Member Biography

Joseph M. Sterrett 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1837-1838       21 Whig
1838-1839       21 Whig
1840       21 Whig
1841       21 Whig

COUNTIES: Crawford, Erie  


02/19/1800 - 06/20/1888

Judge Joseph M. Sterrett (Whig21) Crawford and Erie Counties, 1837-1841

Early Life:

Judge Joseph M. Sterrett, born February 19, 1800, Shippensburg, Cumberland County, son of James and Anna McKnight Sterrett; moved, Erie Pennsylvania, 1807; common school education; newspaper apprentice; returned, Erie Pennsylvania, 1819; founded, Erie Gazette, 1820; married, Catherine Riblet, 1824, children, Mary Ann Sterrett Truesdail, Jane B. Sterrett Wallace, Charles James Sterrett, George Sterrett; Erie County commissioner, 1829; elected, Whig, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1837-1841; appointed, Erie County Associate Judge, 1849-1854; Erie Postmaster, 1861-1869; United States Revenue Commissioner, Erie Judicial District; died, June 20, 1888, (aged 88–89) Erie County, Pennsylvania; interment, Erie Cemetery, Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania. 

Early Career:

Newspaper apprentice, Erie Northern Sentinel, Mercer Western Press, Hagerstown (Maryland) Torchlight, Frederick (Maryland) Star of Federalism, Baltimore American, Carlisle Volunteer. 

Pennsylvania Politics:

Erie County commissioner, 1829. 

Elected, Whig, Pennsylvania State Senate, 21st district, Crawford and Erie Counties, 1837-1841. 

Appointed, Governor William Freame Johnston, Erie County Associate Judge, 1849-1854. 

Erie Postmaster, 1861-1869. 

United States Revenue Commissioner, Erie Judicial District.


Known as “Old Reliable” at the time of passing, oldest journalist, Pennsylvania. 

Founder, Erie Gazette where the famous editor Horace Greeley apprenticed in his youth.


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

Buffalo Morning Express (Buffalo, New York) Sunday, June 24, 1888, page 14.

Judge Joseph M. Sterrett (1799-1888) - Find a Grave Memorial