Ranches and the Land Development: Programs in Honouliuli, 1877–1894

Grazing of small herds of cattle, and eventually larger ranching operations, began to develop in Honouliuli by the 1840s. Initially, native tenants and a few foreign residents vied for access to the land. By the 1860s, few native residents could compete, and individuals like Isaac and Daniel Montgomery, John Meek, James Dowsett, and James Campbell came to control the majority of the land in Honouliuli. The consolidation of land title set the foundation for radical changes in the landscape, and also led to problems with access to the Honouliuli fisheries, and changes in the makeup of the population of Honouliuli. The consolidation of title led to the formation of various business schemes like the “Honouliuli Colonization Land and Trust Company,” and large-scale development programs. The narratives also document the relationship between Honouliuli business interests with those of other locations on O‘ahu, in the larger development plans on the island.

The following regards a Honouliuli land case, Coney v. Dowsett, which came before the Supreme Court of the Hawaiian Islands during the October term, 1876. The plaintiff, John H. Coney, claims damages caused by the trespassing of the cattle of the defendant James I. Dowsett on his land. The opinion was written by Justice A. Francis Judd and dated Oct. 23, 1876. Lawyers arguing the case were L. McCully and E. Preston for the plaintiff, and A. S. Hartwell and W. C. Jones for the defendant.

This is an action in which $10,000 are claimed as damages for the trespass of the defendant’s cattle upon the land “Honouliuli” in Ewa Oahu, the property of the plaintiff, since Oct. 16th, 1875.

The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff of $200, and a motion is made to set aside this verdict and grant a new trial on the ground that the jury must have mistaken or disregarded the instructions of the court on the effect of certain leases under which the defendant justified, or that the jury misunderstood the evidence.

The first lease in question is dated March 3rd, 1846, and running for twenty-five years from the 1st of February of that year, expired on the 1st of February, 1871. It demises to John Meek and his heirs, the kula land at Lihue, and the privilege that his cattle should be undisturbed at Honouliuli, if they should go there.

The second lease is dated 13th of July, 1851, and leases to John Meek and his heirs and assigns the land called Waimanalo, at Honouliuli, particularly as follows: The kula and the kuahiwi and the rights appertaining thereto, and the Poalimas, the river with all the rights appertaining thereto. It gives the boundaries as follows: On the mauka side the lands previously leased to John Meek, that is, the kula of Lihue and the kula of Honouliuli; on the makai sides Nanakuli and the Koolina. This lease expired on the 5th of July, 1876.

The third lease is dated the 16th of February, 1853, and it being for twenty-five years, does not expire until the 16th of February, 1878. By this lease there is conveyed to John Meek, his heirs and assigns, all the remaining portions of the lessor’s kula land at Honouliuli: this being explained as follows: All parts of this kula land not included in the previous leases made between A. Keliiahonui, M. Kekauonohi and John Meek for that land called Lihue, on the 3rd of March, 1846, and another lease between J. H.  L. Haalelea and John Meek, of all that land called Waimanalo, on the 15th of July, 1851, the rents of these two lands shall continue and their lease, until the expiration thereof. They are not included in this lease. Before considering the reservations, which are made at length and with considerable particularity.

Let us go on to the fourth lease, which is dated the 1st of February, 1871, and which conveys all of that certain piece of parcel of land situated in the Ahupuaa of Honouliuli, district of Ewa, Island of Oahu, known as the Ili of Lihue, for seven years, and which will not expire until the 1st of February, 1878.

The plaintiff claims that lease No. 1 conveyed not only Lihue but a portion of the kula of Honouliuli, and builds up an argument in support of this from the words of description of Waimanalo, above given, in which the mauka boundary of Waimanalo is stated to be the kula of Lihue and the kula of Honouliuli, and that the portion of Honouliuli conveyed by the first lease and not included in the third lease, was not covered by the fourth lease, which was a lease of the Ili of Lihue only. The plaintiff claims that as there was abundant evidence that the defendant’s cattle pastured upon this tract of land within the dates in which this trespass is laid, the award of the jury of $200 is far from excessive and should be sustained. But can this position of the plaintiff be sustained?

The first lease conveyed only Lihue, the lessor covenanted in addition that the lessee’s cattle should be undisturbed on Honouliuli, if they went there. This does not lease any portion of Honouliuli outside of Lihue, but only protected the lessee from being held liable for trespass if his cattle strayed on Honouliuli. This view is strengthened by the wording of lease No. 3, made in 1853, which shows the interpretation put by the parties on their previous leases after seven years of dealings with each other as landlord and tenant. This lease No. 3 distinctly says that the lease of 1846 was for that land called Lihue, and that the lease of 1851 was for that land called Waimanalo. Now, this lease No. 3 conveyed all parts of the kula of Honouliuli, not included in leases No. 1 and 2, it conveys all of Honouliuli except Lihue and Waimanalo and the reservations.

