Hugh McCorriston, 1836-1926

Image © David Blewster Knight. Used with permission.

Image © David Blewster Knight. Used with permission.

Hugh McCorriston (December 24, 1836-October 8, 1926) was a rice miller, sugarcane farmer, and cattle rancher in the Hawaiian Islands at the turn of the 20th century.

Hugh McCorriston was born in County Londonderry, Ireland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, on December 24, 1836, to Hugh McCorriston (1805-1848) and Margaret Farren (1816-1849). [1]

In 1864, Hugh arrived in Honolulu with a younger brother, Edward McCorriston (-1872). Shortly thereafter, in 1865, he opened a rice mill at Waiau, Oʻahu, with his brother Daniel McCorriston (1840-1927), who had arrived in the Hawaiian Islands the year prior with their cousin Daniel McCorriston (1845-1899). [1] [2]

In 1873, Hugh and his brother Daniel moved to Kamalō on the Island of Molokai. By about 1877, the brothers owned and operated a sugarcane plantation and mill known as the Kamalo Plantation; the plantation closed in about 1879. In 1880, Hugh was working as a sugar refiner at the Kamalo Sugar Plantation, a plantation and mill owned by their cousin John C. McColgan (1814-1890). By 1888, Hugh was a manager of the Kamalo Sugar Plantation alongside his brother Daniel. [2] [3] [4] [5]

In 1890, Hugh and Daniel inherited the Kamalo Sugar Plantation upon John McColgan’s death; James F. Morgan acted as the agent in Honolulu. On August 7, 1891, the sugar plantation and mill burned down. [6] [7]

Some time after the Kamalo Sugar Plantation burned down, Hugh and Daniel turned cattle onto the lands and started a ranch. By May of 1897, the brothers planned to revive the sugar mill in concert with Frank Hudson Foster (1869-1955), Hugh’s stepson. On May 8, 1899, the new plantation was inaugurated as Kamalo Sugar Company, Limited, by Frank Foster, Frank Hustace, and John J. Egan, the trio having purchased the McCorriston lands for $25,000 in cash and $20,000 in company stock. [8] [9] [10]

In 1902, Hugh was still officially considered a rancher, despite the sale of the McCorriston lands three years prior. He continued in this vein until some time between 1906 and 1910, at which point he returned to Honolulu until his death in 1926. [11] [12] [13] [14]

Hugh served in several public service positions during his residence on Molokai. In 1894, he was appointed as a member to the Tax Appeal Board by the Minister of Finance for the Republic of Hawaii. Later, from about 1896 to about 1898, he served as the Postmaster in Kamalo. [15] [16] [17]

On August 19, 1877, Hugh married Margaret Louise Gorman (1846-1932), the widow of Samuel Hudson Foster, in Halawa, Molokai; the Reverend Father Damien—now known as Saint Damien of Molokai—married them. [18] In addition to the three children from her first marriage—Lydy Elizabeth Foster (1864-1943), Ella Foster (1867-1955), and Frank Hudson Foster (1869-1955)—Hugh and Margaret had six children:

  1. Daughter Margaret Theresa McCorriston, known as “Kinnie,” was born on January 5, 1879, in Honolulu, Oʻahu, married William Elderkin Kerr (1883-1947) on August 7, 1907, and died on December 2, 1964, in Honolulu, Oʻahu

  2. Daughter Hannah Sarah McCorriston, known as “Dove,” was born on December 7, 1881, in Kamalō, Molokai, and died on July 26, 1969, in Honolulu, Oʻahu

  3. Daughter Gertrude Annie McCorriston, known as “Gertie,” was born on February 19, 1883, in Kamalō, Molokai, and died on August 28, 1972, in Kailua, Oʻahu

  4. Son George Edward McCorriston was born on December 14, 1884, in Kamalō, Molokai, married Martha Barbara Marie Schweickert (1898-1994) on November 12, 1925, and died on March 6, 1973, in Honolulu, Oʻahu

