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Hanohano ʻO Kona: Botanist and Adventurer David Douglas

  • West Hawaii Civic Center (map)
This image is in the public domain.

This image is in the public domain.

Kona Historical Society's Hanohano 'O Kona Lecture Series returns to the West Hawaii Civic Center Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 5:30pm to 7pm, featuring a lecture presented by Dr. Peter Mills.

Dr. Mills will give a short biography of the famous Scottish botanist David Douglas who died mysteriously on the slopes of Mauna Kea at the age of 35.  Born in 1799, David Douglas was a Scottish botanist, best known as the namesake of the Douglas-fir. He worked as a gardener, and explored the Scottish Highlands, North America, and Hawaii. Several Hawaiian plants were named after him in earlier taxonomies, such as Pandanus tectorius known in Hawaiian as hala, is sometimes given the name Pandanus douglasii.

Douglas was found dead on June 12, 1834 in the bottom of a pit-trap used to trap bulls running wild in the area. The bull found alive with Douglas was blamed for his death, but rumors spread that the man who built the trap, bullock hunter Ned Gurney, had murderous intentions.  Dr. Mills has been studying the ranching history of the Humuʻula region where Douglas died for nearly 20 years and will provide historical context to this often-discussed event. 

Peter Mills has been teaching at UH Hilo for 22 years and received the system-wide Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He holds a BA from the University of Vermont, a MA from Washington State University, and a PhD from UC Berkeley.  He has served as the President of the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology, and on the board of the Paniolo Preservation Society, and he is currently the director of UH Hilo’s MA program in Heritage Management.

For the past seven years, Kona Historical Society has offered this community lecture series, spotlighting local and state speakers on a wide variety of cultural and historical subjects. It is a gift from the Society to the community that has supported it for so long and it is presented in cooperation with the County of Hawaii. The lectures are free of charge and open to all, residents and visitors alike.

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.

Earlier Event: September 25
Hands on History
Later Event: September 26
Portuguese Bread Baking Program