1919 - The Emergence of the Wailea Milling Company
The press coverage of the Hakalau sugar industry in 1919 focused on the battle between the Wailea Milling Company and the Hakalau Plantation Company. Nearly 75% of these articles appeared in articles in June, July and August. The themes are common even today:
- some newspapers consistently favored one side over another;
- intense emotions on both sides interfered with achieving common ground;
- "business analysis" stoked fear versus the perception of unfair treatment;
- the small farmer (homesteader/independent grower) versus corporate agriculture (Hakalau Plantation and C. Brewer & Company) where the small farmer perceived he was being not being paid a fair price;
- the small farmer wanted control over production and payment and corporate agriculture did not intend to give up any control.
- legal issues in motion: independent growers sued Hakalau Plantation, land swap for Wailea Mill site questioned
- Hakalau Plantation, having born all the overhead costs, explained that these costs impact what was paid to the independent grower.
- Hakalau Plantation included disincentives for independent growers to align with Wailea Milling Company. Independent growers signed up with Wailea Milling Company anyway.
- The first brief notices appeared in May.
- From the beginning, varying opinions are published, often questioning the financial wisdom of building a mill instead of using existing capacity [at Hakalau Plantation] or highlighting the difficulties faced by homesteaders.
- Moving ahead quickly to take on debt and order machinery, homesteaders expressed optimism about their financial prospects for the following year. Meanwhile, the Hakalau Plantation was either not contracting with these homesteaders or the proposed terms of a contract were viewed as disadvantageous. C. Brewer and Company explained their terms as the best possible compromise.
Hilo Daily Tribune, July 25, 1919, accessed via Newspapers.com
- Homesteader support of the Wailea Mill was substantial. Agreements with Wailea Mill documented in the Territory's Record of Convenances as of August 2, 1919 and reported in the The Honolulu Advertiser on August 5th cited 86 agreements with independent growers:
Hawaii Herald, August 8, 1919, accessed via Newspapers.com.
Hawaii Tribune Herald, August 8, 1919, accessed via Newspapers.com.
Moving right ahead...