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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOSEPH K. CORSON, M. D., of Whitemarsh township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, a physician and surgeon of high repute, and who made an excellent military record in the line and in the medical department of the army during and subsequent to the Civil war, is a representative of the Corson family whose ancestral history is given on other pages of this work.

He was born at Maple Hill, in the township in which he now resides, November 22, 1836, son of Dr. Hiram and Ann (Foulke) Corson. He began his education under private tutors in the parental home; studied advanced branches under the preceptorship of Frederick Anspach, of the Lutheran church at Barren Hill, and then finished a course under the Rev. Samuel Aaron, an accomplished teacher, in the famous Treemount Seminary at Norristown. He then entered the drug store of William and John Savery, in Philadelphia, and in 1858, at the age of twenty-two, received his degree in pharmacy. Being offered a situation in St. Paul, Minnesota, then a small but growing town, he accepted, but the failure of his employers soon left him without employment, and he returned home. There he engaged in the lime business with his cousin, Laurence E. Corson, at Norristown. Soon afterward he matriculated in the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, but his studies were almost immediately suspended on account of the outbreak of the slaveholders’ rebellion. Laying aside his text books, he enlisted in a company of the Fourth Pennsylvania Regiment, recruited in Norristown, and of which Walter H. Cook was captain. His company was mustered into the service of the United States at Harrisburg, and then proceeded to Perryville. Mr. Corson was honorably discharged on July 26, 1861, having completed his three months term of service under President Lincoln’s first call for troops, and retiring with the rank of sergeant. He then resumed his medical studies in Philadelphia, and received an appointment as medical cadet in the army hospital at Broad and Cherry streets, and served in that capacity from June 1, 1861, until March, 1863. In the same month he graduated from his medical school with the degree of doctor of medicine, and was at once commissioned assistant surgeon of the Sixth Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, a position which he filled from March 23, 1863, to June 11, 1864, and he was subsequently acting assistant surgeon at Camp Discharge, in Lower Merion township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. During his army service he was present at the battles of Gettysburg, Falling Water, Manassas Gap, Bristow Station, Mine Run, Rappahannock Station, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna River, and Bethesda Church in Virginia, and acquitted himself so creditably that he received from the President the brevet commission of major, “for faithful and meritorious service during the Wilderness Campaign in Virginia.” He subsequently received the congressional Medal of Honor, conferred “for most distinguished gallantry in action near Bristow Station, Virginia, with the Pennsylvania Reserves,” and his honorable discharge from the army, consequent upon the close of the war, he practiced medicine at home in association with his father.

October 9, 1867, Dr. Corson was commissioned assistant surgeon with the rank of first lieutenant, in the United States army. From November of that year to March 1, 1868, he was on duty at Governor’s Island, in New York Harbor, and during this time made a sea voyage to Galveston, Texas, with recruits, and at New Orleans cared for forty of their number who were stricken with cholera. From March to September of the same year he was on duty at the cavalry depot at Carlisle Barracks; to December 6, 1869, was stationed at Fort Fred Steele, in Wyoming, and while here (July 23, 1869), was promoted to a captaincy in the medical corps. His further army service was as follows: Omaha Barracks, to July, 1870; Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming, to September, 1870; Fort Bridger, Wyoming, to November, 1872; Mobile Barracks, Alabama, to September, 1873; Mount Vernon Barracks, Alabama, to May, 1876; Plattsburg Barracks, New York, to May, 1878; Fort Whipple, Arizona, to October, 1878; Fort Yuma, California, to August, 1882; Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, to November, 1886; Fort Sherman, Idaho, to September 15, 1890; Washington Barracks, District of Columbia, to October, 1894, during which time he was commissioned surgeon with the rank of major. After a leave of absence for one month, which he spent at home, he was assigned to duty at Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming. He remained in the army until 1897, when he was placed on the retired list, and took up his residence at his elegant home, “Maple Mill,” in Whitemarsh township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. Dr. Corson is a member of the Patriotic Order of the Sons of the Revolution, and of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion.

Dr. Corson married, November 2, 1874, Miss Mary Ada Carter, daughter of Judge William Alexander Carter, of Fort Bridger, Wyoming, originally from Virginia, where the family is one of the oldest and most honored in the state. Two children were born of this marriage, Mary Carter and Edward Foulke Corson. The daughter was born at Mount Vernon Barracks, Alabama, January 4, 1876. For the obtainment of better educational advantages for her, her parents sent her to school in Philadelphia. On her return home after a year’s absence, in June, 1890, the train in which she was traveling went over an embankment, and she sustained such injuries that she died within an hour. The remains were interred at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. The son, Edward Foulke Corson, was born at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in February, 1883. He attended the Friends’ School in Washington City while his father was stationed there. In October, 1895, he entered the Germantown Academy, from which he was graduated in 1901. He has just completed his second year in the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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