Robert Hoapili Baker

Robert Hoapili Kekaipukaʻala Baker (c.1845/1847 – April 4, 1900) was an Hawaiian ali'i (noble), military officer, courtesan and politician who served many political posts in the Kingdom of Hawaii, including Governor of Maui, Privy Councillor and Aide-de-camp to King Kalākaua.

Robert Hoapili Baker
Governor of Maui
In office
October 4, 1886  August 23, 1888
Preceded byJohn Owen Dominis
Succeeded byThomas Wright Everett
Member of the Kingdom of Hawaii
House of Representatives
for the district of Kona, Oahu
In office
April 30, 1880  August 13, 1880
Personal details
Bornc.1845/1847
Waikapu, Maui, Kingdom of Hawaii
DiedApril 4, 1900
Honolulu, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii
Resting placeKawaiahaʻo Church
NationalityKingdom of Hawaii
Republic of Hawaii
Political partyHawaiian National
Spouse(s)Emma Kamakanoanoa Merseberg
Children4
Alma materʻIolani School

Birth and lineage

Robert Hoapili Baker was born sometime between 1845 and 1847, in Waikapu, on the island of Maui[1] to Malie Napuʻupahoehoe, his mother. According to the Ka Makaainana newspaper in 1896, Hoapili's lineage goes back to the historic ruler of Hawaii Island named Liloa through the House of Moana and a figure named Napuupahoehoe (K). The genealogy shows him as a descendant of ʻIlikiāmoana, the mother of Moana Wahine however, the paper notes that Hoapili's genealogy used the name Hikiamoana and was corrected using the genealogy of Edward K. Lilikalani. The article states that Napuuahoehoe (K) was the father of Malie (w) who married Ikekeleiaiku and had Robert Hoapili Baker[2][3] however, according to Maui News and The Hawaiian Star dated April 5, 1900, Hoapili's father was Kekeleeiku (k) of Maui.[4][5] In his book; Return to Kahiki: Native Hawaiians in Oceania by Kealani Cook, the author states that aliʻi wahine, Malie Napuʻupahoehoe had Robert Hoapili Baker with Captain Adam Baker, making him the half brother of John Timoteo Baker.[6]

Mary Kawena Pukui, created an index of Hawaiian Language Newspaper articles at the Bishop Museum that she felt would be useful to researchers[7] where she indexed Robert Hoapili Baker's genealogy as being in dispute.[8] In 1901 the Pacific Commercial Advertiser published; "Proofs of Royal Lineage of Mrs. Widemann Suppressed During the Lifetime of Judge Widemann" where the genealogy of Mrs. Kaumana Pilahiuilani Widemann is shown in great detail.[9] In response to the claims by Mrs. Widemann, a letter to the paper from Kaikeoewa Palekaluhi Kamehamehanuiailuau was published accusing Mrs. Widemann of fabricating her lineage. In particular Kamehamehanuiailuau questioned the genealogy given for Kamakahelei, the Queen of Kauai.[10] Mrs. Widemann's genealogy for Kamakahelei (w) shows her to have married Kaneoneo (k) and having Lelemaholani (w).[10] Kamehamehanuiailuau believed the queen had two sons, Kaumualii and another named Ikekeleeiku (k) and only one sister he named as Namakaokahai. He contends that Robert Hoapili Baker is the grandson of Kamakahelei.[10]

Early life, political and military career

Under the auspice of Anglican priest Archdeacon George Mason, Hoapili was educated at the Anglican boarding schools: the Luaehu School in Lahaina, Maui and the St. Alban's College in Honolulu. He was educated alongside Samuel Nowlein and Curtis P. Iaukea.[11]

At a young age, Hoapili showed a strong interest in military affair. He began his service to the Hawaiian monarchy as a royal guard officer and became a lieutenant on the Household Guard of King Kalākaua.[1][12] He was elected to the House of Representative, the lower house of the legislature of the kingdom, for the Kona district of Oahu (around Honolulu). He sat in on the legislative assembly of 1880.[13] During this session, he proposed the creation of a governmentally funded study abroad program which funded the international study of a number of Hawaiian youths from 1880 to 1892 in Italy, Scotland, England, the United States, China and Japan.[14] On August 12, 1884, Kalākaua appointed him as a member of the Privy Council of State.[1][15][16]

From October 4, 1886 to August 23, 1888, Hoapili was appointed to succeed John Owen Dominis as Governor of Maui, and the adjacent islands of Molokai and Lanai. He did not hold the post for long. The royal island governorships were abolished by the legislature after the Bayonet Constitution. The king had vetoed the bill, but the new constitutional changes, which limited the king's executive power, allowed the legislature to override his opposition.[15][17] Hoapili continued serving the king on his Privy Council. On May 15, 1889, he became aide de camp and a member of King Kalākaua's military staff with the military rank of Colonel.[1][18] He continued as a privy councilor and advisor of the king.

