HOOVER, JOSEPH W., furniture dealer, Harrisburg, Pa., was born in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland county, Pa., June 15, 1850. He is a son of Samuel and Nancy Ann (Kunkle) Hoover, the former born in Cumberland county, January 2, 1812, the latter in York county, Pa., December 2, 1815. They had nine children: (1) Mary, born December 10, 1834, died September 24, 1871; married Joseph Carl, and had two children, who married and removed West; (2) John H., born March 17, 1836; tinner, of Indianapolis, Ind.; has been twice married; his second wife is living; (3) Samuel, born March 11, 1838, and is deceased; he married Miss Laura Collins, who with two daughters survives him; at the time of his death he was foreman of the tinning department of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company; his daughters are Emma, wife of Harry Yoder, of Harrisburg, and Ida, with an aunty in Philadelphia; (4) William Henry, born February 10, 1841; died March 11, 1841; (5) Elizabeth, born February 15, 1842; resides in Philadelphia, widow of the late Robert C. Hilsee; (6) Sarah, born September 11, 1844, died September 8, 1865; married Henry Bittle, of Mechanicsburg; he husband and her son, Elmer, survive her; (7) Catherine, born March 21, 1847; married Louis Troup, of Cumberland county; died in Harrisburg, leaving four children; (8) Joseph W.
Joseph W. Hoover lost his father by death when he was eight years old, and was compelled to begin the struggle of life early. For ten years, faithfully and without complaint, he bore the burden of hard labor on the farm. At the age of eighteen he began, in Philadelphia, to learn bricklaying, and finished his apprenticeship four years later. For some time he worked at his trade as journeyman. For the following twelve years he was in the transfer business; in 1885 he entered the service of Adams Express Company, in which he remained until the spring of 1894. In June of that year he established himself in the furniture business at Nos. 334-336 Broad street, Harrisburg, where he has built up a large and rapidly increasing trade.
He was married, November 10, 1872, to Emma Frances, daughter of Benjamin and Rachel (Shin) Fish, born in Philadelphia, January 20, 1853. They have one daughter living, Alice Josephine, born May 17, 1880.
Mr. Hoover is a member of Dauphin Lodge, No. 160, I. O. O. F. He attends Ridge Avenue Methodist Episcopal church.
Benjamin Fish, father of Mrs. Hoover, was born in Pittsgrove, Salem county, N. J., August 30, 1823. He was married, March 13, 1845, to Rachel Shin, a native of the same place. She died May 13, 1858, leaving four small children. In 1862 Mr. Fish married again, and in 1865 removed to Mechanicsburg, Cumberland county, Pa., his daughter, Emma Frances, afterwards Mrs. Hoover, being at that time eleven years old. He resided at Mechanicsburg until his death, which occurred January 13, 1882. He was a man of prominence and of great personal worth and highly esteemed in the community; his death caused universal sorrow.
Mr. Fish's attainments, as well as his natural endowments, were more than ordinary. In his chosen occupation, that of a coachsmith, his mechanical genius was displayed in the skill and ingenuity of his workmanship, and in the completeness, finish and durability of his productions. His fellow-citizens, among whom he had lived for seventeen years, bore testimony to the virtues of his life and character as they were exhibited in the various relations sustained by him, of son, husband, father, brother, neighbor and friend. A workingman himself, he was the workingman's friend, and in his own person and conduct embodied the excellencies of the ideal American mechanic. His manhood was of a true type, rounded out in the four cardinal elements of industry, intelligence, honesty and piety. While he toiled daily at his forge, hammering into shapeliness and welding together the parts of an intricate mechanism, he at the same time endeavored to lead his thoughts to a comprehension of the State and tendencies of the elements and forces actively at work in this progressive age, resulting in new social forms and improved institutions.
He was as earnest and tireless in his efforts to provide material for the strengthening and enlargement of his mind as to procure food for his body. In order to live and to enjoy, he felt he must be intelligent; he was convinced that ignorance and indifference to truth are as inimical to happiness and true peace of soul as sloth and shiftlessness are to material interests. History, the story of men, was his favorite study, and his especial delight was the history of his own country. On all subjects he sought to store his mind with information which could be his own solace in hours of leisure, and enable him to entertain and edify others in social intercourse. This knowledge, though gained at some disadvantage, as it must of necessity be accumulated after the close of his days's toil, was nevertheless of a degree and comprehensiveness surpassed by the the acquirements of very few men. The contemplation of his country's history inspired him with patriotism, and led him to recognize the great truth that genuine love of country can be instilled into the rising generation only so far as they are made intelligent concerning the history of their nation. This led Mr. Fish to make a valuable and striking suggestion to his fellow-citizens of Mechanicsburg, in the centennial year, which was to enclose the records of the history of the town and of their times in an iron chest, to be sealed and remain unopened till the end of the century. The iron chest for that purpose he constructed with his own hands, and the suggestion was carried out. It immediately called forth favorable comment throughout the country.
And last, but far more important than all else, Mr. Fish was of a deeply religious nature, and found his highest satisfaction in its culture and gratification. His happiest moments were spent in prayer and praise, by which his soul was lifted up to the dwelling place and throne of God. He was conscious of his own imperfections, of his frailties and failures, of his unworthiness and sin; but he had a sublime faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of divine grace, by which his soul was fortified in the time of affliction and in the hour of dissolution. In the presence of the king of terrors no cloud of doubt or fear obscured his vision of the Saviour. In the triumphs of the cross he passed away, murmuring with the almost last breath, "Jesus, lover of my soul."
Peggy McNeal, for the Dauphin County,
Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project –