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Pioneer Mill Co. (Maui)

Baldwin Packers
Honokohau Water
Lahaina Agricultural Co.
Lahaina Ice Co.
Lahaina Light & Power Co.
Lahaina Store
Olowalu Co.
Oriental Filipino Store
Puukolii Store
Y.W. Horner

Full List of Plantations and Subsidiaries

Hawaiian Collection
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Company HistoryScope and Contents

Register of the
Lahaina, Maui

Accession: 84-03
15 cu. ft.
September 1986

Processed by
Deborah Saito
Susan Campbell



James Campbell, who had been in the carpentry business in Lahaina for some ten years, started a sugar plantation there in 1860. The small mill was powered by mules and, together with cane from Campbell's fields, manufactured sugar on shares for small cane growers in the vicinity. One of these small growers was W.Y. Horner, who, around 1882, had a planting agreement with the new plantation for several years.

Soon after the establishment of the new plantation Henry Turton and James Dunbar joined Campbell. Under the name of Campbell & Turton, the company grew cane and manufactured sugar. In 1865, Dunbar had left the company and the plantation became known as Pioneer Mill Company. By 1874, Campbell and Turton had added the Lahaina Sugar Company and the West Maui Sugar Company, a venture of Kamehameha V, to the holdings of Pioneer Mill Company.

In 1877, James Campbell sold his half interest to partner Henry Turton for $500,000 with agents Hackfeld & Company holding a second mortgage of $250,000. The company's charter was dated in 1882, but by 1885, Mr. Turton declared bankruptcy and sold the property back to James Campbell and to Paul Isenberg, who was associated with Hackfeld & Co. Mr. C. F. Horner was selected to manage the plantation.

In 1889, Mr. Campbell sold his interest to Mr. Horner, leaving Horner and Isenberg holding 3,000 shares of Pioneer Mill Company stock worth $600,000. They incorporated Pioneer Mill Company on June 29, 1895. Increasing rapidly in value over the years, Pioneer Mill Company was owned by 1,500 individual stockholders and valued at $5,000,000 by 1916. In 1918, Horner sold his interest to American Factors, formerly Hackfeld & Co., and in 1960, Pioneer Mill Company became a wholly owned subsidiary of the agent company.

In 1885, Pioneer Mill Company was cultivating 600 of the 900 acres owned by the company and by 1910, 8,000 acres were devoted to growing cane. In 1931, the Olowalu Company was purchased by Pioneer Mill Company, adding 1,200 acres of cane land to the plantation. By 1935, over 10,000 acres, half-owned and half leased, were producing cane for Pioneer Mill.

When Campbell and Turton were starting the plantation, the small sugar mill consisted of three wooden rollers set upright, with mules providing the power to turn the heavy rollers. The cane juice ran into a series of boiling kettles that originally had been used on whaling ships.

In 1864, the Pacific Commercial Advertiser reported that Pioneer Mill Company had manufactured about 300 tons of the best sugar during the year. By 1876, the annual production had increased to 1,708 tons of raw sugar and the World's Fair in Philadelphia awarded Pioneer Mill a prize for fine quality sugar that year. In 1882, Honolulu Iron Works was building an iron three- roller mill for factory and soon there were six boilers generating steam power to drive the machinery.

In 1899, a nine-roller mill was erected, followed by a 12-roller mill in 1912 which was housed in a new steel factory building. By 1924, a 15-roller mill helped produce Pioneer Mill's largest sugar crop of 34,980 tons.

Pioneer Mill Company was one of the earliest plantations to use a steam tramway for transporting harvested cane from the fields to the mill. Cane from about 1000 acres was flumed directly to the mill cane carrier with the rest coming to the mill by rail. In 1937, mechanically harvested cane was bringing so much mud to the factory that Pioneer Mill Company began the development of a cane cleaner of original design. The cleaner was operating satisfactorily by 1939.

