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Home >> Timelines >> Charles Reed Bishop >> Hawai‘i, 1846-1851

>> 1846-1851 in the Kingdom of Hawai‘i

1846 October 12. The ocean voyage from New York to the Oregon Territory takes 8 months instead of 4 months to sail around South America. The storm-battered brigantine, Henry, limps into Honolulu harbor. Bishop and Lee decide to remain rather than to continue on the same boat.

Bishop and Lee quickly become acquainted with local leaders, especially Rev. Samuel C. Damon and Gorham D. Gilman (clerk at a retail store and friend of ali‘i). With his Harvard Law School training, Lee is quickly offered work in the government. He accepts only on the condition that work is also found for Bishop. Bishop's first job is to sort out the chaotic accounts of Ladd and Company.

Bishop remains in touch with his New York relatives and continues to think about Oregon. 

1847 February 25. Pauahi and Charles probably meet at a gathering at the Cooke home. He sees Bernice Pauahi Paki infrequently at expatriate community socials. She is always in a group chaperoned by Mr. and Mrs. Cooke. [Credit: Mr. Cooke's journal available at the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society library and archives in Honolulu.]

1848 The Great Mahele introduces foreign land ownership principles. The ‘aina (land) was once wholly held for all the people as a stewardship of the King. The royal family takes ownership of large portions of the Kingdom. The government also owns a large portion. Foreigners and natives complying with foreign-inspired regulations can own some of the remaining portion.

1848 Measles and whooping cough brought by people on the American frigate, Independence, kills one-tenth of the population

around 1848-1850. Bishop is a clerk for the U. S. Consulate in Honolulu. He becomes a close friend of General James Fowle Baldwin Marshall, a Bostonian, friend of Kamehameha III, legislator, Native American school founder, Hampton Institute treasurer and future donor to Charles Reed Bishop's educational projects in Hawai‘i.

1849 January 6. Gold fever in California creates excitement in the islands. William Little Lee reads in the newspaper, Polynesian, that Charles Reed Bishop has given notice to leave the Kingdom. Lee confronts Bishop and convinces him to remain. Bishop agrees and considers local business opportunities. He and 11 other partners start a small dry goods store on the corner of Maunakea and King Streets called Coday, Calhoun, Bishop & Co.

1849 February 27. Bishop becomes a naturalized citizen of the Kingdom of Hawai'i, a requirement for government service. He commits himself to the affairs of his adopted country and considers potential business ventures. He becomes a partner in Henry A. Peirce and Company (Lihu'e Plantation) to buy, cultivate and manufacture sugar on Kaua'i. He remains invested at various times and degrees until 1887.

1849 March 1. Bishop is confirmed as a Commissioner of Customs (1849-59 with lapses) with A. B. Bates to replace G. P. Judd and William Paty. The King and his Council consent to their appointment. In addition, he is Collector General of Customs (1849-1853).

1849 March 12. William Little Lee and Catherine Cornelia Newton of Albany, New York marry in Honolulu.

1849 March - September. Bishop courts Bernice Pauahi Paki at the Cooke home. [From Mr. Cooke's journals at the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society library and archives in Honolulu.]

1849 September 6. Governor Kekūanaō‘a, Paki and Konia ask Bernice to be engaged to Lot before his trip with Dr. Judd. Lot is not present. September 7. Bernice writes to him. Lot releases her from her duty to marry him knowing that she does not love him. Paki and Konia are upset. The Ministers of State and the Chiefs are concerned, but not opposed. (From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1849 October 8. Bishop is awarded a land patent in fee simple for Ouaoa in Hāmākualoa, Maui for $1.00 an acre. His government wages, thrifty life, and shrewd investments in sugar, land and bills of exchange provide the beginning of his personal fortune.

1849 December 10. "This evening Mr. Bishop has called & Bernice has played for him & sung for him. She has baked today."(From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1850 January 28. Mr. Cooke, head of the Chiefs' Children's School, is aware of Bernice and Mr. Bishop's' mutual affection for each other and gives them his blessing with reservation remembering the ill-fated marriage of an older pupil, Jane Loeau. (From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1850 February 25. Mr. Bishop calls every evening at the Cooke home. (From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1850 March 28. Mr. Bishop applies for a marriage license. Mr. Bishop consults Bernice. She asks her father for his consent. Paki asks her to wait until his house is completed in two or three months. He is building a two story Western home to replace the huge grass hale, Aikupika, in which she was born. She agrees. (From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1850 May 11. Mr. Bishop and Bernice plan a small wedding. (From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1850 May 26. Bernice receives a letter from Mr. Bishop stating that he told Paki he wished to be married in 10 days and asked if his house would be ready. Paki replied that it would not be and told them to marry at the Cooke's if he could not wait any longer. Mr. Cooke writes that he thought the wedding date might be Tuesday, the 4th June. (From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1850 June 3 Mr. Cooke visits Paki and Konia to inform them that Bernice and Mr. Bishop would be married on Tuesday, the next evening. They are very opposed, refuse to acknowledge Pauahi's wedding plans and ask why he had helped their daughter. They discuss the subject until 10 p.m. ((From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1850 June 4. Paki and Konia send notes to Pauahi declining to come to the wedding and direct her to Mr. and Mrs. Cooke for her pono. At 8 p.m., they are married by Reverend Richard Armstrong in the parlor of Royal School. They have tea after the ceremony. The Cookes take the couple to Judge Andrews' home for their wedding night. (From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1850 June 5. Mr. Cooke writes that Bernice and Mr. Bishop dine with them and sail for Koloa, Kaua‘i where he has business interests. They honeymoon for a month (From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1850 July 24. Mr. Cooke writes that Bernice visits all day with Mrs. Cooke and Mr. Bishop joins them for tea. They live with Judge Andrew's family in Nu‘uanu. They are building a home on the waikiki-mauka corner of Hotel and Alakea Streets. They live modestly. (From Mr. Cooke's journal)

1850 July 27. Henry Bostwick Bishop, Charles' brother, arrives in Honolulu. He lives on Maui until 1857, returns to the Bay Area, marries and has 6 children. Uncle Charles and Aunt Bernice remain in close contact with the Bishop nieces and nephews.

1850 August 2. Mr. Cooke reports that instead of attending Paki's dinner, Bernice attends a party at the Palace taking her place next to Victoria Kamāmalu who stands near Queen Kalama.

1850 August 12 - 1894. Bishop is secretary and a member of the newly organized Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society, responsible for the introduction of the first 180 Chinese agricultural laborers in 1852.

1850 October. The Chamber and Commerce of Honolulu is officially chartered by King Kamehameha III. William Little Lee and William A. Aldrich, close friends of Bishop, are charter members. Bishop joins years later

1850s. Raised a Methodist, Bishop teaches Sunday School at Bethel Union Church, founded by Samuel Chenery Damon. The church merges with the Fort Street Church. When it moves to Beretania and Punahou Streets, it becomes Central Union Church. Bishop is a member.

1851 August 2. Paki and Konia are reconciled with Bernice and Charles on the advice of Victoria Kamāmalu.

Hawai‘i 1846-1851 | Hawai‘i 1853-1863 | Hawai‘i 1864-1873 | Hawai‘i 1874-1883 | Hawai‘i 1884-1894 | New York years | California years | Bishop Home


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