The Corson Family

 Dr. Hiram Corson is Helen Corson's 2nd great uncle. His book, The Corson Family, (1906) is a biography of the Corson family. It can be read online. The book traces the family back to Cornelius Corssen who according to Dr. Corson's account, sailed to America in 1685, with Hugenots fleeing persecution in France. There are though records that provide evidence that Cornelius was born in New Amsterdam, New York , a child of Cors Pieterszen Coursen and Tryntje Hendrickse, each born in Holland, in the Netherlands. Whatever the arrival date or nationality of the Corson family, they were here very early in our nation's history seeking opportunity in a new land. Shaping a new land.

In Three Hundred Years with the Corson Families in America (1939) Orville Corson details the histories of seven Corson families in America, including the Staten Island-Pennsylvania Corsons. Orville has Hiram's book and says that the mistake the Dr. made was in assuming that Cornelius was the "Coursen" listed as a passenger on the French vessel in 1685. He provides documents that he argues establish that Cornelius was born in America in 1645 and married in Americas in 1666. This book is digitized microfilm and not easy to work with. Further research in this area is needed.
  Cornelius Corssen (1645-1695)
Readers of French history know something of the persecutions inflicted on the Protestants after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV on October 18, 1685. Simondi computed the whole number who emigrated from France at that time, at 400,000, and supposed that an equal number perished on the gallows, in prisons, at the galleys, and in attempts at escape. Voltaire said : " 600,000 fled carrying with them riches, their industry, and their implacable hatred of King." In 1685 two vessels with Huguenots left France for Charleston, South Carolina, but from some cause, perhaps stress of weather, one of them made a landing on Staten Island.In Weiss' History of French Protestant Refugees, Vol. II, page 315, are given the names of those who came in that vessel. These are the names there recorded : Resan, La Tourette, Cruse (now Cruzen or Kreuson), Corssen, Bedell, Larseleau (now Larzelere), and fourteen others. Weiss refers to the escape of one of the above parties, which is of interest as pointing to the part of France from which some of them, at least, came. He says : " Henri de La Tourette fled from La Vendee, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. To avoid suspicion he gave a large entertainment, and, while the guests were assembled suddenly left with his wife for the sea coast where they boarded a vessel bound for South Carolina,"On that vessel was Cornelius Corssen, the first ancestor of the Corsons in the United States.
from: The Corson Family
  Dr. Hiram Corson (1804-1896)
I was the seventh child and fifth son of Joseph and Hannah Dickinson Corson, and was born at Hickorytown, Plymouth Township, Montgomery County, Pa., October 8, 1804. My mother died when I was but six years of age, but I received almost a mother's care from my two sisters, Mary and Sarah, who were respectively twelve and eleven years my senior. My early education was received at the Friends' School, at Plymouth Meeting, under Joseph Foulke, a minister in the Friends' Meeting at that place ; later with my brother, Alan W. Corson, who was talented in mathematics and the natural sciences ; and finally, when nearing manhood, at the Friends' Select School, in Philadelphia, under Benjamin Moore. After leaving school, I was engaged on my father's farm and in his store, at Hickorytown, until May 9, 1826, when I entered as a student of medicine in the office of Dr. Richard D. Corson, at New Hope, Bucks County, Pa. The following winter I attended the lectures given in the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, by Professors Physic, Chapman, James, Hare, Horner, Gibson, and Dewees, (who was an adjunct to James). During the second course, in addition to tliose which I have named, there were lectures by Samuel Jackson, on the " Institutes of Medicine." I graduated in the spring of 1828. After a few weeks rest at home I was invited by my father's family physician, Dr. Leedom (grandfather of Dr. Oscar Leedom), to join him in the practice of medicine. Dr. Leedom was well advanced in years and desired to be relieved of some of the arduous labor of his profession. After a three months' trial the partnership was abandoned, but Dr. Leedom desired me to remain in the neighborhood, which I did, hax'ing obtained board with Jonathan Maulsby and wife. I was soon in possession of a good practice, extending over a large extent of country. Light carriages were not then much used, physicians making their journeys mostly on horseback. The Schuylkill river had no bridge at Conshohocken nor at Spring Mill, but there was a shackly ferryboat at the latter place. At Conshohocken the river had to be forded, and sometimes, when it was swollen with freshets, it was a very hazardous undertaking. So, too, the Wissahickon had to be crossed, and often with great risk of life.
from: The Corson Family
"I must say a word about the extraordinary amount of work done by Dr. Corson. A simple calculation shows that he must have made at least 400,000 professional visits nearly all in the country ; and in doing so must have traveled on horseback or by carriage a distance equal to going sixty times round the world. The oldest sea captain in his fleet-winged clipper ship has not gone half so far !"
In Memoriam -- ADDRESS BY DR. JOHN C. SPEAR -- from: The Corson Family
  Alan Wright Corson (1788-1882)
“Alan was the eldest child of Joseph and Hannah Dickinson Corson, and was born February- 21, 1788, on the " Maulsby Farm," located at the intersection of the German-town and the Plymouth and Upper Dublin Turnpikes ; he married, November 24, 1811, Mary Egbert, daughter of Laurence and Sarah Norman Egbert, and lived for the greater part of his married life on his farm in Whitemarsh Township, a short distance northeast of Cold Point Church. He died on June 27, 1882, aged ninety-four years, four months and six days—a long life, free from the use of alcoholic drinks, and unattended by any serious illness.”

