AUGUST 7, 1797


Born at Kawaihae, Hawai’i, his father was John Young, British advisor of Kamehameha I; his mother, the chiefess Namokuelua of Oahu aristocracy. At age 9, James was sent to the U.S. to be educated along with his brother Robert (Robert joined the U.S. Army and died in the War of 1812). James became a merchant mariner who, for many years, sailed between Philadelphia and England. Upon returning to Hawai’i, he first served Kamehameha II as translator and, upon the King’s death, interpreted for High Chief Boki–the new leader of the royal party–when he met Britain’s King George IV. Kānehoa served as a member of the House of Nobles (1845 to 1851) and, from 1846 onward, was a member of the first Board of Land Commissioners under Kamehameha III which settled land claims during the Great Mahele (land division). He also was the governor of Maui (1842–1851). His marriage to Sarah Kaniaulono Davis, the 1st of his 3 marriages, may have been the first Christian marriage in the Hawaiian Islands.

  “James Young Kanehoa,” The Church Historians Press.  Retrieved 9/2/2022, James Young Kanehoa (
Photo:  Bernice P. Bishop Museum number CP 16972, pre-1851. Public Domain.  Source: Page 46 of "Surveying the Mahele" by Gary L. Fitzpatrick and Riley M. Moffat ISBN 0-9150-1317-7

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