Joseph Hiester Edit Profile
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. 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 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. He served in the house (1787–1790) and the senate (1790–1794) of Pennsylvania.
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.
Refusing on principle to stand for reelection in 1823, 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.
He has a residence hall on the Penn State University Park campus named after him.
He was a member of the Hiester family political dynasty. 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.