An Example of Sugar Plantation Employee Records

Several years ago, I contacted the Hawaiian Sugar Plantation Association to see if there were records for the Kilauea Sugar Plantation as well as others on Kauai that were of interest to me.  At that time, the records were still held by the Association.

I found that they had no records for Kilauea and scant few for the rest of Kauai.  They were willing to check some names for me, so I sent them a reasonably short list.  All they could find was one document from the Kekaha Sugar Plantation with Augusto Clemente’s name.

I know that other researchers like myself would love to find employment records from the sugar plantation that their ancestor worked for.  The sad reality is that most of the records don’t exist anymore.   Hawaii was late to the game for preserving sugar plantation records. I believe it was the 1980s when the project was begun.  By that time, plantations had come and gone and records had been toss out, destroyed, or changed hands so many times the trail was hard to find.  The association did an amazing job preserving what they found.  Most of these records will be more of historical value rather than of value to the family genealogist trying to find out if Great Grandpa really worked at such and such plantation.

The document I received was three pages long.  I’ve decided only to scan the first page.  The second pages just have hash marks denoting if a worker worked on a certain day of the month.

This is the document that I have in my files (Sorry about the quality, I had to use my camera as it was so large).  The document is from July 1900.

hawaii wage shee_20131005_1783DSCN2432

The columns say: BAL. CR., a handwritten word that looks like “Sugar”,  Cash Adv., Sundries, RICE, Deposits, Total Deductions, NAMES.  I have no idea why rice is in all Caps (the emphasis is theirs not mine).  Page two has RATE  and then a column for every day of the week.  The third page completes the days of the month, then DAYS, WAGES, CASH, BAL. DR.  BAL CR.

We can derive a couple of things from this sheet.  One, the workers were allowed to take out cash advances from their wages.  Two, they had to pay the plantation for certain things shown in the rice and sundries column.  We know what their pay rate was, how many days of the month they worked, and so forth.  The money they owed the plantation would be subtracted from what they earned before they got their monthly pay.

You can see that the identifying information is vague.  Some people only have a first name.  Unless your ancestor had an usual name, like Augusto Clemente, or you know exactly where they worked and when, it will be difficult to determine if you have the right person.    It would be a nice document to have in your collection, but it isn’t going to provide much information about your people.

[Note:  Augusto Clemente is not my ancestor.  But, he connects to my tree a couple of times including via my great aunt, Minnie (Ventura) Pacheco Smith.]



Carolina (Freitas) Pacheco’s Individual Summary

Carolina’s family was from Kilauea just like my Pacheco’s.  She married my grandfather’s cousin, Manoel Pacheco, in Kilauea in 1914.  A couple of years later they moved their family to King City.  I don’t know much about Carolina except that she was said to make the best pancakes.  I guess something like that sticks with a child.

Name:    Carolina “Carrie” FREITAS-213
Sex:    Female
Father:    John de FREITAS-560 (1866-1937)
Mother:    Maria GONSALVES CARDOZO-522 (1869-1948)

Individual Facts
Birth    8 Mar 1898    HI21–22
Residence    1910 (about age 12)    Kilauea (Hanalei), Kauai Co., HI
Residence    1940 (about age 42)    516 Vanderhurst, King City, Monterey Co., CA
Living    31 Mar 1952 (age 54)    King City, Monterey Co., CA
Death    27 Apr 1967 (age 69)    King City, Monterey Co., CA
Burial        King City Cemetery, Monterey Co., CA
Education        4 years of schooling

1. Manuel A. “Pushking” PACHECO-211 (1892-1970)
Marriage    6 Sep 1914 (age 16)    Kilauea (Hanalei), Kauai Co., HI
9 Children


Perseverance in Adversity

Fearless Females #13…Moments of Strength

I’ve told this story many times before.  It is the story of how my great grandfather was smuggled from Hawaii.  Each time I retell the story, I can’t help but think of the events and how they must have affected my great grandmother, Maria (de Braga) Pacheco.

Sometime around 1904, my great grandfather, Theodoro Pacheco, found out he had leprosy.  It may as well been a death sentence.  Hawaiian law forbid lepers from living at home with their family.  They were ordered to move to Molokai–a forced deportation.

I can only imagine the meetings in the little house on the Kilauea sugar plantation that transpired after Theodoro got the bad news.  He and Maria had four young children to thing of and she was pregnant with number five.

With the help of his brother, Manoel, and br0ther-in-law, Joaquim Jacinto da Camara (aka John Cosma), the family plotted Theodoro’s escape.  They paid off a ship captain, set up phony identies, and smuggle the family to California.

The family arrived in San Francisco Bay sometime in 1907.  If the legend is true, my grandfather, Joao “Bohne” Pacheco Smith (Smith being their new name) was born three weeks before they made land.   There is no birth certificate in Hawaii or California for him, so I can only assume the story is at least partly true.

My thoughts always turn to Maria.  Here she is several months pregnant.  She gets devastating news about her husband’s health.  She accepts that they must flee Hawaii in order to stay together.

But somewhere in her heart she must know that no matter where they go, Theodoro won’t live very long.  In the end, she will be left alone to take care of the children.

I wonder what thoughts may have crossed her as they packed up what little they owned.  The authorities could arrive at anytime and take Theodoro away from her.  They could be found out on the ship and be sent back to Hawaii.  Something might happen to her on that voyage and then who would take care of Theodoro and the children?

I can only think that she was an incredibly strong person to get on board that ship.  To think that just before they arrived in San Francisco she would go into labor and deliver her baby at sea.

But that was only the start of their problems.  Though they had a place to live, Theodoro’s health decline.  By 1910, he couldn’t hold a steady job.  There’s not job listed for Maria in the 1910 census, but I imagine she did something to help keep the family afloat.

Their son, Willie, became sick, then died in 1913.  Then Theodoro’s health worsened.  He was at the San Leandro Infirmary (now Fairmont Hospital) for many weeks until he died.

I am sure as a woman in male dominated times, Maria didn’t have much choice in this matters.  When the family decided Theodoro would leave Hawaii, she followed.  When he no longer could work, she found a way to survive.  And, when he left her alone with the children, she sought refuge in Spreckels, CA with her brother.

No, she probably didn’t have much choice in the matter.  But somehow she survived it all.