Henry A. P. Carter

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Henry Alpheus Pierce Carter

Birthdate: (54)
Birthplace: Honolulu, Honolulu, HI, USA
Death: November 1, 1891 (54)
Everett House, New York, New York, NY, USA
Place of Burial: Honolulu, HI, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Captain Joseph Oliver Carter and Hannah Truphant Carter
Husband of Sybil Augusta Carter
Father of Frances Isabelle Crehore; George R. Carter, 2nd Terr. Gov. of Hawaii; Charles Lunt Carter; Agnes Boyd Galt; Sybil Augusta Carter and 2 others
Brother of Joseph Oliver Carter, II; Samuel Morrill Carter; Alfred Wellington Carter; Frederick William Carter; Catherinie Rebecca Lewers and 1 other

Managed by: Private User
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About Henry A. P. Carter


Henry Alpheus Peirce Carter also known as Henry Augustus Peirce Carter (1837–1891) was an American businessman, politician, and diplomat in the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Family life

Henry Alpheus Peirce Carter was born August 7, 1837 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father was Joseph Oliver Carter (1802–1850), and mother Hannah Trufant Lord (1809–1898). His father was a merchant ship captain, thought to be a descendant of the Thomas Carter family of Massachusetts. Captain Carter left Boston to engage in trade in the Pacific some time in the 1820s. After his 1833 wedding in Honolulu the Carters bought a house and started a family while Captain Carter continued sandalwood trading voyages to China. Shortly after second son Henry was born they sailed to California but returned in 1838. In 1840 the family sailed to Boston via Tahiti. The sons were left to attend school, while Captain Carter purchased his own ship and sailed back to Honolulu with his wife in 1841. However, the Carter ship business had several failures, and by 1849 the sons were sent back to Hawaii.

Captain Carter retired from the ship business and started a boarding house called the Mansion House, but he died August 1, 1850. The children needed to support themselves, so a 12 year old Henry went to San Francisco to work in the California Gold Rush. He never attended high school. Some time later he returned to work in the Honolulu post office, and as a typesetter for the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper. When about 19 he became a clerk in C. Brewer & Co., a shipping business which was run earlier by Henry A. Peirce, of whom he was probably a namesake. By 1862 he became a full partner in the business. On February 27, 1862 he married Sybil Augusta Judd (1843–1904), daughter of missionary physician turned politician Gerrit P. Judd.

They had seven children:

1.Frances Isabelle Carter was born January 18, 1863. She moved to Massachusetts and married Frederic Morton Crehore (1858–1919) in 1897.

2.Charles Lunt Carter was born November 30, 1864 and married Mary Eliza Horton Scott in 1888. He died January 7, 1895 after being shot in the 1895 Counter-Revolution in Hawaii.

3.George Robert Carter was born December 28, 1866, became Territorial Governor of Hawaiʻi, and died February 11, 1933.

4.Agnes Carter was born October 15, 1869 and married John Randolf Galt in 1892.

5.Sybil Augusta Carter was born February 16, 1873 and died July 12, 1874

6.Cordelia Judd Carter was born May 18, 1876 and married Charles Atherton Hartwell, son of American Civil War General Alfred S. Hartwell (1836–1912). She died February 21, 1921.

7.Joshua Dickson Carter was born February 8, 1880 and died young February 20, 1882. His nephew Alfred Wellington Carter (1867–1949) managed the Parker Ranch for many years.

His brother Joseph Oliver Carter (1835–1909) married Mary Ladd (1840–1908), daughter of the founder of early trading company Ladd & Co. William Ladd (1807–1863).


The American Civil War caused an increase in demand for sugar, and C. Brewer became involved in the business of agent, buying the raw product from sugarcane plantations in the Hawaiian Islands and shipping it to the mainland where it was refined . After two other partners retired, Carter owned two thirds of the firm. In 1873, he advocated for a free trade treaty to reduce tariffs instead of annexation by the United States as advocated by others. He was sent in October 1874 to Washington, DC to assist Elisha Hunt Allen in negotiating what became the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875. This included attending a state visit by King Kalākaua to Ulysses S. Grant at the White House.

On his return to Hawaii, Eruopean countries were protesting the treaty, because it violated most favored nation clauses in their treaties. On December 5, 1876 he was appointed minister of foreign affairs, and left his business again to travel to Great Britain, France, and Germany in 1877. He met personally with Otto von Bismarck who was Foreign Minister of Prussia at the time. He resigned from the cabinet on March 1, 1878, and returned to managing the business at C. Brewer in 1879. Soon he was called back into the government. On September 27, 1880 he was appointed minister of the interior for Kalākaua until December 4, 1881. In 1882 he was sent again to Europe, where he negotiated a treaty with Portugal to allow immigration to Hawaii for labor on sugar plantations. After Allen died at the White House, Carter became envoy to the US on February 9, 1883, and served until his death. In June 1884 he was president of a family reuinion in Boston for his American cousins.

In January 1887 Carter was appointed US Minister from the Samoan Islands by Malietoa Laupepa, but he never presented those credentials. This was part of a failed plan by Walter M. Gibson to form a pan-Pacific confederation. The resulting Samoan crisis ended up in the partitioning of Samoa into German Samoa in the west and American Samoa in the east.

Also during this time, the free trade treaty was renewed, with a controversial clause that guaranteed the use of Pearl Harbor as a US Navy base. This would prove very unpopular with many Hawaiians. He coordinated another state visit between Queen Kapiʻolani and Grover Cleveland in May 1887. He was also appointed to various boards and commissions during his government service.

The McKinley Tariff act in 1891 removed the advantages given by earlier treaties, and the Hawaiian sugar industry suddenly became unprofitable. Carter scrambled to negotiate another treaty with Secretary of State James G. Blaine. However, Kalākaua had died in January, and Queen Liliʻuokalani rejected the new treaty. Carter became ill on a visit to Germany, and died November 1, 1891 at Everett House in New York. After a funeral in Washington, DC, he was buried in Oahu Cemetery. He was survived by his mother, sometimes said to the first caucasian woman to marry in Hawaii, who died January 29, 1898.

A modern historian said:

"Henry Alpheus Peirce Carter was probably the ablest diplomat ever to serve the Hawaiian kingdom. ... He was a man of great energy, of positive views and facility in the expression of them, with a self-confident and forceful manner that sometimes antagonized those who disagreed with him. From 1875 until his death he spent most of his time abroad, as a diplomatic representative of the Hawaiian kingdom in the United States and Europe, where he became a familiar and much respected figure."

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Henry A. P. Carter's Timeline

August 7, 1837
Honolulu, Honolulu, HI, USA
January 18, 1863
Age 25
Honolulu, Honolulu, HI, USA
November 30, 1864
Age 27
Honolulu, Honolulu, HI, USA
December 28, 1866
Age 29
Honolulu, Honolulu, HI, USA
October 15, 1869
Age 32
Honolulu, Honolulu, HI, USA
February 16, 1873
Age 35
Honolulu, Honolulu, HI, USA
May 18, 1876
Age 38
Honolulu, Honolulu, HI, USA
February 8, 1880
Age 42
Honolulu, Honolulu, HI, USA
November 1, 1891
Age 54
New York, New York, NY, USA