The Baldwin Family can truly be called pioneers of Maui, having participated in the missionary era of the 1830s to the monarchy period of the late 19th century and from World Wars I and II through the plantation era to the present. Six generations later, the Baldwin’s’ legacy trail makes for a fascinating ride.

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Peter D. Baldwin (born in 1937)

Peter BaldwinLike his father Manduke, attended Cornell University where, in addition to his studies, he competed and won the intercollegiate polo championships in 1959. After graduation, Peter returned to Haleakala Ranch and worked in the Haleakala Dairy division, which he acquired in the early 80s and became president of in 1979.

Almost all his life, Peter has been a real cowboy and truly knows how to handle cattle. An active rodeo competitor in his younger days, Peter calf-roped on the mainland circuit and also in Hawaii. During later years, he played polo in tournaments across the United States, and in New Zealand and Australia. One of his most noteworthy achievements was in 1987, when Maui’s team won the Pacific Coast Open, the America’s Cup and the U.S. Handicap; that year, Peter was voted “Amateur Player of the Year” by the United States Polo Association.

Friends tell many humorous stories about Peter but Freddie Rice recalls one of the craziest: “Some rodeo steers got loose one night in Hilo – Peter was roping a horned steer that got away and was running into a crowded tent at the Hilo Fair about 9 o’clock at night. He slid all over the concrete floor trying to stop his horse and the steer (in the middle of a crowd) and with the steer on the end of the rope, turned and pulled it back out of the tent right through the crowd, and nobody got hurt or even bumped by it. Everybody in the tent just stood there frozen, most not realizing what they had just seen.”


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Richard H. “Manduke” Baldwin (1911-2002)

Manduke BaldwinDuring the 1950s and 60s, America was enjoying post-World War II prosperity and Hawaii was gaining in popularity with tourists arriving on the great luxury liners. Richard H. “Manduke” Baldwin (Sam’s oldest son, born in 1911) took over as President of the ranch in 1968. But it was in the 1930s that Manduke began his career with Haleakala Ranch.

As a student, he spent his summers on the ranch, often heading to Ulupalakua Ranch to rope wild cattle with legendary Hawaiian cowboy, Ikua Purdy. Manduke enjoyed talking story about Ikua, regaling us with tales of his sixth sense with the animals. While watching a wild bull in a pen of cattle, Ikua knew ahead of time that the bull was going to escape over a lava rock wall. Ikua pulled his kaula‘ili (lasso) from his saddle, and made a loop just in time to rope the bull as he was jumping over the wall.

Often referred to as the “Cattleman of the Century,” Manduke was renowned for his ability as a cowboy and his ability to understand genetics as it related to the breeding of better cattle. He was very knowledgeable about all the grasses and clovers growing on Maui, and was at the forefront of introducing new species to increase forage production for cattle. He was also the first cattle rancher to bring the Santa Gertrudis breed to Maui. Throughout your ride at Piiholo Ranch, you’ll still see evidence of this strong cattle breeding and the benefits reaped from Manduke’s soil and forage work. During the dark years of World War II, Manduke kept a close watch on events, listening to the news every night. Because of Maui’s proximity to Pearl Harbor, he was very concerned for the safety of his family and his men.

Manduke loved adventure and sport, and was hailed for his skill as a polo player both at Cornell University and on the famous Maui team of the 50s playing with Gordon von Tempsky and Oskie Rice for many seasons. Manduke liked to relate his favorite polo stories, especially one from the 1930s about then Major George S. Patton, who after a game on Maui, attended a big party at Ulupalakua Ranch and stood on his head while drinking a glass of whiskey “upside down.” An avid marlin fisherman, Manduke along with his wife Haku Baldwin (1913-2002) competed in the Kona Billfish Tournament every year during the 60s. Haku held a world record marlin catch for over 10 years. Haleakala Ranch was popular for its bird dog field trials and pheasant hunting. Every year at the beginning of the season, there would be an “opening hunt party” at the ranch’s hunting lodge located near the Crater. Manduke’s son Peter, a young boy at the time, remembers the parties and the games that go along with them – you’ll have to ask him to tell a tale or two.


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Samuel Alexander Baldwin (1885-1950)

Samuel Baldwin

Through the turbulent 1920s, 30s and 40s, Samuel Alexander Baldwin (1885-1950), saw the beginning and end of two World Wars, Prohibition and the Great Depression. He was the manager of Haleakala Ranch for most of his life and president for the last three years. He moved to Maui from Honolulu, and in 1918 built a home at Kapalaea with his wife Kathrine, where they raised five children.

Sam detailed much of his beloved ranch life around Haleakala in a diary. One of our favorite pages from his diary tells the story of a monumental horseback ride in December of 1917 on a trip to the crater to get cattle at Paliku:

Left Ranch at 2:15 am
Arr. Halemau 5:20
Arr. Paliku 8:20
Left Paliku with cattle 9:30
Arr. bottom of Sliding Sands 12:30 pm
Arr. top of Sliding Sands 2:37
Arr. Puuniauniau 4:50
Arr. Home at the Ranch 6:40 that night.

This ride covered over 25 miles, going up and down more than 20,000 vertical feet. It was also in 1917 that an outbreak of Anthrax occurred in cattle at the ranch. Sam was instrumental in setting up a quarantine with guards, building pens and fences, inoculating cattle and sheep, and succeeded in getting the epidemic under control in a couple of months.

