William Muhlenberg Hiester

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William Muhlenberg Hiester (May 15, 1818 – August 16, 1878) An American political and military leader in the State of Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Muhlenberg/Hiester Family political dynasty.


Hiester was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on May 15, 1818, the son of Dr. Isaac and Mrs. Hester Muhlenberg Hiester. He was the grandson of General Peter Muhlenberg and the great grandson of Henry Muhlenberg. He was the father of Isaac Hiester, uncle of Hiester Clymer, and nephew of John Hiester and Daniel Hiester.

He graduated from Bristol College in Pennsylvania, studied law at Harvard University and was admitted to the bar. He practiced law in Erie, Pennsylvania and later in Reading with his partner Henry A. Muhlenberg.[1][2]

Hiester served in the Pennsylvania State Senate as a Democrat from 1853 to 1855 and was Speaker in 1855.[3][4]

In January, 1858 he was appointed Secretary of the Commonwealth by Governor William F. Packer.[5]

During the American Civil War invasion of Pennsylvania by Robert E. Lee in the summer of 1863, Hiester was commissioned a Major in the Militia by Governor Andrew Curtin and raised 8,000 troops for the state's defense.[6]

During the war, Hiester switched to the Republican Party and ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in 1864.

Hiester died in Reading, Pennsylvania on August 16, 1878.


  1. ^ Harvard University, Catalogue of Harvard University, 1838, page 9
  2. ^ Harvard Law School, A Catalogue of the Students of Law in Harvard University, 1845, page 26
  3. ^ Valeria Elizabeth Clymer Hill, A Genealogy of the Hiester Family, 1903, page 31
  4. ^ John Augustus Smull, Smull's Legislative Hand Book and Manual of the State of Pennsylvania, 1885, page 265
  5. ^ Morton Luther Montgomery, Political Hand-book of Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1752-1883, 1883, page 15
  6. ^ Pennsylvania State Senate, Virtue, Liberty, Independence: The Senate of Pennsylvania in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 2008, page 72

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