Edward McCorriston, -1872

Editor’s note: Today’s McCorriston isn’t technically of Molokai, as he died before the brothers Hugh and Daniel moved to the island. However, as a brother of Hugh and Daniel, we are including him in our profiles so as to not lose him to history.

Edward McCorriston (-September 9, 1872) was the captain of the sloop Waimalu on Oʻahu in the Kingdom of Hawaii during the reign of Kamehameha V.

Edward McCorriston was born to Hugh McCorriston (1805-1848). In 1864, he arrived in Honolulu with an older brother, Hugh McCorriston (1836-1926). [1]

By 1872, Edward was the master of the Waimalu, a sloop that made regular trips between Honolulu and Halawa in the ʻEwa district of Oʻahu for his cousin John C. McColgan (1814-1890), who owed a plantation in the district. He was also a member of the “Honolulu” Engine Company, No. 1, a fire truck that later boasted Mayor John Henry Wilson (1871-1956) as a member. [2] [3] [4] [5] [8]

In September of 1872, Edward McCorriston was murdered by a Hawaiian man named Kalepe while making a run from Honolulu to Puʻuloa (also known as Pearl River and Pearl Harbor). Richard Gilliland, a passenger aboard the Waimalu, gave testimony to the Supreme Court on the matter:

I left Honolulu last Monday [September 9, 1872] as passenger on board the sloop Waimalu, of which Edward McCorriston was master, bound to Ewa. Besides myself, there was a native woman passenger and two natives, as crew. We got to Puuloa about 11 o’clock, where we landed some freight. After a short stay there we got under way again and proceeded to beat up the river into the upper bay. The prisoner [Kalepe] was at the helm, when the Captain discovered that he was drunk, as he did not steer straight. The Captain told him to go forward and assist in tacking, which he did, and the Captain took the helm. The prisoner however was of no assistance in tacking, only a detriment, and the Captain told him to go below and go to sleep. Prisoner went below, after which we made one more tack , when prisoner came on deck again, and said, ‘You can’t tack without me.’ The Captain told him to go below. He refused. The Captain then told him to sit down; he did so. Soon he began to talk very abusively to the Captain, who tried to pacify him, but he continued to talk and use bad language. I was midships at the time, and looking aft, saw prisoner and the Captain fighting. I went aft and took hold of them and succeeded in separating them; the Captain resumed the helm and prisoner sat down again. I then went forward, and on looking around immediately saw that the prisoner had hold of the Captain again. I and the native woman passenger ran aft and endeavored to separate them. They were scuffling very near the taffrail; they had hold of each other; prisoner gave a sudden push; the Captain was next the rail; the Captain fell over almost backward, and they both fell into the water, the prisoner on top; the other native on board then threw a rope and the Captain got hold of it; we hauled on the rope and got them up to the vessel’s side, when I saw that the prisoner had the Captain by the throat with his right hand; could not see his left hand, as it was under the water; soon the Captain let go the rope and they both went down together; the vessel was moving through the water all the time; next saw the Captain and the prisoner come up close together; the native boy and I tried to get the sloop’s boat over the side, but could not; the boy then let go the anchor and the sloop brought up; then the boy, the native woman and myself got the boat over and the boy went in it; he could not find the Captain, who had sunk. He found the prisoner swimming and brought him to the sloop. Prisoner stood up in the boat and sung out to me that he would kill me also. The words he used were—”Likeke, I make you too.” He also said something to the boy and woman about killing, which I did not thoroughly understand. The boy got on board the sloop, but prisoner would not, but after throwing away the oar, pushed off and drifted away. The Captain was up only about a minute on rising the second time, and did not rise anymore. [2]

Edward’s body was recovered on September 11, 1872, and brought into Honolulu aboard the yacht Thistle. Kalepe was convicted of murder in the 3d degree in November 1872 and sentenced to three and a half years hard labor. [6] [7]

Edward McCorriston died in ʻEwa, Oʻahu, Kingdom of Hawaii, on September 9, 1872. The funeral was held at the Catholic Church on Oʻahu, now the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, on September 12, 1872, and his body was escorted by members of the Fire Department. [3] [7]

Updated February 1, 2019.


  1. H. McCorriston, Kamaaina, dies in 89th year (1926, October 9), The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26367065/hugh_mccorriston_obituary_1926/

  2. Notes of the week (1872, September 14), The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26389637/edward_mccorriston_richard_gillilands/

  3. Notes of the week (1872, September 11), The Hawaiian Gazette. Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/clip/19079979/edward_mccorriston_drowned_1872/

  4. Resolutions, Engine Co., No. 1 (1872, September 21), The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26387042/edward_mccorriston_resolution_from/

  5. Volunteer Boys of No. 1 (1887, January 17), The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26391337/edward_mccorriston_john_wilson_member/

  6. Notes of the week (1872, November 13), The Hawaiian Gazette. Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26389775/edward_mccorriston_kalepe_convicted_of/

  7. Notes of the week (1872, September 14), The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26387141/edward_mccorriston_body_recovered_1872/

  8. Sloop for sale at auction (1875, August 4), The Hawaiian Gazette. Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/clip/27031740/edward_mccorriston_owned_the_sloop/