Edward C. McCorriston, 1872-1945

Judge Edward C. McCorriston, 1872-1945. Image via  Newspapers.com .

Judge Edward C. McCorriston, 1872-1945. Image via Newspapers.com.

Edward C. McCorriston (February 19, 1872-December 26, 1945) was a rancher and judge on the Island of Molokai born during the reign of King Kamehameha V.

Edward C. McCorriston, known as “Eddie,” was born in Waiau, Oʻahu, on February 19, 1872, to Daniel McCorriston (1840-1927) and Anna McColgan (c.1851-1907). [1] [2]

In 1873, shortly after Eddie was born, he, with his family, moved to Molokai, where his father Daniel managed the Kamalō Plantation for their cousin John C. McColgan (1814-1890). Eddie spent the majority of his childhood on Molokai, completing his lower education in the local schools. [1] [3] [4] [5]

After completing his lower education, Eddie was educated at St. Louis College in Honolulu, Oʻahu. He was a diligent student, winning academic awards for spelling and orthography. Eddie remained involved with St. Louis, serving as a director of the Alumni Association for several years. He later received his law education via correspondence from a university in Chicago. [1] [6] [7] [8]

Upon graduation from St. Louis College, Eddie worked as a chauffeur in his father’s driving company, Sanders’ Express. In 1895, he was appointed to act on his father’s behalf in the business, which merged with Larsen’s Express to become the Union Express Company in 1896. He continued to work for the Union Express Company—and later the Union Pacific Transfer Company—as a driver, clerk, and baggage handler, with a brief stint as a machinist at the Honolulu Iron Works. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [33]

In about 1913, Eddie moved back to Molokai to work as a laborer and small farmer in Kamalō. [14] [15] [34]

On December 29, 1914, Eddie married Mary Kawaiulani Campbell (1894-1980) in Honolulu, Oʻahu. [14] They had seven children:

  1. Son John Campbell McCorriston, known as “Jack,” was born in Kamalō, Molokai, on November 18, 1915, married Grace Sosnowski (1920-1969) in Honolulu, Oʻahu, on May 27, 1939, and died in Kihei, Maui, on December 3, 1992

  2. Son Edward McCorriston, Jr., known as “Mike,” was born in Honolulu, Oʻahu, on February 2, 1917, married Anna Kaiwahine Karratti (1923-2011) in Honolulu, Oʻahu, on August 19, 1944, and died in Kāneohe, Oʻahu, on June 25, 1975

  3. Daughter Annie McCorriston was born in Honolulu, Oʻahu, on December 25, 1917, and died in Kamalō, Molokai, on June 8, 1918

  4. Daughter Euphemia Leinaʻala McCorriston, known as “Lei,” was born in Kamalō, Molokai, on January 29, 1919, married Emil Emery Tawney in Hagåtña (Agana), Guam, on July 22, 1948, and died in Kula, Maui, on January 29, 2009

  5. Daughter Catherine Mary McCorriston was born in Honolulu, Oʻahu, on January 26, 1921, and died in Kaunakakai, Molokai, on August 23, 1933

  6. Son Richard Neil McCorriston was born in Honolulu, Oʻahu, on August 31, 1923, married first June Christine Brown on June 30, 1951, married second Norma Edna O’Neill (1928-2008), and died in Concord, California, on September 11, 1992

  7. Son Donald Campbell McCorriston was born in Kamalō, Molokai, on April 18, 1932, married Theresa Cornell (1933-2008) in Alameda City, California, on June 14, 1969, and died in Hayward, California, on March 6, 2008

Eddie began his life of public service in 1917, when he submitted his name as a candidate for the Board of Supervisors on Molokai. In 1919, he applied to practice law, and in 1920, was appointed as the District Magistrate of leeward Molokai. He held this position, with biannual reappointments, until his death in 1945. [1] [8] [15] [16]

