Corry, Sir James Porter White (1826–91), businessman and public figure in Belfast, and John Corry (1831–1908), architect, businessman, and inventor, were the two elder of three sons of Robert Corry (1800–69), quarryowner, and Jane Corry (née Porter) of Turnagardy, near Newtownards, Co. Down. There were also three daughters, one of whom married James Craig (d. 1899), a presbyterian missionary to the Jews. Robert Corry was the first to exploit Scrabo stone for building, and moved (1838) to Belfast to develop a timber-supply and building-contracting business. With his three sons Robert Corry built housing and public buildings such as Assembly's College, as well as much of Belfast harbour, transforming the appearance of the town; his property in Belfast was ‘a township in itself’, according to a contemporary.
James Porter Corry (born 8 September 1826, and educated like his brothers at Belfast Academical Institution) developed the company's business interests. From the late 1840s the firm bought or built over 40 ships. James sought to develop an identifiable shipping line, and from the 1860s commissioned twelve almost identical clippers, known as the Star Line. These ships engaged in East Indian and Australian trade and were famous for regularly setting speed records. James Corry served on seven committees of the presbyterian general assembly and on public bodies such as the Belfast harbour commission, and was prominent in the local conservative party. In 1874 he was elected as a conservative to represent Belfast; he was MP until 1885. After the redistribution of constituencies, he was defeated in the general election, but was returned in February 1886 at a by-election in Mid Armagh, and reelected for that constituency in the general election of July 1886. He was created a baronet 15 September 1885, and was regarded as influential and philanthropic: he gave £1,000 to augment professorial salaries at Assembly's College and was several times president of the Irish Temperance League – his support for the temperance cause was so strong that he refused to vote against Gladstone's 1885 budget, which had increased duties on alcohol. James Porter Corry married (10 July 1849) Martha Service from Glasgow, who was related to the Workmans, shipbuilders in Belfast. The Corrys had two sons and three daughters; three of his children, as well as his wife, died before him. Sir James died 28 November 1891 at Dunraven, Belfast, after fruitlessly seeking health in a trip to Egypt, and was buried in Belfast cemetery.
In 1859 the Corry family largely financed a new presbyterian church at Elmwood beside QCB; Robert Corry gave the ground, and James P. Corry subscribed more than £1,500 to pay off the building's debts. John Corry's elegant design for the church was adopted, and with his brother Robert (b. 1833), he paid for the spire. John also designed Dunmurry presbyterian church and other buildings. As a very young man, he patented an improved loom; when he went to London a few years later to take charge of the family's Star Line shipping company, he designed improved rigging tackle for its East India clippers. When the company commissioned steamships in 1887, he suggested modifications to enhance performance and improve the internal arrangements of what became a fleet of first-class ships bringing frozen meat from the southern hemisphere. He patented an improved rotary engine and a cannon projectile in 1885, and was interested in camera design. His contribution to marine engineering was recognised when he was elected president of the Institution of Marine Engineers in London; he became in 1894 one of four trustees of the property and funds of the Institution of Naval Architects, and in 1907 its hon. vice-president. He was also president of the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom, a director of the City Bank, London, and a JP. In 1876 he was elected to the committee of Lloyd's shipping register, and was prominent in its affairs for many years. He died 17 February 1908 in London. He had married Margaret Galloway and had five daughters and six sons; three children died in infancy.
Many descendants of Robert and Jane Corry of Newtownards have been prominent in Ulster business, public, and sporting life. Thomas Hughes Corry (1859?–1883) was a poet and botanist, elected MRIA and fellow of the Zoological Society of London at the age of 20, but drowned on a field trip to Lough Gill. Brian Corry (1909–73) won the Ulster Grand Prix, and like his brother Robert Terence Corry (b. 1911) had a distinguished career in the RAF in the second world war; both were awarded the OBE, and Brian Corry was also awarded the DFC. The firm J. P. Corry & Co. continued (2005) as a major concern in Belfast, long after ceasing to be family-owned.