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Rev Joseph Benson Shaver

* December 3, 1844
November 17, 1903
married Emma Jane Mumper, June 20, 1872


The Rev Joseph Benson Shaver, the second child of the Rev David and Nancy Linn Shaver, and the great grandson of Peter Shaver, our original American ancestor who settled in America prior to 1738, was born on the above date in Madison Township, Perry County, at Bixler Hills.

As a strong youth he helped his brother John with the farm work and when scarcely 18 years of age, he enlisted in the cause of the North at the outbreak of the Civil War. He served three years.

On August 9, 1862 he enlisted in the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry. During the Red River campaign he was severely wounded in the left arm, above the elbow. The wounded arm prevented him from fighting on the battle fields, but he served the army in the headquarters of the First Brigade, Second Division of the Tenth Army Corps. While stationed on Morris Island, South Carolina, during the siege of Charleston, he was converted religiously, and inspired to preach the gospel.

Following his discharge from the army he entered the Dickinson Seminary at Williamsport and during his academic studies he was admitted, on October 22, 1865 to full membership in the Mulberry Methodist Church at Williamsport. During 1867 he traveled the Newport Circuit with the Presiding Elder. In March 1868 he was admitted to the East Baltimore Conference, transferring to the Central Pennsylvania Conference at its organization. On March 10, 1870 he was ordained as a Deacon by Bishop Ames and on March 24. 1872 he was made an Elder by Bishop Simpson.

With all the authority invested in a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church he held many pastorates throughout Central Pennsylvania. His pastorates are listed in a publication of the Central Pennsylvania Conference as follows:

  Gettysburg, New Cumberland, Greencastle, Thompsontown, Osceola, Bedford, Muhlensburg, Hollidaysburg, First Church, Altoona, Hazelton, St. Paul’s Church, Danville, Pine Creek Church, Williamsport and Trinity Church, Lock Haven.  

On June 20, 1872 he was married to Miss Emma Jane Mumper, of Dillsburg, York County, to which union two children were born: Elizabeth Linn Shaver and Mary Mumper Shaver.

In the Williamsport charge his health began to fail and after having been assigned to the Lock Haven pastorate his health became such that the congregation granted him a three month vacation. He spent this time at the home of his older daughter Elizabeth Shaver Smith. Near the close of the vacation period his condition grew worse and on November 17, 1903 he passed away.

The church publication, in reviewing his ministerial career, printed the following:

  During his illness he was never despondent, but ever hopeful, and. undoubtedly this and his indomitable spirit and will kept him up and at work for many months, if not for years. He was singularly devoted to his calling and spared neither time nor strength in advancing the faith of his church. He was en earnest and impressive minister and his style was clear, chaste and attractive. He had small patience with catchy themes and so-called treatment of events of the hour. He dearly loved his Conference, and for a long period he was a vigilant member of its most important committee, that of qualifications of candidates to the ministry. For many years he was an ideal secretary of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  

He was also a member of' the Conference Board of Education, as sell as a member of the Board of Trustees and, for a long period, he was its treasurer. During the period of the inception and of the perfecting of the Annuity Plan, he was noted as a preacher of the Word; rather than preaching from present day themes, he preached from a Biblical standpoint.

Most beautiful and appropriate memorial services ware held in the First Methodist Episcopal Church, Hazelton, Pa., on Wednesday, November 18, 1903, the pastor, the Rev A. S. Fasik being in charge with several associates delivering appropriate eulogistic addresses.

The body was taken to Dillsburg, York County, where the last rites consigning the remains to the grave was conducted by the Rev M. S. Derstine, assisted by several brethren:

  His memory, as a true man, will linger long, for having fulfilled, to the letter, every trust committed to him. He was generous in his feeling and conduct to all, and his life was singularly well rounded and complete.  

Civil War Record

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