Monday, October 22, 2012

AN AMERICAN CONSULATE - ON GUAM



 
US flag from the period of the US Consulate on Guam


There was a brief time, in the 1850s, that enough American whalers were stopping by Guam, and enough contact was going on between Guam and Hawaii, that an American consulate was set up on Guam.  Hawaii was then still an independent country, but American missionaries and businessmen were an important segment of its population.

The American Consul in Hagåtña was Samuel J. Masters, a New Yorker who had lived in Hawaii for some time.  Edward A. Edgerton, a traveling man tired of life on the seas, stayed on Guam to work for Masters.  Of great interest to me is the fact that Edgerton was a daguerrotypist, working with an early form of photography.  He says he took photos of Guam in the 1850s.  If they still exist, they might be the earliest photographs of Guam.  But if they exist, where are they?

He enjoyed Guam and wanted to remain.  He had control of the old priest's house; two storeys with balconies, a grand staircase, high ceilings.  Perhaps the priests had moved to a newer or smaller house and Edgerton rented the bigger, older one.  But, his permission to stay denied by the Governor-General of the Philippines, Edgerton left Guam some years later.

The American Consulate on Guam, too, had a short life span and closed.

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