In 1843, Samuel Thomas Alexander and Henry Perrine Baldwin, sons of early missionaries to Hawaiʻi, met in Lāhainā, Maui. They grew up together, became close friends and went on to develop a sugar-growing partnership.
Alexander was the idea man, more outgoing and adventurous of the two. He had a gift for raising money to support his business projects. Baldwin was more reserved and considered the “doer” of the partners; he completed the projects conceived by Alexander.
After studying on the Mainland, Alexander returned to Maui and began teaching at Lahainaluna, where he and his students successfully grew sugar cane and bananas.
Word of the venture spread to the owner of Waiheʻe sugar plantation near Wailuku, and Alexander was offered the manager’s position. Alexander hired Baldwin as his assistant, who at the time was helping his brother raise sugar cane in Lāhainā. This was the beginning of a lifelong working partnership.
In 1869, the young men – Alexander was 33, Baldwin, 27 – purchased 12-acres of land in Makawao and the following year an additional 559-acres. That same year, the partners planted sugar cane on their land marking the birth of what would become Alexander & Baldwin (A&B.)
In 1883, Alexander and Baldwin formalized their partnership by incorporating their sugar business as the Paia Plantation also known at various times as Samuel T Alexander & Co, Haleakala Sugar Co and Alexander & Baldwin Plantation.
By spring of 1900, A&B had outgrown its partnership organization and plans were made to incorporate the company, allowing the company to increase capitalization and facilitate expansion.
A&B was one of Hawaiʻi’s five major companies (that emerged to providing operations, marketing, supplies and other services for the plantations and eventually came to own and manage most of them.) They became known as the Big Five.
Hawaiʻi’s Big Five were: C Brewer (1826;) A Theo H Davies (1845;) Amfac – starting as Hackfeld & Company (1849;) Castle & Cooke (1851) and Alexander & Baldwin (1870.)
“It came as no surprise to Samuel’s family and friends when he announced plans to embark on an African safari in the summer of 1904. Neither did the inclusion of Annie (his daughter).”
“The part of British East Africa that Samuel had selected for their safari was considered at the time to be the greatest hunting ground on the entire African continent, if not in the world.”
“He envisioned an expedition that would traverse a distance of almost 800 miles, beginning several hundred miles northwest of Mombasa near Nakuru and continuing west to the terminal point of the Uganda railroad at Port Florence, approximately 580 miles inland.”
“Henry Stanley and David Livingstone had explored much of this region during the last half of the nineteenth century and their reports had piqued the interest and excitement of adventurers and armchair travelers alike.” (Stein)
“The trip commenced in early April 1904 when father and daughter, aged 67 and 36, traveled by boat from New York to Europe. From there they boarded a German steamer, the Kanzler, from a Dutch port and landed in Mombasa, British East Africa (present day Kenya) more than a month later.” (Childers)
“Samuel’s original itinerary did not call for their journey to end in British East Africa but rather to travel south from Mombasa by steamer and to visit Victoria Falls.”
“Although he and Annie now held less enthusiasm for this significant addition to their journey, at her behest he agreed to go, fearing that if they did not they might always regret it.”
“The two secured passage on the German steamer the Konig, sailing to Beira. From there they traveled by rail to Bulawayo and then to Matapao, a small town on the Zambesi River where they visited the grave of Cecil Rhodes.”
“Rhodes had died two years earlier, a mere three years before the completion of the famed Zambesi Railway Bridge. Through his foresight and backing, the bridge would span the canyon below Victoria Falls, promoting commerce and uniting the areas that became Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe).” (Stein)
“On the morning of September 9 they crossed to the northern shore of the Zambesi River by cable in order to view the great chasm into which the water was falling. Work on the famous 900-foot bridge across the river had barely begun. “
“Finding a trail leading into the Palm Grove Ravine, the two descended to view the falls at their exit point, the narrow chasm from which the water emerges after falling over the precipice.”
“Just as the pair reached the point that afforded them their best view into the chasm, they became aware of small rocks falling from the heights directly above them.”
“They turned and ran, Annie reaching safety first and setting up her camera. While Samuel stood just a few feet from her, a large boulder fell, striking a rock, veering and hitting Samuel on his left foot, disabling him.” (Stein)
“He was transported, in agony and with much loss of blood, to a doctor’s house six miles away where his leg was amputated. He died the next morning, September 10, 1904, at the age of sixty-seven, Annie having sat by his side during the operation and throughout the night. Annie buried her beloved father in a small cemetery at Livingstone, Zambia.” (Williams)