Member Biography

Joseph Hiester 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1790-1791       17 Democratic-Republican

COUNTIES: Berks, Dauphin  


11/18/1752 - 06/10/1832

Major General Joseph "Old German Grey" Hiester (Democratic-Republican17) Berks and Dauphin Counties, 1790-1791

Early Life: 

Major General Joseph "Old German Grey" Hiester, born November 18, 1752, Berne Township, Berks County, Province of Pennsylvania, British Colonial America; son of John and Maria Barbara Epler; common school education; engaged farming until 1771; married, Elizabeth Whitman Hiester, 1771, children, Catherine Hiester Spayd, Elizabeth Hiester Pawling, Rebecca Hiester Muhlenberg, Mary Elizabeth Hiester Muhlenberg, Isaac Hiester; engaged, mercantile pursuits; captain, colonel, prisoner of war, Revolutionary Army, Revolutionary War; delegate, State Conference, 1776 which assumed the government of the colony; delegate, State Constitutional Convention which ratified the Federal Constitution December 12, 1787; State Constitutional Convention of 1789-1790; elected, Constitutionalist, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1787-1790; elected, Democratic-Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1790- resigned 1791; unsuccessful campaign, United States House of Representatives, 1796; elected, Republican, Special Election, United States House of Representatives, 1797-1805; major general, Pennsylvania Militia, 1807-1810; unsuccessful campaign, United States House of Representatives, 1813; elected, Republican, United States House of Representatives, 1815- resignation, December 1820, having been elected chief executive of the State; elected, Federalist, 5th Governor of Pennsylvania, 1820-1824; resumed, farming and mercantile business interests; died, June 10, 1832, (age 79 years, 205 days) Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, interment, Reading's Reformed Church Cemetery, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, reinterment, Charles Evans Cemetery, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania. 

Early Career:

Captain, colonel, prisoner of war, Revolutionary Army, Revolutionary War; captured near Long Island, New York, held on British prison of war ship “Jersey," transferred to New York City where he was released in a prisoner exchange, recovered at home, Reading, Pennsylvania. Returned to duty, but was wounded in the head, not severely, battle of Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1777.

Mercantile business partnership with his father-in-law, Adam Whitman. 

Major General, Pennsylvania Militia, 1807-1810.

Pennsylvania Politics: 

Delegate, convention of 1776, that drafted the Articles of Confederation. 

Delegate, Berks County, Pennsylvania State Constitutional Convention, ratified, United States Constitution, 1787. 

Delegate, Pennsylvania State Constitutional Convention, 1789-1790.

Elected, Constitutionalist, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1787-1790. 

Elected, Democratic-Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 17th district, Berks and Dauphin Counties, 1790- resigned at end of the session, September 30, 1791; original member, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1790. 

Unsuccessful campaign, Governor, 1817, defeated by, William Findlay.

Elected, Federalist, 5th Governor of Pennsylvania 1820-1824; defeated, William Findlay for the right to Governor’s Mansion at 21 North Front Street, Harrisburg, which is now the Art Association of Harrisburg. Beginning his term at age sixty-eight, Hiester had initially been a reluctant candidate for governor, but by the end of his term refused to allow his name to be considered for a second term. Presided over the dedication of the first state capitol building in Harrisburg.

Continued Government Service/National Politics:

Unsuccessful campaign, United States House of Representatives, District 5 Pennsylvania, 1796.

Elected, Republican, United States House of Representatives, Fifth Congress, 3rd district, vacancy, resignation of George Ege; Reelected, Republican, United States House of Representatives, Sixth, Seventh Congresses, 1797-1803.

Elected, Republican, United States House of Representatives, 5th district, Eighth Congresses, United States House of Representatives, 1803-1805.

Unsuccessful campaign, United States House of Representatives, Berks and Schuylkill Counties, Pennsylvania, 1813.

Elected, Republican United States House of Representatives, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth Congresses, 17th district, 1815- resignation, December 1820, due to having been elected chief executive of the State.  

Pennsylvania State House of Representatives Biography:

Not currently available. 


Cousin, United States Congressmen, John Hiester; cousin, United States Congressman, Daniel Hiester; grandfather, United States Congressman, Henry Augustus Muhlenberg.

First cousin, Major Gabriel Hiester, Pennsylvania State Senate, Berks and Dauphin Counties, 1791-1798, 4th district, Berks, Dauphin Counties, 1804-1808, 5th district, Berks County, 1808-1812.

Gabriel Hiester  - Pennsylvania Senate Library (

Nephew, John Hiester, Pennsylvania State Senate, 3rd district, Chester County, 1801-1806 United States House of Representatives, Tenth Congress, 1807-1809.

John Hiester  - Pennsylvania Senate Library (

Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Pennsylvania; December 12, 1787.

In the Name of the People of Pennsylvania

Be it Known unto all Men that We the Delegates of the People of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in general Convention assembled Have assented to, and ratified, and by these presents Do in the Name and by the authority of the Same People, and for ourselves, assent to, and ratify the foregoing Constitution for the United States of America. Done in Convention at Philadelphia the twelfth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the twelfth. In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names.


Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg President


For the City of Philadelphia

George Latimer

Benjamin Rush

Hilary Baker

James Wilson

Thomas McKean

For Bucks County

Henry Wynkoop

John Barclay

Thomas Yardley

Abraham Stout

For Chester County

Thomas Bull

Anthony Wayne

William Gibbons

Richard Downing

Thomas Cheyney

John Hannum

For Lancaster County

Stephen Chambers

Robert Coleman

Sebastian Graff

John Hubley

Jasper Yeates

John Whitehill

For York County

Henry Slagle

Thomas Campbell

Thomas Hartley

David Grier

John Black

Benjamin Pedan

For Cumberland County

John Harris

John Reynolds

Robert Whitehill

Jonathan Hoge

For Berks County

Nicholas Lutz

John Ludwig

Abraham Lincoln

John Bishop

Joseph Hiester


For the Philadelphia County

William Macpherson

John Hunn

George Gray

Samuel Ashmead

Enoch Edwards

For Northampton County

John Arndt

Stephen Balliot

Joseph Horsfield

David Deshler

For Bedford County

James Martin

Joseph Powell

For Northumberland County

William Wilson

John Boyd

For Westmoreland County

John Baird

William Todd

For Washington County

James Marshel

James Edgar

Thomas Scott

John Neville

For Fayette County

Nathaniel Breading

John Smilie

For Franklin County

Richard Bard

John Allison

For Montgomery County

Jonathan Roberts

John Richards

Frederick A. Muhlenberg

For Dauphin County

William Brown

Adam Orth

John A. Hanna

For Luzerne County

Timothy Pickering

For Huntingdon County

Benjamin Elliot



Cox, Harold. "Senate Members H"Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.

A New Nation Votes (

Governor Joseph Hiester | PHMC > Pennsylvania Governors ( 

Joseph Hiester (1752-1832) - Find a Grave Memorial


Congressional Biography

After 1 session(s) serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Joseph Hiester  went on to serve in congress