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McBryde Sugar Co. (Kauai)

Kauai Electric Co.
McBryde Store

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Hawaiian Collection
Special Collections
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Company HistoryScope and Contents

Register of the
Eleele, Kauai

Accession: 84-02
11.0 cu. ft.
October, 1987

Processed by
Deborah A. Saito
Susan M. Campbell



Judge Duncan McBryde laid the foundation for what later was to become McBryde Sugar Company. Not a planter himself, Mr. McBryde hired a few men to obtain seed, plow the land, and haul cane.

The idea of creating a new sugar company under the name of McBryde Sugar Company was first promoted by W.A. Kinney and backed by Dillingham. In 1899, the Eleele Plantation, McBryde Estate, and Koloa Agricultural Company merged to create the McBryde Sugar Company (MSC). Located in the southern part of the island of Kauai, MSC was "incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Hawaii, [on the] Twenty-fifth day of May, Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-nine." (General Journal, May, 1899, MSCV.8)

The original plantation lands extended from Koloa to the Hanapepe River giving the newly formed McBryde Sugar Company access to a port. At first, the Eleele sugar mill was used to grind the cane, but within a couple of year, the Directors knew that another mill would have to be built. As fortune would have it, MSC bought the large Cuban type mill originally destined for Molokai's American Sugar Company, whose plans for a plantation had to be abandoned.

For the first ten years, Theo H. Davies & Co. was MSC's first agent. Beginning in 1910 and until the present time, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc., has been MSC's agent or parent company. Elmer E. Conant was MSC's first manager (1899-1901), followed by William Stodard (1901). Mr. Conant returned for one year (1903) and in 1904, Mr. Stodard again became manager until 1911. From 1912 to 1937, Frank A. Alexander took over the management of MSC. In 1938, Cedric B. Baldwin became manager only to be called to active duty just prior to WWII. Mr. Baldwin was killed at Iwo Jima in 1942 and the assistant manager, John Sandison took over as manager of MSC.

MSC had several major obstacles to overcome in the early stages of its existence. Not only was the company undercapitalized, but the terrain was extremely rocky and, as common for the leeward side of the island, there was a clear lack of water. As evidenced by early financial records, "Rock Removal" was a rather large expenditure and many extra laborers were needed to clear the fields.

The early workers at McBryde came from Eleele Plantation, Koloa Agricultural and the Wahiawa Ranch (McBryde Estate). In June of 1899, MSC contracted with Ah Sin & Co. to supply labor. During the latter part of 1899, approximately 1050 Japanese were scheduled to arrive on Kauai.

In later years, the Japanese laborers were joined by Filipinos and Hawaiian born citizens.
To invite the settlement of European laborers, the Directors of MSC set aside homestead land in Lawai Valley and Kalaheo. The homesteaders were encouraged to cultivate pineapples and the Kauai Fruit & Land Co. developed as the market for pineapples. By 1920, McBryde Sugar Company had approximately 1500 workers, complete with store and hospital.

To help solve the need for water, pumps were used. But because the cost of coal to run the steam driven pumps was prohibitively expensive, the company turned to hydroelectricity.

The Kauai Electric Company came into being in 1905, with the building of an immense aqueduct and a hydroelectric plant with two 1200-kilowatt generators at Wainiha, located in the mountainous, northern portion of Kauai. A 34-mile power line delivered the necessary electricity to the plantation, which provided power for pumping irrigation, water to the fields. Engineers worked to preserve surface water and in 1932, the Alexander Reservoir was completed.

Not only was the power plant opened in 1906, but the Kauai Railway Company was also opened during that same year. The Kauai Railway terminus and port at Eleele on Hanapepe Bay became known as Port Allen in 1909, named after Samuel C. Allen. With the dredging of the Hanapepe Bay and the building of a breakwater, Port Allen became an important deep-water port used extensively in the shipment of sugar.

Indicative of things to come, MSC purchased its first mechanical cane loader in 1934. For the next decade, MSC changed from hand labor to machines in harvesting and from railroad to tuck hauling. In spite of its rather precarious beginnings, McBryde Sugar Company has survived and is one of two sugar plantations currently owned by Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.



The records in the McBryde Sugar Company collection span the years between 1896 and 1960. Financial records begin in 1899 and end in 1946. The Personnel and Payroll records cover the years 1896 to 1908, 1933 to 1939. There is no correspondence series in this collection.

The collection contains the following record series:
Financial Records
Personnel and Payroll
Production Records
Other Company Records

Financial Records
1899-1946: V.1-37, 42-43: Boxes/Folders 2/6-14, 3/1
This series includes cashbooks, general journals, expense journals, general ledgers, job ledgers, and miscellaneous other financial records.
Cash Books: 1899-1939
General Journals: 1899-1943
After 1915, the journals contain yearly summary entries.
Expense Journals: 1908-1939
General Ledgers: 1899-1935
Job Ledgers: 1927-1940
Two volumes contain expenses by individual jobs and indicate the various accounts charged for each job.
Personal Accounts Ledger: 1901-1907
Trial Balances: 1931-1940
These are valuable as access to the ledgers where no indexes are provided.
Depreciation Record: 1915-1933
Construction Costs: 1926-1929
Details of labor and material costs of accounts including vehicles, buildings, water, fences, fuel, livestock, real estate, machinery, wagons, etc.
Rent Book: 1926-1946

Personnel and Payroll
1896-1939: PV.1-20: Boxes/Folders 1/1-12, 2/1-5, O-1-1.
This series includes labor contracts, labor statements and payroll books.
Labor Contracts: 1896-1900
There are two boxes of these agreements. Each contract includes the terms of the three-year labor agreement in English and Japanese, the signature or seal of the individual laborer, duty stamps, and signatures from T.H. Davies & Co. and the immigration company or bureau. Photographs of the worker and his wife are attached to some of the contracts. Two folders contain contracts with Eleele Plantation in 1896 and 1899.
Labor Statements: 1933-1939
These monthly summaries provide information about the labor force as a whole: race, citizenship, numbers of laborers, and days worked. Individual names are not provided. Gap between 1934 and Aug. 1937.
Payroll Books: 1900-1908
Rates of pay and days worked are listed by bango numbers. Only the salaried employees, lunas, and mechanics are listed by name.

Production Records
1917-1960: PRV.1-6.
Production records include four volumes labeled "Profit Sharing Companies" which provide cost details and contractor payments by field number and crop year between 1917 and 1939. Sugar sales and consignment records contain shipping and tonnage information between 1928 and 1960.

Other Company Records
1905-1948: V.38-41.
Financial records from Kauai Electric Company cover the years 1905-1935 and from McBryde Store between 1929 and 1948.

McBryde Sugar Co. register in pdf format

McBryde Sugar Co. finding aid


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Last updated: August 2004