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09/28/2021 01:44 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

Joseph Hiester



Session Position District Party
1791-1792 17 Jeffersonian Republican
 Counties   Berks, Dauphin


1752 - 1832

Berks, Jeffersonian Republican/Independent Republican: Born in Berks County, November 18, 1752, Joseph Hiester was the son of John and Mary Barbara Epler Hiester and the husband of the former Elizabeth Whitman.  Prior to the Revolution, Hiester was an outspoken critic of the proprietarial-executive faction, aligning with the Whig movement against British economic policies.  He served as a representative to the 1776 Pennsylvania convention; subsequently served as a militia captain; was captured at Long Island; imprisoned aboard a British prison ship; set free during a prisoner exchange; and recovered at home, in Reading.  Returning to action, he received wounds to the head.  After hostilities he entered a mercantile partnership with his father-in-law, Adam Whitman.  Turning to politics, he was a 1779 commissioner of exchange, responsible for the recovery of property belonging to wartime loyalists and Tories; served five terms in the state Assembly, 1780-1785; two in the first state Senate, 1790-1792; and 14 in Congress.  He was a member of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention of 1789; a major general of the state militia; and beginning in 1810, joined the “old school” faction of the Jeffersonian Party as an Independent Republican (formerly “Constitutional Republicans,” 1806).  He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1817, however succeeded in 1820.  He retired to public life after serving one term, passing away in Reading on June 10, 1832.