Captain Hendrik Christian L’Orange and his uncle Valdemar Knudsen had worked together to establish a sugar plantation in the Kekaha area of Kauai in 1877-78. In 1879 Christian purchased his own plantation on Maui. He named it Lilikoi.
The account books show that at one time he was in debt for as much as $43,000, an enormous amount in those days. There is another interesting entry in the books: the company had paid $15 in reward for the capture of three runaway plantation laborers!
L’Orange later sold the plantation on Maui, and Christian and Caroline and the children moved to Kauai. There he became the director of a sugar plantation, which was also given the name Lilikoi.
Around 1885 the family moved to Florida. One of the reasons that they left Hawaii was, without a doubt, all the criticism he had received for having brought such ill-suited laborers to work on the plantations there.
He bought property in Florida and became a tobacco farmer.
At the end of the 1890’s, Christian and Caroline were divorced. He died in Florida in 1916.
Caroline and all the children except the oldest, moved to Norway. The oldest son, Hans (born in 1892), went to Hawaii in 1911 and became one of the administrators of the big sugar plantation, Oahu Sugar Company. When a Swedish reporter interviewed him in 1980, L’Orange spoke Norwegian to him.
Caroline died in 1935, and was buried in the cemetery of her home church, Strømsø, in Drammen.
Happy and Content in Florida
Alice L’Orange has a copy of a couple of letters that her mother-in-law, Caroline L’Orange, wrote to her sister in Drammen in 1887-88. It is quite unusual that a woman can read a letter that her mother-in-law had written 117 years earlier!
In the first letter, dated 3-5-1887, Little Norway, River Junction, Gadsden County, Fla (Florida), she writes…
“Aloha from Forgotten Norwegians in Hawaii”