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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company.  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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JOSEPH L. BEST, one of the prominent and highly esteemed citizens of East Pennsboro township, was born in 1851, in Clearfield county, Pa., son of Joseph Best, whose father, Joseph Best, was born in Germany. The grandfather came to America and settled along the Yellow Breeches creek, in York county, where he bought a tract of over 100 acres of land and followed farming until advanced in life, when he came to Cumberland county and made his home with his son Joseph. His death occurred there, and he was buried in St. John’s cemetery in Hampden township. His wife died young, leaving four children: John; Elizabeth, who married Henry Snavely and died in Mechanicsburg; Joseph, father of Joseph L.; and Martin, who died in Shiremanstown.

Joseph Best, father of Joseph L., was born in 1818 in York county, near the Cumberland county line. In young manhood he taught school and in 1840 went into the mercantile business at Shiremanstown. Later he went to Clearfield county, where he became a very successful lumber merchant, continuing in that business until his death, in 1880. He was interred by the side of his father in Hampden township. He married Catherine Barnhart, daughter of Peter Barnhart, of Hampden township, and she died in 1882, and was also laid to rest in St. John’s cemetery. They had children as follows: John, who married Sadie Eberly, died in 1880, and was interred with the other members of his family; Peter is a resident of Carlisle; Mary is the wife of Christian T. Eberly, and they live at Wellington, Kan.; Joseph L. is mentioned below; George C. is a resident of Kansas.

Joseph L. Best attended the township school of Hampden until he was sixteen years of age, and then engaged in the lumber business along the river at Fairview, for fourteen years. Then he learned the carpenter’s trade in East Pennsboro township, which he still follows, and many of the buildings in this section show his handiwork.

In 1872 Mr. Best married Sallie Lantz, who is a daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Swartz) Lantz, and located in East Pennsboro township. They have had two daughters, Mary and Cora. The former was born in 1873 and died in young girlhood, aged but twelve years, and she was buried in Zion Lutheran cemetery in East Pennsboro township. The latter, born in 1875, is the wife of Rev. J. C. Nicholas, a Lutheran minister of Butler, Pennsylvania.

In politics Mr. Best is a Democrat, and he has frequently been honored with election to office. In 1884 he served one term as county commissioner, and has been school director three years and supervisor of East Pennsboro township for two terms. Both he and his wife are valued members of Zion Lutheran Church. Mr. Best enjoys the esteem of all who know him, and his reputation is that of an honorable, upright man and first-class citizen.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company. 

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

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