Joseph Whitaker (industrialist)

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Joseph Whitaker (29 March 1789 – 30 November 1870)[1][2] was a noted American industrialist, landowner, and legislator in the Phoenixville and Mont Clare area of Pennsylvania, during the 19th century. He was a member of the Whitaker iron family.

Until 1846, Whitaker was the ironmaster and an owner of the Phoenix Iron Works, the major industry in Phoenixville. He was elected by the Whigs to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1843, where he served one term. He was responsible for having the first Mont Clare Bridge constructed in 1844. His 1846 estate was named Mont Clare, and eventually lent its name to the village of Mont Clare.

In 1836 Joseph, his brother George Price Whitaker, and some partners purchased the Principio Furnace in Maryland and revived ironmaking there. Before the Civil War the Whitakers divided their holdings geographically, with Joseph receiving the Pennsylvania properties and George Price the Maryland and Virginia ones. George Price Whitaker and his descendants continued to be involved in the iron and steel business; their holdings eventually became part of the Wheeling Steel Company in 1921, later Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel.[3]


Joseph married Grace Adams(1789–1870) of Swedesboro, New Jersey on 28 April 1811.[4][5] They had a daughter, Anna Maria, who married Isaac A. Pennypacker in 1839. Anna and Isaac's eldest son was Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker; a judge, historian, and the first 20th century Governor of Pennsylvania. When Isaac died in 1856, Anna and her children, including Samuel, came back to live in Mont Clare with Joseph.[4]


  1. ^ Pennypacker, Samuel Whitaker (1895). Joseph Rusling Whitaker 1824-1895 And His Progenitors (PDF). Philadelphia: "150 copies privately printed". p. 5. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  2. ^ "Miscellaneous Chester County, Pennsylvania Deaths". Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Milt Diggins, "Principio", Historical Society of Cecil County.
  4. ^ a b Jordan, John W. (1978) [First published 1911]. Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania. Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 486. ISBN 0-8063-0811-7. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  5. ^ Whitaker. Joseph Rusling Whitaker. p. 6. Retrieved 28 August 2010