Between 1948 and 1951, a rock removal program rehabilitated 3,153 acres of Pioneer land to permit mechanical planting, cultivating, and harvesting. In 1952, the railroad was eliminated and a year later new feeder tables were conveying cane directly from cane trucks into the factory. In 1964, the Silver Ring diffusion process was underway at Pioneer Mill Company.

Irrigation of Pioneer Mill Company's fields, an area approximately ten miles long and one and one half miles wide with altitudes between ten and 700 feet, was accomplished with water drawn from wells and water transported from the West Maui Mountains. The McCandless brothers drilled the first well on Maui for Pioneer Mill Company in 1883. By 1935, over $3,000,000 had been spent on water development, including gravity systems and underground supplies.

Although rocky, Pioneer fields were favorable to the growth of sugar cane and some of the best fields kept producing cane without replowing or replanting for as long as ten years.

In 1910, there were 1600 laborers employed by Pioneer Mill Company, half of whom were contact laborers and the rest were day workers. Plantation children attended schools on the plantation and in Lahaina. The company sponsored a kindergarten for 800 to 1000 young children by 1914. In 1932, the largest number of "old time" Japanese sugar workers in the Islands were employed at Pioneer.

Lahaina Light and Power Company, Lahaina Ice Company, the Lahaina and Puukolii Stores, and the Pioneer Mill Hospital were associated with the plantation, providing services to employees as well to Lahaina residents.

The Second World War caused a severe labor shortage, forcing Pioneer Mill Company to drop over 1,000 acres form cultivation. The neighboring high school operated on a four day week so that students could spend Friday and Saturday on the plantation.

The managers of Pioneer Mill Company over the years have been as follows:
1860-1876 (James Campbell and Henry Turton-owners and managers)
1877 John H. Soper
1878-1885 Henry Turton
1886-1889 James Campbell
1890-1895 C. F. Horner
1896-1901 Capt. L. Alhborn
1902-1909 L. Barkhausen
1910-1913 W. Weinzheimer
1914-1918 L. Weinzheimer
1919-1922 A. W. Collins
1923-1933 C. E. S. Burns, Sr.
1933-1952 John T. Moir, Jr.




Unprocessed Records
Twenty-five boxes and one oversize volume from the Pioneer Mill Company were taken out of storage and fumigated in July 1985. In addition, four boxes containing over 400 microfilm reels (microfilm now unsafe, 10/96) belonging to Pioneer Mill Company (PMC) were already in storage here at HSPA. All these records were processed together during the autumn of 1986.

Of the approximately 29 cubic feet of unprocessed records, 15 cubic feet were processed and added into the Archives. PMC has the unique distinction of being the first recorded group to be entered into the plantation Archives database.

Processed Records
PMC records date from 1873 to 1960. The series and database abbreviations are as follows:

--Corporate Records - CR
--Correspondence - C
--Financial Records - FR
--Personnel and Payroll - P
--Cultivation Contract Records - CC
--Production Records - PR
--Miscellaneous Records - MIS
--Other Company Records - OC

Corporate Records
1918-1936, 1/2-1/4, O-1/1, O-1/4. Contains stocks and bonds from 1926, audits 1918-1924, 1926-1935 (inc.), balance sheets 1916-1935 and various agreements.

1896-1950, Box 1 & 2, microfilm MF388-435. No known correspondence exists prior to 1896 and little correspondence exists between 1896-1930. The letters between 1896-1930, which are not on microfilm, contain a variety of topics, reports, and the like. They are arranged alphabetically by subject matter in boxes 1 & 2 and most folder span several decades.

Correspondence form 1930-1950 is on microfilm. Included are letters to and from American Factors and other companies. It appears that correspondence for these two decades is complete. Correspondence on some reels is arranged chronologically, then alphabetically, according to writer's name and/or company. Others were filmed in chronological sequence.

