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WITMER, JOSEPH B., Deodate, Pa., was born in Londonderry township, near the Conewago line, Dauphin county, Pa., May 24, 1817. He is a son of Peter and Esther (Burkholder) Witmer.

The Witmers are of Swiss origin, the great-grandfather of Joseph B. Witmer having come to America about the year 1760. A son of this emigrant, Joseph Witmer, grandfather of Joseph B., was born September 29, 1755. Farming was his lifelong occupation. He married bliss Barbara Hoover, born in April, 1755, and was the father of eight children, all now deceased. They were: Peter; Mrs. Daniel Wolkmann; Mrs. Martin Nissley; Mrs. Henry Snyder; Mrs. Jacob Heisy; Katie, wife of John Horst; Samuel, and Christian. Joseph Witmer died March 16, 1844, aged eighty-eight; his wife died June 19, 1835, aged eighty years.

The maternal grandparents of Mr. J. B. Witmer were both natives of Lancaster county, where Mr. Burkholder was a farmer. Of their eight children, the only survivor is Abraham. Those deceased are: John, Joseph, Peter, Christian, and Jacob; Esther, married to Peter Witmer, and Mary, wife of Ulrich Shaffner. Mr. Shaffner is also deceased, Mr. Burkholder died about the year 1809: his wife survived him for about twenty years.

Peter Witmer, father of Joseph B., was born in Mount Joy township, Lancaster county, Pa., October 18, 1787, and spent his years in tilling and improving the soil of his native county. His wife Esther, daughter of Joseph Burkholder, was bone in Rapho township, in the same county, April 17,1796. Their family numbered seven, of whom two are deceased: Henry, who died in 1886, at the age of sixty-six, and Nancy. Five are still living: Joseph B., Peter, Mary, widow of John Longenecker, Abraham, and Jacob. Mrs. Esther Witmer died May 28, 1830, at the age of thirty-four years. Mr. Witmer was again married, to Miss Barbara, daughter of Jacob Lehman. By this marriage there were no children. Mr. Witmer died October 27, 1844, aged sixty-two.

Joseph B. Witmer was a pupil in what are known as subscription schools until he reached his sixteenth year. From that time until he was about twenty-six he was occupied with farm work for his father and others. From about the date of his first marriage until the present time he has attended to farming on his own account, but has not been so entirely devoted to his own affairs as to take no interest in the welfare of the community to which he belongs. His neighbors, recognizing his public spirit and good sense, have called him to fill several township offices. He has served as auditor at different times, the terms aggregating about ten years: he was a school director before the war of the Rebellion, and for about fifteen years since that time, during all his time of service being president of the board; and for one term he was supervisor. He is an active Republican.

Mr. Witmer was married, March 14, 1844, to Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Hoffer, Esq., and of Mrs. Samuel (Foltz) Hoffer. Their children are: Caroline, wife of Abraham Gish, and John H, married to Lydia Etter. The mother died February 26, 1848, aged twenty-eight years, nine months and eight days. Mr. Witmer's second marriage was with Miss Elizabeth, daughter of David Buchwalter, and took place December 24, 1848. The children of this marriage are: Annie, wife of David Gratz; Martha, wife of Solomon Schenk; Lizzie, wife of Peter Shiffer, and David, who died December 2, 1862, aged three years and eight months. The second wife died October 7,1881, aged fifty-eight years, seven mouths and thirteen days. Mr. Wither married the third time, October 23, 1883, Mrs. Sarah, widow of John Boosey. They had no children. Joseph B. Witmer is a member of the German Baptist church, in which for the past thirty-one years he has held the office of deacon.

Christian Whitmer, uncle of Joseph B., was born March 20,1799, and died April 22, 1872. His wife, Miss Mary Welgamuth, was born January 18,1801, and died March 5, 1870.

Historical Review of Dauphin County

Transcribed by Robert Demy rdemy@earthlink.net for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project http://maley.net/transcription.

Date of Transcription: 3 Mar 2001

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

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