ʻOkatoba 23: Ka Make ʻAna o R.W. Wilikoki

October 23, 1903: Death of Robert Wilcox

Robert W. Wilcox in Italy, c. 1866. Photo credits: Hawaiʻi State Archives available online in Agnes Quigg, Kalākaua’s Hawaiian Studies Abroad Program, 22 Haw. J. Hist. 170, 173 (1988) (http://hdl.handle.net/10524/103).

Robert William Kalanihiapo Wilcox, famously known as the Liona Hae o ka Pakipika (The Pacific’s Roaring Lion) and the “Iron Duke of Hawaiʻi,” was the son of an American father from New England and a mother descended from Maui royalty. He was educated at the Turin Military Academy in Italy under King Kalākaua’s Study Abroad program. See Agnes Quigg, Kalākaua’s Hawaiian Studies Abroad Program, 22 Haw. J. Hist. 170, 173 (1988) (http://hdl.handle.net/10524/103). He famously led uprisings in 1889 and 1895.  See Ka Buke Moolelo o Robert William Wilikoki (Thos. K. Nakanela ed., 1890); Ka Hoʻokahuli Aupuni Kaulana o 1893: Kaua Kūloko ma Honolulu, Ianuari 7, 1895 (Papapai Mahu Press Pub. Co., 1895). Later, Wilcox was elected as the first delegate to the United States Congress for the Territory of Hawaiʻi.

The following excerpt below provides the “official” biographical description for Wilcox, as recorded by Congress. A transcript follows.

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: 1774-2005, H. Doc. No. 108-222 at 2168 (2005) (available online).

WILCOX, Robert William, a Delegate from the Territory of Hawaii; born in Kahalu, Honuaula, island of Maui, Hawaiian Islands, February 15, 1855; attended the Haleakala Boarding School, Makawao, island of Maui; taught school at Honuaula for several years; elected to the legislature as a representative from Wailukua, island of Maui, in 1880; later pursued an academic course in the Royal Military Academy, Turin, Italy, 1881-1885 and became a sublieutenant of artillery; entered the Royal Application School for Engineer and Artillery Officers in Turin in 1885; recalled by the Hawaiian Government in 1887; moved to San Francisco, Calif., in 1887 and engaged in the surveying business; returned to Hawaii in 1889 and became leader of the revolution of 1889; tried for treason but acquitted by a Hawaiian jury; elected to the legislature as a representative from Honolulu in 1890 and from Koolauloa, island of Oahu, in 1892; again a revolutionary leader in 1895 in an effort to restore Liliuokalani to the throne; was court-martialed and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to thirty-five years; pardoned by President Dole in 1898; elected as a Home Rule candidate to the Fifty-sixth Congress; reelected to the Fifty-seventh Congress and served from November 6, 1900, to March 3, 1903; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1902 to the Fifty-eighth Congress; died on October 23, 1903, in Honolulu, Hawaii; interment at King Street Catholic Cemetery.