Thursday, January 17, 2008

Captain John Meek in Hawaii lecture

An interesting item was in the newspaper of an upcoming illustrated lecture at the Hawaiian Historical Society (see their website at ) about "Captain John Meek in Hawaii" by Gail Hercher at 7:30 p.m. Jan 24 at the Old Archives Building on the grounds of 'Iolani Palace. Free. See below:

Captain John Meek in Hawai‘i An Illustrated Lecture by Gail Hercher

The Hawaiian Historical Society invites its members and the public to an illustrated lecture, Captain John Meek in Hawai‘i, by Gail Hercher at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 24, 2008, at the Kana‘ina Bulding (Old Archives Building) on the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace. The program is free and open to the public.

In 1824, Captain John Meek of Marblehead, Massachusetts, set what was then the record for the shortest voyage from New York to Honolulu—124 days. Known throughout the Pacific as a master seaman and a capable entrepreneur, Captain Meek was one of the earliest Americans to engage in the China trade.

In Hawai‘i, Meek took on sandalwood, a commodity highly valued by the Chinese. Meek traded directly with King Kamehameha I and other members of Hawaiian royalty. In time, he became a trusted friend and was charged with taking a royal Hawaiian boy to attend school at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts.

Details of Meek’s life in Hawai‘i can be found in early records, journals, and letters at the Hawaiian Historical Society, the Bishop Museum Library and Archives, the Hawai‘i State Archives, and private sources.

From these records, we know that Captain Meek eventually settled in Hawai‘i, where he became a harbor pilot, rancher, and prominent citizen. He married a Hawaiian woman, with whom he had several children. He died in Honolulu in 1875 at the age of eighty-five and is buried in Oahu Cemetery.

This illustrated lecture will illuminate Meek’s early life in Massachusetts and his subsequent adventures in the Pacific, especially his life in Honolulu after 1830.

Gail Pike Hercher, a longtime resident of Marblehead, Massachusetts, became interested in Captain John Meek when she worked as director of education at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and served as vice-president of the Marblehead Historical Society. She has lectured and published articles on Marblehead history. Hercher earned B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees at the University of Hawai‘i. She has completed coursework for a Ph.D. in American studies at Boston University. She now lives in Honolulu and works as an artist, teacher, and writer.

For further information, contact the Hawaiian Historical Society office, 560 Kawaiaha‘o Street, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813. Telephone 808-537-6271. E-mail:


Mike Smola said...

Aloha, I am looking to get in touch with Gail re: Capt. Meek. Is there a way to get a hold of her?

Mahalo nui loa,

Mike Smola

Mike Smola said...

I am looking to get in touch with Gail re: Capt. John meek.

if you can tell me how to get in touch, you can email me at

Mahalo nui,