“There is a gentleman still living at Honolulu whose boast is that he was the father of the project to annex Hawaii to the American Union. … Dr. John S. McGrew, – and was then openly advocated by him as a preliminary to the obliteration of the native government by the annexation of the whole group to the United States.” (Lili‘uokalani) John Strayer McGrew was born at Lancaster, Ohio, on December 23, 1825. He earned his MD in 1847. During the Civil War, Dr McGrew was among the first to volunteer.
Following his wedding to Pauline Gillet, the McGrews started on a world tour which brought them to Hawaiʻi on March 6, 1867, aboard the ‘AA Eldrich.’ Enchanted with the Islands, they abandoned their tour and settled in Honolulu. His home, which was originally built by Dr. Robert Wood in 1840, stood on the former site of the Alexander Young Hotel on Bishop and Hotel streets (now Bishop Square) and was a Honolulu landmark and social center of the city. When annexation was accomplished in 1898, Dr McGrew was hailed as “The Father of Annexation”.