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ISLAND HISTORY: A look at Waimea Sugar Mill Co. manager Ewart

Born in California, George R. Ewart Jr. (1875-1959) came to reside in Hawai‘i in 1877 with his parents, and was educated at Punahou and at McGill University, Canada, where he trained as a civil engineer.

Upon his return home to Hawaii from Canada, he began his management career at Kilauea Sugar Plantation in 1900.

Later on, he was employed as head luna at Hawaiian Sugar Co. of Makaweli and as manager of Kaua‘i’s Gay &Robinson Sugar Plantation also at Makaweli, before becoming manager of the Faye family’s Waimea Sugar Mill Co. in 1914.

Under Ewart’s management, and the management of Lindsay Faye and Alan Faye, his successors at Waimea Sugar Mill Co., the Waimea Ditch was realigned and its flumes were replaced by tunnels to improve capacity.

Acreage was increased by draining a seashore marsh and washing it clean of salt through fresh water irrigation.

A railroad was also built, the original mill was reconstructed, higher yielding cane was introduced, and heavy fertilization, ratoon planting and mechanization was adopted.

Then in 1928, Ewart left for the Philippines to manage the Cebu Sugar Co. and the San Carlos Milling Company, until Japanese military forces invaded the Philippines in 1941 and he was imprisoned for a year at the Japanese POW camp at San Carlos Milling Co.

He was then transferred to the Santo Tomas Internment Camp on the outskirts of Manila.

At the Santo Tomas Internment Camp, the largest of several Japanese internment camps in the Philippines, thousands of mostly American civilians were imprisoned from January 1942 until February 1945.

When American GIs liberated Santo Tomas in 1945, many of the POWs were near death from starvation.

Ewart survived, and on March 3, 1945, news was received in Hawai‘i that he was safe and in good health at Santo Tomas, but had lost considerable weight.

After the war, Ewart led the restoration of the San Carlos Milling Co. and remained as manager until 1948 when he returned home to Hawai‘i.

Married to the former Elizabeth Lindsay of Kaua‘i, the Ewarts had three children: Edith, George and Alexander.
Source: The Garden Island

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