In a former case between the parties to this suit, the court held that if there exists an ambiguity, in the lease, then such construction must prevail as is most strong against the covenanter, for he might have expressed himself more clearly. But there is no ambiguity here, except, perhaps, the exemption from liability for trespass on Honouliuli, and upon the principle just stated it must be construed to be a mere license, the actual territory over which the license was granted in lease No. 1 being leased by indenture No. 3.

Waimanalo is described in the second lease as being bounded on the mauka side by kula of Lihue and of Honouliuli. This cannot be explained except upon the theory that its extent was not at that time well defined.

It is clear that the plaintiff does not claim now that Waimanalo stretches up to Lihue, and I am inclined to rend the description in this way. The land previously leased to John Meek, that is the kula of Lihue and the kula of Honouliuli on the mauka side. Certainly, if Waimanalo is an Ili at one end of Honouliuli, it must have for one boundary the main body of the land of Honouliuli, where it joins the same. The clause “and the kula of Honouliuli.” is not necessarily modified by the clause the land leased to John Meek.

It is claimed further by the plaintiff that as the lease of Waimanalo particularizes kula and kuahiwi as being two distinct classes of land, the kula being low land and kuahiwi being mountain land, and as the third lease does not mention specifically the kuahiwi of Honouliuli, it must be considered as intended to be excluded.

I am of the opinion that in this lease No. 3, “kula” means land not kalo land, however this may be, the “kuahiwi” is not excepted in the large number of reservations made and although the lease does not convey the right to actually take the wood in the kuahiwi, it leases the right of pasturage therein, for the kuahiwi is a part of “keia aina kula i komo ole iloko o na hoolimalima mua,” (this kula land not included in the previous leases.) To lease the whole of a kula land, reserving certain specific portions and then to say that this does not cover kuahiwi or pali, puu, mauna, awaawa or other portions of land to which various topographical terms may be applied would be disingenuous, and it is so manifestly contrary to the intention of the parties as gathered from all these instruments as not to be countenanced by the court, I observe, in passing, that if the defendant is now liable for trespass upon the kuahiwi of Honouliuli or upon the portion of the kula of Honouliuli claimed by the plaintiff’s counsel to be not conveyed by lease No. 3, he was liable for trespass for the same reasons on the list of February, 1871, the date when the first lease of Lihue expired.

I find therefore that as there was no part of the Honouliuli kula between Lihue and Waimanalo not covered by the leases to the defendant the jury were not at liberty to consider in making up their verdict the evidence of the trespass of defendant’s cattle on this territory.

The lease of Waimanalo having expired on the 15th of July, 1876, the jury were instructed that the defendant should be allowed a reasonable time after this date in which to take his cattle off from this land, and in which to restrain them from returning thither. The evidence of damages for trespass on Waimanalo by Dowsett’s cattle since the lease expired, consists in statements of witnesses that they had seen his cattle on this land within the month past, and since the time when they were driven off by Dowsett’s men. The particular evidence was given by Po who testified that he saw nine head there on the 20th of July, and sixteen head there on the 10th of August, but this witness was uncertain as to the boundaries of Waimanalo, and said they had never been pointed out to him. 

When the testimony of Mr. J. H. Wood is considered, who testifies that Waimanalo is worth nothing for pasturage at present, as there is nothing green on it, it is clear that the amount of $200, if awarded for damage for trespass on this land, is excessive, for if the jury found that defendant’s cattle were allowed to remain on this land an unreasonable time after the lease expired, the damage awarded should have been but nominal and not beyond the statutory amount of 12 ¾ cts. for each animal.

The reservations in lease No. 3 are as follows: “These are the places reserved to the party of the first part; the fish ponds in said kula land, having fish in them, and two lots intended to be enclosed hereafter: also Mokumeha adjoining the enclosed taro lands: and also that piece between Kualakai and C. W. Vincent’s lot; that places known as Ka pa Uhi is also reserved; the sea fishery and its rights are also reserved, similar to the Waimanalo sea-right reservation; also the Pa aina at Honouliuli and the said enclosure: and also the cultivatable land at Poupouwela; all of which are reserved and not included in this lease, but John Meek’s cattle shall not be molested should they go on to these places reserved if not fenced in with a fence sufficient to prevent cattle from trespassing. Poupouwela will still remain as in times gone by, and is not intended to be fenced in as its situation is good, not needing a fence. The tabooed woods of the mountains of the lands mentioned in this lease are also reserved to the party of the first part, but he, John Meek, can take said tabooed wood for his own use, as much as he wishes, but not to dispose of to other parties.”

