22 July 2011

Olinda Oil Field History: Origins of Olinda, Part 3

William Hervey Bailey, who founded the Olinda Ranch Company in the late 1880s, was the third of five sons born to Edward Bailey (1814-1903) and Caroline Hubbard (1814-1894), both natives of Holden, Massachusetts, about forty miles directly west of Boston.  The two were devout Congregationalists who, just a week after their November 1836 marriage, joined a missionary company under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM).  The ABCFM was an organization formed at Williams College in Massachusetts a quarter century before during a period called the Second Great Awakening, a Christian revival movement that swept the United States through camp meetings and other non-traditional means.  New religious groups like the Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists and the Churches of Christ sprung from this religious ferment and intense missionary activity also marked much of the movement.  The ABCFM sent its missionaries to many areas of the world, including India, China, the Middle East, and Africa.

Edward and Caroline Bailey were in the eighth company sent by the ABCFM to what were commonly called the Sandwich Islands, better known as Hawai'i.  They arrived on 9 April 1837 and were promptly assigned to a station at Kohala on the island of Hawai'i, usually referred to as the "Big Island."  Shortly thereafter, they were relocated to Lahaina, Mau'i, where they remained for about two years.  Finally, in 1840, they were assigned to Wailuku on the same island.  For the next decade, the Baileys worked as missionaries and Edward Bailey ran the Wailuku Female Seminary from 1840 until its closure in 1849.  The following year the Baileys severed their ties with the ABCFM and Edward Bailey went into the sugarcane industry and remained connected with it for some thirty-five years, including with the Wailuku Sugar Company from 1862 and then, from 1882, the Planters Labor and Supply Company, which beame the powerful Hawaii Sugar Planters Association.

The Bailey family included Edward, Jr. (1838-1910), Horatio (1839-1899), William (1843-1910), James (1846-1891) and Charles (1850-1924).  The family occupied an early American-style house in Wailuku, that was on the site of the royal compound Kahekili II, the last ruling chief of Mau'i, and which was the home of the Wailuku Female Seminary when Edward and Caroline Bailey took it over in 1842.  After the seminary's closure, the Baileys acquired the house and land, the latter of which became a sugarcane plantation.  Not only did Edward Bailey become a sugarcane grower, but, in his early fifties and without any training or education, he took up painting.  He proved to be so adept as a "Sunday painter" (that is, an amateur) that his art works, consisting of some 100 landscapes of Mau'i, have become famous there and a book showcasing his life, career, and art has recently been published.  Moreover, the family residence, taken over by the C. Brewer Company, one of the famed "Big Five" sugar conglomerates of Hawai'i, became, in the late 1950s, the headquarters of the Mau'i Historical Society and is now the Bailey House Museum.

William Hervey Bailey (1843-1910), a missionary's son from Wailuku, Maui, who created Olinda Ranch in 1888.  From the 1902 "mug book" (a mug book was a history that contained biographies submitted by those who paid for their inclusion) Men of the Pacific Coast.
William Hervey Bailey, like all of his brothers, attended Punahou School, which also included O'ahu College, in Honolulu, but was there far longer than his siblings, being enrolled from 1853 to 1862.  Presumably, he joined his father and older brother, Edward, in the sugarcane industry.  At the end of 1869, William was married to Anna Hobron, daughter of ship captain Thomas Hobron, best known for being the builder of the first railroad on Mau'i, the Kahului and Wailuku Railroad, a small-gauge line serving sugar plantations sending their product to the port at Kahului.  Hobron was also owner of the Grove Ranch Plantation.  William and Anna had two children born in Wailuku: Minnie born in 1872 and William, Jr., born the following year.

William, with his father and brother, was a shareholder in the Planters Labor and Supply Company, a sugarcane industry association formed in March 1882 that worked to find cheap foreign labor in Hawai'i's plantations.  Among the powerful names involved in the company were Castle, Bishop, Dillingham, and Thurston, all major figures in the development of sugar and in politics.  William served on the firm's labor committee and, in an issue of its Planters' Monthly publication, reported on Japanese migrant laborers that "as irrigators they could not be beaten, and they were steady and honest."  Within a few years, however, of joining the PLSC, William, his parents and some of his brothers decided to move to California, settling in Oakland in October 1885.  William's mother, Caroline, died in Oakland in 1894 and his father migrated south to the Los Angeles area, dying in Alhambra in 1903.

About 1888, a few years after coming to California and during the colossal land boom that engulfed the southern California region, William made his purchase of land in northeastern Orange County that he named the "Olinda Ranch."  Now, as to why he bestowed that name on his new purchase.

In 1535, the Portuguese established one of their earliest colonies in Brazil and called it Olinda.  That city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, became the center of a burgeoning industry in sugarcane.  Consequently, when sugarcane was established on Mau'i, Hawai'i three centuries later, the place name of Olinda was given to an area in the Kula Highlands, at about 4,000 above sea level along the slope of the volcanic mountains that lead to the famous Haleakala National Park.  It has been said that the moniker was given by Samuel Alexander, another missionary scion and founder of the "Big Five" sugar company Alexander and Baldwin, for a home he had in the area.  Notably, after Alexander relocated to Oakland in 1882, he bought land south of Redding for a ranch and built, in 1884, a brick mansion that he called Olinda and the place name survives there today.  There is also an Olinda in Australia, not far from Melbourne.

It seems obvious, then, that William Hervey Bailey chose the name Olinda because of the memories he retained of his more than forty years on Mau'i and may have been following the lead of Samuel Alexander, with whom he grew up as sons of early missionaries on Mau'i. 

Who would have known that Olinda was named for a place in Hawai'i?

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