Kauai Civil War veteran Samuel N. Hundley

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    Samuel N. Hundley

American Civil War veteran Samuel Napoleon Hundley (1846-1932) came to Kauai in 1878 to set up Kauai’s first sugar diffusion mill for Col. Zephaniah Spalding’s Makee Sugar Co. in Kealia, whereby sugar is extracted by repeated hot water washings of sugarcane that has been cut into small pieces.

Hundley, known as a fine horseman and lover of horses, went on to become head luna at Makee Sugar Co. for many years and married Emmalia Williams Hundley (1858-1937), a Native Hawaiian from Anahola, who was educated at Kawaiahao Seminary, Honolulu, and was a friend and attendant to Queen Emma.

The Hundleys had two children, Bernice N. Hundley and Samuel K. Hundley, and made their home in Kapaa on what was once known as Mahelona Hill, now called Kapaa Heights.

Samuel Hundley’s daughter, Bernice Emilie Laniuma Hundley (1882-1965), for whom the Bernice E. L. Hundley Gym at Kauai’s Kapaa High School is named in her honor, taught at Kapaa School and was its principal.

In 1916, she became supervising school principal (district superintendent of schools) of Kauai and Niihau, a position she held until her retirement in 1947.

Miss Hundley, who was raised in the Hawaiian tradition, said of her father: “My father came from Salem, Va., about 1878, to set up the first diffusion sugar mill on Kauai. His name was Samuel Napoleon Hundley. He married Emmalia Williams, who was Hawaiian. Mother was a personal friend of Queen Emma’s.

“My father never called anyone by his first name. It was Mister … ! If any man went to table without a coat, something was wrong.

“Father had been in the Confederate Army, in the cavalry, with Stonewall Jackson. All our horses were named Beauregard and Lomax and Stonewall and Bob Lee. We’ve always had a horse named Dixie. We’ve never failed! Mother’s favorite song was ‘Carry Me Back to Old Virginia.’”

She and her father visited his old Virginia home many times, mostly during the summer.

“Oh, yes, I’ve visited Virginia many times. We get along famously.”

  1. Ken Conklin March 25, 2018 10:48 am Reply

    This is a fascinating story, on many levels. During the U.S. Civil War, the Kingdom of Hawaii was officially neutral but sentiment was strongly on the side of the Union. Partly that’s because Hawaii had already outlawed slavery, and Hawaii’s people were multiracial; and partly it’s because Hawaii’s sugar plantations were supplying the need for sugar in the Northern states which could no longer get sugar from plantations in the Confederacy. But despite Hawaii’s support for the Union, this economic refugee, whose property might have been destroyed or confiscated during the war or afterward, felt comfortable coming to Hawaii where his expertise in the sugar business would give him a way to earn a living. This story is also fascinating because it shows that soldiers who fought on the side of the Confederacy often did so because they were patriotic to their Confederate States of America and their culture, and not because they were racist. Here’s an example of a Confederate soldier and Southern gentleman of impeccable manners who came to Hawaii and married a native Hawaiian (presumably dark-skinned). The interracial couple, and their biracial daughter, felt perfectly comfortable visiting Virginia many times following the Civil War and were apparently welcomed by the people there.

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