Augustus O. Hiester was born at Reading, November llth, 1808,and was the son of Gabriel and Mary Otto Hiester. When twelve years of age he was sent to Downingtown Academy, then in charge of Joshua Hoops, a Hicksite Quaker. Later he was sent to Lebanon and placed under the care or Rev. Mr. Ernst, a Lutheran minister, by whom in company with A. E Shulze, son of ex-Governor Shulze, he was prepared for college. He entered the freshman class at Dickinson in 1821, the year that President Mason was succeeded by William Neil, D. D., in the conduct of the institution, and was a student under such professors as McClelland and Finley. Out of his class, '28, he was one of the three surviving members out of the thirty-seven who entered college. He received his degree in four years, being graduated with honor, and was subsequently a trustee of the institution for many years.
In 1830 he was elected delegate with D.E W. Roberts to the Infant School convention, which convened in Washington
that year. He made the journey to the Capitol in an old-fashioned gig and took dinner with Henry Clay the day before the convention opened its sessions. Then he spent a year as a law student in the office of Judge Krause, but not finding the legal profession suited to his tastes, he left and spent a half year at the Huntingdon forge,
then owned by Dr. Shoemberger. Then he was six months at the Long Swamp furnace in Berks county with Reuben Trexler. Leaving there he came to Harrisburg, and in 1831 assisted in the construction of the rolling mills at the month of the Conodoguinet creek, where his father, in partnership with Norman Callender, built a large boiler plate and bar iron mill. He took an active part in the superintendence of the mills until 1836, when that period so disastrous to ironmasters set in all over the country.
During the existence of the old Branch Bank of Pennsylvania he was a director, and continued in that capacity until the institution was closed. He was also a director of the Harrisburg Bank, afterwards changed to the now existing Harrisburg National Bank. During Governor Johnson's term of office he was appointed associate judge to fill a vacancy on the Bench, and afterward was twice elected for two terms of five years each. He was also appointed one of the three commissioners by the court of Dauphin county, under an act of the Legislature, to hear testimony and report their opinion of the damages sustained by individuals consequent upon Stuart's raid through the counties of Fulton, Franklin and Adams. The commission consisted of Colonel James Worrall, a gentleman from Lebanon county, and himself. By them he was elected president of the commission.
He was chairman of the committee of arrangements for the first State fair held in this city in 1861. He was also one of the five commissioners composed of Judge Watts, Judge Miles, H. N. McAllister, Mr. Walker and himself, to select a location for the State Agricultural College, and after it was completed was annually chosen a trustee for fifteen years. He was secretary of the State Agricultural Society for four years, and for six years was a trustee of the State Lunatic Hospital here. Judge Hiester was the owner of valuable property along the river, and took pride in the excellent condition of his farm lands, which he managed himself. Beside superintending the affairs of his own, he has been executor for a number of valuable estates and acted as trustee, guardian and assignee. He was among the first of the subscribers to the Harrisburg cotton factory, now the silk mill, on North Second street; the Harrisburg car works, of which he was a director; the Harrisburg street railway, of which he was president, and of the Fort Hunter road commission, of which he was secretary and treasurer since its organization. The only office that Mr. Hiester held during recent years was the agent of the Bellman estate of this city.
Judge Hieeter hu been president of the Dauphin County Sunday School Association since is founding. His father,
General Gabriel Hiester, was an officer in the War of 1812 and moved to Harrisburg in 1813 to become Surveyor General of Pennsylvania.
In 1835 be married Miss Catharine M. Cox, daughter of John B. Cox, who died in July, 1883. Judge Hiester is survived by two sons, Gabriel, who resided with him at his river home, and William A., who is engaged in the profession of civil engineering at Elmira, N. Y.
Judge Hiester was a most courtly and polished gentleman, always cheerful and good natured. He ever had the kindly
word for his friends and acquaintances, and he was beloved and respected by all who knew him. Erect and vigorous until recently, his springy step and bright eye betokened him a man much younger than he really was. It was hard to believe that he had long ago retired from the active pursuits of life, and was gracefully enjoying that rest so well merited by the activity of former years. He will be missed by his many friends who were accustomed to meet him at his residence along the river front, and by those who so frequently met him in the city. There was great regret expressed in all circles to-day over the sad news of his death.
Judge Hiester was prominently identified with the Dauphin County Bible Society and active in the work of the Methodist church near his home.