Joseph Hiester (November 18, 1752 – June 10, 1832) was an American politician, who served as the fifth governor of Pennsylvania from 1820 to 1823.[1] He was a member of the Hiester family political dynasty, and was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party.

Joseph Hiester
5th Governor of Pennsylvania
In office
December 19, 1820 – December 16, 1823
Preceded byWilliam Findlay
Succeeded byJohn Andrew Shulze
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania
In office
1797–1805
Preceded byGeorge Ege
Succeeded byIsaac Anderson, John Whitehill and Christian Lower
Constituency3rd district (1787–1803)
5th district (1803–1805)
In office
1815–1820
Preceded byDaniel Udree
Succeeded byDaniel Udree
Constituency7th district
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
In office
1787–1790
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 17th district
In office
1790–1794
Preceded bydistrict created
Succeeded byPresley Carr Lane
Personal details
Born(1752-11-18)November 18, 1752
Bern Township, Province of Pennsylvania, British America
DiedJune 10, 1832(1832-06-10) (aged 79)
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Resting placeCharles Evans Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
SpouseElizabeth Whitman Hiester (?–1825; her death)
Signature

Biography

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Hiester was the son of John Hiester and Maria Barbara Epler. He received a common-school education when he was not working on the farm, and became a clerk in a store in Reading run by Adam Whitman. He became a partner in the store in 1771 when he married Elizabeth, Whitman's daughter.[2] He owned slaves.[3]

At the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, he raised and equipped in that town a company with which he took part in the battles of Long Island and Germantown. He was then promoted to colonel. He was captured and briefly confined in the prison ship "Jersey," where he did much to alleviate the sufferings of his fellow prisoners. Later he was transferred to New York City where he was exchanged.[2]

He was a member of the convention of 1776 that drafted the Articles of Confederation, of the Pennsylvania state constitutional convention which ratified the United States Constitution, and of the state constitutional convention of 1790. He served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1787 to 1790 and the Pennsylvania Senate for the 17th district from 1790 to 1794.[4] In 1807, he was appointed one of the two major generals to command the quota of Pennsylvania militia that was called for by the president. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1797 until 1805, and again from 1815 until 1820, 14 years altogether. In 1817, he ran for governor, and was defeated by William Findlay. Hiester faced Findlay again in 1820 and narrowly won a single term in office. Refusing on principle to stand for reelection in 1823,[2] he served until 1824 when he retired from public life. During his term, he presided over the dedication of the first state capitol building in the new capital of Harrisburg. He surprised partisans and opponents by making appointments strictly on merit rather than party affiliation.[2]

He was known by the nickname of "Old German Grey" and spoke with a Pennsylvania Dutch German accent.[5]

Initially buried at Reading's Reformed Church cemetery after his death in 1832, his remains were exhumed and reinterred at the Charles Evans Cemetery during the mid-19th century.[6]

Legacy

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A residence hall on the Penn State University Park campus was named after him.

Notes

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  1. ^ "The Governors of Pennsylvania." Mount Union, Pennsylvania: The Mount Union Times, January 27, 1911, p. 1 (subscription required).
  2. ^ a b c d Jürgen Heideking (1999). "Hiester, Joseph". American National Biography. Vol. 10 (online ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 749–750. doi:10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.0200172. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Congress slaveowners", The Washington Post, January 19, 2022, retrieved July 11, 2022
  4. ^ "Pennsylvania State Senate - Joseph Hiester Biography". www.legis.state.pa.us. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  5. ^ "Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission". www.phmc.state.pa.us. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  6. ^ Youker, Darrin. "Were City Graves Relocated to Charles Evans Cemtery?", in "You Ask Youker". Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, June 10, 2010.

References

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Party political offices
Preceded by Federalist nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania
1817, 1820
Succeeded by
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Preceded by
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
1787–1790
Succeeded by
Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by
district created
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 17th district

1790–1794
Succeeded by
Presley Carr Lane
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district

1797–1803
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 3rd congressional district

1803–1805
alongside: Isaac Anderson and John Whitehill
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district

1815–1820
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Pennsylvania
December 19, 1820 – December 16, 1823
Succeeded by