Isaac H. Shepler

ISAAC H. SHEPLER, one of the representative citizens of Belle Vernon, Rostraver township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, was born in the above mentioned township, March 20, 1840, a son of Captain Joseph and Mary (Blackburn) Shepler, and a descendant on both the paternal and maternal sides of natives of Germany who settled in Virginia, in the vicinity of Winchester.

Matthias Shepler, an early ancestor of Isaac H. Shepler, with two brothers, Peter and Philip, moved from Virginia before the war of the Revolution and settled in Rostraver township, Pennsylvania, taking up farms on the Monongahela hills. He married Margaret Houseman, whose family was one of the early settlers of the township, and their children were: John, Philip, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Mary, Margaret and Catherine. All were married and raised families, and their descendants are numerous in this section of the state.

Isaac Shepler, fourth son of Matthias and Margaret (Houseman) Shepler, was born in Rostraver township, Westmoreland county. He married Sarah Hill, daughter of Joseph and Mary Hill, and their children were as follows: Joseph, mentioned hereafter: Lewis. died December, 1881 : Mary, deceased, was the wife of James Wright; Samuel; Margaret, died at the age of eighteen; Elizabeth, deceased, was the wife of Davis Shepler: Sarah E., became the wife of John Stephens. Isaac Shepler (father) died December 10, 1837: his wife died July, 1869, aged eighty-seven years. Both are buried at Fell's Church. Joseph Hill, father of Sarah (Hill) Shepler, at the age of eighteen came to Rostraver township, several years before the Braddock expedition, the first white settler of the township.

Joseph Shepler, eldest son of Isaac and Sarah (Hill) Shepler. was born in Rostraver township, Westmoreland county, March 6, 1807. He received his education in the district schools of the town, and to the age of twenty-two lived on the homestead farm. The year following his marriage he moved on one of his father's farms, which he conducted for eight years. In 1836 he located three hundred and sixty acres in Putnam county, Ohio, with the intention of moving there, but on account of the death of his father was persuaded by his mother to remain in Rostraver. In 1838 he located on the farm which he thereafter made his home. At the age of twenty-one he was chosen captain of the First Company, Eighty-eighth State Volunteers, which position he held for eight years; was captain of the Monongahela Blues five years, and first lieutenant of the Rostraver Cavalry seven years. He filled most of the offices of the town, having been elected to the same on the Democratic ticket. For almost half a century he was a member. of Fell's Methodist Episcopal Church, and one of its staunchest supporters. He married, April 16, 1829, Mary Blackburn, born in Rostraver, March 28, 1807, daughter of Joseph and Nancy Blackburn. Their children were: Sarah, born January 7, 1830, became the wife of William Jones, farmer and banker, residing in Rostraver township. Violet, born August 20, 1833, became the wife of Captain Martin Coulson, a resident of Allegheny City. John B., born February i8, 1835, married Josephine Claywell, of Illinois. Isaac Hill, born March 20, 1840, mentioned hereafter.

Isaac Hill Shepler was reared at home and acquired his education in the common schools and Ames Commercial School in Syracuse, New York, graduating from the latter institution, June 4. 1866. After his marriage he rented and farmed the adjoining farm to the homestead in connection with working with his father on the home farm, and four Years later he removed to the farm owned by his brother-in-law in Webster, consisting of two hundred and seventy acres, which he conducted for four years, also assisting in the management of the home farm. During the last year of this period he received a severe sunstroke, which incapacitated him for work for one `-ear. during which time he resided near Fell's Church. in Rostraver township. He then went west and for two Years was employed on the Coulson mercantile boats which had extensive government contracts through North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Montana. In 1881 he returned to Westmoreland county, locating on the Caldwell property in Rostraver township, where he farmed for two years. He then purchased one-quarter interest in the Belle Vernon Saw and Planing Mill Companv, and for four years served in the capacity of bookkeeper, contractor and buyer. At the expiration of this time Grover Cleveland was elected to the presidency, and Mr. Shepler was offered and accepted a position as gauger, serving four years and one month. For a period of eight months under Andrew Johnson's administration he served as storekeeper. In 1890 he purchased the mercantile business of P. Rider & Company in Belle Vernon, and five Years later, upon the expiration of his lease, built a business building on his home property on the hill where he has since been engaged in mercantile pursuits. During his residence in Belle Vernon he'has served on the school board, as borough assessor, and has been president of the board of health, and previous to that time he served as school director, township assessor and a member of the election board. He was formerly a Methodist in religion, but is now a member of the Presbyterian church, and for forty years has been a member of the choir. Since 1862 he has been actively identified with Gummert Lodge, No. 252. Free and Accepted Masons, at Fayette City, Pennsylvania: he is a master Mason. Mr. Shepler married, December 28, 180. Evaline S. Shepler. daughter of Samuel Shepler. of Rostraver township, and their children are: James Kerr, born December 2. 1872. a glass gatherer: Mary B., born September 3, 1874, widow of Fred. Jeffries, resides at home: 'William Jones. born August 8. 1876, a glass gatherer; and Elizabeth C., born August 19, 1883. resides at home.  

Source: Page(s) 308-309, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed August 2008 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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