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Albert Spencer Wilcox

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Title: Albert Spencer Wilcox  
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Subject: Abner Wilcox, George Norton Wilcox, Albert Spencer Wilcox Beach House, Albert Spencer Wilcox Building, David Belden Lyman
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Albert Spencer Wilcox

Albert Spencer Wilcox
Born (1839-08-15)August 15, 1839
Hilo, Hawaii
Died July 7, 1919(1919-07-07) (aged 79)
Puhi, Hawaii
Nationality Kingdom of Hawaii, United States
Occupation Planter, Businessman, Politician
Parents Abner Wilcox
Lucy Eliza Hart

Albert Spencer Wilcox (1844–1919) was a businessman and politician in the Kingdom of Hawaii and Republic of Hawaii. He developed several sugar plantations in Hawaii, and became a large landholder.

Early life

Albert Spencer Wilcox was born in Hilo, Hawaii on May 24, 1844. His father was Abner Wilcox (1808–1869) and mother was Lucy Eliza Hart (1814–1869). His parents were in the eighth company of missionaries to Hawaii for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. His parents taught at the Hilo Mission boarding school founded by David Belden Lyman and his wife.[1] He had three older brothers born while at Hilo. In 1846 the family moved to teach at a similar school at the Waiʻoli Mission near Hanalei, Hawaii on the northern coast of the island of Kauaʻi. There he had four more brothers, although one died young.[2]

In 1851 he sailed to Princeville plantation owned by Robert Crichton Wyllie in the 1860s while living at Waiʻoli.


Wilcox started a small plantation in Waipā Valley but it failed by 1876.[3][5] Paul Isenberg installed a sugar mill at Hanamāʻulu in 1877 and hired Wilcox to be its manager. He continued to run the plantation for over two decades. With a reliable source of irrigation, and the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 removing sugar tariffs to the US, he became wealthy.[6]

He invested in a mill in the remote western area of Kekaha, to process the sugar grown by Valdemar Knudsen in the 1880s.[7] On February 7, 1883 he incorporated the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company and served as a director.[8]:102 By 1895 he was able to buy Princeville and turn it into a ranch.[9] He also invested in real estate in Honolulu.[5]


Wilcox was elected as a representative from Kauaʻi to the Kalākaua.[11] On January 14, 1893 he was appointed to the Committee of Safety but resigned at the first meeting to return and take care of business on Kauaʻi.[12] Some of his neighbors from Kauaʻi such as William Owen Smith and Sanford B. Dole played major roles in the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.[8]:587

Later life and legacy

Wilcox married Mary Luahiwa, but they divorced.[13] On June 7, 1898 he married Emma Kauikeolani Napoleon Mahelona (1862–1931), and retired to an estate called Kilohana in Puhi, Hawaii at . His stepdaughter Ethel Kulamanu Mahelona married his nephew Gaylord Parke Wilcox (1881–1970) and inherited Kilohana.[14] It is the site of one of the heritage railways in Kauai.[15]

He built a beach house in Hanalei at directly on the shore of Hanalei Bay near the Hanalei Pier. It was built as a complex of main house, three garages, a boathouse, and separate cottages for gardener, caretaker, and other servants. It later was consolidated into a sprawling single story building with six bedrooms and six bathrooms, with a few remaining cottages. The beach house was added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Hawaii on July 30, 1993 as Albert Spencer Wilcox Beach House.[16] The Hanalei Land Company, which Wilcox formed in 1903, restored the house and rents it to visitors as accommodations or events such as weddings. It has been kept in the Wilcox family for six generations.[17]

The Albert Spencer Wilcox Building in Lihue, Hawaii, is also listed on the National Register.

In 1908 he and his wife sponsored the Kauikeolani Children's Hospital in Honolulu. It became part of the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children in 1978.[18] In 1917 he donated funds for a hospital named for his stepson Samuel Mahelona, who had died from tuberculosis on October 20, 1912. It is the oldest hospital on Kauaʻi.[19] Allen Clessen Mahelona was another stepson. Wilcox died July 7, 1919.[5]

In 1922 his widow donated funds for the Albert Spencer Wilcox Building designed by Hart Wood to be the first public library on Kauaʻi. It now houses the Kauaʻi Museum.[20]

Family tree

Abner Wilcox
Lucy Eliza Hart
David Belden Lyman
Sarah Joiner
William Harrison Rice
George Norton Wilcox
Albert Spencer Wilcox
Frederick S. Lyman
Rufus Anderson Lyman
William Hyde Rice
Samuel Whitney Wilcox
Emma Lyman
Gaylord Parke Wilcox
Ralph Lyman Wilcox
Anna Charlotte Rice
(born 1882)


  1. ^ Hawaiian Mission Children's Society (1901). Portraits of American Protestant missionaries to Hawaii. Honolulu: Hawaiian gazette company. p. 70. 
  2. ^ Gary T. Cummins (March 24, 1973). "Waioli Mission nomination form". National Register of Historic Places. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Hank Soboleski (January 16, 2009). "Albert Spencer Wilcox". The Garden Island. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  4. ^  
  5. ^ a b c George F. Nellist, ed. (1925). "Albert Spencer Wilcox". The Story of Hawaii and Its Builders.  
  6. ^ Marylou Bradley (2009). "Finding Aid for Lihue Plantation Collection". Kaua’i Historical Society. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Kekaha Sugar Company History (Kauai)". Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association Plantation Archives.  
  8. ^ a b  
  9. ^ "Princeville at Hanalei: a Rich History". official web site. Archived from the original on 29 September 2010. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Wilcox, Albert Spencer office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  11. ^ David W. Forbes (2003). Hawaiian national bibliography, 1780-1900. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 232–233.  
  12. ^  
  13. ^ Hawaiʻi State Archives (2006). "Divorces - Fifth Circuit: page 5 (Napio - Yorimoto)". Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Kilohana Plantation". official web site. Archived from the original on 30 August 2010. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Kaui Plantation Railway". official web site. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  16. ^ Patricia Sheehan (May 27, 1991). "Albert Spencer Wilcox Beach House nomination form". National Register of Historic Places. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  17. ^ "History of Kauikeolani". Hanalei Land Company. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  18. ^ "A Century of Care for Hawaii's Women and Children". Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children web site. Hawaii Pacific Health. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital". official web site. Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. 2006. Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  20. ^ Nathan Napoka (April 1979). i Museum nomination form"ʻ"Kaua. National Register of Historic Places. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
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