July 15th, 2007
Joseph Hollopeter 1823-1897
Joseph Hollopeter was born on January 1, 1823 in York County to Abraham and Margaret Blatchford Hollopeter and at an early age moved to Northumberland County where he taught school near Sunbury and later in Union County. He began to learn the boat building trade and soon married Susan A. Maus of Lewisburg in 1846. In 1850 he moved to Port Penn near Muncy and engaged in boat building. In 1857 he relocated to Watsontown where he became involved in the lumber business with William H. Follmer and Moses Chamberlin. This firm built the first saw mill in Watsontown. This mill burned in 1862 and was rebuilt under the newly formed Cook, Hollopeter & Co. This was later succeeded by Cook & Pardee with Mr. Hollopeter joining with William H. Wagner in order to build and operate the Watsontown Tannery. Hollopeter was also instrumental in the establishing of the Watsontown Boot & Shoe Co., the car works, the first table works as well as a number of other businesses. In fact, at the time of his death, he was responsible for the creation of most of the town’s industry with the exception of the nail works, the upper table works, and the leather finishing plant.
Mr. Hollopeter was one of the first two men to promote the first Sunday school in Watsontown and aided in the building of the Methodist Church in Watsontown becoming one of its first members and officers. He was a charter member as well as the first worshipful master of the Watsontown Lodge, No. 401, F. & A.M. in 1868. He was involved in the incorporation of Watsontown which took place on November 4, 1867 and was elected as the first chief burgess on November 16, 1867. The first meeting of the Burgess and the councilmen took place at the home of the Burgess on November 20 when the burgess and the council members were qualified by the Justice of the Peace Thomas Barr. The first elected council members were C.O. Bachman, John Bly, Thomas Carl, D.C. Hogue, and Frederick Witman. On December 11, 1867 the council adopted a constitution and elected C.O. Bachman as the first council secretary and D.C. Hogue as the first council treasurer. On December 18 of that same year, they adopted the first town ordinances to take affect as of January 18, 1868. Mr. Hollopeter’s term as Chief Burgess ended with the election of his successor, J.P. Starr on February 21, 1868. On April 14, 1868 Joseph Hollopeter was elected to fill the vacancy of Eli Welsh who resigned as school board director becoming one of the first members of that board and also its first treasurer. He served in this capacity for the next three years. In 1871 he was elected to serve on the town council. In 1872 he returned to the school board being elected president. His last official office was in 1874 when he was elected to the school board again where he served as the treasurer.
Mr. Hollopeter’s wife died in 1889 and was buried in the Watsontown Cemetery. Mr. Hollopeter died on November 5, 1897 and was laid to rest beside his wife. He was survived by one son, Samuel G.M. Hollopeter of Shenandoah who was a leading attorney of the Schuylkill County bar.
[The Northumberland Count Pennsylvania Burials, Vol. VI, Meiser, Jr., Joseph A. and Meiser, Sarah Roadarmelt, 1991, pg 172; The Record and Star, Silver Anniversary Edition, 1907, pg 13]
Last Modified: 08.07.09