A native of Belgium, born at Lotenhulle, East Flanders, November 2, 1857, Edward Coryn is the second son of Leonard Coryn and Johanna Catherine Schotteman. In the year 1880 the family immigrated to the United States, settling in Moline, Illinois, where in 1890, the father died. The mother, now ninety years of age, still survives, one of the most aged women of Rock Island County. Edward Coryn was given excellent educational advantages and acquired both the Flemish and French languages at school, and since coming to America he has, of course, added the English language to his accomplishments. In the interval between his leaving school and his departure for America, young Edward assisted his father on the farm.
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During his first few years in Moline he worked in a sawmill and in a private family. In the year 1892 he formed a copartnership with Mr. Charles A. Rank in the retail grocery business, which was continued prosperously until April of the present year, 1896, when the company sold out its stock to two of its faithful employees, who, since have constituted the firm of Courtney & DeTaye.
Mr. Coryn is a stockholder and director of the Moline State Savings Bank and the Moline Incandescent Lamp Company, of which latter he is also secretary and treasurer; he is a Democrat, though independent in local politics, in which he has been active since his naturalization, five years after his arrival, under the American flag.
In the year 1896 he was elected alderman of his, the Sixth Ward, of Moline, and held that honorable office for eight successive years. In this connection he served on many important committees, and was for two years chairman of the committee on Streets and Alleys.
Shortly after the expiration of this long period of public service he was appointed by Mayor Skinner as a member of the Public Library Board, of the Executive Committee of which he is now chairman. Mr. Coryn is a public spirited citizen of his adopted country and interests himself deeply in the matter of instructing the new arrivals from his fatherland in their duties and responsibilities as American citizens, a most creditable work of sincere and genuine patriotism and a worthy example to others. Apropos of this he organized, in 1890, the Belgian Working Men’s Union, embracing the plan of sickness benefit; the Union now has a membership of more than three hundred and a fund of two thousand dollars in the treasury.
Mr. Coryn is now, and has been from the first, president of the Society. For the purpose of promoting education among his countrymen he, two years ago, organized the Belgian Club, of which he has been president from the start. This important Association numbers one hundred and sixty members. Its rooms are above the Moline State Savings Bank and are provided with a good library and with various accessories for convenience and amusement.
Mr. Coryn is a member of the Knights of Columbus, in which he is now Grand Knight of Leo Council, No. 716, Moline, Illinois. In the year 1898 he paid a visit to the old home state in Belgium, meeting incidentally Miss Marie Cecelia DeVoghelaere, daughter of his former school teacher. Two years later, namely in 1900, he again visited Belgium, and on the 8th of November of that year was joined in marriage to that lady and set out on a wedding trip to their home in the Western world, and their friends may now find them in their home on Oak Hill, Moline.
At the age of fourteen years Mr. Coryn was confirmed by the Bishop of Ghent in the Holy Catholic Church, in which faith both he and Mrs. Coryn now live.