The clause, “but John Meeks cattle shall not be molested should they go on to these places reserved, if not fenced in with a fence sufficient to prevent cattle from trespassing.” Fixes the obligation upon the lessor to keep his reservations fenced, and as there was no evidence offered to the jury to show that this was done, they were not at liberty to found their verdict upon evidences that the cattle of defendant were accustomed to graze and get water on the reserved portions. It is urged that though the lessor covenants that the cattle shall not be considered as trespassing if they shall go on the reserved portions, unless fenced, still the evidence shows that the cattle were continually on one of these portions, that is Pa aina, for water, and that this is in excess of the license, and therefore trespass would lie. I am of the opinion this is not sound, for there could be no trespass on Pa aina, unless fenced with a fence capable of turning stock.

The law will not allow a pit-fall for the un-wary to be thus dug, when it was possible, in framing the lease, to make the intention of the lessor to hold his tenant to such a liability more clear.

As regards Poupouwela, its aina mahiai is reserved. This is translated cultivated or cultivatable land. Whichever rendering is taken there is no evidence that Dowsett’s cattle trespassed upon either the cultivated land or the land capable of cultivation in Poupouwela. The evidence was confined to the statement that the cattle driven from Waimanalo between the 11th and 18th of July were driven from Lihue to water at Poupouwela and back again, but there was no evidence that this water was in the limits of the aina mahiai. I am of the opinion, though the jury were not so instructed, that no trespass could be maintained even on the aina mahiai of Poupouwela, as the clause in reference to immunity from trespassing applies to it, and the lessor disavows his intention of fencing it, as the situation of the land did not require it. The legal inference from this is, that he took the risk of cattle trespassing on it, though unfenced.

The jury were instructed in regard to the testimony that the cattle of defendant had spread a thorny acacia over the land as follows: That the plaintiff could not recover damages for this if done while the cattle were lawfully upon the plaintiff’s land, for he must be held to have foreseen the natural result of the pasturage of cattle in disseminating weeds and thorns on his lands, when he made the lease; and as regards acacia being spread on Waimanalo, the defendant could only be held liable for whatever damage was thus done since July 15, 1876, of which there was no distinct evidence.

The court charged the jury that up to the 15th of July, 1876, when the Waimanalo lease expired, the defendant had the right of exclusive possession of all Honouliuli except the reserved portions, but on suggestion of plaintiff’s counsel made the qualification that if the jury found that there was any portion of Honouliuli conveyed by lease No. 1 and not included in lease No. 3 and not re-conveyed by lease No. 4 they might find that trespass was committed on such portion. In giving this modification the court had no intention of allowing the jury to infer that there was any such un-leased portion of Honouliuli, for it had charged the contrary. But this may have misled the jury, which is to be regretted.

It is apparent to me that the jury must have understood the instructions of the court upon the evidence of trespass upon any portion of Honouliuli, except Waimanalo, and as to Waimanalo, if the verdict was founded upon trespass on this land, the amount of damage is so clearly excessive as to lead to the inference that the jury based their assessment of damage on some erroneous principle.

Exercising the sound and legal discretion vested in me, I am of the opinion that the verdict should be set aside and a new trial granted which is done accordingly.1

More on the Coney v. Dowsett case is below.

John H. Coney vs. James I. Dowsett.

On Exceptions to the Decision of Mr. Justice Judd.

Present: Chief Justice Allen, Justices Harris and Judd.

The question upon which the opinion of the fall court is desired, is the construction of the leases on file in the case.

The arguments of the counsel for the plaintiff are exceedingly ingenious, and we have given them full consideration. We have likewise reviewed and weighed the opinion given by Mr. Justice Judd, which is excepted to and we concur in that opinion fully, seeing no reason for altering, amending or expanding it.

The jury will be instructed in accordance with this opinion, in case a new trial is proceeded with.

Elisha H. Allens,
Chas. C. Harris,
A.  Francis Judd.
E. Preston and L. McCully for plaintiff, A. S. Hartwell and W. C. Jones for defendant.
Honolulu, Dec. 29, 1876

1Honouliuli Land Case—Coney v. Dowsett before the Supreme Court, Hawaiian Gazette, January 17, 1877, p. 4.

