David Belden Lyman (1803-1884)

Born in New Hartford, Connecticut on July 29, 1803, David Lyman graduated from Andover Theological Seminary. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), based in Boston, ordained him as a minister in 1831. Months later he married Sarah Joiner of Royalton, Vermont. After an ocean voyage of 173 days, the couple arrived at Honolulu, Hawaiʻi on May 17, 1832. They had eight children in Hilo where he served as a preacher, teacher, principal, and government official. He lived the rest of his life in the town.

In November 1831, the Lymans joined the Fifth Company of ABCFM missionaries and sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts to Hawaiʻi aboard the whaling ship Averick. On January 10, 1831, David Lyman wrote to his brother Edward Lyman about a turbulent night:
“Tuesday evening the wind increased to a gale, and just as those who could sit up were about to take their supper, the ship already rolling so as to render it difficult for any one to keep his seat, a heavy sea broke upon our quarter deck and threw the plates, knives and forks and all that was upon the table with those about to use them, in a wild confusion upon the floor among boxes, trunks, etc. which were sliding in every direction. The ship was several times during the night thrown upon her beam ends (i.e. thrown over upon her side so as to bring the railing under water and lay the masts down touching the waves).”
When they finally reached Hilo in July 1832, they moved into a stone house. The men of the Hilo Mission Station converted many residents living on the east side of the island from Laupāhoehoe in the north to Kaʻū in the south. In 1848 the ABCFM Prudential Committee deemed the Hawaiian Mission a success. The studio photo was taken by H. L. Chase of Honolulu.
Using the Calvinist theology of his time, David Lyman delivered a sermon after the April 1868 earthquake in Kaʻū. He suggested the disaster was “laden with lessons of the deepest spiritual import and in these convulsions of nature, God has been speaking with a voice of majesty to this whole nation.” From 1832 to 1836, Lyman fulfilled pastoral duties at Haili Church, often traveled on lengthy preaching tours of Hawaiʻi Island, and years later still delivered occasional sermons.
Teacher and Principal
This page shows student enrollments in 1841. David and Sarah Lyman started the Hilo Boarding School in 1836. The vocational school for Hawaiian boys offered classes on academics, religion, and trades such as farming, woodworking, and blacksmithing. David Lyman served as principal and teacher until 1874 and as treasurer of the organization until his death in 1884. More than 2300 students graduated from the school between 1836 to 1925.
Kingdom Official
On June 10, 1857, David Lyman signed a loyalty pledge to the constitution and laws of the Kingdom’s government. Years earlier on August 25, 1851, A. G. Thurston, a clerk for the Interior Department, officially appointed Lyman as a land agent. On June 20, 1857, Lyman accepted appointment as treasurer for the Kingdom Schools on Hawaiʻi Island.