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SAMPLE, John B., merchant, Harrisburg, was born in Lancaster county, Pa., September 16, 1853. He is a son of Alexander and Frances (Mason) Sample, also of Lancaster county. Peter Sample, grandfather of John B. Sample, was a native of Maryland, and a farmer. He removed to Lancaster county, Pa., and married Miss Elizabeth Klinch, of that county, by whom he had ten children, the only one surviving is Alexander Sample.

Alexander Sample was born in Lancaster county, February 28, 1827; was educated in his native county and spent his boyhood on the farm. He was married to Miss Frances Mason, daughter of James and Hattie Mason, November 24, 1848. She was born January 24, 1828, and died February 3, 1886. They had nine children, two of whom are living: Peter H. and John B. The deceased children are: Harriet E., Esther E., Sarah M., James A., Nathaniel W., Charles S. and Caroline A. Alexander Sample was for many years a farmer in Lancaster county. He removed to Harrisburg, where he has been in business at intervals for thirty years. He was a partner of Oscar Jones in the ice cream and confectionary business at Carlisle for one year. He was in the St. Cloud Hotel in Philadelphia for two years, and from that house went to the Aldine Hotel, 1914 Chestnut street. After thirteen years in Philadelphia he returned to Harrisburg and with his sons, Peter and John, purchased a lot, and erected a large building which he now occupies with a dry goods business. Mr. Sample has been a member of Brotherly Love Lodge, No. 896, G. U. O. O. F., for thirty years and belongs to No. 1, Household of Ruth. In political views he is a Republican. He is a member of the African Methodist Episcopal church, State street, of which his deceased wife was also a member.

John B. Sample received part of his education in his native county, and completed it in the schools of Dauphin county. At the age of fifteen he took a position in the Jones House, now known as the Commonwealth Hotel, and remained there three years. The next two years he was at the Bolton House. Thence he went tot the Gross House, now Harris House; thence to Lochiel Hotel, where he was employed at intervals for eight years. He had a good reputation for honesty, and was respected by all who knew him. He was for three years at Niagara Falls; then he went to Reading, where he was employed for six months in a hotel by Emanuel Long. Returning to Harrisburg he found employment for some years at the State Capitol and at the United States Hotel.

In January, 1881, he entered the railway mail service as weighmaster (sic). He has the honor of being the first colored man employed in the railroad mail service on the Middle division. His first run was between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh; then between Harrisburg and Allentown, and from Harrisburg to New York. He was afterwards transferred to the Northern Central railroad where he was employed as clerk on the route between Harrisburg and Baltimore, and he successfully worked himself up to head clerk, in charge of the route, receiving the salary of one thousand dollars per year. After nearly twelve years’ service he was compelled by failing health to resign his position. When he had regained his health he engaged in business in Harrisburg, with his father, where he has been up to the present time.

Mr. Sample was married, November 10, 1877, to Miss Maggie, daughter of William and Charlotte Weaver. They have had nine children, five of whom are living: Francis G., Ada E., Maria A., Alexander W., and Maud M. The deceased children were: Carrie A., Cora C., John G., and Blanche L.

His wife was born June 10, 1858, and died October 4, 1895. She was a good mother and a devoted Christian, a member of the African Methodist church, on State street, and of the Household of Ruth. William Weaver, the father of Mrs. Sample, was born in Dauphin county, and was for many years a shoemaker. He married Miss Charlotte Chester, daughter of George and Jane Chester, who was born in Harrisburg, by whom he had four children. Those living are: Jennie, wife of Rev. John Palmer, of Philadelphia; Alda, wife of George Brisco, and Fannie, wife of James Auter. The father died in Philadelphia and the mother died in Harrisburg, Pa. The grandparents of Mrs. Sample were natives of Maryland.

Historical Review of Dauphin County

Transcribed by Linda Mockenhaupt for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project -

Date of Transcription: 26 March 2001

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