Related Maps

Related Documents

The Great Land Colonization Scheme was headed by Benjamin F. Dillingham for lands at Kahuku, Waimea, Kawailoa, and Honouliuli. He formed a joint stock company called the Hawaiian Colonization Land and Trust Company. The company would purchase the lands, and divide and develop them for convenient purchase or lease [8:151–152]. The businessmen associated with the scheme are as follows:

Dillingham, president of the Pacific Hardware Co. and owner of the railroad, was the chief promoter. Other principals in the scheme were James Campbell, owner of the Honouliuli and Kahuku estates; John H. Paty of Bishop and Company Bank, primary owner of the Kawailoa and Waimea estates; and M. Dickson and J. G. Spencer, part owners of the Kawailoa and Waimea ranches. [8:152]

The following articles are a prospectus for the Hawaiian Colonization and Land Trust Company, which were published in the Daily Honolulu Press. It contains a section describing the Honouliuli Ranch, one of the properties involved in the scheme.

A property of 115,750 acres offered for sale to a joint stock company, which will sell the same as suitable for sugar, rice, grazing, homestead, dairy, fruit and other purposes.

63,250 acres in fee simple and 52,500 acres held under lease, at present carrying between 12,000 and 15,000 head of cattle and 250 horses and mules.

A large area of this property is suitable, according to locality, for Sugar, Rice, Vineyards, Fruit Orchards, and small Homesteads, the remainder being fine mountain side grazing ground.

Under the proposed arrangements of the Company to be formed an exceptional opportunity is offered for acquiring homesteads, by a system of deferred or gradual payment as may be agreed upon; the whole being within easy reach of Honolulu, the capital city and principal port, with a steadily growing market.


The climate is pre-eminently healthy, the North-east trades sweeping across the island for the greater part of the year.

While there are no available registers barometer, thermometer or rainfall for this particular district, there is no reason to question their strict analogy with that of the Nuuanu Valley, in the same island, and in which Honolulu and its suburbs are situated, where the rainfall amounts to 33.28 inches per annum from a minimum of 0.94 in March to a maximum of 3.43 in December; but these figures relating only to the lower levels in and about Honolulu do not by any means represent the rainfall on the Waianae Mountains, which is very much heavier.

Thus the temperature may be said to range from 68 to 85 Fahr., varied of course by situation, elevation above the sea, accessibility to trade winds, &c.

Honouliuli Ranch

Containing 43,250 acres in fee simple. This land is favorably situated, having direct communication with Honolulu by water, distance 10 miles or by land by a good road, distance 17 miles, the latter offering singular facilities for an inexpensive railway track.

The water route to Honouliuli is from Honolulu harbor skirting the reef to Pearl harbor, a magnificent inlet of the ocean protected by a reef or bar with 11 to 13 feet, but inside with from 20 fathoms to 3 fathoms of land-locked, protected anchorage, fit for all classes of coasters and yachts. On the west arm of this harbor Honouliuli has a frontage of no less than five miles, all steep-to, with from three to twenty fathoms in front of it. The whole fishing rights of this west arm are part of the property.

Honouliuli Ranch is bounded by the sea and Pearl River on two sides, and extends in a westerly direction to the divide of the Waianae Mountains which form a natural boundary so well defined and so difficult to pass as to render fencing on this line unnecessary. But where Honouliuli adjoins the neighboring properties, it is securely fenced. There are twenty miles of five-wire fence with redwood posts, and ten miles batten fence, all in good order and erected within the last seven years.

Stretching from Pearl harbor and skirting the base of Waianae mountains southward and eastward is a plain of about 7,000 acres of rich alluvial soil, eminently suitable—the upper portions for sugar and the lower for rice lands. Of these latter, from 3,000 to 4,000 acres may be irrigated by artesian wells, the elevation above high water mark being between 12 and 35 feet. One well sunk in this district in 1881, to a depth of 186 feet, has yielded unceasingly 2,400 gallons per hour since completion.

On the eastern slopes, among the foot hills of the Waianae mountains, are over 10,000 acres of land, suitable for small farms, vineyards, orchards, &c. Several perennial springs flow through these valleys and ravines, and the extensive traces of taro culture show that in the hands of the old natives there was no lack of water.

Wells have been sunk at elevations from 400 to 700 feet above the sea level. Water was found at from 30 to 60 feet below the surface. One is a flowing well; on the other a windmill suffices to raise drinking water for surrounding herds.

The ravines of the Waianae slope are narrow and readily lend themselves to favoring the construction of storage dams for purposes of irrigation.

The Waianae mountains attract or precipitate a sufficient rainfall in ordinary seasons for the maintenance of the present heavily-grassed condition of the slopes, and due attention to the forestry will enable them to carry more numerous herds of cattle than those which now fatten hock-deep on the Manienie or Bermuda grass.

The lower and more open slopes are suitable for dairy, poultry or fruit raising. They are within easy reach of the main road to Honolulu, and when peopled must soon invite the construction of a railway to the capital.

