Brother-in-law of Gov. Joseph Ritner, born January 1, 1773, Lancaster, Pa., Jacob Alter was the son of Revolutionary War veteran Johann Jacob and Margaret Landis Alter. His father moved to Cumberland County in 1779 where he built a mill on several hundred acres. As his father moved to Washington County, Jacob remained on the plantation in Cumberland and became a successful farmer and served twenty-two years in the General Assembly, including one four-year term in the Senate. A German Quaker, he married Elizabeth Foutz in 1787, the couple leaving six sons and three daughters: Jacob, Benjamin, John, Simon, William, David, Susan (married Samuel McCormick), Eliza (married George Graham), and Mary (married Doctor Chigston). Jacob was a Presbyterian minister; David was a physician, and William purchased the old home. Senator Alter died on January 29, 1838.