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Hepler, Isaac, merchant, Gratz, Pa., was born in Eldred township, Schulykill county, Pa., August 5, 1840. He is a son of George W. and Hannah (Graiter) Hepler. His grandfather, Christopher Hepler, was born and reared in Schuylkill county and was a farmer. He died in his native county about 1845. He married Catherine Wagner and they were the parents of a large family of sons and daughters.

George W. Hepler, father of Isaac Hepler, was born in Eldred township, Schuylkill county, Pa., May 16, 1810. He died in his native township and was buried there. He married Hannah Graiter and their children are: Catherine, Mrs John Berger, residing near Williamsport, Lycoming county; Andrew K., died in Schuylkill county in 1882 and is buried at Gratz, Pa.; Polly, died young; Isaac; Hannah, Mrs. J.B. Fox, Sullivan county, Pa.,; Lizzie, Mrs. David Williert, Uniontown, Pa.; George, laborer, Rocktown, Pa.; and John, laborer, Ashland, Pa.

Isaac Hepler was not permitted to attend school very long as his help was needed on the farm as soon as he was strong enough to do farm work, and his father died when he was eight years old. The farm contained one hundred and thirteen acres, but it was heavily encumbered with debt, and Mrs. Hepler found it difficult to keep the family together. She died when Isaac was nineteen years of age. The farm was then sold, and after paying debts he found that his share was just $19. He went out from home and found work for one year with his uncle, John Haas. In October, 1862, he enlisted at Harrisburg in company K, One Hundred and Seventy-second regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers, for nine months. During six months of the time the company did artillery duty. They were first ordered to Washington, D.C., thence to Newport News, thence after a week's stay to Yorktown, Va., which place they left July 2, 1863, for Gettysburg, Pa. On the way to Gettysburg, Mr. Hepler was taken sick on board the boat and was ordered to the hospital. He refused to go and recovered his health on the march. The regiment did not reach Gettysburg in time to take part in the battle. Mr. Hepler was ordered to Williamsport, Pa., thence to Warrenton Junction, where he was discharged, his term of service having expired, and came home. He then worked eight months for his uncle, John W. Hepler, after which he was employed on the public works at Girardville and Goss Creek. His next employment was as carpenter in the mines, building breakers. He had never served any apprenticeship at carpentry, but had natural aptitude for using tools. He bought him a set of rough imprements and went to work, earning the regular wages of $2.25 to $3 per day, and none knew or discovered that he was not an instructed carpenter. While building one breaker it became necessary to attach the block and tackle to a point fifty feet from the ground. All the other workmen refused to attempt the difficult and hazardous undertaking, but Mr. Hepler safely accomplished the feat, and was rewarded by an advance in his wages from $2.50 to $3 per day.

In 1866 Mr Hepler, with his brother Andrew as partner, opened a store and hotel, his brother attending to the business at home while he went out on the road as huckster. After five years in the business Mr. Isaac Hepler sold his interest, and in 1871, his brother again being his partner, bought property and a hotel at Gratz, Pa. Building a store room adjoining the hotel, they put in a general stock of merchandise. After five years the partnership was dissolved, Isaac Hepler taking the store and Andrew the hotel. Mr. Hepler has continued the mercantile business alone since 1876, and also owns and manages a farm of fifty-five acres.

Isaac Hepler has been twice married. First, August 19, 1865, to Miss Matilda Knarr, who died August 15, 1869, leaving one child, Lewis F., who was killed on the railroad March 17, 1891, at the age of twenty-three. His second marriage, November 25, 1875, was with Amanda, daughter of Joseph Harper, deceased. Their children are: George Edgar, Joseph Harper, Lottie Florence, Thomas R., Hannah M., Robert Roy, and Annie, all at home.

Mr. Hepler is a Democrat, but is very liberal in his views and has never sought office. He is a member of the Lutheran church. He sustains a reputation for the most unswerving rectitude, and enjoys the highest esteem of his neighbors.



Historical Review of Dauphin County

Transcribed by Michael W. Gerberick, lonewolf452@netscape.net, for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transciption Project -


Date of Transcription: February 13, 2001

Copyright (c) 2001 - All Rights Reserved: Use, duplication or reproduction for profit or presentation by any person or organization is strictly prohibited.