Heiner Family



The Heiner family has been one of the most influential in Kittanning from its earliest days as a white settlement, and as the descendants and heirs of Gen. Daniel Brodhead the association dates back even further. Its present representatives in the borough, the brothers Hon. William G. Heiner and Hon. Daniel B. Heiner, have been conspicuously active in business circles and the administration of public affairs, the latter especially, as member of Congress and in other high positions of responsibility, rendering important services to his fellow citizens. For high character and distinguished ability the name has been honored in every generation as far back as known.

It is of ancient German origin and was originally spelled Huhner. Heinersdorf, an old German city of ten thousand inhabitants, was once destroyed by the Huns. Kraft Heiner, the first of this line to come to America, was from the city of Weinheim, then not far from the French and German border. He was a man of education, a physician by profession. At the nearby town of Lampertheim, on the Rhine, he married Anna Maria Gresheim, and they came to this country about the middle of the eighteenth century. At any rate, they were residents of Reading, Pa., in 1755. They were Huguenots, in America uniting with the German Reformed Church, and Dr. Heiner was one of a committee of two appointed to purchase ground for a church there for his people. The title was made out in his name, and the deed, given him by the Penn heirs, is recorded at Reading. The church is still in existence there. Kraft Heiner and his wife had one son, Casper Heiner.

Casper Heiner married Ann Garton Brodhead, daughter of Gen. Daniel Brodhead by his first wife, Elizabeth (Dupuy-now written Depew). They had but one son, John. Casper Heiner was a man of extraordinary attainments and mental power. As evidenced by his records, he followed the profession of surveyor. A book of 150 pages, 9 by 14 inches, entirely in his own handwriting, is now in the possession of his grandson, William G. Heiner, of Kittanning. Its title reads: "Casper Heiner, his ciphering book, Reading, Pa., Fourth Mo. 22nd 1767." It embraces, in condensed form, an analysis of various branches of mathematics, astronomy, chronology, navigation, etc., and the rules are so abbreviated, the examples so plainly stated, that an ordinary reader can comprehend them.

Capt. John Heiner, son of Casper and Ann Garton (Brodhead) Heiner, removed to western Pennsylvania in 1812 and took possession of all the lands left him by his grandfather, General Brodhead, locating temporarily at Indiana, Pa. At the breaking out of the war of 1812 he returned East with his family, to Charlestown, Va., the home of his wife's family, with whom he left his wife and children and entered the army as captain of volunteers, serving with distinction through the war. At its conclusion he removed again with his family to western Pennsylvania, locating at Kittanning, in which vicinity were many of the Brodhead lands. Captain Heiner was a prominent Mason. He died and was buried in Indiana, Pa., in 1833. His wife, Mary (Haynes), who lies buried in the old Kittanning cemetery, was a daughter of Peter Haynes, a planter, of Shepherdstown, Va. Mr. Haynes served in the war of the Revolution and was an ardent patriot. That he was a man of high principles and advanced ideas is shown by the fact that he freed the slaves he owned. "One of the marked features of his life was a deep-seated hatred for Hessians because they fought against our liberties for pay alone. After the war of the Revolution if ever one spoke in his presence he never failed to strike him with his cane, regardless of consequences." John and Mary (Haynes) Heiner had two sons (one dying when a young man) and three daughters, as above mentioned in the sketch of General Brodhead.

Daniel Brodhead Heiner, the only son of Capt. John Heiner to marry, was born Sept. 24, 1807, at Milford, Pike Co., Pa., and passed most of his life at Kittaning, where he died Dec. 29, 1883. For a number of years he was engaged in merchandising, and he served twenty years as justice of the peace. He grew up with the town. In early life he engaged in the mercantile business with Thomas McConnell, under the firm name of Heiner & McConnell, and later was in the same line with John Mechling, the firm being Heiner & Mechling. Mr. Heiner was a man of unswerving principles. A cousin of Hon. Richard Brodhead, United States senator from Pennsylvania from 1849 to 1855, who married the daughter of Jefferson Davis, afterward president of the Southern Confederacy, and with numerous relatives in Virginia, on his mother's side, who held commissions in the Southern army, he never wavered in his loyalty to his own belief in the right of the Union cause. As the only lineal male descendant of Gen. Daniel Brodhead he inherited a membership in the Society of the Cincinnati, which in turn descended to his eldest son, Capt. R. G. Heiner; the certificate of membership is signed by Generals Washington and Knox.

Mr. Heiner was a man of irreproachable morals, a Christian of the most exemplary type, and in every relation of his public and private life bore an unblemished reputation. "Seldom do we find a life so blameless and so full of the graceful amenities of Christian tenderness and social benignity. In the example of an upright and patriotic citizen, a kind and tender parent, and a consistent Christian deportment, he left a legacy of priceless inheritance." He and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Kittanning and leading workers in that organization. Mr. Heiner was one of its founders, and for nearly fifty consecutive years a member of the official board of the church. He inherited his Methodism from his mother, who at the time of her death had been a member of the church for sixty years, and her father, Peter Haynes, was also a Methodist, "making a continuous succession from the very advent of John Wesley."

