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William Muhlenberg Hiester (May 15, 1818-August 16, 1878) An American political and military leader in the State of Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Muhlenberg/Hiester Family political dynasty.


Hiester was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on May 15, 1818, the son of Dr. Isaac and Mrs. Hester Muhlenberg Hiester. He was the grandson of General Peter Muhlenberg and the great grandson of Henry Muhlenberg. He attended Bristol College in Pennsylvania, read law at Harvard College (now Harvard University) and was admitted to the bar. He practiced law in Erie, Pennsylvania and later in Reading, Pennsylvania with his partner Henry A. Muhlenberg. Hiester was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate as a member of the Democratic Party in 1855 and was immediately elected speaker. In January, 1858, he was appointed Secretary of the Commonwealth by Pennsylvania Governor William F. Packer. During the invasion of Pennsylvania by the Confederate States Army under Robert E. Lee in the summer of 1863, Hiester was commissioned a major in the Pennsylvania Militia by Governor Andrew Curtin and raised 8,000 troops for the defense of Pennsylvania. During the war, Hiester switched to the Republican Party and ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in 1864. Hiester died in Reading, Pennsylvania on August 16, 1878. He was the father of Isaac Ellmaker Hiester, uncle of Hiester Clymer, and nephew of John Hiester and Daniel Hiester.

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