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Return to the year 1918

Kaho'olawe leased to Angus MacPhee

Since 1908, Kaho'olawe had been closed to homesteaders in an effort to reverse the environmental damage done by wild goats, sheep and newly planted kiawe trees. By 1918, it was clear the reclamation project inspired by Theodore Roosevelt was not working and promised federal funds were never going to materialize. That year, the Territorial Government awarded a lease for the entire island to Angus MacPhee for $600 per year for 21 years. MacPhee based his Kaho'olawe Ranch operations at Kuheia Bay and collected water on the parched island using a system based on cisterns and reservoirs. MacPhee operated his ranch until 1941 when the island was taken over by the military and used as a training ground and bombing target.

Angus MacPhee had led a colorful cowboy's life before arriving in Hawai'i. Raised on a Wyoming cattle ranch, he was an expert herdsman and had been a member of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. He served with Roosevelt's Rough Riders, packed government supplies in Alaska during the Gold Rush, and served under General Chafee during the Boxer Rebellion in China. In 1907, he won the World Championship Rodeo in Cheyenne. Eben Low saw him there and invited MacPhee to perform in the first Wild West Show in Hawai'i. Once in the Islands, MacPhee stayed on as a manager of 'Ulupalakua Ranch on Maui; he later managed H.A. Baldwin's Grove Ranch at Makawao.

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