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The First Years, 1887 - 1900

The First Trustees

hydeCharles McEwen Hyde (1832-1899)

Charles McEwen Hyde was born on June 9, 1832 to Joseph and Catherine McEwen Hyde. Joseph Hyde, an attorney, was the Assistant Treasurer and General Agent of the Bible Society. A precocious learner, Charles was considered too young to enter Williams College at the age of 14 and was sent to work with an uncle as a bank cashier in Ware, Massachusetts for practical experience. Two years later, he joined the Class of 1852 at Williams College.

In manner he was always a gentleman, careful in dress and in speech, considerate of others, unwilling to give or take offence, affable and companionable, so unhurried that he could give time and help to others; and commanded the respect and confidence of the whole college. He could enjoy boyish sports with the rest; but from these he withdrew when they became coarse or lawless. He was a model of good manners and of a clean life, and yet he was no prig, nor ever dreamed of posing as a model. Gentlemanliness and correct deportment seemed native and inherent in him and in these he excelled as in scholarship with the same unconsciousness and absence of effort. We all felt that back of all this, which was so correct and admirable, was religious principle. He had inherited virtue, had been well trained, he had made duty his guiding star. Reverent, faithful,, true and pure, he had a charmed life in the midst of the whirls and tempests and temptations of college life, merited and "obtained a good report."

Charles McEwen Hyde, A Memorial. Prepared by his son, Henry Knight Hyde, 1901, page 9 and 10.

Called by the Holy Spirit at an early age to enter the ministry, he entered Union Theological Seminary in 1853 and finished at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1859. He began pastoral work in Goshen, Connecticut. In 1862 he was ordained and installed as a pastor of the Congregational Church in Brimfield, Massachusetts. He married Mary Knight of Brimfield. In 1870, he was called to a church in Haverhill, Massachusetts, a small city. In 1872, he received his Doctor of Divinity degree.

A gifted administrator and educator, he was asked by the American Board of Missions to train Hawaiian pastors. He and his wife left for Honolulu in 1877. Learning Hawaiian quickly, he began lecturing in Hawaiian at The North Pacific Missionary Institute. He served for 24 years and saw pulpits filled with his students.

Dr. Hyde was a trustee of the Kawaiaha'o Female Seminary, Punahou School, and the Kamehameha Schools. He also ministered to the plantation workers, the Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese. With leading citizens, he was a member of the Social Science Club, and the Honolulu Library and Reading Room Association. When epidemics hit, he volunteered to help the sick.

Charles McEwen Hyde, A Memorial. Prepared by his son, Henry Knight Hyde, 1901

Dr. Hyde was never ready to shirk the obligations of citizenship. He never cared for the distinction of political office, though that easily might have been his. By temperate discussion of political questions in the public press he undoubtedly exerted a considerable influence. It has been stated that a communication of his published in one of the daily papers induced the leaders of the reform party under the Kalakaua regime to substitute for the coup d'etat which they had already agreed upon, the plan which he proposed, namely, the calling of a mass meeting to urge the adoption of constitutional measure to effect the desired change.

Through all the various vicissitudes of the later years of monarchical government, he adopted an uncompromising attitude toward any backward step and when the logic of events pointed toward annexation to the United States as the only feasible way of escape from a continuance of revolutions and counter-revolutions which had unsettled the people, he advocated that course, but in such a way as not to alienate the affections of the natives. While he still retained his citizenship in the United States, he embraced the opportunity afforded after the revolution of 1887 to vote in Hawaii without forswearing his allegiance to his native land...

Charles McEwen Hyde, A Memorial. Prepared by his son, Henry Knight Hyde, 1901, pages 66-67.

The following is a memorial tribute by Charles Reed Bishop:

"I trust that you will permit me, one of his friends, to offer a few lines in testimony of my respect for him and my high appreciation of his work and influence in the Hawaiian Islands. He was a whole -souled missionary, a faithful friend to the Hawaiian people, and during all the years of his residence in Honolulu, he took a deep and active interest in all that concerned their moral, social and physical welfare. Much of his time, thought and strength were given to general education and uplifting of the various races represented in the islands, and he was especially devoted to Oahu College, the Kamehameha Schools, and the North Pacific Institute.

It was my good fortune to be associated with him as trustee of Oahu College; of the Estate of Mrs. Bernice Pauahi Bishop; the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and other trusts, and I am indebted to him for the many wise suggestions and efficient aid. In the management of the schools and museum his experience, culture and broad intelligence were of great advantage and value. He was systematic and rapid in his work, and hence, by constant application, accomplished great results. But few had so wide an acquaintance in the islands as he had, or will be so missed now that his work is done. His name and influence are deservedly held in honor by all who know him well and will not soon be forgotten."

Charles McEwen Hyde, A Memorial. Prepared by his son, Henry Knight Hyde, 1901, page 117.

Information on this page was taken from the following book:

Charles McEwen Hyde, A Memorial. Prepared by his son, Henry Knight Hyde, 1901.

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