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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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THE CORSON FAMILY. The pioneer ancestor of the Corson family was Cornelius Corson, who emigrated to America in 1685 on a vessel bound for South Carolina, the passengers being principally French Huguenots from Vendee, France, but for some unknown reason the vessel landed at Staten Island. Among his children was a son, Benjamin Corson, who removed to Bucks county, Pennsylvania, from Staten Island, about the year 1726. Among the children born to Benjamin and his wife Nelly Corson was a son, Benjamin Corson, who was united in marriage to Maria Sedam (or Suydam), and among the children born of this union was a son, Benjamin Corson, who married Sarah Dungan, and their son, Joseph Corson, was born March 15, 1764, in Dublin township, Philadelphia county, Pennsylvania. He married Hannah Dickinson, and among their children was a son, Charles Corson.

Charles Corson was born at the Hickorytown home of the family in Plymouth township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, January 22, 1801. He resided for more than forty years on a farm located at the junction of Skippack and Perkiomen creeks, in Lower Providence township, Montgomery county. He was an ardent anti-slavery man, and an efficient agent of the “Underground Railroad,” as were also his brothers, George, Hiram, and Alan W. Corson. Charles Corson married Sarah Egbert, who was born March 17, 1801, and their children were: Richard R., who married Louisa Williams; William E., who married Hannah Highley; George Norman, mentioned hereinafter; Adelaide, who became the wife of Albert Crawford; Susan Rogers, who became the wife of Felix F. Highley; John J., who married Rebecca Freedley; Mary Francis, and Lawrence E. Charles Corson, father of these children, died May 5, 1878, aged seventy-six years; his wife died August 23, 1864. Both were interred in Montgomery cemetery, Norristown, Pennsylvania.

George Norman Corson, third son of Charles and Sarah (Egbert) Corson, was born March 11, 1833, on his father’s place, at the mouth of the Skippack, on the Perkiomen creek, in Lower Providence, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. He served in the capacity of teacher in the public schools for a period of time, after which he commenced the study of law and was admitted to the bar. He volunteered at President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 men and served the term of three months in the Fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. On being mustered out he was about to re-enlist in the Fifty-first Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, when he was thrown from his horse and received a compound fracture of the right arm, incapacitating him for further military duty.

Returning home he resumed his professional duties. The practice of law in 1865-1867 was not what it is at the present time. Then there were but fifty state reports in Montgomery county, and in those days a lawyer found it difficult to consult books and find precedents to cover the case in hand, and it required ingenuity to develop the application. This Mr. Corson possessed to a wonderful degree, and it was to this characteristic that he owed his brilliant success. He had a wonderful capacity for work and study. He was not a case lawyer who hunted precedents to cover all points of the case under consideration, but was guided by well defined principles which he discovered in the issue, and was always successful in perceiving the application of the matter in all its bearings.

He was one of the first members of the Republican party in Montgomery county, and an active member, and for many years his eloquence from the rostrum was a potent and much sought factor in the strife. He took an active part for Fremont, Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, Garfield and Blaine. In 1862 he was appointed notary public by Governor Curtin, when there were but two in Montgomery county. In 1867 he was appointed register in bankruptcy for Montgomery and Lehigh counties, and in that position adjudged millions of dollars of property, and in no decision ever given by him was his opinion re-versed. In 1869 he was nominated by acclamation for law judge in Bucks and Montgomery counties, and in the year 1873 was a member of the constitutional convention of Pennsylvania. He was the first to move the expurging of the word “white” from the fundamental law of the state, the word having been inserted in the old constitution for the purpose of disfranchising the negroes. He was active in the construction of the great enactment under which the Keystone State has ever since been so admirably governed. He contributed a series of articles descriptive of the convention, and the “Pen Portraits” were widely read and admired. As each member died he republished his pen portrait and wrote a touching obituary. He was a writer of marked ability, and his numerous instructive and interesting newspaper articles on almost every subject abounded in wit and humor. During his active political career he stood up manfully for the principles which he thought were right, and it was largely through his efforts that the provision was made advocating the right of the minority to be represented on the supreme and superior court benches of the state of Pennsylvania. He numbered among his lifelong friends Hon. Wayne MacVeagh, who was his classmate, and a member of the constitutional convention; and Hon. Simon Cameron, at one time secretary of war, and who acted as godfather to his eldest son, S. Cameron Corson.