Of his more colorful acts as District Magistrate, Eddie appointed Hollywood actor Warner Baxter as the Mayor of Molokai in 1935. The affair began as a joke: in 1934, San Francisco and Honolulu capitalist and owner of Puʻuhoku Ranch Paul Fagan requested a special song be written to honor Baxter, who was slated to visit Fagan the next year. The result was R. A. Anderson’s “Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai.” After listening to the song, Fagan invited Baxter to visit Puʻuhoku and promised to make him the mythical mayor of Kaunakakai. [17] [18]

When word of this promise reached the magistrate’s office, Eddie promptly closed down schools, gave the island ranch hands a public holiday, and had a platform erected near the Molokai market. Students and teachers, no longer engaged in the day’s education, set to making lei; other Molokai residents made banners and signs promoting Baxter as mayor. A parade was organized and led by the American Legion, and on Tuesday, April 30, 1935, Warner Baxter, star of Daddy Long Legs and The Cisco Kid, rode through the town astride Rita Judd’s docile pony, Brown Biscuit, as the new Mayor of Molokai. [17]

Warner Baxter may have been the Mayor of Molokai, but Eddie was the “Little King”, according to Time Magazine; in 1927, he was mentioned in an article about the first trans-Pacific airplane flight, which was undertaken by pilot Ernest L. Smith and navigator Emory Bronte. The two fliers left Oakland, California, in a Travelair monoplane, dubbed “The City of Oakland,” and soon encountered fog over the Pacific Ocean. The next day, while over the Pacific, they sent a series of S.O.S. messages and then, silence. Four and a half hours later, Smith and Bronte crash-landed through a grove of kiawe trees on Molokai. Eddie greeted them soon thereafter and helped get them to safety. This started a friendship between Eddie and Emory Bronte, who exchanged letters for a number of years. [19] [20]

Eddie was involved in a number of civic and social organizations as well. He was the recording secretary for the Molokai Civic Club, later known as the Civic Improvement Association of Molokai, in its first year; the treasurer of the same in its 1924-15 session; the president of the Molokai Athletic Association in its first session; a hope aliʻiaimoku (vice president) of the Kamehameha Lodge (later known as the Order of Kamehameha), Molokai chapter; member of the Order of Kamehameha, Aliʻi chapter; the president of the Kaluaʻaha Parent-Teachers Association; Pūkoʻo district committeeman for the Molokai Fair; the Molokai representative to the Hawaiʻi Jubilee commission; a committee member for Kamehameha Day, on which he served with Mayor John H. Wilson (1871-1956); the third vice president of the Hui Lokahi o Molokai. He posthumously received a special congressional selective service medal. [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31]

Eddie died on December 26, 1945, in Kaunakakai, County of Maui, Island of Molokai, Territory of Hawaiʻi. He is buried in the St. Joseph Church cemetery in Kamalō, Molokai. [1] [32]


  1. “Judge McCorriston, ‘Kaunakakai Mayor,’ Dies,” The Honolulu Advertiser, December 27, 1945, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28072689/edward_mccorriston_obituary_1945/.

  2. “Mrs. M’Corriston Dead,” Evening Bulletin, May 3, 1907, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26263453/annie_nelson_obituary_1907/.

  3. “New Sugar Plantation,” The Hawaiian Gazette, July 23, 1873, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/27029967/john_mccolgan_start_of_kamalo/.

  4. Bowser, George, 1880-1881: The Hawaiian Kingdom Statistical and Commercial Directory and Tourist's Guide. Honolulu; San Francisco: George Bowser & Co., 1880, p411, http://hdl.handle.net/10524/19432.

  5. Jennie Wilson, interview by Albert P. Medeiros, December 16, 1952; "Hawaii Births and Christenings, 1852-1933," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FWSZ-GFJ : 10 February 2018), George Edward Mccorriston, 14 Dec 1884; citing KAMALO, MOLOKAI, MA, Hawaii, reference Bk 163 cn 40538; FHL microfilm 1,031,609.

  6. “St. Louis College.,” The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 25, 1885, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28099024/edward_c_mccorriston_spelling_and/.

  7. “St. Louis Officers.,” The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, June 20, 1911, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28026105/edward_mccorriston_director_of_the_st/.

