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The First Years, 1887 - 1900

The First Trustees

damonSamuel Mills Damon (1845-1924)

Samuel Mills Damon was born in Honolulu on March 13, 1845. He was the son of Reverend Samuel Chenery Damon and Julia Sherman Mills both of Massachusetts. His father served as chaplain of the Seamen's Institute (1842-1882) that became Bethel Chapel and merged with Fort Street Church to eventually become Central Union Church. He was educated at Punahou Preparatory School and Punahou Academy in Honolulu.

In September 5, 1872, he married Harriet M. Baldwin and had four children, Samuel Edward, Mary M., Henry F and Douglas W.

He became a banking partner of Charles Reed Bishop in 1881. In 1895, he buys Bishop's ownership share. Bishop and Company, the commercial bank, is First Hawaiian Bank today. He was a member of King Kalakaua's privy council in 1884. He was Minister of Finance during various dates from 1889-1900. He was a member of the advisory council of the Republic of Hawai'i. He received the order of the Golden Treasure (Japan), the Knight Order Christ (Portugal), and the Victoria Jubilee medal (England).

He was an executor and trustee of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate from 1884-1897 and 1898-1909.

From the Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, November 10, 2004:

Death of Damon heir signals the end of trust

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

Joan Damon Haig, the last living grandchild of Samuel Mills Damon, died yesterday in New Jersey, triggering a winding down of the Honolulu-based Damon Estate.

About 20 beneficiaries in the Damon line stand to receive millions of dollars each in proceeds from liquidating the trust's assets, though an appeal is pending in state Supreme Court over how to divide such proceeds.

The Damon Estate, which until recently was Hawai'i's fourth-largest private landowner, has been preparing to wind down operations in recent years. Last year, it sold its most valuable land holdings, 224 acres of commercial property on O'ahu, for $480 million, and moved the proceeds into more liquid investments in anticipation of distribution needs. Some property would likely still need to be sold under an orderly termination process.

The trust was created upon the death of Samuel Mills Damon in 1924, and was designed to end upon the death of his last grandchild. Haig was in her 80s.

Damon was the son of a missionary, and a partner in First Hawaiian Bank forerunner Bishop & Co.

The trust's property at one time included Kahuku Ranch, more than 100,000 acres of Big Island land, 7,000 acres on O'ahu and a large stake in First Hawaiian Bank.

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