William Little Lee

1821– 1857

New Englander by birth; educated as lawyer in the U.S.; appointed as judge in Honolulu shortly after his arrival in 1846; took active role in developing laws of Hawai‘i, including framing the Organic Acts (which organized the branches of government), the Great Mahele (which opened the way for private land ownership), and the 1852 Constitution; named chief justice of the Hawaiian Supreme Court in 1847; employed Albion Burnham on his plantation on Kaua‘i in 1853; presided over Kauwahi’s trial for bigamy in 1855. (See Day, History Makers of Hawaii, 84; Dunn, “William Lee and Catherine Lee”; MacLennan, Foundations of Sugar’s Power, 34–35; Kuykendall, Hawaiian Kingdom, 1:447, 2:305; King, Diaries of David Lawrence Gregg, 604; Joesting, Kauai, 296; Molen journal, Feb. 16, 1855; GQC journal, July 24, 1853; Mar. 29, May 2, 16, 1854.)