The Foreign Mission School was instituted in the autumn of 1816, and opened in the beginning of May, 1817 in Cornwall Connecticut. Much of the Foreign Mission School’s campus buildings were acquired through donations. The citizenry of Cornwall donated fourteen acres of land as well as the building that would become the main educational site, which had been built in 1797 as a school house. One of the main campus buildings, and certainly the most social and vibrant, was the Steward’s house. This building was constructed in 1814 and served as the steward’s family home, the school dining hall, a boarding house and a nurse room for sick students.
This weekend, June 16-18, 2017, the community of Cornwall is hosting a bicentennial commemoration of the formation of the Foreign Mission School. In part, this marks the beginning of bicentennial activities for the Hawaiian Mission, whose Pioneer Company landed at Kailua-Kona on April 4, 1820. Several young Hawaiians were instrumental in seeing the American Protestant missionaries come to Hawai‘i. ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia was considered a leader of the school’s student body and had planned to return to the Islands as a missionary; unfortunately, he died prior to the mission to Hawai‘i. Among the members in the Pioneer Company were Hopu, Honoli‘i, Kanui and Humehume, all students of the Foreign Mission School.