Mr. Heiner married Mary Graham, whose father, Robert Graham, was a pioneer of Butler, Pa., and one of its most public-spirited citizens in the early days. He came from Cumberland county, in the eastern part of the State. A large land-owner, he donated to Butler most of the land on which the city is now located, what is now the residence portion, the grant being made by a special act of the Legislature in 1803. He was also a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church. To Daniel Brodhead and Mary (Graham) Heiner were born nine children that lived to maturity: (1) Miss Mary Louisa lives at Kittanning, where she has been active in church and charitable work. (2) Robert Graham entered the volunteer service for the Civil War and served throughout that struggle, in which he was twice wounded. He rose to be first lieutenant, and later entering the regular army saw service in Indian troubles on the frontier and became a captain (serving in the 1st Regiment, U.S. Infantry), holding that rank when he died, at Columbus Barracks, in Ohio. He is buried in Arlington cemetery, at Washington, D.C. By his marriage to Helen G. Schlemacher (now written Sleymaker), of Washington, D.C., where she still resides, he had three children. (3) John Haynes was a private in the 8th Pennsylvania Reserves and served throughout the Civil War, and was twice wounded. He is now in the oil business at Butler, and was one of the pioneer oil men of Butler County. Three children have been born to him and his wife, Mollie (Pershing), formerly of Pittsburgh, Pa. (4) William Graham is mentioned below. (5) Sarah K. married Rev. Jesse Franklin Core, of Washington, Pa. He is a veteran of the Civil war, having served in the 14th Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry. (6) Margaret J. died unmarried. (7) Anna E. married Capt. Timothy B. Burleigh, of Yankton, S. Dak., son of Dr. Walter Burleigh, formerly of Maine, a prominent physician in the early days of Kittanning. (8) Daniel Brodhead is mentioned later. (9) Lydia R., is the wife of Col. Pecy Edwards Trippe, a West Point graduate, who was sent to the military school by Alexander Stevens, of Georgia. He has been connected with the 10th U. S. Cavalry, and now has charge of recruiting stations, at New Orleans and elsewhere.

William Graham Heiner was born April 16, 1845, in Kittanning. His education was received under private tutors and at Dayton Academy, in Armstrong county, and in early manhood he became interested in the lines which have since engaged his attention. In 1864 he started the lumber and oil business, being one of the early operators in the oil fields of Venango, Butler and Armstrong counties. Then for many years he followed general contracting on an extensive scale, erecting the glass works and doing much more in the building up of Ford City, Armstrong county, as well as putting up many houses at Valley Point, Arnold and New Kensington, Pa. The brass bedstead works at Butler, Pa., were also of his construction. Naturally his various transactions led him to interest himself in local financial institutions, and he still maintains his connection with several banks, though now practically retired from active business. In 1898 he assisted in organizing the First National Bank of Ford City, and was the first president of the institution. After this he went to St. Louis, Mo., and built the town of Valley Park, in that State. After his return, in 1908, he organized the First National Bank of Bruin, Butler Co., Pa., and he is still a director of that bank and of the First National Bank of Parkers Landing. His landed investments in Butler and Armstrong counties comprise several hundred acres. Mr. Heiner has taken sufficient interest in the public affairs of this county to represent his district in the Legislature, in which he served two terms, having been first elected in 1876, and re-elected at the close of his first term. He discharged the duties of his office with the precision and insight into the needs of his constituents which they expected of one of his experience, and did his share in the enactment of general laws affecting State issues in the most commenable manner.

Mr. Heiner married Florence Ulan, of Leechburg, Armstrong county, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Harris) Ulan. They have no children. Mr. and Mrs. Heiner attend the Methodist Church, in which she holds membership. He maintains social connection with the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Heptasophs and Elks.

Daniel Brodhead Heiner was born in Kittanning, Dec. 30, 1857, and after availing himself of the educational advantages of local institutions took a higher course of study at Meadville, Pa., graduating from Allegheny College in 1879. Having decided upon th legal profession, he began reading law with E. S. Golden, of Kittanning, and was admitted to the bar in the year 1882, beginning practice immediately thereafter. For a number of years during the earlier part of his career he was engaged principally in public business as the incumbent of various civil positions. In 1886 he was elected district attorney of Armstrong county, serving as such for six years, two terms of three years each. In 1892 he was chosen to represent his district in Congress, and again had the honor of being reelected, holding the office for two consecutive terms. In 1897 he received the appointment, under President McKinley, of United States district attorney, for four years, at the end of which period he was appointed (again by McKinley) internal revenue collector for the Western District of Pennsylvania, giving eight years' service in that capacity. His legal practice has since occupied most of his attention. His principal business interest has been in banking, and he is still director of the Armstrong County Trust Company and president of the First National Bank of Ford City, his acumen and foresight in financial matters being highly valued by his associates. Fraternally he holds membership in several societies, including the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias and the Elks.

Mr. Heiner married Belle T. Acheson, of Washington, Pa., daughter of William Acheson, who was an ironmaster, for many years superintendent of the old Monticello Iron Works, in Armstrong county. He was a brother of Judge Marcus Acheson, of the United States court, and of Judge Alexander Acheson, of Washington, Pa. Mr. and Mrs. Heiner have one son living, William Graham Heiner, a graduate of Yale and now taking a course in the law department of the University of Pittsburgh.

Source: Pages 987 - 989 , Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed February 1999 by Sharon Doyle Dantzer for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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