Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 519] deceased, late superintendent of the public schools of Mahoningtown borough and a respected citizen of that place, was a son of James A. Lostetter, Sr., a prominent and well-to-do merchant of Pulaski, Lawrence Co., Pa.

The Lostetter family in America came originally from Holland in the persons of five brothers and two sisters, who crossed the ocean in 1742 to become citizens of the English-Colonies. The male portion of the family took part in the French and Indian War, and were serving among the colonial troops at the Battle of Quebec. A few years later, when the colonists asserted their inalienable rights, the Lostetter family again showed that they were descended from fighting blood by doing valiant service in the cause of Liberty. The War of the Revolution separated the family of seven children, and they never were gathered together around one fireside afterwards; their descendants may be found throughout the Southern and Western States, and a perusal of war records will show that they remained true to the fighting trait of the family, and were well represented in the War of the Rebellion.

John Lostetter, the grandfather of Mahoningtown's efficient superintendent of schools, was a millwright by trade, following that throughout the prime of his life in Huntington Co., Va., and spending the latter portion of his life in Western Pennsylvania, dying in New Castle about 1832, aged sixty-four years. He was a loyal, and patriotic citizen, and managed his business affairs with more than usual discretion and good judgment, accumulating a competence that comfortably supported him the last years of his life. He was a Jacksonian Democrat, and in the days of slave trouble warmly espoused the principles of the Abolition party. He married Catherine Noel, who was a daughter of Jacob Noel, a native of Pennsvlvania, and to them were given the following children, ten in number: William, who died in infancy; Charlotte; Andrew; Eliza; Theresa; Mary; John; Thomas; James A.; and Catherine. Their religion was that of the Catholic Church.

James A. Lostetter, the father of Prof. Lostetter, was born in Martinsburg, Va., March 20, 1825, and was educated in the schools of Allegheny City, Pittsburg, and New Castle; after completing his schooling he learned the tailor's trade, serving a four years' apprenticeship with William Stitt of Pulaski. When he became a journeyman he set out to support himself and at the same time see something of the country, and for four years was in the West, working at his trade in several of the larger cities. In 1847, he located at Middlesex, Pa., and remained there until 1850, moving in that year to New Bedford, Pa., where he made his home for about four years. In 1854 he located in Pulaski, Pa., where he has remained ever since in the work of his trade, with the exception of three years which were spent in the late war, and a short time after when he lived in West Middlesex. He enlisted Aug. 27, 1861, at Pulaski, Pa., in Co. B, 100th Reg. Pa. Vol. Inf., which was attached to the Third Brigade of the First Division of the Ninth Army Corps, and he was engaged in all the battles in which his company took a hand, and was discharged at the expiration of his term of enlistment at Pittsburg, Pa., Aug. 27, 1864. In the Peninsular campaign, May 12, at Spottsylvania Court House, he was severely wounded. He is a thorough believer in and an advocate of the advantages of a paper currency and fiat money, as fully elaborated in the writings of distinguished members of the Greenback party. On Jan. 1, 1850, he was joined in the holy bonds of matrimony with Melissa King, daughter of Henry and Rachel (Gordon) King of Mercer Co., Pa., the latter of Scotch descent. Our subject's mother bore her husband seven children, namely: Elmer C., who married Sarah A. Rankin, daughter of Robert Rankin of Mercer, Pa., and has two children, George R. and Lucetta; William H., who married Emma Buchanan, daughter of John Buchanan of Pulaski, Pa., and has a family of three children—Edna, Clifford and Helen; Maud E., who married Levi Repman of Wampum, Pa.; Anna M.; James A., the subject of this biography; Lizzie A., a teacher in West New Castle; and Blanche J., who married Chas. Fischer of New Wilmington, Pa., and has one child, Harold. Our subject's father and his two sons living are liberal in their religious views, but the remainder of the family are Presbyterians.

Prof. Lostetter was born in West Middlesex, Mercer Co., Pa., March 23, 1865; he was brought up in Pulaski, whither his parents moved when he was in his first year. His preliminary education was secured in the district schools of Pulaski, and was continued until he was eighteen years of age, when he entered Grove City College, and graduated in 1887. Having taught school before attending college, he quite naturally followed that vocation after he left college halls, and was assistant principal at West Middlesex for three years, and then for a like period had full charge of the schools. In 1893, he relinquished his position to accept the position of superintendent of the schools of Mahoningtown, and since that time satisfactorily conducted the borough schools until his death in Pulaski, Aug. 27, 1897. He was a gentleman of deep learning, broad views and superior executive ability, and did much in raising the standard of the schools, and in bringing them to a high state of efficiency, following the most approved methods as laid down by the foremost students of pedagogy.

On Aug. 23, 1894, in West Middlesex, occurred his marriage to Miss Fannie S. King, daughter of Homer T. and Catherine (Hollibaugh) King, and this union has been blessed with two sons: Earl King, a bright and interesting child, the delight of his parents and their constant joy; and Homer Alven, born June 13, 1897. Mr. Lostetter was a member of the Presbyterian Church. In his politics, Prof. Lostetter was independent, and voted for the men and principles that seemed most to deserve his suffrage. Socially, he was a member Kedron Lodge, No. 389, F. & A. M. of West Middlesex, Pa.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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