Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (C) Cleghorn, Archibald
ARCHIBALD CLEGHORN -
1835-1910 Born in Edinburgh, Scotland; Died in Hawaiian Islands
From "Hawaii's Tragic Princess: Kaiulani..." by Maxine Mrantz, pg. 7:
"The proud father, Archibald Cleghorn, Scots born and educated, was to be
at his daughter's side through much of her difficult times and through
many of her European travels.
"At 16, Cleghorn had arrived in the islands with his father, Thomas
Cleghorn, aboard the British brig, "Sisters," from Auckland. Thomas died
in Honolulu, leaving 16 year old Archie to run the small drygoods store he
had started. Archie's mother eventually went back to New Zealand but her
son stayed, prospered in business, and four years later was on his way to
becoming a power in the mercantile industry. He not only had stores in
Honolulu but on the neighbor islands as well.
"By the time he was in his 30's, he was the father of three daughters,
Helen, Rose, and Annie by an Hawaiian lady named Elizabeth. In addition
to his several stores, he had a house on Queen Emma Street in downtown
"If Cleghorn had a green thumb in business he had an even greener one for
things botanical. His Emma Street home boasted beautiful gardens, all due
to his own efforts and to the talen for horticulture inherited from his
"When he was 35, he married 19 year old Miriam Likelike, an Hawaiian girl
from a chiefly family. Later, she would be given the rank of Princess
when her brother, Kalakaua was elected King of Hawaii.
"Likelike, pretty, vivacious, and a social leader of Honolulu, did much
entertaining at the home on Emma Street. The Emma Street home was only a
forerunner to the garden spot Archibald Cleghorn would create in Waikiki
-- an estate befitting Likelike and Kaiulani.
"The garden spot was Ainahau, the "cool place," built on Waikiki land
given to Kaiulani by her godmother, Princess Ruth, and named by Kaiulani's
mother because of a cooling breeze from Manoa Valley.
"Archibald Cleghorn could at last indulge his lvoe for gardening to the
maximum. Ainahou was indeed a worthy domicile for the two princesses.
There were 10 acres of land on which Cleghorn planted the famous "Kaiulani"
banyan, the tree that was the parent to the Honolulu banyan. In addition,
he planted eight varieties of mango trees, trees of teak, cinnamon, soap,
and an Indian tree with scarlet flowers shaped like a tiger's claw. In
addition to camphor trees, date palms, kamani trees, sago palms and 14
varieties of hibiscus, he created three lily ponds by the inclusion of an
artesian well. And then, to add some variety to the plant life, he
brought in a community of peafowl."
From the book "The View From Diamond Head:"
A wealthy merchant and man about town, Archibald Cleghorn, at the age of
37, married Miriam Likelike, the nineteen-year-old great-granddaughter of
chief Kepo'okalani, a cousin of King Kamehameha I of the Hawaiian
Islands. This marriage brought the Scotsman into the midst of Hawaiian
royalty and governmental affairs when his wife's brother, David Kalakaua,
became king in 1874. The King appointed Cleghorn to the House of Nobles
and upon the death of John Dominis in 1891, Queen Lili'uokalani made him
governor of Oahu.
One of the more prominent men of his day, Cleghorn played an instrumental
role in the founding of Kapi'olani Park in 1877. He served as vice
president, and later president of the Kapi'olani Park Assn., and planned
the landscaping of the park. The stately ironwood trees that adorn
Kalakaua Avenue's route through the park were planted under his
supervision, as were the grand banyans at Thomas Square.
Cleghorn not only beautified Waikiki through his work on the park, but
also at his estate, Ainahuau, which he purchased in 1872 for $300.
Inheriting a love of horticulture from his father, Cleghorn lavishly
landscaped this parcel, making it the most beautiful private estate in the
Hawaiian Islands. At first he used it as a country retreat. However, it
soon became his family's primary residence, and his stately home on Emma
Street was turned over to the Pacific Club, an organization he had joined
in 1853 and presided over for 46 years. As a royal residence in Waikiki,
Ainahau was the scene of various parties and entertainments, and visitors
such as Robert Louis Stevenson departed the Islands with fond memories of
Not only a site of pleasant pastimes, these lands also were associated
with grief and tragedy. Here, Princess Likelike died on 2 Feb., 1887 at
the age of 36, and 12 years later, in 1899, Cleghorn's daughter Kaiulani,
passed away here in the springtime of her life, at the age of 24.
Following her death, Cleghorn led a less active life, although he remained
involved in the affairs of Queens Hospital and in 1909 he became its first
elected president, a post which previously had been occupied by either the
reigning monarch or the territorial governor.
Cleghorn died of heart failure at Ainahau on Nov. 1, 1910. Several months
before his death he had witnessed the reinterment of Likelike and Kaiulani
into crypts in the Royal Mausoleum. This event left him "strangely
agitated," and some speculated it led to his own demise. His remains were
accorded every official honor of the Territory, and as a drizzling rain
drifted down Nu'uana from the Pali, his casket was placed in a crypt next
to those of his wife and daughter. The Pacific Commerical Advertiser
editorially described him as "A gentleman of the old school, one who
regretted the passing away of the monarch, but who accepted the new
condition time brought to the Islands, and lent his aid in helping shape
events for the best."
Cleghorn's will left Ainahau to the Territory of Hawaii, with the
stipulation that it become Kaiulani Park. Both the 1911 and 1913
legislatures refused this gift, thanks to the efforts of Rep. Archibald S.
Robertson, one of the heirs that inherited the land after the park offer
was rejected. The estate was eventually subdivided and sold for
residential purposes, which the Pacific Commercial Advertiser found to be
"a severe shock to the sentiments."
For additional biographical information on A.S. Cleghorn see Pacific
Commercial Advertiser, June 18, 1901, pg 5; and Dorothea Woodrum,
"Governor Cleghorn, Princess Kaiulani and Ainahau (Honolulu: Island
Development Corporation, 1964)
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