I ‘ike ‘ia no o Kohala i ka pae ko
a o ka pae ko ia kole ai ka waha.
One can recognize Kohala by her rows of sugar cane
which can make the mouth raw when chewed.
The Kynnersley estate and castle in Loxley Park (near Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England) was in the possession of the Kynnersley family back to the time of Edward III (early-1300s.) In 1815, Clement Kynnersley, the last male in the line, dying, left it to his nephew Thomas Sneyd, who added the name of Kynnersley to his own, upon his accession to this estate.
Fast forward to about 1882 … brothers John (Ralph) Sneyd-Kynnersley (1860-1932) and Clement (Cecil) Gerald Sneyd-Kynnersley (1859-1909) left Uttoxeter and made their way to Kohala on the Island of Hawaiʻi.
At that time, sugar was changing the landscape. Kohala became a land in transition and eventually a major force in the sugar industry with the arrival of American missionary Elias Bond in 1841.
Bond directed his efforts to initiating sugar as a major agricultural industry in Kohala; his primary concern was to develop a means for the Hawaiian people of the district to compete successfully in the market economy that had evolved in Hawaiʻi.
What resulted was a vigorous, stable, and competitive industry which survived over a century of changing economic situations. For the Hawaiian people, however, the impact was not what Bond anticipated. (Tomonari-Tuggle; Rechtman)
Beginning in the 1850s, portions of Pūehuehu Ahupua‘a were divided and sold by the government as land grants. In 1873, the English born Robert Robson Hind moved to Kohala from Maui to invest in the booming sugar industry.
He purchased land in the flat plains of Pūehuehu west of Kohala Sugar Company, although rainfall was less than ideal, and established the Union Mill. Months prior to formal opening in 1874, a fire broke out destroying the mill.
The mill was rebuilt and Hind sold the mill; a January 31, 1887 ‘Partnership Notice’ in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser noted the co-partnership of the Sneyd-Kynnersley brothers and Robert Wallace organized as the Pūehuehu Plantation Company.
After several mergers with other growers, at its peak, the mill cultivated three thousand acres. The Union Mill was purchased by the Kohala Mill in 1937, the cane harvested from the former Union Mill planting fields was then transferred to Hala‘ula for processing.
Prior to the 1880s, the sugar companies hauled their product by ox-cart to landings at Hapu‘u, Kauhola Point, and Honoipu. With the completion of the North Kohala Railroad in 1883 – with its twenty-mile length, crossing seventeen trestles, and running from Mahukona to Niuli‘I – almost all sugar companies began shipping the processed sugar to the newly improved Māhukona Harbor facility.
Construction of the Kohala Ditch, which runs east/west, began in 1904 and was completed two years later. “(I)ts construction marked the virtual end of the frontier period; it was the last major effort by the sugar pioneers in fully developing their industry in Kohala”. (Tomonari-Tuggle; Rechtman)
Back to Sneyd-Kynnersleys … in 1887, King Kalākaua presented ceremonial lei to Daisy May Sneyd-Kynnersley on her baptism (daughter of Ralph Sneyd-Kynnersley.)
The discussion of American annexation of the Islands in 1893 got Clement Sneyd-Kynnersley riled up – to the point it was referred to as the ‘Kynnersley affair.’ (PCA, February 14, 1893)
“CS Kynnersley, of Kohala, does not like the new movement and his overwrought feelings may get him into trouble. Information came from to the effect that when the news about establishing the government reached Kohala he stamped around and commenced an agitation for an indignation mass meeting to be held.”
The Hawaiʻi Holomua came to his defense, “The ‘Advertiser’ has an editorial this morning in which it states that the supporters of the late government are certainly not to be consulted in regard to the future order of things in Hawaii nei.”
“As the supporters of the monarchy include all the Hawaiians and more than one-half of the foreigners in the country, the proposition of the ‘Advertiser’ to ignore this large majority indicates that it is the intention of the Provisional Government to hold the reins of the government at all hazard”.
“The ‘Advertiser’ seems to despise the feelings or sentiments of the taxpayers in the country districts, and sneers at Mr C Sneyd-Kynnersley’s letter in this morning’s issue.”
“When men like Kynnersley … openly denounce the annexation scheme and the action of the followers of the (Provisional Government) the ‘Advertiser’ will find it a more serious matter than can be disposed of in a dozen lines of editorial.”
Sneyd-Kynnersley “defied the deputy-sheriff to arrest him. The matter was before the Executive and Provisional Councils of the government … and it is now in the hands of Attorney-General Smith.” (Hawaiian Gazette, February 7, 1893) (“(T)he Government has very wisely decided to let the matter drop.” (PCA, February 14, 1893.)
A lasting Sneyd-Kynnersley legacy remains in North Kohala – the mauka-makai road through the Pūehuehu ahupuaʻa the brothers once raised sugar is named Kynnersley Road (it appears the name reverted to the older version.)
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David Barcl says
Well there you go Peter…I have been driving up and down Kynnersley for 37 years and did not know it was named after. History is so much fun, thanks for sharing! Dave Barclay
Bobby Command says
A drainage ditch in South Kona between Kealakekua and Keopuka in the area known as “St. John’s Road,” or “Trail Rides” also carries the name Kynnersley Ditch, although I’ve heard it also referred to as “Kingsley Ditch.”