  8. “Molokai Notes,” The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, February 10, 1920, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28029779/edward_mccorriston_accepted_as/.

  9. Bowser, George, 1896-1897: Directory of Honolulu and the Territory of Hawaii. San Francisco: George Bowser & Co., 1894, p191, http://hdl.handle.net/10524/12275

  10. “Notice.,” The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 5, 1895, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28025935/edward_mccorriston_appointed_to_manage/.

  11. “Notice.,” The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, May 30, 1896, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26261188/daniel_mccorriston_merge_of_sanders/.

  12. Husted, F. M., comp. 1898: Husted's Directory and Handbook of Honolulu and the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu; San Francisco: Hawaiian Gazette Company, 1898, 196, http://hdl.handle.net/10524/35849.

  13. “The Wisdon of Solomon and Beauty of Sheba,” The Hawaiian Star, July 6, 1908, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28103742/edward_mccorriston_baggage_handler/.

  14. “Local and General,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 29, 1914, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28026244/edward_mccorriston_marriage_1914/.

  15. “McCorriston Out for Supervisor,” The Maui News, March 9, 1917, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28074154/edward_mccorriston_board_of/.

  16. “Short Calendar Before the Circuit Court,” The Maui News, August 29, 1919, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28945652/edward_mccorriston_application_to/.

  17. Williams, John, “Molokai Goes Hollywood: Warner Baxter Made First Mayor,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 4, 1935, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28074815/edward_mccorriston_warner_baxter_1940/.

  18. Edward B. Marks Music Corp., “The Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai,” http://www.huapala.org/C/Cockeyed_Mayor_of_Kaunakak.html.

  19. “Fog Flight.,” Time, July 25, 1927, EBSCOhost.

  20. “Bronte Revisits Molokai,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 22, 1937, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28064700/edward_mccorriston_transpacific/.

  21. “Molokai Organizes Strong Civic Club,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 4, 1919, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28029445/edward_mccorriston_recording/.

  22. “Heads Chosen by Civic Body,” The Honolulu Advertiser, July 4, 1924, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28034558/edward_mccorriston_treasurer_of_the/.

  23. “Sports Association Formed on Molokai,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 8, 1924, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28034719/edward_mccorriston_president_of_the/.

  24. “Molokai Man Wounded While Cleaning Pistol,” The Honolulu Advertiser, June 27, 1929, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28037879/edward_mccorriston_member_of/.

  25. “Limits for Official Terms Delayed by Kam Lodge,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 16, 1939, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28069376/edward_mccorriston_installed_as_alii/.

  26. “Molokai Parent-Teachers Meet to Outline Year,” The Honolulu Advertiser, September 21, 1930, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28038519/edward_mccorriston_pta_president_1930/.

  27. “Molokai Gets Ready for Its Fair April 29,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 21, 1932, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28038722/edward_mccorriston_pukoo_rep_to/.

  28. “Hawaii Jubilee, 1936,” The Honolulu Advertiser, May 10, 1936, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28064102/edward_mccorriston_maui_and_molokai/.

  29. “John C. Lane Named Kamehameha Day Observance Head,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 19, 1939, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28068759/edward_mccorriston_kamehameha_day/.

  30. “Hui o Lokahi Will Meet Monday Night,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 16, 1939, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28069569/edward_mccorriston_officer_of_hui/.

  31. “Honor Selective Service Workers,” The Honolulu Advertiser, January 24, 1946, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28072976/edward_mccorriston_special/.

  32. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 05 August 2019), memorial page for Edward McCorriston (19 Feb 1872–26 Nov 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 113442855, citing Saint Joseph Church Cemetery, Kamalo, Maui County, Hawaii, USA; Maintained by Sherry SH (contributor 48127093) .

  33. “Notice,” The Hawaiian Star, September 7, 1907, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/34590916/union_express_company_becomes/.

  34. Directory of Honolulu and the Territory of Hawaii. Honolulu: Polk-Husted Directory Co., 1913, p1130; Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, database and digital images (https://ancestry.com : accessed 05 August 2019), entry for Edward McCorriston in Kamalo, Molokai. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.