CRIST, Josiah B.
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CRIST, DR. JOSIAH B, dentist, office No. 13 North Third street, Harrisburg, residence and office in Hummelstown, Pa., was born on the Jonestown Road, Lebanon county, Pa., April 25, 1841. He is a son of Elias and Lucy (Yingst) Crist. Elias Crist, son of George Crist, of Lebanon county, and of Irish descent, was a tailor; this was his vocation throughout life. He resided in Lebanon county, and died there in 1848. He was a Democrat, and well and favorably known in that section of the country. His wife, Lucy Yingst, of Lebanon county, was of German descent. Their children were: Lydia, wife of Levi Plough contractor and builder, North Lebanon, Pa., Josiah B., and Elias, who died young. After the death of her first husband Mrs. Crist married Chester Howetter. They had one daughter, Louisa, wife of Charles Alleman. Mrs. Howetter died in Lebanon, Pa., in 1881.

Josiah B. Crist was but seven years old when his father died. His uncle, who was also his godfather, cared for him and gave him a home. In return, he worked on the farm in summer, attending school during the winter months. At ten years of age he met with a painful accident. While working in a field with a fractious horse he had his foot broken. He set the bones himself and was helped to the house by a friendly Irishman who happened to pass. The Doctor has never forgotten the kindness of that Irishman. He remained with his foster father for seven years, after which he was hired as a laborer by another farmer for three years. In the meantime he was improving every opportunity for gaining information and preparing for life’s battles. He worked on the canals for six months, and spent a short time at cabinet making but his health failing while engaged in the latter occupation he abandoned it. He was employed in coach making for ten years. While thus engaged the war of the Rebellion broke out. On September 18, 1861, he enlisted at Lebanon, Pa., in company K, Ninety-third regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel McCarter and Captain E. Doughtery. He was in the battle of Williamsburg, May 5, 1862, of Fair Oaks, and the Seven Days’fight. On the way to Richmond with the army he was attacked with typhoid fever and was in the hospital for six months. At the end of eleven months’ service he was discharged at Baltimore, in 1862. He enlisted for two months in company F, State militia, in which he was quartermaster’s sergeant.

He had a strong desire to enter professional life, so he began to prepare for the practice of dentistry. He studied under Dr. Bousel, a well-known dentist, and other instructors. In September, 1864, he came to Hummelstown and opened an office. He had neither money nor friends, but he had pluck and ambition and a strong determination to succeed. He lived for several months on two meals a day, and walked to and from Lebanon because he was not able to pay railroad fare. Soon the coveted success came. People discovered that the young dentist had not only resolution and perseverance, but fine ability and skill as well; that he was reliable and thoroughly competent in his profession. A large and lucrative practice was established. In 1883 he determined to extend his field of operations, and he opened an office in Harrisburg and devotes a part of his time every week to his patrons and patients in that city. Dr. Crist displays originality in his profession; he is the inventor of new and valuable methods and appliances; he first invented the crown tooth to take the place of the wooden peg, and holds a patent right on several new instruments which facilitate the work of dentistry. He made the first chair he used in his practice and also many of his own instruments. He also studied watchmaking, and has a buggy in his possession constructed according to a plan original with himself.

Several of the students who received instruction from him have become eminent in their profession; for example, Dr. Wall, of Hummelstown, who was one of his students and is now a dentist in London, and who has had the honor of operating on Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

Dr. Crist was married, in 1864, to Amanda Bosser, of Annville, Lebanon county, Pa. They have had eight children: Isorah, widow of M. Grove, coach trimmer, of Hummelstown, has one child, named for his father, and resides with her father, Dr. Crist; Will, at the college of Dentistry, Philadelphia, a young man of good habits and bright professional promise; Annie and Abbie, both deceased; Ray, dentist, with his father; Bessie, a student in the high school; and two who died in infancy. Mrs. Crist died of heart failure, September 2, 1883. She was an estimable woman, of benevolent and friendly disposition, well known and universally loved and respected. Her death cast a gloom upon the town. In 1890 Dr,.Crist married Mary Aucherman; they have no children.

Dr. Crist is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the G.A.R., Post 58, Harrisburg, and a Republican in politics; he is a member of the Lutheran church, is a Sunday-school teacher, and was for years superintendent of the Sunday-school. He attends to his patients in Hummelstown on Mondays and Thursdays, and is found on the other days of the week at Harrisburg. He has been successful to a gratifying degree during his thirty years’ residence at Hummelstown, and has accumulated a handsome property. He owns four dwelling houses and has other valuable investments. His best attainments are his professional reputation and his good name.


Historical Review of Dauphin County

Transcribed by Donna Whipple for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project –

Date of Transcription: 4 Feb 2001

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