WILLIAM J. LORIGAN was a well-known individual in Camden in the 1890s and 1900s. Born in Ireland around 1850, at the time of the 1870 Census he was living in Castleton, Rutland County, VT with his older brother John and sisters Ann, Susannah, and Margaret. The two Lorigan brothers were then working at a sawmill. An older relation, Michael Lorigan, had come to Castleton in the 1850s, as had a William and Catherine Lorigan. The nature of these relationships is unknown to this author at this time.

William J. Lorigan wed in the 1870s. Son William Henry Lorigan was born around 1875, followed by John two years later and Joseph in early 1880. July of 1880 found the family living in Newburgh NY, where William J. Lorigan worked as a painter. The family moved to Camden soon afterwards.

The 1887-1888 and 1888-1889 Camden City Directories show William J. Lorigan working as a "slate marbleizer", then as a "superintendent". In both years the family resided at 812 Linden Street in North Camden. The 1890-1891 Directory shows them at 409 Elm Street, near Elm and Main Street in North Camden. His occupation in that directory is listed as "manager", and the Directory indicates he was working in Philadelphia. He was very active in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. His son, William H. Lorigan, served as organist and choir director at the church in the early 1900s.

By 1902 William Lorigan had partnered with department store executive William Leonard Hurley. The 1906 Camden City Directory shows son William H. Lorigan working as secretary at Gately & Hurley, and that the Lorigans were involved in a construction business. By 1902 William J. Lorigan had also established a shoe store at 426 Federal Street. He made his home at 502 North 4th Street.

With headquarters at 502 North 4th Street, the Lorigan family home, Lorigan & Hurley built the Princeton Avenue Houses, a block of homes on the one-block street of that name, between Pine and Division Streets east of South 7th Street. On May 16 that year, William J. Lorigan had the honor of introducing the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Wu Ting Fang, at the Catholic Lyceum at Federal Street and Broadway. The speech at been preceded by a reception at the home of John J. Burleigh in Merchantville, where Mrs. Lorigan and daughter Kathryn served as escorts to the women in the Ambassador's escort, which included U.S. Attorney General McCarter, Senators Dryden and Kean, Congressman Harry Loudenslager, and future Congressman William J. Browning. Ambassador Wu was at the Catholic Lyceum to speak as part of the Lyceum Association's Lecture Series.

William J. Lorigan passed away before the census was enumerated in April 25, 1910. His family which then consisted of his widow Margaret, and eight children, William H., John B., Joseph P., Kathryn P., Anna, Agnes, Charles, and Walter, still resided at 502 North 4th Street in North Camden. The family maintained the North 4th Street address and the shoe store as late as 1916. Son William H. Lorigan remained in the home building business for many years. The 1914 City Directory shows the business at 315 State Street. The widow and children of William H. Lorigan resided at 10 North 27th Street when the 1947 Camden City Directory was compiled. William H. Lorigan Jr., last a resident of Cherry Hill, passed away in 2005.

Philadelphia Inquirer - September 24, 1899

George S, Neidlinger - William J. Lorigan - John S. Smith


Trenton Times * May 17, 1902

Camden Post-Telegram
October 20, 1923

William Leonard Hurley - William J. Lorigan
James H. McDermott - North 28th Street