The sugar cane and rice land of this property is valued at from $100 to $200 an acre, and may be taken up in large or small tracts at these figures; the grazing, farm and fruit lands are valued at from $10 to $50 per acre. It is at present intended to offer some 10,000 acres of first-class agricultural land for sale, upon convenient terms, at $50 an acre for colonization purposes, for resident and improving occupants.

The Kahuku Ranch

Consists of 20,000 acres in fee simple and 5,000 acres Government leasehold, the leasehold having an unexpired term of 17 years, at an annual rental of $455.

On the estate is a level tract of land at an elevation of from 10 to 25 feet above sea level, extending from Waimea to Laie, a distance of eight miles of sea frontage, and an average breadth of one mile from the sea to the foot hills. This tract is pronounced by competent judges to be excellent sugar cane land. There are already flowing artesian wells on either side of this level tract, while near the middle is an unfailing spring in which the water rises to within 2 ½ feet of the surface, in a column of at least one foot in diameter, and flows thence to the sea. This proves that an ample supply may be found for irrigation.

There have been offered by rice growers to the present owner $10,000 a year for 400 acres of this land, water for cultivation being furnished.

A contract has been made to bore five additional artesian wells to comply with this requirement.

It may be incidentally noted here that in no case on this island of Oahu has boring for artesian wells failed if sunk from an elevation not exceeding 32 feet above sea level.

There are about 15,000 acres of land suitable for fruit, small farms or pasture, on the Kahuku property, estimated as salable for colonization purposes at from $15 to $30 per acre.

Kawailoa and Waimea Ranches

Contain 23,000 acres surveyed land, and about 20,000 acres unsurveyed, all held on lease having an unexpired term of 24 years, at a yearly rental of $2,200. This rental is at present reduced to $1,700 by sub-letting a few acres of taro (wet) land. There are 36 miles of new 5-feet wire fence set on California redwood posts. It is further sub-divided into paddocks of from 200 acres to 4,000 acres each, enabling the proprietors to pass their stock from one feeding ground to another as may be advisable.

This land is well adapted throughout for fruit growing or pastoral purposes. There are several wells with windmills on them to supply water for stock. One reservoir of this kind has been built at the Kawailoa Ranch with a retaining wall 150 feet in length, 100 feet thick at bottom, 5 feet at summit, capable of storing 1,127,500 cubic feet of water, for an outlay of $2,250. This indicates what may be done at the Honouliuli Ranch.

General Remarks.

Kawailoa and Waimea Ranches adjoin Kahuku, and together form a compact property containing 72,500 acres of land. The Honouliuli property is distant about twelve miles, but is connected with them by an excellent road. These properties have at present 66 miles of good fencing. The land is well grassed with a fair proportion of timber throughout. Livestock of all kinds thrive and fatten on the pastures, and by increasing the number of enclosed paddocks and working the combined estates systematically the number of cattle and horses on the land might be largely increased.

The number of cattle, 12,000 to 15,000. Now on these estates has been already mentioned, also 250 head of horse stock and mules, together valued at $312,000. The horned cattle are bred from “Hereford” and “Short-horn Durham” imported for these estates, and they thrive and fatten without any stall feeding or housing.

The horse stock is exceptionally good, one sire, “Shenandoah,” having won over $20,000 as a two-year-old in the United States. There are also three trotting stallions, two of which cost $1,000 each, and there are unbroken colts and fillies from these sires, some four or five years old, which may be readily broken for saddle or harness.

These properties, if united, would give the proposed company a controlling interest in the Honolulu market, for produce of all kinds, with a steadily increasing demand; to which the contracts recently entered into by the Pacific and Oceanic Steamship Companies may prove a valuable stimulant. Indeed it is possible to create a trade with San Francisco for carcasses of beef and mutton carried in refrigerating chambers by the Oceanic Steamships.

The income from these estates at present, including leases, is $70,000 a year. Moderate calculations show that these figures might be nearly quadrupled.

The fishing rights on Pearl harbor pertaining to the Honouliuli estate, now leased for a short term at $1,700, can be rented at $2,500 on the expiration of the present lease.

A limestone quarry on the Honouliuli property at present pays a small annual rent, and a royalty on the lime produced. The entire demand for this kingdom may be supplied from this quarry, instead of, as hitherto, importing lime from California. The builders of Honolulu consider this lime superior in quality and preferable to the Californian lime. There is also a fine limestone quarry on Kahuku Ranch.

The five mile frontage on Pearl harbor spoken of suggests a town site for a summer resort there, the facilities for yachting and boating being unsurpassed, while the climate is all that can be desired.

