WILLIAM PENN CORSON – An active factor in the modern development of Camden and vicinity, a native of the city, a credit to his ancestry and the community, Mr. Corson is widely known and esteemed for manly worth and public spirit.
He was born February 27, 1873, in Camden, and is a lineal descendant of John Corson, who was one of the settlers of Gravesend, Long Island, New York, in 1640. He was one of a party headed by Lady Deborah Moody and, after residing some time at Gravesend, removed to Cape May County, New Jersey. His son, Peter Corson, was the father of Jonathan Corson, who was born November 18, 1768. He married, December 21, 1797, Lydia Lake, born March 17, 1776, daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Lucas) Lake. Absalom Corson, son of Jonathan and Lydia, was born May 3, 1803, and married Sarah Corson, born January 3, 1812. They were the parents of Elias Lake Corson, who was born June 14, 1835, was a sea captain, master of a vessel during the Civil War, retired to Ocean City, where he died in November, 1916, the day before Election Day. He married Eleanor Hughes Young, who was born April, 1838, and is now living in Camden, near the close of her eighty-seventh year.
William Penn Corson grew up in Camden and attended its public schools. In 1898 he entered the employ of B. F. Sweeten & Son, general contractors, and continued with them six years, gaining an extensive knowledge of their line of business. In 1904 he began taking contracts on his own account, and has since completed many of the public improvements in the vicinity of Camden. His first engagements were in the line of street paving and sewer construction in Camden and, later, laying sewage systems and water lines in the suburbs.
The sewage systems in Westmont and Haddonfield were constructed by him, and he laid most of the sewer lines in Camden. The “White Horse” pike, from Haddon Heights to Camden, a distance of four miles, was paved by Mr. Corson, like a city street, forty feet wide, plus gutters. In five months, or one hundred and twenty working days, 82,000 square yards of paving were laid. Mr. Corson has shown himself one of the most public-spirited and efficient of men, and has applied the same executive ability to matters enhancing the public progress and welfare that has characterized his private labors. During the World War, he was chairman of Draft Board No. 1 (Camden County), and served as “four-minute” speaker and on teams in Victory and Liberty Loan, Red Cross and Salvation Army drives. W. Penn Corson was one of the twenty-nine organizations that assisted in the formation and management of the Camden Forge Company, used by the Government as a war shop. For fifteen years, Mr. Corson was Republican committeeman representing the Ninth Ward of Camden, and served as sheriff of Camden County from 1917 to 1920. He is a member of the Ninth Ward Republican Association, the Contractors’ Association of New Jersey, and the Camden Club, and is also affiliated with several fraternal organizations, including Camden Lodge, No. 293, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Camden Lodge 111, Loyal Order of Moose; and Wyoming Tribe, Improved Order of Red Men.
Mr. Corson was married, May 30, 1899, at St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, to Katherine Kronenwetter, who was born there, daughter of Charles and Kunegunde (Call) Kronenwetter, both of whom were born and lived and died at that place. Mr. and Mrs. Corson are the parents of three sons, namely: William Wallace, born March 16, 1900; Charles Hobart, born July 23, 1902; Edward Mahlon, born December 8, 1907.
Note: Much of the source information on this page is taken from South Jersey: A History, 1624-1924