18 December 2014

A closer look at Hiram Cory

Hiram Cory lived in Concord Township in 1859. He owned a tract of land where the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad would, two years later, intersect with the Sunbury and Erie Railroad.

Amos Harrington sold 63 acres to Hiram in 1858, according to the Corry Area Chamber of Commerce. Hiram built his home on West Washington Street. Hiram and Harrington however were not the first settlers. That distinction goes to Michael and Elizabeth Hare. The Hares built a cabin on the banks of a creek in 1795. That creek is now called Hare Creek.

Hiram was assessed at 144, according to the Financial Assessment of Erie County and General Business Directory 1859-1860. There was one other Cory included in the assessment. He was Henry and he was assessed at 25.

On 27 May 1861, the railroads came to cross. Cory sold a portion of his land to the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad for this venture to work. The Railroad in turn built a ticket office and named it after him, though they spelled it incorrectly. The name Corry stuck and that is how the town got its name.

In 1863 the town became a borough. In 1866 it officially became a city. But what of Hiram? None of the histories available online mention him after he sells some of his land and the town receives its name. In fact, all the histories read almost verbatim! So what happened to Hiram? Has the town forgotten its founder?

A quick Google search led to Ancestry.com where Hiram Cory is found listed as the son of James (1794-1846) and Rebecca Sperry (1800-1976) Cory. Hiram was born in 1834 making him just 24 years old when he became the town’s namesake. He married Mary Ann Rine (1834-1906) and fathered six children with her. Their children are: Carey, Orissa, Marie (1869-1892), Elizabeth, Oscar (1866-1957), and Russel Rine (b. 1872). He and Mary Ann are buried in the Old Baptist Cemetery in Frankfort, Ross County, Ohio.

However that whole line, according to Find A Grave, which quotes a text called The Cory Family, shows the family all in Ohio. Births, deaths, burials – everything happened in Fayette or Ross Counties, Ohio. According to Find A Grave, Hiram and Mary Ann married on 2 November 1859 in Ross County, Ohio.

Find A Grave does list one other Hiram Cory. That Hiram (1820-1887) was the son of James and Poly Rice Cory. He married Fanny Spencer (1820-1887), They show up on the 1860 Census in Pinckney, Lewis County, NY with three children: Sedate, Sandusky, and Ashley. Hiram and Fanny are buried at the Huron Evergreen Cemetery in Huron, Wayne County, NY.

This last entry would put Hiram at 38 years of age when he bought that land from Harrington. This, in my opinion, seems more plausible than a 24 year old affording 63 acres.

Hiram remains a mystery. On that note, I am sending off an email to the Erie County Historical Society to see if they have information on what became of Corry’s namesake.

Ancestry.com. Hiram S Cory. http://records.ancestry.com/hiram_s_cory_records.ashx?pid=111273795.

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

"Corry History” Corry Area Chamber of Commerce. http://www.corrychamber.com/the-chamber/history/. Last accessed online 18 December 2014.

Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.