwards
Admiral in charge of the Asiatic
Squadron, whose health had been im
pared by hardships endured in the
Antarctic expedition under Commodore
It was during the residence of Lieut.
Wm. Reynolds in Lihue, that the first
steps towards annexation were made;
old Dr. Judd of Honolulu, was one of
the first movers in the annexation
scheme, others joined in the propo
sition, and the Lihue people became
interested, and Mrs. Wm. Reynolds,
Mrs. W.. H. Rice, and . Mrs. James
Marshall, made the large silk Ameri
can flag ready to hoist on the flag
pole which stood in the Court yard, If
annexation was declared, but the
Bcheme proved unsuccessful, and was
not revived again until the last revo
lution. The early records of the Lihue Plan
tation show that in 1854, Messrs. H.
Pierce, Wm. L. Lee, Wm. C. Parke,
Edwin O. Hall, C. R. Bishop, C. W.
Austin, W. H. Rice, J. B. Marshall,
and Asher B. Bates formed a co-partnership
under the name of Henry A.
Pierce & Co.
Mr. W. H. Rice was the first man
aer. The mill stood on the present site,
but was run by water power; the first
crop amounted to 120 tons of sugar.
The plantation store stood near the
site of the present manager's residence
on the road to Koloa, and it was con
ducted by Mr. S. T. Alexander.
In front of the store was a large
open space surrounded by a grove of
koa and kukui trees (a few of which
still remain relics of days gone by);
under the shade of these old trees,
natives from all parts of the Island
congregated on Saturday afternoons,
bringing products of all kinds for sale.
Mr. Paul Isenberg, who married
Maria Rice, on the death of her father,
W. H. Rice, succeeded to the manage
ment of the plantation by bis indom
itable will and energy, and by his
perseverance and example, not only
pulled Lihue plantation through diffi
culties of extraordinary success, but
he Inspired his neighbors wjjh pluck
to plod on to a successful iosue against
conditions at times, most discourag
ing, but success crowned his efforts
and Lihue is now a paying and flour
I returned to the Islands from
Vallejo, California, in the fall of 1871,
and went to Lihue, Kauai, to Mr. Paul
Isenberg's family to be a governess to
Dora and Paul; children about 9 and 6
years of age. Mr. Paul Isenberg was
married again while on a visit to
Germany, his wife was Miss Beta
Glade, sister to Mrs. B. F. Ehlers of
Honolulu; their little son, Carl, was
only about two years old; Alexander
was born during the year that I was
Judge Hardy had left Llhue, and W.
O. Smith was sheriff. He occupied a
small cottage with W, H, Rice, brother
of the first Mrs. Isenberg, in the same
grounds where Mr. Rice's present
I spent a very happy year in Lihue
with, the Isenbergs; and often went
riding on horse-back with some of the
young people. We often had picnics,
especially ' when ' Mrs. Isenberg had
visitors from Honolulu.
Dora Isenberg and I sometimes on
Sunday afternoons, together with W.
H. Rice, her uncle, Wi O. Smith, and
Geo. N. Wilcox, would ride over to
Koloa to attend foreign services at the
-church presided over by Mr. Daniel
Dole; he held services in the morning.
After church we would occasionally
ride up to- Waihohonu, the plantation
house where the Bindts were staying,
keeping house for. Mr. J. N. Wright,
who was a bachelor; and in the even
ing enjoyed a ride home to Lihue by
It was during my stay with the Isen
bergs, that' I' first 'met 'Mr. -Wright.
Sometimes on Sunday afternoons he
would ride over with Mr. Otto Isen
berg, brother of Mr. Paul Isenberg, to
make a call on the Isenberg family.
Koloa, about twelve miles beyond
Lihue, had for a number of years been
a thriving community.
In the year 1834 the Mission Station
was established by Rev. Peter Gulick,
who was succeeded in 1842 by Rev.
Dr. J. W. Smith. The church building
at that time- was an adobe one which
was torn down many years ago and a
wooden structure replacing it.
Dr. Smith's old home, which had a
grass roof, was also demolished years
ago, and their old boarding achool
building has been remodled and is
now occupied by Mr. J. K. Farley.