A vast variety of fruit or timber trees grow with extraordinary rapidity. The whole Eucalyptus family, the algarroba or locust tree (pseudo-acacia), the tamarind, “alligator pear,” guava, bread fruit, &c. Citrus fruits especially thrive without care or cultivation. Many ornamental woods known as koa, kou, ohia, &c., grow well. India-rubber (caoutchouc), quinine (cinchona), and perhaps above all the ramie will flourish, each in its suitable locality, which may be found on these estates.

Proposed plan for forming a Joint Stock Company to purchase, sub-let, sell or work these Estates.

It is proposed to form a Joint Stock Company to buy the properties described below, both freehold and leasehold, to divide them for purchase or lease on convenient terms, and to work the unsold or unleased portions for the benefit of the shareholders.

Property consisting of—

63,250 acres in fee… $ 822,250
Capitalized value of leased land, 52,500 acres… $ 65,750
15,000 head cattle at twenty dollars each… $ 300,000
260 head horses, &c… $ 12,000
  $ 1,200,000

The Company's stock to consist of—

12,000 shares of $100 each… $ 1,200,000
8,000 of said shares, par value $100 each… 800,000

To be offered for sale and

4,000 of said shares, par value $100 each… $ 400,000

To be held by the promoters of the Company, viz., Jas. Campbell Esq., owner of the Honouliuli and Kahuku estate; Jno. H. Paty Esq., of Messrs. Bishop & Co., Bankers, principal owner of Kawailoa and Waimea estates;

M. Dickson Esq., and J. G. Spencer Esq., part owners of Kawailoa and Waimea ranch; Mr. B. F. Dillingham, President Pacific Hardware Co.

As soon as 8,000 shares of the capital stock have been subscribed for by responsible persons, the Company will be incorporated and the stock issued.

Receipts from the sale of the stocks will be paid over to the owners of the properties. Deeds, leases, and bill of sale of landed property and of live stock to be placed in the lands of the officers of the Company appointed to receive them.

The following gentlemen have consented to accept office: President, James Campbell. Vice-President, J. H. Paty. Secretary and Treasurer, Godfrey Brown.

The following gentlemen have consented to be nominated for Directors: James Campbell, J. H. Paty, S. G. Wilder, A. J. Cartwright, W. F. Allen, S. B. Dole, W. Austin Whiting, W. R. Castle, B. F. Dillingham. General Manager, B. F. Dillingham, Sub-Manager, M. Dickson.1

The following, published about three weeks later, also in the Daily Honolulu Press, informs that further information on the scheme is forthcoming. It succinctly describes the objective of the scheme.

The Hawaiian Colonization Land and Trust Company have issued a preliminary prospectus setting forth the merits of the Honouliuli, Kahuku, and Kawailoa and Waimea ranches. The introduction to the prospectus contains the following clause: “The object and purpose of this company shall be to purchase the land and leases herein-after described, also other desirable property in the Kingdom which may be offered for sale or lease upon favorable terms, and sell or sub-lease them for colonization purposes, in lots or parcels to suit purchasers, and upon terms which will make it not only possible but convenient for those with very limited means, to gain a ‘foot hold’ in this country.” Occasion will be taken here-after to review the scheme at greater length.2

Subsequently, further review of the scheme from the Daily Honolulu Press is offered in this article entitled “The colonization scheme.”

Government are the natural guardians of the people; therefore to protect the rights of an individual is no less the duty of their rulers than it is their duty to foster schemes for the development of the country’s natural resources. While it would be impracticable in most instances for a Government to become a party to a corporation, yet it can give protection and add support to its subjects, who are its direct agents for the improvement and development of the country at large. But development is a basis for security, and increased security means financial protection, and financial investment always assumes that the Government is a natural guardian under whom both capital and industry can rest secure and increase without molestation.

It follows that all reasonable projects for developing the resources of these Islands should be furthered and protected by this Government. It is the duty of every citizen to aid in bringing about such a state of reciprocal interests. Such a chance is now offered both Government and citizens in a scheme for the colonization and development of the Island of Oahu by a bona fide joint stock company, known and existing under the style and name of the Hawaiian Colonization Land and Trust Company. The men whose names figure in the preliminary prospectus of the company preclude any doubt as to the sterling worth and merit of this enterprise.

It is proposed by this company to buy up some of the great landed estates of these Islands, the present scheme embracing the Honouliuli ranch containing about 45,000 acres of land, the Kahuku ranch containing about 25,000 acres and the Kawailoa and Waimea ranches containing about 45,000 acres of surveyed and unsurveyed land.  The company proposes to sub-let, sell or work these estates on terms the most favorable to settlers, as will be seen by perusing the preliminary prospectus heretofore published in the press, as well as in pamphlet form for general distribution.