Regarded as a close friend and confidante, Hoapili accompanied the king on his final visit to the United States aboard the USS Charleston, in November 1890. Colonel George W. Macfarlane, the King's Chamberlain, was also part of the suite. While visiting Southern California, the king drank excessively and fell ill in January 1891 and had to be returned to San Francisco. The tearful Hoapili and Macfarlane were at his deathbed at San Francisco's Palace Hotel; he sat at the head of the bed clasping the king's left hand. Shortly before he breathed his last, Kalākaua's voice was recorded on a phonograph cylinder. Kalākaua died on January 20, 1891. The recording was given to Hoapili to take back to Honolulu and he reportedly "guarded it as sacredly as his own life". And it is now in the Bernice P. Bishop Museum.[19] Among the chief mourners at King Kalākaua's funeral, Colonel Robert Hoapili Baker stood at the head of the casket and was tasked with carrying the crown, sceptre and sword of the late King during the final procession.

Returning to Honolulu, his military and political commissions were renewed on March 7, 1891, and he remained on the military staff and Privy Council of State of Queen Liliuokalani until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. After the overthrow and the establishment of the Republic of Hawaii, Hoapili took the oath to the new regime. During this period, he served as member of the Board of Registration of Electors for Oahu. Otherwise, he remained outside the political arena and retired to a private life.[1][16]

Hoapili died on April 4, 1900, at his residence in Pawaʻa, Honolulu. He had been ill for a long time before. The cause of the death was heart disease. The Hawaiian community remember favorably his friendship with Kalākaua and lifelong public service to Hawaii and his death was mourned by his family and friends. Local newspapers reported that his death "removes a man of distinguished ancestry and considerable public service". His remains lay in state at the Mililani Hall, his casket draped with the ʻAhu ʻula of his grandmother Kamakahelei,[20] and after a royal funeral befitting his rank, conducted under the rites of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he was buried at the cemetery of the Kawaiahaʻo Church.[1][21]

Personal life

Hoapili was originally a member of the Anglican Church of Hawaii but in his later life he converted and joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.[1] In the 1870s, Hoapili married Emma Kamakanoanoa Merseberg (1856–1913). Their children were Robert Hoapili Kahakumakalima Baker Jr. (1874–1935), who served as Bandmaster for the Royal Hawaiian Band,[22] Elizabeth Kahalelaukoa Baker (1877–1960), later Mrs. Charles W. Booth; Vito (Veto) Baker and Emma Baker, Mrs. James B. Nott. His widow Emma Baker was named sole devisee and executrix of his estate which largely consisted of landholdings in town lots and sugarcane fields around Lahaina on the island of Maui.[1][23]