  5. Daughter Eva Mary McCorriston was born on February 6, 1887, in Kamalō, Molokai, married Mervyn Thomas Prindiville (1891-1966), and died on February 18, 1966, in Honolulu, Oʻahu

  6. Son Oscar Hugh McCorriston was born on June 10, 1888, and died on January 18, 1973, in Honolulu, Oʻahu

The McCorriston home—Hugh and Daniel and their families lived together—was often a stopping point for travelers from both Europe and from neighboring islands. According to an account from Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, musician, and travel writer, Hugh and his family were

… all of that class of Irish whom I cannot tell, save for a trifling variance of brogue, from my own folk of Scotland; persons of thoughtful, careful speech, observant subhumorously, and with those fine, plain manners which turn the laugh on class distinctions. [19]

Saint Damien of Molokai would stay with the McCorristons when he came “top-side” from the leper colony at Kalaupapa. According to Lydy Foster Lucas, Hugh’s stepdaughter

When Father Damien came to Wawaʻia [“Kamalo”] to give his sermons and tend to his small flock, he would stay with the McCorriston family. According to the remembrances of Lila Morgan’s grandmother … the sheets and towels were always thoroughly washed and everything else scrubbed down after he left. [20]

Hugh McCorriston died at 7:40pm on October 8, 1926, in Honolulu, County of Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii. He is buried in the Oʻahu Cemetery in Honolulu. [1] [21]

Updated February 18, 2019.


  1. H. McCorriston, Kamaaina, dies in 89th year (1926, October 9), The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved from

  2. Dan M’Corriston of Molokai dies (1927, March 16), Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved from

  3. C. Ah Ping recalls days when Molokai grew sugar crops (1939, September 8), Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved from

  4. 1880-1881: The Hawaiian Kingdom Statistical and Commercial Directory and Tourist's Guide. Retrieved from (Original published in 1880)

  5. 1888: Husted's Directory of Honolulu and the Hawaiian Territory. Retrieved from (Original published in 1888)

  6. 1890: Directory and Handbook of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Retrieved from (Original published in 1890)

  7. Local and general (1891, August 12), The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved from

  8. Will develop Molokai (1897, May 26), The Hawaiian Star. Retrieved from

  9. At Kamalo again (1899, April 22), The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved from

  10. Harvey R. Hitchcock, Lawrence H. Dee, Harry I. Evans and Charles J. Fishel, on behalf of themselves and all other stockholders in the Kamalo Sugar Company, Limited, v. Frank Hustace, John J. Egan, Frank H. Foster, and The Kamalo Sugar Company, Limited (October, 1901). Retrieved from

  11. “1900 United States Federal Census,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 20 December 2018), search for Hugh McCorriston, residing on Oahu and born in 1836; Year: 1900; Census Place: Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii Territory; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0009

  12. 1902: Directory of City & County of Honolulu. Retrieved from (Original published in 1902)

  13. 1905-1906: Husted's Directory of Honolulu and Territory of Hawaii. Retrieved from (Original published in 1905)

  14. 1910: Husted's Directory of Honolulu and the Territory of Hawaii. Retrieved from (Original published in 1910)

  15. By authority (1894, November 6), The Hawaiian Gazette. Retrieved from

  16. 1896-1897: Directory of Honolulu and the Territory of Hawaii. Retrieved from (Original published in 1896)

  17. 1898: Husted's Directory and Handbook of Honolulu and the Hawaiian Islands. Retrieved from (Original published in 1898)

  18. Married., (1877, September 1), The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Retrieved from

  19. Stevenson, R. L. (1991). Travels in Hawaii. Illustrated edition, reprint. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press

  20. McElroy, W., Eminger, S., and Elison, M. (2013). FINAL—Archaeological Inventory Survey of TMK: (2) 5-5-001:007 (por.) and :026 (por.), Keoneku‘ino Ahupua‘a, Kona District, Island of Moloka‘i. Retrieved from

  21. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 20 December 2018), memorial page for Hugh McCorriston (24 Dec 1836–8 Oct 1926), Find A Grave Memorial no. 112979651, citing O'ahu Cemetery, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by David Blewster Knight (contributor 47958606)