Contest Cooper's Claim to Palmyra

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Contest Cooper's Claim to Palmyra


Newspaper article chronicling the dispute between Judge Henry Cooper and the men contesting his attempt to claim sole ownership over Palmyra.


Hawaiian Gazette




Public Domain

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New Claimants File Papers as Firs Step in Legal Proceedings.

Judge Henry E Cooper is not to control the Island of Palmyra, as his personal property,

Judge Henry E. Cooper is not to control the Island of Palmyra, as his personal property, without a contest. New Richmonds have appeared in the field, claiming ownerehip, and filed a claim for poseession in the registry and conveyances department of the Territory, Henry Maui and Joseph Kauhoa Clarke, for the sum of one dollar paid to Annie Ringer, the descendant of Johnson Beswick Wilkinson, an alleged "original" owner, now claim the possession of the island, and will seek to prove title by the introduction of a copy of a will of Wilkinson, supposed to have been probated before Judge Joseph S. Moore of the New Zealand supreme court in 1866.

Annie Ringer, whose husband Lee William Ringer, is former well known politician, claims descent through Kalama, the wife of Johnson Wilkinson, Kalama being his first wife. She stales that judge Cooper holds Palmyra through purchase from their heirs of H. Kahaawinui, the second husband of the same Kalama. The late Judge W. L. Wilcox secured possession of the rights of the Kahaawinuis through W. L. Wilcox And Elsie Wundenberg, the latter passing the deed to Judge Cooper.

The document filed appears to be a part of a “fishing expedition" on the part of Maui and Clarke, the latter having been a friend of long standing of William Ringer. The document as filed April 30, 1912, reads:

“Know all men by these presents, that I, Annie Ringer, a widow, the said wife of William Ringer, deceased, of the City and County of Honolulu, Island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, in consideration of $1 to me paid by Henry Maui and Joseph Kauhon Clarke of said Honolulu, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby give, grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said Henry Maui and Joseph K. Clarke, all of my right, title and interests, in and to the Island of Palmyra, situate in the Pacific Ocean in longitude 161° 53° west, mid latitude 6° 4° north or thereabouts, the said Island of Palmyra being the same premises that were devised to the said Kalama, by the said Johnson Beswick Wilkinson, by his last will, which was admitted to probate before Joseph S. Moore, judge of the supreme court of New Zealand on the 29th day of June, A.D. 1866. Therefore, I have the right to sell and convey my right and interests in the said Island of Palmyra, which I inherit from William Ringer, my deceased husband. William Ringer beiug the only sun of Rebeka Ringer, deceased, the daughter of Nanaikawaha (w), the younger sister of Kalama (w), mentioned in the will of Johnson Beswick Wilkinson, being the first husband of said Kalama (w).

"And furthermore, being that certain portion of the said promises which were .sold to W. L. Wilcox by H. Kahaawinuui, the sound husband of Kalama, and J. Kaikala, the brother of Kalama, by their deed dated June 13, A. D.1885, recorded in liber 348 page 222.

“To have and to hold the aforegranted premises, with all easements, priveleges, improvements and apportenances to the same belonging to the said Henry Maui and Joseph K. Clarke, their heirs and assigns to each and their own use and behoof forever.

“In withness whereof I have bereunto set my hand and seal on this 30th day of April, A.D. 1912.
(Sgd.) Mrs. Annie Ringer,
P.E.R. Strauch

Original Format



“Contest Cooper's Claim to Palmyra,” Palmyra Archive, accessed October 21, 2020,


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