Lorenzo Lyons

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Lorenzo Lyons
Lorenzo Lyons.jpg
Lorenzo Lyons circa 1880
Born(1807-04-18)April 18, 1807
DiedOctober 6, 1886(1886-10-06) (aged 79)
Other namesMakua Laiana
Known forMissionary to Hawaii
Spouse(s)Betsy Curtis
Lucia Smith
His grave site.

Lorenzo Lyons or "Makua Laiana" (April 18, 1807 – October 6, 1886) was an early missionary to the Kingdom of Hawaii. He was a songwriter who composed "Hawaiʻi Aloha", which was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 1998. Lyons spent the last 28 years of his life as postmaster in the district surrounding Waimea, Hawaii County, Hawaii.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Colrain, Franklin County, Massachusetts, April 18, 1807. He graduated from Union College in 1827. Ordained as a Congregationalist minister at Auburn Theological Seminary, September 20, 1831.

Missionary in Hawaii[edit]

He embarked from Boston, Massachusetts on November 26, 1831, on the Averick with his wife Betsy Curtis (1813–1837). Part of the fifth company from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, they arrived in the South Kohala district of the island of Hawaiʻi on May 17, 1832.[1]

He spent the remainder of his life dedicated to the native Hawaiians.[2]

His Waimea parish eventually included the districts of Kohala and Hāmākua, making it the largest mission station in Hawaiʻi.[3]

During his tenure, Lyons was responsible for the erection of fourteen churches, such as Imiola Church where he is buried.[4] He was district postmaster from 1858 until his death.


He was fluent in the Hawaiian language and composed many poems and hymns; his best known and beloved work is the hymn "Hawaiʻi Aloha" sung to the tune of "I Left it All With Jesus."


Rev. Lyons died on October 6, 1886, and is buried at Imiola Church Cemetery in Waimea, Hawaii County, Hawaii.[5]

His first wife died in 1837, and he married Lucia G. Smith of Truxton, New York on July 14, 1838.

Son Curtis Jere Lyons was born June 27, 1833, attended Punahou School and graduated from Williams College in 1858. After attending Union Theological Seminary for two years, he returned to Hawaii and became a reporter. In 1868 and 1870 he was elected to the legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and married Julia E. Vernon on April 23, 1873. He died on September 24, 1914.[6]

Son Albert B. Lyons (1841-1926) was the founding secretary of the scientific section of the American Pharmaceutical Association.[7]


Samoan writer John Kneubuhl wrote a play based on his life titled "The Harp in the Willows" in 1946. It was one of the first published works to use Hawaiian Creole English (known as "Pidgin").[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Orramel Hinckley Gulick (1918). The pilgrims of Hawaii: their own story of their pilgrimage from New England. Fleming H. Revell company. pp. 341–347.
  2. ^ Emma Lyons Doyle (1953). Makua Laiana: The Story of Lorenzo Lyons. Honolulu: Advertiser Publishing.
  3. ^ Rufus Anderson,D.D.,LL.D. (1870). Missions of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Congregational Publishing Society, Boston.
  4. ^ Imiola Church nomination form on National Register of Historic Places web site
  5. ^ Rev. Lorenzo Lyons at Find a Grave
  6. ^ Calvin Durfee; Eben Burt Parsons (1919). Obituary record of the alumni. Williams College. pp. 229–232.
  7. ^ Stories by George A. Bender, paintings by Robert A. Thom (1966). Great Moments in Pharmacy: The Stories and Paintings in the Series. A History of Pharmacy in Pictures. Detroit, Michigan: Northwood Institute Press.
  8. ^ John Kneubuhl, Think of a garden and other plays, University of Hawaii Press, 1997, Page 254, ISBN 0-8248-1814-8