Dr. J. W. Smith was the only physi
cian on the Island at that time, and
his field for practice included the
whole of Kauai; later he became
In 1857 Rev. Daniel Dole, who had
been the president of Punahou college,
moved to Koloa and opened a private
school for white children. He bought
ten acres of Mission land from Dr. J.
W. Smith, and on this he erected his
dwelling house. His school house was
a frame building and stood near his
home; his pupils came from all parts
of the group. It was here that Judge
Sanford B. Dole spent his early boy
hood. Sugar cane was first planted in
Koloa by a Chinaman, and the cane
was ground by small stone roller mills
which were imported from China;
some of these rollers were still in ex
istence a few years ago. The cane
land was ploughed by natives as cattle
were not obtainable at that time. The
first mill site was situated on a piece
of land not far from Dr. Smith's resi
dence, and was worked by water
power. Sugar was made in a very
crude manner and put up in mat bags,
imported from China.
The cane planting interests were
afterwards carried on by Messrs. Ladd
& Co., in the year 1835. It was finally
consolidated under one ownership and
a mill was built in 1842 on the new
site, opposite where later stood the
store and postoffice.
Dr. R. W. Wood, a gentleman from
Boston, purchased the plantation from
Messrs. Ladd & Co., somewhere in the
latter part of the forties. He did not
remain very long in Koloa, but resided
in Honolulu, and the plantation was
managed by Mr. Samuel Burbank
(father of Miss Mary Burbank of Hono
lulu), from 1851 to 1957, when he took
ill and died; his nephew, John Bur
bank, then became the manager, and
later Mr. Geo. H. Dole was manager.
Dr. Wood did not remain many
years in the Islands, but returned to
Boston. A few years later he offered
the plantation for sale through his
agents, H. Hackfeld & Co. They offer
ed to sell to Mr. Paul Isenberg on
very reasonable terms. Mr. Isenberg
sent for Mr. Wright and offered to
take him in as partner, and he to be
manager. After considering the offer
Mr. Wright said he would accept if he
would also take Mr. Adolf Haneberg
in as partner; the latter gentleman to
be the sugar boiler. Mr. Isenberg was
to be half owner, and Mr. Wright and
I Mr. Hanaberg each to have one fourth
So In 1871 Messrs. Paul Isenberg,
John N. Wright and Adolf Haneberg,
purchased the Koloa Plantation, and
Mr. Wright became manager, Mr.
Haneberg the sugar boiler, and Mr.
Wm. H. Wright became the engineer.
The output of sugar at that time was
about 400 tons.
Under Mr. Wright's management
new lands were put under cultivation.
One piece of about 400 acres which
was a marsh, and situated just over a
small, low hill, not far from the man
ager's house, was drained with the
idea of putting it under cultivation.
It was a difficult piece of work as the
large ditch that circled the marsh had
to be blasted through solid lava rock
in many places; to clear the marsh
after draining was also a most difficult
task, as it was covered with hundreds
of large logs, and stumps of the Loulu
or native palm; the logs were evi
dently relics or remains of an old
forest of various kinds of Island trees.
These were imbedded in a soft, rich,
black soil of decayed tree trunks and
rotten lava; some of these logs were
so large and difficult to get out, that
I have seen 16 to 20 pair of oxen make
hard work to pull them out onto the
hillside. It took a long time to clear
this marsh and put it under cultivat
ion. It is supposed that the marsh was
once a forest of trees, and destroyed
by volcanic action; at least that was
the opinion of a few gentlemen who
had made an investigation of the
marsh,, which showed every indication
of volcanic action. Mr. Geo. H. Dole
once wrote an article on the subject,
which was published in one of the
In 1872 Dr. Jared K. Smith and
Alfred H. Smith (sons of Dr. J. W.
Smith) began planting cane on lands
near their old home under the firm
name of A. H. Smith & Co., and the
cane was ground by the Koloa Sugar
Mr. Smith retired from the firm in
1886 the planting was continued by the
the remaining partner, with Mr. J.
