MEYERS, Benjamin
Back Up Next

MEYERS, HON. BENJAMIN F., lawyer and journalist, was born July 6, 1833, in Somerset county, Pa. He was educated at the Somerset Academy and Jefferson College, Canonsburg, Pa. In 1853 he was made principal of a select school at Somerset. In 1854 he was married to Miss Susan C. Koontz, of Somerset, and soon after removed to Bloomington, Ill., where he engaged in journalism, one of his first experiences there being the reporting of a speech delivered at Bloomington by Stephen A. Douglas, on the Kansas-Nebraska bill. The climate did not agree with him, and in one year he returned to his native country, where he read law and was admitted to the bar. He at once began the practice of his profession, which he diligently pursued for a number of years.

When the presidential canvass of 1856 opened Mr. Meyers determined to oppose General Fremont and espoused the cause of James Buchanan, taking the stump for that candidate and casting his first vote for the Democratic electors.

In 1857 he was unanimously elected chairman of the Anti-Know-Nothing committee of Somerset county and did effective work. In August of the same year Mr. Meyers became one of the proprietors of the Bedford, Pa., Gazette and later removed with his family to the town of Bedford. Here he remained as editor of that journal for a number of years. In June, 1868, he purchased an interest in the Harrisburg Patriot and was made its editor-in-chief.

In 1863 Mr. Meyers was elected to the lower house of the Legislature as a representative of Bedford county. While a member of that body he made a reputation as a debater and speaker and his services were so satisfactory to his constituents that while absent from home he was unanimously renominated.

In 1870 he was the Democratic candidate for Congress in the district composed of the counties of Adams, Bedford, Fulton, Franklin and Somerset, and was elected by a majority of fifteen votes, overcoming a Republican majority of several hundred.

Mr. Meyers has always been a consistent tariff reformer, and while in Congress voted for the repeal of duties on coal and salt. He was district delegate to the Democratic National conventions in 1864 and 1880, and was elected delegate-at-large to the convention which nominated Grover Cleveland in 1884. In 1875 he was elected president of the Pennsylvania Editorial Association and was re-elected in 1876. During the Cleveland-Harrison campaign of 1888 he was designated by his party to represent it in several joint discussions, and always emerged from such contests with the respect of his adversaries and the plaudits of his auditors.

Mr. Meyers was appointed postmaster at Harrisburg March 9, 1887, and served one term with much credit to himself and satisfaction to all concerned.

In religion Mr. Meyers is an Episcopalian and has been for years a vestryman of St. Stephen’s church, Harrisburg. He has five children living: Mrs. Ellis L. Mumma, Edwin K., Harry S., Mrs. B.F.Africa, and W.K. Mr. Meyers is now the editor and proprietor of the Harrisburg Star-Independent.

 

Dorothy Bumbaugh
Sidney, Indiana
page 344-345