Monday Mystery: The Train Photo

Monday Mystery: The Train Photo

PLEASE NOTE: Melody is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

This post contains affiliate links. When you click on these links and make a purchase, I earn a percentage of the sale which allows me to keep providing you great content for free on this website.

In my early years of contacting cousins, I learned about a special photograph that had relatives from my Pacheco side of the tree in it.  As the story always went… The person we shall name “cousin”, but it really refers to 6 or 7 different cousins, went to Hawaii sometime in the 1980s.  They were at an exhibit at the “mall” called the Hawaiian Hall of Fame.  When they looked on the wall they saw their “Father” or Uncle”  or “Grandfather”(depending on who was telling the story) up on the wall!  Each cousin got a copy of the photo, got information about the photo, packed it away when they arrived home from their trip, and then promptly lost it.

A couple of years ago, I finally got a copy of the photo…In this photo are my Great Great Uncles Jose Pacheco Sr., Joaquim Jacinto da Camara (aka John Cosma), and Manoel Pacheco (aka Manoel Algravia).   As the story goes, they have a small place in Hawaiian history in that this was the very first single spur locomotive run on a Hawaiian plantation.  The single spur part varies depending on which cousin did the telling.

The photo was most likely taken at the Kilauea Sugar Plantation in Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii.  The plantation was known for being the first to incorporate trains into their plantation routine.  My guess is that the photo was taken around 1885.

I have tried in vain to find out the real story behind this photo.  I have contacted the Hawaii Historical Society, the Kauai Historical Society, the University at Manoa which has the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association records.  A friend has gone through the historic photos at the Kauai Historical Society and one other society on Kauai that holds old photos of Kilauea.  I have looked through books on trains used in Hawaii and have found similar, but nothing that I could point at and say “A Ha!”

No one in Hawaii’s historical circles that I’ve come in contact with seems to know about the photo, the exhibit, nor this part of Hawaii’s history.

I would really like to solve this photo’s mystery.  I want to know if I’ve got the right story or not.  In return, I would be able to give the group that holds the photo the names of the men in the photo and their personal histories.

I hope some day I get that chance.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *