JOSEPH A. ALCORN was born in Camden, New Jersey in February of 1919 to Mary and William Alcorn. He was the youngest of eight children, coming after James G., William Joseph, Rose, Marie Frances, Thomas J., Genevieve, and Rita. The family came to Camden some time after 1914. By 1918 they had settled at 906 North 9th Street in North Camden, near the Highland woolen mills at North 10th and State Streets. William Alcorn was a foreman at the mill, and his two oldest sons also worked their when they became of age.
The Alcorn family was still living at that address when the 1927 Camden City Directory was compiled. By the time the 1929 edition was published Joseph Alcorn‘s father, William Alcorn, had passed away. Mary Alcorn and her family moved to 830 Grant Street, where they remained through April of 1930. The family had moved to 828 Grant Street by August of 1934 when sadly, Marie Frances Alcorn passed away. Tragedy struck again in September of 1937 when Thomas J. Alcorn died. The family was then living at 918 North 8th Street in North Camden and remained at that address until 1940.
Joseph Alcorn married Mary Ann McCollum in the late 1930s. She wasn’t the girl next door, but she certainly was the girl in the next block as her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph McCollum, had a corner grocery at 837 North Eight Street. A son, Joseph A. Alcorn Jr, was born in March of 1940, and another boy, William F., was born in August of 1941. The 1943 Camden City Directory shows Joseph Alcorn living at 810 Grant Street in North Camden. His mother and sister Genevieve were also living at that address when the Directory was compiled. Joseph Alcorn was then working as a joiner at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. From there he went into the United States Marine Corps. He was discharged shortly after the birth of his third child, daughter Ruth Mary Alcorn, in September of 1943. Joseph Alcorn returned to Camden and moved his family to 404 Dudley Street in Camden’s Westfield Acres public housing project. The directory also shows that he and William Gardner had founded a used car business, Alcorn Motor Sales, at 1528-1530 Federal Street in East Camden. The business flourished and was a fixture on Federal Street into the late 1950s.
With his business prospering, Joseph Alcorn and his family moved to 5036 Witherspoon Avenue in Pennsauken, New Jersey in the summer of 1949. Good fortune continued to smile upon the Alcorn family, and in a short time they had moved to 500 West Drive in Westmont (Haddon Township), New Jersey, a short walk away from the county park along the Cooper River. Sadly, like his older brother and sister and three of his other siblings, Joseph A. Alcorn passed away long before his time, on July 1, 1958, leaving his wife and three children. He was only 39 years old at the time. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Delaware Township (present-day Cherry Hill), New Jersey.
Coming from a devoutly Catholic family, Joseph Alcorn grew up as a member of the Holy Name parish in North Camden, where he played violin each year at midnight mass. He met his wife while at Holy Name. He later was a member of St. Joseph’s parish in East Camden, St. Peter’s in Merchantville, New Jersey, and lastly of Church of the Holy Savior in Westmont.