Some of the main points connected with the situation and resources of these ranches may be briefly summed up as follows: The different properties are easy of access either by land or water; they are all fertile valley lands or fine uplands for grazing; all the properties are well watered by springs, artesian wells and natural water sheds with easy constructed reservoirs; they are all well stocked, well grassed, well wooded and well fruited; they contain excellent fishing possibilities which may be practically developed into an immense source of revenue; these different ranches are capable, according to locality, of producing sugar and rice, vineyards and fruit orchards, and are also suitable for small farms or larger grazing tracts.

One of the main things to be taken into consideration, in the present offer of the company, is, that each and every one of the properties embraced in the scheme is at the present time a paying property. Another feature to be looked at is, that no matter how poor a man may be he can enter upon the land offered and by his own labor and enterprise can not only make a living but can lay by enough money to purchase in a few years, on the installment plan, the homestead upon which he lives, thereby rendering himself and his family independent.

The scheme is a gigantic one but it is backed by men of sterling moral and financial worth, who will use every endeavor to carry it through to a successful consummation. Embracing as it does an estate containing 63,250 acres of land in fee simple and 52,500 acres of leasehold land, it is a scheme that necessarily calls for foreign immigration and home support. What one man may do for the development of these Islands has already been seen and appreciated by many; what an organized company of our best citizens can do, with the proper support from the Government, will by far eclipse any instance of private enterprise and will open up and develop the resources of Hawaii until public debts will not only be a thing of the past, but “Money to Lend” will be posted in every doorway from the Government building to the confines of Chinatown.3

This article from the Daily Bulletin provides a breakdown of the figures associated with the scheme: the acreage, the sugar yields, and the expected income of lessees and investors.

A communicated article in a contemporary presents some of the sources of profit to investors, and advantages to settlers, held in prospect by the promoters of the “Hawaiian Colonization, Land and Trust Company.” For the information of our readers we summarize the leading facts. The Honouliuli territory, of which the company has the refusal, contains 17,000 acres of land suitable for growing sugar cane. Of this amount 7,000 acres are comprised in a plain requiring artificial irrigation. To effect that object artesian wells are proposed for the portion lying at an elevation not exceeding thirty-five feet above sea-level, and a series of dams, in a natural gulch, for higher levels. Both means are proved feasible beyond any reasonable doubt, by the complete success attending their adoption, under similar conditions and in contiguous areas, their estimated cost, for this company’s purpose, is $125,000. When the land is furnished with watering facilities, it is assumed that at least from 2,500 to 5,000 acres will be occupied by responsible cultivators of sugar cane. The cane would be raised on shares, in the proportion of, say, five-eighths to the planter and three-eighths to the company. Milling facilities, with transportation of cane to mill and sugar to place of shipment, should be provided by the company, while the planters should do the harvesting and loading. Four tons to the acre is the very lowest estimate of the soil’s productiveness, but experience dictates a higher figure by two or three tons. Taking the smallest amount of both land and yield, however, we have 2,500 acres producing an aggregate of 10,000 tons of sugar. Of this the company’s share would be 3,750 tons, worth, at present value, $375,000 net. As to the cost of accomplishing the result just given, the author of the article herein drawn upon presents the following statement:-

Cost of 30-ton mill, say… $150,000
Cost of water supply for mills and dams… $125,000
Cost of tramway and cars for trains porting cane and sugar, say… $25,000
Total estimate outlay… $300,000

On this estimated outlay of $300,000, which he explains, is a liberal one, the following reductions are allowed: -

Interest at 9 percent… $27,000
Wear and tear on mill and tramway, and repairs to dams, say… $28,000
Current expenses, taxes, Insurance, etc… $75,000
Total annual expense… $130,000

Ultimate results are thus deduced from these figures: “If this amount for annual outlay under every legitimate head of expenditure be deducted from $375,000, the value of a season’s sugar crop, there is left a balance of $245,000 and interest of 9 percent on investment. This is calculated on the basis of existing prices. But suppose that the price of sugar should drop 40 per cent., or 3 cents per pound, as an extreme limit, which is very unlikely, there would be $150,000 to write off the value of the sugar crop, reducing the $375,000 estimate to $225,000. Now, deducting from this sum of $225,000 the estimated expenditure of $130,000, there would remain a net profit of $95,000 and interest at 9 per cent on the investment, making a total income on the investment of $122,000 per annum.”

