Reed Bishop, husband of Kamehameha Schools founder Bernice
Pauahi Bishop, was the driving force that brought his wifes
wishes to fruition and a very important and well respected
citizen of the Hawaiian Kingdom in his own right.
Born January 25, 1822 in Glens Falls, New York, Bishop grew
up on his grandfathers 120-acre farm learning to care
for sheep, cattle and horses and repairing wagons, buggies
and stage coaches. He attended seventh and eighth grades at
Glens Falls Academy, which completed his formal education,
then worked in mercantile establishments clerking; bartering,
bookkeeping, inventorying and running a lumber yard and farm.
By January of 1846, Bishop was ready to broaden his horizons.
He and a friend, William Little Lee, planned to travel to
Oregon, Lee to practice law, and Bishop to survey land. Their
journey, however, ended in Hawai`i in October 1846 where both
men decide to stay for awhile, a period for Bishop that stretched
into nearly half a century.
easily found work, first at Ladd and Company, a mercantile
and trading establishment, then at the U.S. Consulate in Honolulu.
In 1849, Bishop signed an oath to "support the Constitution
and Laws of the Hawaiian Islands" and was appointed collector
of customs for the kingdom.
In short succession he married Bernice Pauahi, was made a
lifetime member of the House of Nobles, joined the Privy Council,
became Collector General of Customs, helped organize the Royal
Hawaiian Agricultural Society, opened a bank under the name
Bishop and Company [the predecessor of First Hawaiian Bank],
and generally without realizing it, laid the foundation for
his leadership in the community. (From Charles Reed Bishop,
Man of Hawaii by Harold W. Kent)
Despite his many business ventures, Bishop managed to serve
Kings Kamehameha the IV, Kamehameha V, Lunalilo and Kalakaua
in a variety of positions such as: foreign minister (handling
treaties with Austria, Germany, Denmark, France, Russia and
the United States); president of the board of education; and
chairman of the legislative finance committee. He also sat
on the boards of many charities and donated generously to
Hawai`i schools, hospitals, churches and social welfare organizations.
met Pauahi while she was still a student at the Chiefs
Childrens School and against her parents wishes, he
courted and married her in 1850. His letters that mention
Pauahi reveal a deep respect and affection for his wife and
suggest she was a major source of his happiness throughout
their 34-year marriage. Soon after her death in 1884 he wrote:
"I know you all loved her, for nobody could know her
at all well and not love her. For myself I will only say that
I am trying to bear my loss and my loneliness as reasonably
as I can looking forward hopefully to the time when I shall
find my loved one again."
Immediately after Pauahis death, Bishop, as one of five
trustees she selected to manage her estate and co-executor
of her will, set in motion the process that resulted in the
establishment of the Kamehameha Schools in 1887. Because Pauahis
estate was basically land rich and cash poor, Bishop contributed
his own funds for the construction of several of the schools
initial buildings on the original Kalihi campus: the Preparatory
Department facilities (1888), Bishop Hall (1891) and Bernice
Pauahi Bishop Memorial Chapel (1897). In addition, he founded
and endowed the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in 1889 as an
enduring memorial to his wife.
Being interested in her plans and wishes and because
of her very generous gifts to me
I decided to carry out
her wishes regarding the schools and promised to do something
toward a museum of Hawaiian and other Polynesian objects
order to accomplish something quickly without sacrifice or
embarrassment of her estate, I soon reconveyed to her estate
the life interests given by her will and added a considerable
amount of my own property on Oahu, Hawaii and Molokai
Bishop letter to Samuel Damon, 1911)
In 1894, Bishop left Hawai`i to make a new life in San Francisco,
California. Until he died in 1915, he continued, through correspondence
with the schools trustees, to guide the fiscal and educational
policy-making of the institution in directions that reinforced
Pauahis vision of a perpetual educational institution
that would assist Native Hawaiians to become "good and
industrious men and women." (Bernice Pauahi Bishops
Will, 1883) In accordance with Bishops expressed wish,
his ashes were returned to Hawai`i and interred in the Kamehameha
Tomb at Mauna `Ala by the side of his wife.
Trustees Appointed to Care for the Princess's Trust