Joseph W. Shelar

JOSEPH W. SHELAR, one of the well-known and prominent physicians of Westmoreland county, was born in Niles, Trumbull county, Ohio, June 2, 1859. The Shelars in America originally came from Germany, and were among the early settlers of Pennsylvania. The great-grandfather of Joseph W. Shelar was engaged in iron-manufacturing in Maryland before the war of the revolution, and his grandfather was a potter by trade, and made the first piece of earthen ware west of the Allegheny mountains, and is supposed to have lived in Westmoreland county.

J. E. Shelar, father of Joseph W. Shelar, was born in Trumbull county, Ohio, in 1833. When a boy he learned the trade of roller, at which he worked up to 1870, when he was promoted to superintendent of the mills at Niles, Ohio. He served for a time as chief of police, and is prominent in councilmanic affairs. During the time of the war of the rebellion, Mr. Shelar enlisted in the Union army in the fall of 1863, in an Ohio regiment of volunteers. He entered as a private, and April 1864, was mustered out as a corporal. In 1854, he married Celestia McElwee, a daughter of Thomas McElwee, a native of Columbiana county, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Shelar were members of the Presbyterian church. They were the parents of ten children, five sons and five daughters.

Joseph W. Shelar, son of J. E. and Celestia (McElwee) Shelar, was educated in the public schools of his native place. His first regular employment was errand boy in a general store at Niles. On leaving this employment he attended the high school of Niles for two terms, and from 1874 to 1877 served an apprenticeship in a printer's shop. At the expiration of this term he removed to Warren, Ohio, remaining but a short time, when he returned and found employment in a nail factory. In 1881 he removed to Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, and entered the drug store of E. J. McElwee as clerk. He remained there for a year, and then engaged in the management of a branch store of Mr. McElwee's, where he continued until 1884. Mr. Shelar entered into the study of medicine in 1882, studying first under the preceptorship of Dr. J. E. Rigg, now of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. In 1883 he entered the Long Island College Hospital at Brooklyn, New York, attended three courses of lectures, and was graduated in 1886. He began the practice of medicine that year at Stoner, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, continuing there until 1896, when he removed to Mount Pleasant, where he has since been engaged in an extensive and lucrative practice. Dr. Shelar makes a specialty of diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat, and his practice covers a wide range of territory. Dr. Shelar is a member of the surgical force of the Mount Pleasant Hospital, member of the Westmoreland County Medical Society, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Moss Rose Lodge; the Woodmen of the World, also the Grand Fraternity. He is medical

examiner for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the Travelers Insurance Company, and two of the fraternal societies. His political sympathies lie with the Republican party, in which he takes an active interest. He is a man of broad and liberal views, and is well thought of throughout the community.

In 1888 Dr. Shelar was united in marriage to Betta, a daughter of Solomon Stoner, of East Huntingdon township. In 1895 Mrs. Shelar died, leaving the following children: Camille V., Ethel Blanche, and Sollie B. In 1897 Dr. Shelar married for his second wife Anna M. Boyd, daughter of J. F. and Hannah Boyd, of Scottdale.

Source: Page(s) 142, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed March 2006 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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