Mercer County PAGenWeb

William Giebner

WILLIAM GIEBNER.  There is something peculiarly interesting in the history of a post-octogenarian, whether he be intimately connected with the development of any particular locality or not. But when the incidents in the life of a man, who has lived the major portion of his four-score years in one place, and has fought for his country in the troublous times of 1812, are to  be placed upon the records of a county history, the interest in the narration of such incidents becomes general, and are perused with avidity by the casual reader. Such a record is enjoyed by the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, and whose venerable portrait adorns our pages.

William Giebner was born in Westmoreland county, Pa., on the 4th of July, 1794. At an early age, he removed, with his parents, to Sandy Lake township, Mercer county, Pa., where he permanently located. At the time of the arrival of the Giebner’s, this section of country was in its primitive wilderness, and the noble red man constituted the most numerous portion of the inhabitants. True, they were semi-civilized, and the subject of our sketch remembers many a frolic he and his brothers have had in the forest with the Indians. Young Giebner grew to manhood, on the land settled by his father, and became thoroughly inured to the hardships consequent to pioneer life. He became also quite an expert with the rifle, as, in fact, all who raided hereabouts in those days, of necessity learned the practical use of that weapon. Bears, wolves, wild cats, and other ferocious animals, infested the, infant settlements, and it required both skill and courage to protect the humble habitations of the inhabitants from their ravages.

When about eighteen years of age, the second war with Great Britain broke out, and young Giebner was among those who enlisted to defend the hearths and homes of the citizens of these United States, who, less than half a century before, had gained eternal independence. He was mustered in General Meade’s army, and fought in the engagement with the British, at Erie, where the American forces were victorious, mainly through a neat stratagem of the commanding officer.

After the close of hostilities, he retired to a farm, situated about three. fourths of a mile from his present homestead. In 1817, he married Miss Helena Parrish, a native of Virginia, by whom he had four children—three sons and one daughter. One of the daughters died in infancy, another at the tender age of eleven, leaving but two who reached maturity. Of these, the son Charles William, married Miss Amelia Vath, daughter of the well­known and much-respected Dr. J. P. Vath. He (Charles W.) served three years in the Union army, during the Rebellion, and died April 23d, 1865. Sarah Jane married Abraham Farrah, a farmer, of her native township.

For nearly seventy years, William Giebner has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was, for many years, a class-leader, and has also held other official positions in the church. In politics, he is a Republican. He is now in his eighty-second year, and having lived a moderate and industrious life, enjoys excellent health, and, with the exception of a slight deafness, has the free use of all his faculties. It is possible that he may yet live to complete a century—and dying, will be lamented by a large circle of friends, who esteem him for his many excellent traits of character, and for his irreproachable integrity and rectitude.

History of Mercer County, 1877, page 135

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