Benjamin Franklin Dillingham

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Benjamin Franklin Dillingham

Birthdate:
Birthplace: WEST BREWSTER, MA, USA
Death: April 17, 1918 (73)
HONOLULU, HI, USA
Place of Burial: Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Benjamin C Dillingham and Lydia Sears Howes
Husband of Emma Louise Dillingham
Father of Walter Francis Dillingham; Marion Dillingham; Private; Harold Garfield Dillingham and Mary Emma "May" Dillingham
Brother of Private and Charles Dillingham

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Benjamin Franklin Dillingham

Benjamin Dillingham From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benjamin Franklin Dillingham (September 4, 1844-April 7, 1918) was an important businessman and industrialist during the late Kingdom of Hawaii era, throughout the period of the Republic of Hawaii, and during the first two decades of the Territory of Hawaii.

Overview

Dillingham was born into an old New England family in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. At the age of fourteen he became a sailor on the Yankee clipper Southern Cross which was captured and destroyed by the Confederate steamer Florida in 1863. In 1865 he became first mate of a barque named Whistler that did a regular run between San Francisco and Honolulu. On his third trip to the island kingdom Dillingham broke his leg after falling from a horse and was forced to convalesce in Hawaii. He decided to stay in Honolulu and by the end of 1865 was a clerk at Diamond Hardware, which he bought out for $28,000 in 1869. That same year he married Emma Louise Smith, the daughter of a prominent missionary family. Dillingham turned out to be an astute businessman, and more importantly, was always willing to take risks. In 1879 he started a dairy farm in upper Honolulu, and during the 1880s became increasingly successful. His most important contribution to Hawaii's economy was the Oahu Railway and Land Company that began service in November 1889. Dillingham was well-liked among Honolulu's various communities, and he included King Kalakaua and Queen Liliokaulani as his friends. Although he disapproved of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, he looked favorably on the American annexation in 1898, which he believed would bring long-term stability to the islands. Dillingham spent the rest of his life in Hawaii.

Business Activities

Apart from the OR&L, Dillingham was especially active in sugar plantations, notably the Olaa Sugar Company on the Big Island (Hawaii), and the Ewa and Kahuku sugar plantations on Oahu. While the OR&L and these sugar companies were profitable, Dillingham's Big Island railroad, the Hawaii Consolidated Railway (Hilo Railroad) was a financial drain until its destruction by a Tsunami in 1945. His Hawaiian Fiber Company, which operated a sisal plantation on the Ewa coral plain in southwestern Oahu, was ultimately also a failure. Nevertheless, Dillingham was one of the giants in the early years of Hawaii's economic and industrial development.

References Yardley, Paul T. Millstones and Milestones: The Career of B.F. Dillingham, 1844-1918. University of Hawaii Press, 1981. Person ID

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Benjamin Franklin Dillingham's Timeline

1844
September 4, 1844
WEST BREWSTER, MA, USA
1875
April 5, 1875
HONOLULU, HI, USA
1881
October 9, 1881
HONOLULU, HI, USA
1883
1883
1918
April 17, 1918
Age 73
HONOLULU, HI, USA
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Founder of the Oahu Railroad & Land Company
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Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, United States