Notes

    References

    1. "A Faithful Servant". The Independent. Honolulu. April 5, 1900. p. 4.; "Death Of R. H. Baker – Was an Heir of Island Sovereigns – Once Maui's Governor – His Body Will Lie in State and the Funeral Will be a Royal Function". The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu. April 6, 1900. p. 7.; "Death Of R. H. Baker – Was an Heir of Island Sovereigns – Once Maui's Governor – His Body Will Lie in State and the Funeral Will be a Royal Function". The Hawaiian Gazette. Honolulu. April 6, 1900. p. 1.; "Robert Hoapili Baker, aged about 55 years..." The Evening Bulletin. Honolulu. April 7, 1900. p. 9.; "The late R. H. Baker..." The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu. April 6, 1900. p. 4.; "The death of Hoapili Baker removed..." The Hawaiian Star. Honolulu. April 5, 1900. p. 4.; "Hoapili Baker Is Dead – He Succumbed Yesterday To Heart Disease – Was of the Royal Family of Liloa and Served as the Model for the Kamehameha Statue". The Hawaiian Star. Honolulu. April 5, 1900. p. 1.; "Robert Hoapili Baker". The Maui News. Wailuku. April 14, 1900. p. 2.; "Descendant Of King Liloa Passes Away – Death of Robert Hoapili Baker, a Warm Friend of the Late Kalakaua". The San Francisco Call. 87 (149). San Francisco. April 18, 1900. p. 9.
    2. "Ka Makaainana 3 August 1896 — Papakilo Database". Retrieved February 27, 2019.
    3. Edith Kawelohea McKinzie (1983). Hawaiian Genealogies: Extracted from Hawaiian Language Newspapers. University of Hawaii Press. p. 48–. ISBN 978-0-939154-28-9.
    4. "The Hawaiian star. (Honolulu [Oahu]) 1893-1912, April 05, 1900, Image 1 « Chronicling America « Library of Congress". Retrieved February 27, 2019.
    5. "chroniclingamerica.loc.gov" (PDF). Retrieved February 27, 2019.
    6. Kealani Cook (January 25, 2018). Return to Kahiki: Native Hawaiians in Oceania. Cambridge University Press. p. 163. ISBN 978-1-108-16914-1.
    7. "Bishop Museum Hawaiian Language Newspaper Index - Kuokoa Listing". Retrieved March 2, 2019.
    8. "Bishop Museum Hawaiian Language Newspaper Index - KuKoa Listing". Retrieved March 2, 2019.
    9. "The Pacific commercial advertiser. (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands) 1885-1921, December 05, 1901, Page 11, Image 11 « Chronicling America « Library of Congress". Retrieved March 1, 2019.
    10. "The Pacific commercial advertiser., December 11, 1901 - Chronicling America". Retrieved February 28, 2019.
    11. "Local And General News". The Independent. Honolulu. April 6, 1900. p. 3.
    12. Kuykendall 1967, p. 205
    13. Kuykendall 1967, pp. 205–211; Hawaii & Lydecker 1918, p. 143; "The Election". The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu. February 14, 1880. p. 2.
    14. Quigg 1988, pp. 170–171
    15. Karpiel 1999, p. 209
    16. "Baker, Robert Hoapili office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
    17. Newbury 2001, pp. 16, 29–30; An Act To Abolish The Office Of Governor. Laws of His Majesty Kalakaua, King of the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu: Gazette Publishing Company. August 23, 1888. p. 101.
    18. Thrum, Thomas G., ed. (1889). "Hawaiian Register and Directory for 1889". Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1889. Honolulu: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 117. hdl:10524/655.; Thrum, Thomas G., ed. (1890). "Hawaiian Register and Directory for 1890". Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1890. Honolulu: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 117. hdl:10524/31851.; Thrum, Thomas G., ed. (1891). "Hawaiian Register and Directory for 1891". Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1891. Honolulu: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 161. hdl:10524/661.; Thrum, Thomas G., ed. (1892). "Hawaiian Register and Directory for 1892". Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1892. Honolulu: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 144. hdl:10524/662.; Thrum, Thomas G., ed. (1893). "Hawaiian Register and Directory for 1893". Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1893. Honolulu: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 139. hdl:10524/663.
    19. "KALAKAUA DEAD – Last Hours of the Hawaiian Monarch – Solemn Scenes at the Royal Bedside – The Succession and the Political Situation – Sketches of the Dead Sovereign and of the Heirs to the Throne". Ka Nupepa Elele. XII (25). Honolulu. January 31, 1891. p. 2.; "Kalakaua's Last Words Preserved by Phonograph". The Hawaiian Gazette. XXVI (6). Honolulu. February 10, 1891. p. 3.; "Kalakaua's Last Words Preserved by Phonograph". The Hawaiian Gazette. XXVI (6). Honolulu. February 10, 1891. p. 3.; "Bishop Museum Tries To Revive Past King's Voice". Kitv.com. November 24, 2009. Archived from the original on March 8, 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
    20. "Aole Oia ka Pololei". Aloha Aina. Honolulu. March 15, 1902. p. 5.
    21. "Hoapili's Funeral". The Independent. Honolulu. April 7, 1900. p. 2.; "His Body In The Grave – The Funeral of Robert Hoapili Baker – Burial At Kawaiahao – Solemn and Most Impressive Ceremonies Held at Mililani Hall Yesterday Afternoon". The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu. April 9, 1900. p. 13.; "Laid at Rest". The Independent. Honolulu. April 9, 1900. p. 3.; "Colonel Baker's Funeral – Was With Royal Honors and Was Largely Attended". The Hawaiian Star. Honolulu. April 9, 1900. p. 7.; "Ceremonies At The Funeral Of Robert Hoapili Baker". The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu. April 10, 1900. p. 9.; "Summary of the Week". The Evening Bulletin. Honolulu. April 14, 1900. p. 9.; "Card of Thanks". The Independent. Honolulu. April 10, 1900. p. 2.; "Card of Thanks". The Hawaiian Star. Honolulu. April 10, 1900. p. 1.; "Card of Thanks". The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu. April 11, 1900. p. 12.
    22. "Baker, Robert H. office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
    23. "Mrs. Merseberg Dead". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Honolulu. July 8, 1913. p. 7.; "News In A Nutshell". The Hawaiian Star. Honolulu. April 14, 1900. p. 8.; "Court Notes". The Independent. Honolulu. April 14, 1900. p. 2.; "All To Widow". The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu. April 17, 1900. p. 9.

    Bibliography

    Government offices
    Preceded by
    John Owen Dominis
    Governor of Maui
    1886–1888
    Vacant
    Title next held by
    Thomas Wright Everett
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