"No man could be more careful than was Alan W. Corson to deport himself so as not to give offense ; sensitive and unobtrusive, refusing to be put forward in places above his friends, ever ready to discover the appearance of neglect and quick to refuse to receive a favor bestowed with a shade of reluctance—such was his character."

“He became a member of the Society- of Friends at a very early age, and attended the meetings very regularly.”

“With few exceptions, the whole Corson race have been cultivated in mind and are notorious for their love of free thought True to their Huguenot origin, they have been outspoken for freedom—the deadly foes of slavery, and most of them life-long teetotalers. As the phrenologists say, the moral instincts have predominated over those strictly religious, Alan W. being the only one of the male members of the family who assumed the strict garb and life of the Friends, although most of them adhere to the Society's teachings. Alan W. is justly noted for his doctrinal unity with those who hold the views of Elias Hicks, and for the conscientious fulfillment of every precept of Christian morals.”

from: The Corson Family
  Elias Hicks Corson (1816-1877)
“The eldest son and third child of Alan W. and Mary Egbert Corson, was born February 19, 1816, and died November 5, 1877. He lived, therefore, but a little more than three score of years, yet his was a life of honor and usefulness. Theo W. Bean in his biography thus speaks of him :

"His father, a distinguished teacher, mathematician, and botanist, was able to give him superior opportunities of instruction ; to which primary store of knowledge, he added by reading and observation. At the time of his majority he engaged in lime burning in Chester County, but soon returned and began the same business in Plymouth, where it was continued with energy and profit until his death, November 5, 1877. He was also engaged in the coal business, and was the owner of a fine farm adjacent to the quarries which he cultivated to its fullest capacity.

"Early in the anti-slavery movement, he joined his efforts to those put forth by the friends of human rights, and through the long years of that strife, was active in the cause, contributing freely, and aiding in all proper ways to give freedom to the slave.

"To the temperance cause he also gave his heartiest approval, for which work he was eminently fitted ; no amount of opposition or inconsistency of others being able to tempt him to unbecoming violence, or prevent his administering a deserved rebuke. It may be said of him that few men in this section of the State were better known or more universally esteemed. He displayed a varied knowledge, was quick of apprehension and possessed a rare facility of conversation, combined with the kindness and gentleness of a child. He possessed a strong individuality, was a marked man, in stature, strength and symmetry, and possessed not less remarkable business qualifications than strong mental endowments. He was fond of literature, a reader of the poets, and kept pace with the transactions of the times. His conversation and presence were magnetic, his manner agreeable, and his wit devoid of sting or bitterness. Good, pure, strong, and true, his influence will survive, while to his he remains a bright memory, a spur to noble deeds in the cause of humanity."

from: The Corson Family
  Henry Harris Corson (1847-1932)
“Henry H. Corson the eldest son, is a shrewd and successful business man of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He married Sarah T. Abrahams, of Minnesota, and they have five children : 1, Emily H. Corson ; 2, Margaret B. Corson ; 3, Henry H. Corson, Jr. ; 4, Helen Corson ; and 5, Anna A. Corson”
from: The Corson Family