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William Hyde Rice (1846–1924)

Author of Hawaiian Legends

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William Hyde Rice, son of Protestant missionaries, was born at Punahou, Honolulu, Hawaii on July 23, 1846.
William Hyde Rice spoke fluent Hawaiian, and at an early age began to amass knowledge of Hawaiian culture, myths and legends – along with his fortune. Like his father, William Harrison Rice, he was a student of Hawaiian legends, especially the myth of Pele.
He attended a boarding school at Koloa (Kauai), Punahou School (Oahu), and Braton's College (Oakland, California). In 1856, William Hyde Rice completed the first irrigation ditch for sugar for the Lihue Plantation in East Kauai.
In 1872, 26-year-old William Hyde Rice formed Kipu Plantation and Lihue Ranch, purchasing the Kipu parcel from Princess Ruth for $3,000 to breed cattle and fine horses.
Rice loved politics, serving eleven years in the Hawaiian House of Representatives in the 1870s and 1880s, one of the only three Caucasians to be elected to a predominately Hawaiian legislature. In 1891, he was appointed governor of Kauai by Queen Liliuokalani. When the monarchy ended in 1893, with the house arrest of the Queen, Rice adapted easily, serving his childhood friend Sanford Dole, who was named President of the new republic. Rice helped to draw up the constitution of the Republic of Hawaii.
Rice spoke Hawaiian fluently and is known today as author of a valuable collection of Hawaiian Legends.
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