In his spare hours, Sam Baldwin spent a lot of time with renowned artist Howard Hitchcock, traveling around the ranch and into the crater, where Hitchcock did a lot of his famous work. There is also many a story about driving cattle down the mountain pastures with guests, who included some of Hawaii’s big family names like Rice, Castle, Cooke, Dillingham, Walker and von Tempsky, often staying at the “Ukulele Hotel” (a camp house up at the 4000-foot elevation on Haleakala). Polo playing was a significant part of Sam’s life, and he won many matches with his brothers Harry, Edward and Frank around the islands. He was also very involved in getting the horse races established at Maui County Fair. From the 1920s-30s Sam and his wife Kathrine traveled a lot, by ship and by train, across country and into Asia and New Zealand. Their children were attending prep schools and college back East at this time.


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Harry A. Baldwin (1871-1946)

Harry BaldwinDuring the second decade of the 20th century, Hawaii was a territory of the United States. Harry A. Baldwin (1871-1946), oldest child of Henry Perrine and Emily Alexander Baldwin, became President of Haleakala Ranch in 1912. Harry’s brother, Samuel, was the youngest of the eight children. The two brothers married the Smith sisters of Honolulu, Harry to Ethel, and Sam to Kathrine. Despite their age difference, these brothers had great respect for each other, and their families were intertwined for generations. One Christmas, to demonstrate his approval of Sam’s ranch management, Harry presented one percent of his ranch holdings to Sam, thus giving him majority control of 51 percent. Harry was also manager of the Maui Agricultural Co., a sugar plantation with its mill in Paia. In addition, he had ranches of his own: Grove Ranch, which supplied beef to his plantation workers, and Kahoolawe Ranch, which he co-owned with Angus McPhee.

As a Territorial Senator, Harry was a powerful force in local politics. He won his first seat in the senate in 1913, and remained there until 1921. Harry was so popular with the Hawaiians (he was fluent in their language) that he was elected delegate to the U.S. Congress in 1923 after the death of Prince Kuhio. Then Hawaii elected him to its House of Representatives from 1935-38.

Horses were Harry’s passion, and riding was his respite. He kept a private stable at Kaluanui, his estate in Makawao (now known as Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center), and raced some of his favorites at the Maui County Fair. Occasionally, he joined his athletic brothers, Sam and Frank, on the polo field, beginning a Baldwin Family tradition that continues today. Harry roamed Maui’s pastures and plantation fields until the end of his life in 1946 – tall, straight and always easy in the saddle.


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Henry Perrine Baldwin (1842-1911)

Henry BaldwinDwight and Charlotte Baldwin had eight children, perhaps the most well known of which was their sixth child, Henry Perrine Baldwin. In the 1870’s, the “Merrie Monarch” King Kalakaua was in power and sugar cane cultivation was just beginning in Hawaii. Henry Baldwin (1842-1911) is credited with developing the Hamakua Ditch system which delivers millions of gallons of water daily from the rain forest of East Maui to the sugar cane fields that you now see growing in Central Maui. Constructing the water delivery system was sort of a contest brought about because sugar competitor Claus Spreckels had obtained a lease from the King for Maui water, which said that, unless Baldwin completed his ditch system by September 30, 1878, all the water would go to Spreckels. The natives and workers had their doubts that water would go down through a pipe and then go “up” the hill on the other side, so it was a rousing day on Maui when Henry’s pipeline crossed Maliko Gulch and brought water out. Because of this system, the Baldwins were on top in the sugar business.

In 1888, Henry Baldwin and a few businessmen in Honolulu put their business interests together and formed the Haleakala Ranch, consisting of 33,817 acres on the slopes of Haleakala Crater. Piiholo Ranch is part of that acreage, but was first known as the Piiholo Plantation under the 1876 partnership of Akanaliilii and Brewer. They owned 1250 acres and leased another 10,500. Of this great land area, they had only 500 acres under cultivation. When Henry Baldwin’s funeral was held, people from all over Hawaii came to pay their respects. Newspaper articles at the time referred to him as the “Father of Maui.”


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Reverend Dwight Baldwin (1798-1886)

Dwight Baldwin1831— King Kamehameha I and his son Liholiho have passed on, leaving a child-king, Kamehameha III, at the royal complex in Lahaina. The Reverend Dr. Dwight Baldwin (1798-1886) and his wife Charlotte moved to Lahaina in the mid-1830s and lived in the Baldwin Home which remains standing today. Dr. Baldwin not only preached, but also served as Government Physician for the islands of Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i. One of his most significant contributions to island society occurred when the smallpox epidemic of 1853 took hold in the Hawaiian Islands. Dr. Baldwin was able to get Lahaina quarantined and vaccinated all of Lahaina, then set out on a mule to take care of people in the far reaches of Maui as well as on Lana‘i. In all, there were 10,000 deaths in Hawai‘i, but thanks to Dr. Baldwin, there were only 250 reported deaths on Maui. The doctor lived to 88 years of age, quite a feat in those days. Also a prolific letter writer, Dr. Baldwin painted a vivid scene of life in West Maui during the hey-day of the whaling era. Many of his letters have been archived, and some described the arrival of the Spaniard cowboys and their “bullock catching” while leading cattle to the slaughterhouse on the Lahaina shore. The notorious Joaquin Armas of Mexico was one of these first paniolo/cowboys.

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