Jack Kaau

Jack Kaau, a native of Hawaii, entered the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company from O’ahu in 1834, travelling to Fort McLoughlin (operational 1833-1843) on Campbell Island, where he served as both middleman and labourer, before transferring to Fort Victoria in 1843. Recorded in the Fort Victoria Journal, on 4th June, 1846, he suffered a facial injury from a wild ox that had been ‘dressed and let free’. In 1848 he was present when the measles epidemic broke out among the residents of the fort. On 22nd May, 1849 he was reported to be “on the sick list with a sore foot,” ‘sore’ being a descriptor seemingly applicable to multiple ailments in the Journal. In all, between 1846 and 1849, Jack’s name appears 5 times under “Kaau” and 13 times under “Jack.” Context clarifies that the “Jack” referred to in these entries is Jack Kaau. His years of service at Fort Victoria were interrupted in 1850, when he boarded the Mary Dare for Honolulu as a passenger, a voyage of around 18 days according to The Polynesian. In 1855 (date uncertain) Kaau moved to Port Gamble in Washington Territory. In 1853, the Puget Mill Company was founded at Port Gamble and engaged Hawaiians and Maine residents to work the mill. Lumber was exchanged in Honolulu, which was growing in population at the time, for sugar from Hawaiian plantations. Jack Kaau was married to Mary Pau and they had a son, Pilipo (c. 1859). A letter written for or by William Naukana records a luau held by a John Kaoo on the occasion of the birthday of his son, Pilipo, in 1865. On 1st September, 1869, The Polynesian records the arrival on 26th August of the American barque Camden, from Teekalet (Port Gamble, Washington), with Philip Kau as passenger.


  • Barman, Jean and Bruce Watson, Leaving Paradise: Indigenous Hawaiians in the Pacific Northwest. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006).
  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/ .
  • Ficken, Robert E., The Forested Land: A History of Lumbering in Western Washington. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1987).
Frederick Gentz