It is asserted that most, if not all, of the ten thousand acres to be devoted to colonization is good rich soil. Extending from Pearl Harbor to the foothills of the Waianae mountains, the area gradually reaches an elevation of about 1,000 feet. A large proportion of the land may be irrigated by storing water as above mentioned, but, besides that recourse and artesian wells, water is obtainable at many points from springs and similar favors of nature. Being in the most elevated region of Oahu, the rainfall of the area is very large, and it is anticipated, upon the strength of well-known natural law, that, once under cultivation, more humid conditions still would be induced.

Already over forty applications for lands have been received by the provisional company, the aggregate amount applied for exceeding two thousand acres. The applicants, some of whom are long residents in the country, are confident of being able to make a fair living from products they can raise for even the local market. By raising sugar on shares with the company, the owner of five acres, it is estimated, is assured of a net income of from $1,000 to $1,500 a year, besides minor sources of living that an agricultural holding affords. This would indeed, be a princely existence to many millions of people throughout the globe, “who,” as the correspondent says, “toil unceasingly six months of the year to exist the remaining six.

Besides the foregoing inducements to settlers, it is intimated that persons disposed to engage in stock-raising can be accommodated with lands of the company, by purchase or lease, with the opportunity of buying a high class of stock now subsisting on the property. The company would even “cut up and dispose of the whole property on very favorable terms to a desirable class of bona fide settlers.4

1Great Land Colonization Scheme, Island of Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, Daily Honolulu Press, October 31, 1885, p. 2.

2Honouliuli Colonization Land and Trust Company, Daily Honolulu Press, November 19, 1885, p. 3.

3The Honouliuli Colonization Scheme, Daily Honolulu Press, November 30, 1885, p. 2.

4“Prospective Returns of the Honouliuli Colonization Scheme,” Daily Bulletin, December 17, 1885, p. 2.

Developing reservoirs capable of supporting the agriculture foreseen for Honouliuli was integral to the success of the land colonization scheme. The article below, entitled “A very large reservoir to be constructed to hold a million and a half gallons of water,” is about the Honouliuli Ranch water development. A reservoir with 1.5 million gallon capacity was planned.

Mr. H. M. von Holt, superintendent of ranches for the O. R. & L. Co., is having constructed on the Honouliuli ranch, about five miles from the new Ewa plantation works, a storage reservoir which when completed and full of water will be about 1250 feet long by 150 feet wide, and have a depth of water at the dam of 15 feet. A trench or puddle dam was dug through the fall of the gulch to a depth of from 3 feet on the ends to 7 feet in the centre, where a hard pan, impervious to water, was found. This was then filled up with earth only, and packed down and over this the dam of earth is being built. When completed it will be about 50 feet wide on the middle bottom, sloping upwards to a width of 10 feet on top, 150 feet across the gulch and 17 feet high. The dam is situated on one of the large plains extending from the easterly slopes of the Waianae mountains, while deep ravines on either side of the plateau will prevent any chance of mountain freshets. Two gulches stating from zero on the plain about half a mile from the mountains and a quarter of a mile apart ran nearly parallel for about a mile, where they join, running out to the plain again at zero. The dam is a quarter of a mile below the junction of the gulches, and the reservoir when filled with water, as it is hoped by the winter rains, will be backed up as far as this junction. The reservoir will be fenced off and water led into troughs below the dam through a two-inch pipe, so that the stock can have clean and clear water. The survey plans and detail of work were furnished by Mr. G. C. Allardt, civil engineer, who returned on Monday afternoon from inspecting the progress of the work. A gang of twenty Chinese are doing the labor, and are encamped near the works, at a spring of water. After the heavy rains of the beginning of the year, the water seeping out from the clay beds in both gulches continues to flow quite a stream until the middle of June. This supply, together with what storm water may fall on the plains, and flow into the gulches, will be utilized to fill the reservoir, a waste way being provided for the overflow. Mr. Allardt estimates the reservoir when full to hold 1,500,000 gallons of water, which once full will no doubt be sufficient to stand an eighteen months drought, allowing for evaporation and stock purposes.1

1“Honouliuli Ranch Water Development,” Hawaiian Gazette, November 18, 1890, p. 11.


There are thousands of references contributing to the history of Honouliuli Ahupuaa. From those references are found classes of information covering such topics as

•  Residency: land ownership and access;
•  Paakai: salt making;
•  Kai lawaia: fisheries and access;
•  Ranches and the land development programs in Honouliuli;
•  Water development, railroads, and the Ewa Plantation; and
•  Military condemnation of Honouliuli lands and offshore waters.

The selected narratives categorized as Land Use: Development Period provide eyewitness accounts to historic events. While there are few identifiable references for the immediate area of the Hoakalei program, the narratives give us an historical context for understanding changes on the land since western Contact.