Walter M. Gibson

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For other people of the same name, see Walter Gibson (disambiguation).
Walter M. Gibson
WalterMurrayGibson2.jpg
Photo of Walter M. Gibson
Prime Minister of Hawaii
In office
June 30, 1886 – October 13, 1886
Monarch Kalākaua
Preceded by Celso Caesar Moreno
Succeeded by William C. Wilder
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
May 20, 1882 – June 30, 1886
Monarch Kalākaua
Preceded by William L. Green
Succeeded by Robert J. Creighton
Minister of the Interior
In office
June 30, 1886 – October 13, 1886
Monarch Kalākaua
Preceded by Charles T. Gulick
Succeeded by Luther Aholo
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
October 13, 1886 – July 1, 1887
Monarch Kalākaua
Preceded by Robert J. Creighton
Succeeded by Godfrey Brown
Personal details
Born March 6, 1822
Died January 21, 1888
San Francisco, California
Resting place Hawaii
Nationality Kingdom of Hawaii
Political party National
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Signature

Walter Murray Gibson (1822–January 21, 1888) was an American adventurer and a government minister in the Kingdom of Hawaii prior to the kingdom's 1887 constitution.

Life[edit]

Gibson was generally thought to be born March 6, 1822 in the southern United States,[1] though he sometimes claimed to be born in England.[2] He was the captain of a ship and became involved in gunrunning in the Caribbean.[1] Later, he was jailed in the East Indies by the Dutch on charges of fomenting rebellion, but managed to escape from his prison in Java. In 1859 he went to Utah Territory and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, persuading church president Brigham Young to allow him to establish a Mormon colony in the Pacific.[3]

Gibson arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1861, and founded a colony among Mormons already in the islands. He purchased land on the island of Lānaʻi with funds from the colony in his own name, and was excommunicated after a church investigation regarding accusations of preaching false doctrine, maladministration of the colony,[4] and embezzlement of church funds.[1] Upon excommunication, he expelled those who didn't support him from his colony and church[5] and began angling for secular political office and power.

In 1873 he started his own newspaper to extol his virtues in English and Hawaiian called the Nuhou. He successfully ran for the House of Representatives in 1878[6] as a candidate of the King’s Party, allying himself with King Kalakaua and portraying himself as the "voice of Hawaiians". In 1880 he bought the Pacific Commercial Advertiser (now the Honolulu Advertiser).[7] In 1882 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, and then on June 30, 1886 prime minister of the Kingdom of Hawaii by King Kalākaua. He also served on various boards, as Attorney General, Minister of Interior, and Secretary of War.[6]

Gibson was widely credited with encouraging Kalākaua to make rash political moves, which eventually led to the imposition of the 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii. One of his bolder plans included an attempt to build a Pacific Empire, which drew the ire of both the international and local Hawaiian communities.[1]

Gibson's fortunes fell dramatically after being taken out of power in 1887. He fled the islands for fear of losing his life and died penniless in San Francisco on January 21, 1888. His body was returned to Hawaii for a funeral and burial.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Will Hoover, "Walter Murray Gibson", Honolulu Advertiser, 2006-07-02
  2. ^ James Warren Gould (1960). "The Filibuster of Walter Murray Gibson". Annual report of the Hawaiian Historical Society (Hawaii Historical Society). pp. 7–32. hdl:10524/56. 
  3. ^ Andrade Jr., Ernest (1996). Unconquerable Rebel: Robert W. Wilcox and Hawaiian Politics, 1880-1903. University Press of Colorado. p. 11. ISBN 0-87081-417-6. 
  4. ^ Gibson was reportedly selling leadership positions in the church to native Hawaiians.
  5. ^ Sometimes referred to as the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Gibsonite)" or the "Gibsonite Mormons".
  6. ^ a b "Gibson, Walter Murray office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Retrieved 2010-03-20. 
  7. ^ Bob Krauss, "Advertiser boasts a storied history", Honolulu Advertiser, 2004-08-22.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
William Lowthian Green
Kingdom of Hawaii Minister of Foreign Affairs
May 1882 – June 1886
Succeeded by
Robert J. Creighton
Preceded by
Edward Preston
Acting Kingdom of Hawaii Attorney General
May 1883 – December 1883
Succeeded by
Paul Neumann
Preceded by
John E. Bush
Acting Kingdom of Hawaii Minister of the Interior
July 1883 – August 1883
Succeeded by
Charles T. Gulick
Preceded by
Charles T. Gulick
Kingdom of Hawaii Minister of the Interior
June 1886 – October 1886
Succeeded by
Luther Aholo
Preceded by
Robert J. Creighton
Kingdom of Hawaii Minister of Foreign Affairs
October 1886 – July 1887
Succeeded by
Godfrey Brown