A notorious German, Georg Anton Schäffer, representing the Russian-American Company of Alaska, arrived in Hawaiʻi in 1815 to recover the cargo of a Russian trading ship wrecked at Waimea, Kauaʻi.
Landing on O‘ahu, Kamehameha I granted the Russian representatives permission to build a storehouse near Honolulu Harbor. But, instead (as directed by the Schäffer,) they began building a fort and raised the Russian flag.
When Kamehameha discovered the Russians were building a fort (rather than storehouses) and had raised the Russian flag, he sent several chiefs, along with John Young (his advisor,) to remove the Russians from Oʻahu by force, if necessary. The Russians (and Schäffer) sailed for Kauai and eventually built the Russian Fort Elizabeth.
In 1817, Schäffer made a claim of the whole island of Kauai in the name of the Emperor of Russia. He was ordered to leave the Island. He sailed to Honolulu in a leaking boat.
There, American Captain Isaiah Lewis, grateful for prior medical assistance from Schaffer the previous year (reportedly pulling his abscessed tooth,) gave Schaffer passage on the Panther to Canton (leaving on July 17, 1817,) then to St Petersburg. (Pierce)
Following this, Captain Lewis, a co-partner of the ship Arab with Bordman & Pope of Boston and William Dodge of Ipswich, Massachusetts, made a two-year voyage to acquire sandalwood in the Islands to sell in Canton, China.
Lewis married Sarah Pauline ‘Polly’ Holmes. One of their children was named John George Washington Lewis.
Polly’s parents were Oliver Holmes and Mahi, daughter of a high chief of Koʻolau. Holmes made his living managing his land holdings on Oʻahu and Molokai, providing provisions to visiting ships.
To supplement that, in 1809, he got involved with a distillery in Kewalo – this was the infancy of the short-lived rum distillation from the local sugar cane.
(Oliver Holmes was assistant to the Governor of Oʻahu and was appointed to arrange settlements of disputes (hoʻonoho e hoʻoponopono i na mea hihia.)) (LCA 8504 Testimony))
After Isaac Davis’ death (1810,) Holmes impressed visitors as the most important man on Oʻahu, next to the King. Holmes was addressed as Aliʻi Homo (Chief Holmes.) (Daws)
John Lewis married Amelia Kalena on December 31, 1865; they had a daughter, Harriet (Hattie) Kawaikapulani Likelike Lewis (born June 17, 1874, at Kōloa, Kauai.)
That leads to another of German descent, Beringer.
“The firm or house of Beringer Bros consists of Messrs Frederick and Jacob L Beringer. Of these Frederick Beringer, the elder of the two, is the manager and business man.” (It started in 1875.)
“It is his ample means that has enabled the firm to accomplish what it has in the way of erecting a splendid cellar, and in carrying out the many improvements which enable the house to produce its fine quality of wine.”
“It is to the personal experience in wine-making, etc, however, of Mr Jacob L Beringer, the younger member of the firm, that the practical details of the whole matter have been carried out.”
“The brothers were born in Mainz, Germany, the former in January, 1840, and the latter in May, 1845. Mr Frederick Beringer was sent to Paris when young to be educated, studying at the great St. Louis College.”
“After graduation he went into business in that city, remaining in all ten years in Paris. He then traveled extensively through Mexico and the United States, finally going to New York in 1862.” (Lewis Publishing Co, 1891)
There Frederick and Bertha Beringer had a son (May 28, 1870,) Fred L Beringer Jr. In 1884, they moved to California to join Jacob Beringer and built the Rhine House in St Helena, Napa Valley (now the centerpiece of the expansive Beringer Brothers winery.)
“Quality, not quantity,” is the motto of the Beringer Bros., and they are living up to it as shown by the fact that they received a silver medal at the Paris Exposition of 1889 for their wines, a gold medal at the State Fair at Sacramento, and also a medal at the Mechanics’ Fair in San Francisco, in fact wherever they have exhibited they have carried the honors. (Lewis Publishing Co, 1891)
Then, on June 1, 1905, Hattie Lewis married Fred L Beringer, in Honolulu. Basic reports in the local paper note Fred served in the Treasury Department of US Customs.
This story of the Beringers and the link between Napa and Hawaiʻi is still growing, as we learn more about the respective people and related events.
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