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Below is a family biography included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.   These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN SEMPLE, physician, Wilkinsburg, was born in McCandless (then Pine) township, February 16, 1823. His grandfather, James Semple, a native of Cumberland county, came to Allegheny county in 1789, and owned a large tract, now the site of Hoboken, where he lived and died. He was the second sheriff of Allegheny county, and was twice a member of the assembly. Soon after locating he was obliged to leave his land on account of the Indians, and while a resident at East Liberty a son was born and named Robert A. The latter married Mary Simpson, a native of Chester county, and settled in 1816 on the farm where he died, near Wildwood station. He passed away in 1886, aged ninety-three years, his helpmate having preceded him by one year, in her eighty-eighth year. They had lived together sixty years. For sixty years he was an elder in the Cross Roads Presbyterian Church, and during fifty-four years was never absent from session. He was an anti-masonic whig, afterward a republican. Of his eight children, seven grew to maturity: James, John, Eliza (Huchman, deceased), Mary (deceased at the age of eighteen), Robert, Sarah (Ferguson) and Silas. Dr. Semple was reared on the farm, and at the age of eighteen commenced under the instruction of Rev. Dr. Guthrie at Bakerstown; afterward he attended a boarding-school at Mt. Pleasant, Washington county, and Jefferson College, Cannonsburg. He read medicine with Drs. Speer and Brooks in Pittsburgh, and graduated in the spring of 1848 from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.

After practicing a year in Allegheny City, Dr. Semple located in Wilkinsburg, where he has since remained, and has built up an extensive practice; he has given free attention to the County farm, Old Ladies’ home and Mute school. He is a member of the County, State, American and International Medical societies, the Masonic fraternity and the Presbyterian Church, in which he has been thirty-eight years a member of session. He is active in supporting schools, and sustains the republican party. In 1848 he married Isabella Russell Smith, who died in 1852, leaving a daughter, Mary I. R. S., now resident with her father. In 1854 the doctor married Nancy Thompson, whose only child, Maggie Jane Sidney, died in 1883, the wife of Morris Scott.

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This family biography is one of 2,156 biographies included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.

View additional Allegheny County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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