K. Farley as manager.
At the death of Dr. Jared Smith in
1896, the place was incorpc rated under
the name of the Koloa Agricultural
Co., tho stock being owned chiefly by
Hon. A. S. Hartwell and Miss Juliett
Smith ; Mr. Farley continued in charge
of the planting.
In 1882 Mr. Anton Cropp purchased
the interest of Mr. J. N. Wright in the
Koloa plantation, and he assumed the
It was at Koloa that experiments
were first made in silk culture by
Messrs. Peck & Tltcomb. In the
early thirties a tract of about 30
acres, back of the marsh lands, but
nearer the Llhue road, was obtained
for the purpose, and native mulberry
trees were planted; a small hill in the
back of this land is still known as
Mauna Kilika (silk mountain). The
industry vas quite srccessful at the
start, which encouraged the promoters
of the enterprise to introduce other
varieties of mulberry; later, however,
the trees became badly blighted and
were also tho prey of spiders and other
pests; these with the strong winds
proved a Serious obstacle to success,
and after a severe Kona storm which:
badly damaged the grove, the industry
was abandoned; but later Mr. Tit
comb experimented again with silk
culture in Hanalei Valley, but after a
time was met with the same obstacles
which discouraged the business in
One enterprising young man in
Koloa, with evidently no knowledge
of agriculture undertook the cultivat
ion of beans. All was well and the
beans grew beautifully, but to the
amazement of the young planter his
beans appeared above the ground on
a stalk or young unopened leaf; some
thing was wrong in his opinion, so he
pulled up all these stalks, and planted
his beans in the ground once more. Of
course they never grew again; he was
Joked very often about his beans, and
for many years was known by the old
kamalnas as "Billy Bean."
The Spouting Horn is one of the
sights of Koloa, and visitors should not
miss seeing it This natural wonder
consists of a lava ledge jutting out of
the sea. Under this ledge a cavern
has been formed by the action of the
waves, and at the rear of the cavern
Ib an outlet at the top about three
feet in diameter. As the waves dash
ashore the water is forced through the
opening to a height of about 75 feet
more or less, according to the force of
the waves; it spouts up with a roar
that can be heard above the noise of
the sea. Tho native name for the
Spouting Horn is Puhl (a blowing).
Koloa was a port of entry, and in the
years gone by when the whaling fleet
visited the Islands before going North,
they would make their last stop at
this port for some of their supplies.
Mr. George Charman, an old resident
who was in the wood business, sup
plied the ships with fire wood suffi
cient to last until their return from
the North. The plantation furnished
them with beef cattle and sheep; the
natives came from all around the dis
trict with other supplies, such as
pigs, cii.ckcr.s, egeis, tweet potatoes,
squashes, cnions, cubages and other
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Weekly News Up to Date
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11
"Luck and Pluck"
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WSP Weekly News-Up to Date
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12
Universal Feature Picture
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C V hi I.
SATURDAY, DECEMCER 13
V rt'Men.Vomen and Money
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Weekly News Up-To-Date
SUNDAY, DECMBER 14
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Weekly News Up Ta Date
vegetables The vevi?8 generally re
niained In port about a week or ten
days so as to enable them to take in
all their supplies.
Mr. J. N. Wright was port collector
tor several years, and always invited
the Captains while in port, to spend
their nights on shore with us. Several
of the captains were accompan
ied by their wives, who were pleased
to be able to stay on shore while the
vessels were taking in supplies tor the
Mr. Wright, before buying into the
the plantation, had kept a country
store which was situated just across
from the old sugar mill site on the
turn of the government road to Lihue,
and during this time was postmaster
for Koloa. When he bought info the
plantation, he sold the store to Mr.
Frank Bindt, who also became post
master; later he sold to a Mr. Stretz,
a retired Honolulu druggist.
Mr. John Hush, somewhere in the
early seventies, was appointed Gover
nor of Kauai by King Kalakaua, his
residence was in Koloa, on the road
to the beach landing. His family re
mained all the time at their home, but
the Governor spent a good part of
his time in Kapaa, where he had un
dertaken to plant cane on shares for
the plantation, but he was unsuccess
ful, and after his failure, left the Island
with his family and returned to Hono
lulu. King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolanl
(Continued on page 8)