Joseph Hiester

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Joseph Hiester
Joseph Hiester.jpg
5th Governor of Pennsylvania
In office
December 19, 1820 – December 16, 1823
Preceded by William Findlay
Succeeded by John Andrew Shulze
Member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 3rd, 5th and 7th districts
In office
1797 – 1803 (5th)
1803–1805 (3rd)
1815–1820 (7th)
Preceded by George Ege (1797)
Joseph Hemphill (1803)
Daniel Udree (1815)
Succeeded by Andrew Gregg
Isaac Anderson, John Whitehill and Christian Lower
Daniel Udree
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
In office
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
In office
Personal details
Born (1752-11-18)November 18, 1752
Bern Township, Province of Pennsylvania, British America
Died June 10, 1832(1832-06-10) (aged 79)
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Democratic-Republican Party
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Whitman Hiester (?–1825; her death)

Joseph Hiester (November 18, 1752 – June 10, 1832) was the fifth Governor of Pennsylvania from 1820 to 1823. He was a member of the Hiester family political dynasty.


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.[1]

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.[1]

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 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. Hiester faced Findlay again in 1820 and narrowly won a single term in office. Refusing on principle to stand for reelection in 1823,[1] 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.[1]


He has a residence hall on the Penn State University Park campus named after him.


  1. ^ a b c d Jürgen Heideking (1999). "Hiester, Joseph". American National Biography. 10. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 749–750. 


External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Ege
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Andrew Gregg
Preceded by
Joseph Hemphill
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 3rd congressional district

alongside: Isaac Anderson and John Whitehill
Succeeded by
Isaac Anderson
John Whitehill
Christian Lower
Preceded by
Daniel Udree
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Daniel Udree
Political offices
Preceded by
William Findlay
Governor of Pennsylvania
December 19, 1820 – December 16, 1823
Succeeded by
John Andrew Shulze