Member Biography

David Ira Sankey 


Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Lawrence County Pennsylvania, 1897

Sessions Office Position District Party
1848       25 Whig
1849       25 Whig
1850       25 Whig

COUNTIES: Beaver, Mercer  


01/10/1809 - 01/05/1884

David Ira Sankey (Whig25) Beaver and Mercer Counties 1848-1850

Early Life:

David Ira Sankey, born January 10, 1809, Mercer County, son of Major Ezekiel and Jane Cubbison Sankey; apprenticed, tanning trade; married, Mary Leeper, 1830, sons, Ira D. Sankey, Hezekiah R Sankey, Horace G. Sankey; teacher, 1833-1834; State Public Works contractor 1835-1840; elected, justice of the peace, 1840-1844; elected, Whig, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1844-1845; elected, Whig, Pennsylvania State Senate 1848-1850; appointed, State Board of Equalization, 1851; treasurer, director, Northwestern Railroad Company, 1856; president, Bank of Newcastle, 1857-1859; appointed, Collector of Internal Revenue, 24th Congressional District, 1862-1866; published, Lawrence Journal (New Castle, Pennsylvania), 1867-1874; died, January 5, 1884 (aged 74), New Castle, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania; interment, Greenwood Cemetery, New Castle, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, justice of the peace, 1840-1844.

Elected, Whig, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1844-1845.

Elected, Whig, Pennsylvania State Senate, 25th district, Beaver and Mercer Counties, 1848-1850, member, committee of Claims; Session of 1850, passed act 228, creating Lawrence Country from parts of Beaver and Mercer Counties, known as the “Father of Lawrence County”.

Appointed, State Board of Equalization, Beaver and Mercer Counties, 1851.

Appointed, Collector of Internal Revenue, 24th Congressional District, 1862-1866.

Purchased, Lawrence Journal (New Castle, Pennsylvania), 1867-1874.


Son, Ira David Sankey, Methodist pioneer of gospel music, known as the "Sweet Singer of Methodism.". Composed or arranged nearly 2,000 hymns during his lifetime. His father said to his mother "I am afraid that boy will never amount to anything; all he does is to run about the country with a hymn book under his arm." His mother replied that she would rather see him with a hymn book under his arm, than with a whiskey bottle in his pocket.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Biography:

Official Website - PA House Archives Official Website (


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

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Wednesday, January 9, 1884.

David Ira Sankey (1809-1884) - Find a Grave Memorial