On September 29, 1859, George N. Corson married Maria Hurst, and their children were: Georgine, who became the wife of J. S. Singer; S. Cameron, mentioned hereinafter; Rosalie, who became the wife of George N. Weaver; Harold, a conveyancer and justice of the peace in the sixth ward of Norristown, Pennsylvania. He married Carrie Gautier, now deceased, who was a daughter of Ephraim and Margaret Gautier; Chalfred, who married Bertha Eckhardt, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. George N. Corson died April 12, 1902; he survived his wife several years, she having passed away September 21, 1899. The death of Mr. Corson, who was a man of brilliant mind and rare attainments, was sadly deplored by the journalistic world and the community at large.

Maria (Hurst) Corson, wife of George N. Corson, was the eldest child of Alfred and Wilhelmina (Smith) Hurst, whose other children were as follows: Georgine, who became the wife of Dr. Louis W. Read; Wilhelmina H., who became the wife of Judge William H. Yerkes, of Philadelphia; Alice, who became the wife of Henry R. Brown, of Norristown. Alfred Hurst was born August 12, 1806, and died December 30, 1890. He was the son of Jonathan Harvey and Patience (Wescott) Hurst, and the grandson of Timothy and Mary (Brownjohn) Hurst, the latter named having been a daughter of Dr. William Brownjohn, of New York. The family have in their possession a genealogical table based on authentic researches showing the descent of Timothy Hurst from the royal line of England, both from Richard, King of the Romans, and Edward IV, King of England, and also from the noble families of Beaumont or Bellamont, Earls of Warwick and Leicester, who were descended from the royal lines of France; also from the Beauchamps, the Earl of Warwick, the famous John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, the Greys from Edward Grey, Viscount Lisle, son of Edward L., Lord Grey, of Grooby; and from Frances Monk, daughter of George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, through the ancient family of the Herveys. Also from the families of Hastings and Ferrers. Wilhelmina (Smith) Hurst, wife of Alfred Hurst, was a daughter of Captain William S. Smith, of Glasgow, Scotland, and Maria C. Smith, whose mother, Elizabeth (Rawle) Steinhauer, was the daughter of Francis and Martha (Turner) Rawle. Martha Rawle was the daughter of Robert and Martha (Fisher) Turner. Robert Turner was an early Friend of Dublin, Ireland, a minister in the society, who in 1683 came to Pennsylvania, purchasing a large tract of land from William Penn.

Simon Cameron Corson, eldest son of George Norman and Maria (Hurst) Corson, was born February 12, 1863, in the dwelling at the south corner of Main and Cherry streets, Norristown, Pennsylvania, now occupied by L. G. Stritzinger, a confectioner, then owned and occupied by his parents. He was educated in the public schools of Norristown, and in Treemount Seminary. In 1881 he entered the office of an architect in Philadelphia to finish his education, or rather to continue it. It soon became necessary, however, for him to earn his own livelihood, and on July 1, 1883, he accepted the position of rodman in an engineering corps of the Pennsylvania Schuylkill Valley Railroad, then in course of construction, and was stationed at Pottstown, Pennsylvania. In October, 1883, he was ordered to assist in preliminary and location work between North Reading and Auburn, Pennsylvania. In 1885 he accepted a position with Alan W. Corson, then borough engineer of Norristown, and continued as his assistant until September, 1887. During this period he was employed in laying out nearly all of West Norristown, including the Griffith farm, purchased by Evans, Yerkes and the Robertses, and the tract laid out by Haines & Brown, beyond Basin street, between Markley and Powell streets.

In 1887 Mr. Corson was again employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. He was stationed at Baltimore, Maryland, during the construction of the large piers and bonded warehouses of the Northern Central Railroad Company, at Canton, which adjoins Baltimore, and is opposite the historical Fort McHenry. He continued in this work and in other surveys, including the elevated roads through Baltimore and several changes of line north and south of Baltimore, until the famous Johnstown flood. In June, 1889,he was ordered to South Fork, along with all the other available engineers who could be spared, for the reconstruction of the destroyed property of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. He had charge of the construction of the new Conemaugh river channel, the Conemaugh round house, and the rebuilding of the embankment from Johnstown station to the famous stone bridge. Mr. Corson was promoted, February 1, 1890, to the maintenance of way department, and stationed as assistant engineer at Altoona, Pennsylvania, in the office of the general superintendent. On August 1, same year, he was ordered to the Tyrone Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, but resigning his position there in March, 1891, he accepted a similar position with the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company, being stationed at Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He held this until the following November, when he was appointed assistant engineer of construction of the Sigua Iron Company, of Santiago, Cuba, where a railroad, ore pier, breakwater and inclined planes were constructed. On completing this work he sailed for home just prior to the first shipment of iron ore to this country, which was unloaded at Norfolk, Virginia.

