Margaret Theresa McCorriston, 1879-1964

Margaret Theresa McCorriston (January 5, 1879-December 2, 1964) was a pioneer of the Island of Molokai who was born to a prominent kamaʻāina family of 19th- and 20th-century Hawaiʻi during the reign of King Kalākaua.

Margaret Theresa McCorriston, known as “Kinnie” or “Theresa,” was born in Honolulu, Oʻahu, Kingdom of Hawaii, on January 5, 1879, to Hugh McCorriston (1836-1926) and Margaret Louise Gorman (1846-1932). [1] [2]

Kinnie spent her early years in Kamalō, Molokai, at the McCorriston homestead near the Kamalō Sugar Plantation. Her father Hugh was the sugar refiner for the plantation and mill, eventually co-managing the operations with his brother Daniel McCorriston (1840-1927). [1] [2]

Near the turn of the century, Kinnie taught at the Kamalō government school. She held this position until about 1902; by 1903, she was residing on Oʻahu with her brother George Edward McCorriston (1884-1973) and her half-brother Frank Hudson Foster (1869-1955). She may have resigned her teaching position due to injury: in 1901, Kinnie was thrown from a horse-drawn carriage and fractured her skull. She later returned to the workforce as a cashier for the Hawaiian Electric Company, a position she held for 24 years. [1] [3] [4] [5]

After her move to Oʻahu, Kinnie became more known within the social circles of Honolulu. Her engagement to William Elderkin Kerr (1883-1947), son of Hawaiʻi capitalist L.B. Kerr, was frequently mentioned in The Pacific Commercial Advertiser and Hawaiian Star between July 1 and July 28, 1907. It’s possible that the frequent announcements were to satisfy the Catholic requirement of publishing banns of marriage; however, Kinnie and her fiancé were noted as being “more than ordinarily popular with a large circle of friends.” William and Kinnie were married at the McCorriston homestead on Molokai on August 7, 1907. [6]

Kinnie had one daughter, Margaret Elizabeth Kerr, born in Honolulu, Oʻahu, on November 16, 1908. [7]

Kinnie died in Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaii, USA, on December 2, 1964. Her funeral was held at St. Pius X Church on December 4, 1964, and she is buried at Diamond Head Memorial Park on Oʻahu. [1]


  1. “Mrs. William Kerr,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 3, 1964,

  2. Lynn Kanani Daue, “Hugh McCorriston, 1936-1926,” The McCorristons of Molokai, accessed March 25, 2019,

  3. “Fear Miss McCorriston is Fatally Injured,” Evening Bulletin, December 9, 1901,

  4. F. M. Husted, Polk-Husted’s Directory of Honolulu and Territory of Hawaii (Honolulu; Oakland: F. M. Husted, 1902), 651,

  5. F. M. Husted, Polk-Husted’s Directory of Honolulu and Territory of Hawaii (Honolulu; Oakland: F. M. Husted, 1903), PAGE, URI.

  6. “Social Events of the Week,” Hawaiian Star, July 27, 1907,

  7. “Born,” Hawaiian Star, November 17, 1908,