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09/17/2021 04:03 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

Christian Myers


Session Position District Party
1851 N/A Democrat
1853 Speaker N/A Whig
 Counties   Armstrong, Clarion, Indiana


1796 - 1877

The son of Christian senior and Ann Myers, Senator Myers was born at Bareville, Lancaster County on June 24, 1796.  Receiving a rural education, Christian, Jr. divided early vocational interests between the family farm and part-time employment at the local iron works.  In 1826, he married Martha Henaberger of Mount Joy Township and engaged in a partnership with the Bear-Carpenter-Miller division of the Lancaster Land Company, an iron ore and furnace development business involved in speculative mining-land purchases from the Holland Land Company in Western Pennsylvania. Myers and associate Henry Bear purchased property in future Clarion County – land to which Christian moved in 1828. Settling on the banks of the Clarion River, Myers and Bear transported, constructed, and operated an “air-blast engine” to facilitate iron production. The early going proved difficult, Myers writing home: “Bones cooked for soup and then ground up and cooked over.” Despite a difficult start-up, the Clarion Furnace soon became a profitable venture. Christian quickly became a community leader and in 1836, a delegate to the 1838 Constitutional Convention.  At the time, the Myers-Bear Clarion furnace earned enviable profits, and the partners received accolades as two of Pennsylvania’s most successful iron masters. Clarion became an official county within a year of the new constitution’s adoption, Myers instrumental in the county’s organization. Clarion voters typically supported Jackson; however, political allegiance abruptly shifted due to the public’s disenchantment with the president and Congress’s soft stand on the protective tariff.  Myers consequently changed political allegiance in 1844 for high-tariff Whiggery, objecting to passage of the 1846 Walker Tariff and its contribution (along with technological advances) to the decimation of the charcoal iron industry. The ruins left in the wake of modern technology included Myers’ short-lived 1845 Martha Polk Furnace. Without adequate tariff protection, the loss of the rapidly expanding local furnace business seemed a certainty, and Myers represented the county leader in its manufacture. 
Christian contributed land for construction of the Clarion County Courthouse, asking only half its value from the county, rewarded on May 21, 1840, as Governor Porter appointed Myers an associate judge of the Eighteenth District. The governor’s faith in Myers served as a catalyst for a second career. On the verge of bankruptcy in 1851, he sold his furnaces and pursued politics as a Whig high-tariff advocate in the Senate of Pennsylvania. Myers served as Chairman of Retrenchment and Reform, supported repeal of the federal Fugitive Slave Act in response to the 1850 Compromise, and supported an unimpeded rail transportation system between Pennsylvania and New York. Myers also championed legislation directing the strict control of Pennsylvania borough spending, higher education qualifications for state and local judges, and the re-chartering of the Girard Bank. After service in Harrisburg, Myers returned home to receive another four-year appointment as associate judge of Clarion County. In 1855, the Clarion County Fair Association elected Christian its president, the senator again contributing land and constructing a racetrack for the enjoyment of his former constituents. With his iron business a fading memory, Myers and several partners constructed the county’s first (1858) steam-powered sawmill, a venture that produced 15,000 board feet per day. Governor Packer selected Myers as Clarion’s 1859 justice of the peace. Judge Myers lent vigorous support to Governor Andrew Curtin’s campaign and later backed Abraham Lincoln and the new Union-Republican Party. To that end, he led the county’s October 25, 1860 Republican “mass meeting,” a show of support for Lincoln from “Union-Republicans and Liberal Democrats.” Governor Curtin later appointed Christian, Chief Grain Measurer for the Port of Philadelphia, Myers serving that post through 1867.
Christian Myers was “a man of firm but kindly expression and of splendid physique … six feet tall and of commanding appearance … his eyes were blue; his hair brown in early life.”  As he aged, his “hair was snowy white, his face was fair and ruddy with the glow of health.”  A family descendent recalls “he was ill but one week in his life.” Retiring in Philadelphia at age 72, Judge Myers passed away at his daughter’s Germantown home on October 6, 1877.