Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WRA's interesting links with schools and sugar in Hawaii

It was nice hearing from Candace Lee in the Archives at the Kamehameha School in Honolulu who asked us to participate in an archives survey. In addition, I sent her a message noting that WRA had sent one of our faculty members to Hawaii in 1930 who later became Principal of the Kamehameha Schools. Dr. Homer F. Barnes, who had come to WRA in 1926 to become head of our English Department, served in Hawaii as Head of the Boys School for four years, then as Principal of the entire school from 1934 to 1944. Our records show that he kept in touch with friends here in Hudson, returned for visits in 1935 and 1937, and was even here at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor when he left his wife and daughters in Hudson in order to return home to deal with the war crisis. Archivist Lee asked if I knew of any other links between WRA and Hawaii.

One of our graduates from the class of 1888, George H. Fairchild, gave up the idea of going to college and instead went to the Hawaiian Islands later that year and took a position with the Makee Sugar Company. He had become President and General Manager of the company by 1895 and continued in that role until 1912. Meantime, he married Elisabeth Cummins Kamakee, whose grandfather had been one of the founders of the sugar industry in Hawaii, and they became the parents of three children. Fairchild was elected to the Hawaii Territorial Senate in 1898 and served until 1902. When the Territorial government removed the duty from sugar in 1912, Fairchild decided to go to the Philippine Islands where he felt the future of the sugar industry would be greater. He founded Welch-Fairchild, Ltd. in Manila, the Mindoro Sugar Company, and the San Carlos Milling Company. In 1920, with the help of Manuel Quezon who was later President of the Philippines, Fairchild bought the Manila Times and became its publisher. By the early 1930's he was recognized as one of the most influential American businessmen in the Philippines. Fairchild served as a delegate to the Pan-Pacific Union held in Hawaii in 1925. He was still receiving copies of the Reserve Record just prior to the outbreak of World War II.

Back in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 at the time of the attack by the Empire of Japan, one of the forts at Pearl Harbor was Fort Weaver, named in honor of Major Gen. Erasmus M. Weaver, who had served as Chief of the Coast Artillery for several years. After graduation from West Point, Lt. Weaver spent three years in Hudson as an instructor in Military Science and drill master on our campus from 1877 to 1880. General Weaver spent many years as a resident of Honolulu, and his house was on Weaver Lane, just across the way from the Hawaiian State Capitol. He died in 1920 at the age of 66. There are currently 7 or 8 WRA graduates living in Hawaii.