Reportedly, the first Portuguese in Hawai’i were sailors that came on the Eleanora in 1790. It is believed the first Portuguese nationals to live in the Hawaiian kingdom sailed through on whalers, as early as 1794, and jumped ship. John Ignacio Silva was born at Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal on October 15, 1868, son of Jose Ignacio and Angelica de Jesus (Gomes) Silva.
He reportedly came to the Islands in the early-1880s and was clerk in Kohala, Wailuku, and Honolulu. He moved to Kauai and bought out Jose De Frias in 1896 and had stores in ʻEleʻele, Hanapepe, Kōloa and Kalihiwai. For a short while he was in politics. His operation was a success … until, in 1922, he assigned all of his property to the benefit of his creditors.