In December, 1893, after his return from Cuba, Mr. Corson was employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and stationed at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as a member of one of the largest construction corps ever collected by that company, under William Pritchert, assistant engineer. During the following March he was again sent to the Altoona office, remaining there until December, 1893. From January 1, 1894, until September, 1897, he had an office at Altoona, where he attended to all kinds of surveying, and was borough engineer of Juniata, which town lies northeast of Altoona. He was special assistant engineer in the construction of the fourth district sewer of Altoona, and assistant engineer under Chief Engineer Knight, of Altoona, in the construction of the new reservoir built by the city of Altoona. He also made the first surveys for the Lewistown Water Company. In 1897 he was again employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and stationed at Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he had charge of the rebuilding of all the bridges and culverts and their extensions from Egg Harbor City to the drawbridge, serving under William H. Brown, chief engineer.

When war was declared between the United States and Spain, in April, 1898, Mr. Corson tendered his services as an engineer to Major Craige of the recruiting office in Philadelphia, explaining to Mr. Craige how he acquired a knowledge of Sigua Harbor and vicinity and thought that knowledge would be of service to the government. Major Craige said to him, “Mr. Corson, Adjutant General Corbin is looking for just such men who have a knowledge of the Santiago province, and as you have resided, surveyed and handled men in that district, I am sure he will be more than pleased to enlist you by a special commission. Please communicate with him at once in person, or by letter.” Mr. Corson did so by letter, then by representatives, and finally by a personal visit to Washington, D. C., but there was too much red tape, and the war was practically over before he received a copy of a letter of apology. General Corbin had written to Adjutant General Thomas J. Stewart, N. G. P., concerning his discourtesy to him. When Mr. Corson was located at Sigua, he was only twelve miles from Daiquiri, where the army landed, and forty miles by water to Santiago de Cuba. He had made the survey and soundings of Sigua harbor, and had maps and plans of that vicinity which were considered of the greatest value to this government in the early stages of the war. Since March 1, 1899, Mr. Corson has served as borough engineer of Norristown, and in that capacity has had charge of the construction of improved permanent pavement and separate sewer system authorized under loans voted upon by the citizens of the borough. He has given excellent satisfaction in this position, and has been elected from year to year, usually by the unanimous vote of the town council. As an engineer, Mr. Corson’s wide experience in railroad and other surveys has made him thorough, and the office was never conducted more efficiently than it is at the present time.

Mr. Corson is a Republican in politics, and an earnest worker in behalf of the principles and candidates of the party. He is an active member of the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia; Lodge No. 620, Free and Accepted Masons; Beaver Tribe, No. 62, Improved Order of Red Men; John F. Hartranft Lodge, No. 714, Order of Heptasophs; the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and the Norristown Hose Company. All of the above named organizations are of Norristown.

On July 19, 1899, Mr. Corson married Anne Eliza Ramey, of Altoona, Pennsylvania. Their children are: Mary Pauline, born August 10, 1900; David Ramey, born September 13, 1902; and S. Cameron (second), born September 16, 1904.

The Ramey family, of which Mrs. S. Cameron Corson is a member, are descended from Francis Remme (great-great-grandfather), who emigrated to this country from the province of Alsace-Lorraine in 1788. He purchased and settled on an extensive tract of land near Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and his house has been noted as one of the frontier forts of Pennsylvania. Frederick Ramey (great-grandfather), a son of Francis Remme, was born in Alsace-Lorraine, in 1785, and was only three years old when he came to America with his father. He was with Commodore Perry on the “Niagara,” Lake Erie, in 1813. In 1807 he married Martha Keller, and they were the parents of seven children. David Keller Ramey (grandfather), fourth child of Frederick and Martha Ramey, was born in 1821. He resided in Altoona, Pennsylvania. His first wife, Catherine (Leamer) Ramey, bore him seven children; his second wife, Rebecca (Knight) Ramey, bore him five children. David K. Ramey died in the spring of 1904, aged eighty-three years. Frederick Ramey (father), first child of David K. and Catherine (Leamer) Ramey, married Mary Taylor, and they were the parents of the following named children: Jean, who became the wife of Dr. Collier F. Martin; Anne Eliza, aforementioned as the wife of S. Cameron Corson; Thomas, who died at the age of one year; Helen, and Ruth Ramey.

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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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