Crooked Judge | Hawaiian Home

Abner Pratt.  New York District Attorney.  Michigan Supreme Court Judge.  Counsel to the Kingdom of Hawaii.  Theif.

Honolulu House
Marshall, Michigan
Photography | Tom Libertiny

It seems that all of Pratt’s self-inflicted troubles came to a head when he built Honolulu House in Marshall, Michigan (1860) as a tribute to his love for Hawaii.

History

Appointed as the U.S. Consul to Honolulu in 1857 by President James Buchanan as a reward for helping Buchanan get elected, Pratt gamed Hawaiian medical law which enabled him to embezzle significant money from American tax-payers via the federal government.  Likely, much of our embezzled money went into designing and building his Hawaiian-styled home in Michigan.

In 1859, the U.S. State Department ordered U.S. Commissioner to Hawaii, James W. Borden to investigate Pratt.  During his investigations he interviewed Robert Lett, a 37-year-old shoemaker and sailor, who had spent time in Hawaii as a patient in Pratt’s hospital system:

“To the best of [my] knowledge, not once was a legitimate receipt even submitted to the U.S. government during [Pratt’s] time at the hospital [as its director].”

Honolulu House
Marshall, Michigan
Photography | Tom Libertiny

With the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, Pratt essentially got away with his crimes due to circumstances.  He only lived until 1863 when he died from pneumonia.  Karma had won.

Good News

Honolulu House, the home that our ancestor’s money built, is available for anyone to tour for just $5.00.  And Pratt’s life could be the basis for a movie.

Honolulu House
Marshall, Michigan
Photography | Tom Libertiny