Thomas Cleghorn and Janet Nisbet of Scotland had five boys: Thomas Davis, William Edinburgh, Alexander Nisbet, John Inglis and Archibald Scott. In 1840, they immigrated to New Zealand, and then moved to the Islands.
After arriving to Honolulu in 1851, Thomas Sr set up a dry goods store in Chinatown, but within the year, at the age of 54, he suffered a fatal heart attack while on his way home from church.
Archibald took over his father’s business and turned it into one of the most successful mercantile chains in the islands. (Fahrni)
He first married Elizabeth Pauahi Lapeka and they had three daughters: Rose Kaipuala Cleghorn (married James William Robertson,) Helen Manuʻailehua Cleghorn (married James Boyd) and Annie Pauahi Cleghorn (married James Hay Wodehouse.) (Geer, Fahrni)
On September 22, 1870, Archibald married Princess Likelike. She was the sister of a King and Queen – and the daughter of High Chief Kapaʻakea and Chiefess Analeʻa Keohokālole – her sister became Queen Liliʻuokalani and her brothers were King Kalākaua and William Pitt Leleiōhoku.
The wedding was held at Washington Place, the residence of Governor Dominis and Princess Liliʻuokalani. The Cleghorns had one child Kaʻiulani (born on October 16, 1875) – “the only member of the Royal Family having issue.” (Daily Herald, February 3, 1887)
ʻĀinahau, their Waikiki home was said to have been the most beautiful private estate in the Hawaiian Islands. A driveway between rows of stately palms led to the gracious pillared mansion set in a grove of 500 coco palms. Artificial lakes dotted with pink water lilies, and statues found here and there, added to the charming grounds.
Continuing his father’s love of horticulture, Archie also became known as Hawaiʻi’s Father of Parks and served as Oʻahu Parks Commissioner; he was landscaper for ʻIolani Palace.
Archibald is also responsible for the spectacular gardens of the ‘ʻĀinahau estate, where he planted several varieties of plants, shrubs and trees, including Hawaiʻi’s first banyan, which became known as ‘The Kaʻiulani Banyan’. (Fahrni)
In addition he was the lead landscaper for Kapiʻolani Park. Kapiʻolani Park was dedicated on June 11, 1877 and named by King Kalākaua to honor his wife, Queen Kapiʻolani. It was the first public park in the Hawaiian Islands.
Characterized from the beginning as “swamp land in a desert,” Kapiʻolani Park became a park specifically because it wasn’t considered suitable for anything else, and because of its peculiar climate – it’s one of the few places on Oahu where rain almost never falls.
Archibald and Likelike deeded land at Kaʻawaloa to Major James Hay Wodehouse, Her Britannic Majesty’s Commissioner and Consul General for the said Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands, for a monument in memory of Captain Cook. (Thrum)
Cleghorn served in the House of Nobles from 1873 to 1888, and the Privy Council from 1873 to 1891. He succeeded Prince Consort John Owen Dominis upon his death in November 1891, until February 28, 1893 as Royal Governor of Oahu.
He also served as the first President of The Queen’s Hospital, a member of the Privy Council, the Board of Health, the Board of Prison Inspectors, the Board of Immigration and the president of the Pacific Club (his downtown Honolulu home eventually became the home of the Pacific Club – Kaʻiulani was born there.)
Cleghorn (November 15, 1835 – November 1, 1910) died of a heart attack at ʻĀinahau. He was buried in the Kalākaua Crypt at Mauna Ala, the Royal Mausoleum.