The title and number of each microfilm was assigned at the time of filming, between 1952 and 1954. Information on each reel can be accessed by keywords and counter numbers found on the in-house Finding Aid.

Correspondence throughout World War II is complete. However, some of the films are very brittle and require care in handling. This series shows the interaction between plantation and its agent, letters of recommendation, circulars influence of organized labor, and the relationship between the plantation, other companies, and the community of Lahaina.

Financial Records
1873-1959. v.1-48, MF382-387. This series includes cash books, journals, ledgers and miscellaneous records.
--Cash Books; 1873-1955
gap: 1879-1885, 1890-1895
--Journals; 1889-1959
Note: Distribution journals from 1953-1959 are on microfilm (See Finding Aid)
gap: 1930-1932, 1942-1952
--Ledgers; 1873-1940
Note: Early ledgers are labeled Campbell & Turton; many are fragile and indexes are generally included. Between 1911-194, there appear to be specialized ledgers. (See Finding Aid).

Personnel and Payroll
1920-1960. Box 1/22, 1/25, 1/26, 2/16-17, v.1 & 2, O-1 2, O-1 3, and the following microfilm - MF1-26, 30-76, 105, 145, 165, 176, 186, 197, 207, 212, 219, 228, 241, 254, 265, 272-306, 436-461. Earliest payroll record is a wage report from 1915 (Box 1/25). These films list names, races, social security numbers, bangos, and show the influence of Sugar Acts on wages, bonuses, taxes paid, etc. Sequence of records on the film is numerical by bango, alphabetical by name. Dates given on boxes are at times inaccurate.

Because of space limitations on the database, only the first reel number is shown as the location for any given year, despite the fact that that year may span 15 or 20 reels. For example, "Earning Statements for 1951" starts on MF105 and ends on MF144.

Production Records
1915-1969, PRV.1 & 2, O-1/7 through O-1/12. Crop data sheets show tons of sugar produced, cargo and shipping.

Cultivation Contracts
1922, 1926-1934, 1938-1944. This series encompasses all contracts between cultivation employees and the plantation as well as all related reports. Documents show the contractual agreement and actual financial expenditures for the growing of sugar cane. The contracts quite often have signatures of employees, wages, rates, summaries and comparisons all relating to cultivation.

Miscellaneous Records
Includes building record, camps, taxes, rent roll for employees, stores, etc.

Other Company Records
Baldwin Packers; 1920-1936. Pineapple growers hauling agreements, lease, cultivation contract settlements
Honokohau Water Co.; 1919-1928. Water cost report
Lahaina Agricultural Co.; 1906-1924. Holding company for PMC, corporate records
Lahaina Ice Co.; 1909-1942. Agreements, electricity, financial records
Lahaina Light & Power Co.; 1947-1955. Electricity, financial records
Olowalu Co.; 1921-1934. Some job applications (1895), financial records, personnel records, crop reports, agreements
Stores, Lahaina and Puukolii; 1918-1952. Financial records and audits
Stores, Oriental Filipino; 1934. Financial records
W.H. Horner Cash Book; 1884-1889. Planting agreement between Turton and Horner



(microfilm not usable now 10/96)

All PMC microfilm in the Plantation Archives is on Kodak Safety Film. As typical of older microfilm, the strong odor is called acetaldehyde, a chemical used in processing. While it is not dangerous, viewing these films should be done in a ventilated area. The Archives will not be responsible for any user discomfort when viewing these films.

MF116-118, and MF147-149. These reels are flagged because of deterioration and/or heat damage. Came must be taken when viewing these films. (Various other reels are very brittle & may not be useable in the microfilm reader.

Additional information can be found on the boxes themselves, as well as in three small notebooks called Index of Records Photographed, located in the first microfilm drawer. MF1-306, 383-435, & 451-466 are on 16mm film, MF436-450 are on 35mm film.

Pioneer Mill Co. finding aid


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Last updated: August 2004