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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 MIFFLIN, freight agent for the Pennsylvania railroad at New York City, is a representative of one of Cumberland county’s old and prominent families, and was born Aug. 20, 1852, in the county, a son of Capt. Joseph Mifflin and Julia Duncan Stewart.

Capt. Joseph Mifflin was born July 9, 1812, at Burlington, N. J., a son of Joseph Mifflin, of the same place, and was a descendant of that old Quaker stock that came to Pennsylvania prior to William Penn and furnished the Keystone State with her first Governor. They were here and children were born to them before Penn’s arrival.

Capt. Mifflin settled at Shippensburg in 1833 and always claimed that city his home until the time of his death, which occurred Feb. 20, 1885. For many years he resided on a farm one mile from the borough limits, to which the name of “Burlington Farm” had been given, in remembrance of his birthplace. In early years he learned the tanning business and also worked in iron, but the mathematical inclination of his mind induced him to prepare for the work of a civil engineer. In this he was eminently successful, and for a long period was employed on the Pennsylvania, the Huntingdon and Broad Top and the Columbia and Octarora railroads, his last work being on the Harrisburg and Potomac road. He then retired to Shippensburg, where the remainder of his life was passed in the enjoyment of literary pursuits. He was a man of superior talent, a fine scholar, familiar with the classics, a great student of Shakespeare, and kept well posted on current literature and the passing events of public life. In 1844 he was principal of an academy at Shippensburg and demanded a high degree of excellence in his pupils. One of the first county superintendents of schools, he did much in raising the grade of teachers. In his youth he was identified with the Abolition party. From the time he united with the Presbyterian Church he was an upright, consistent member of that religious body.

On July 9, 1833, Capt. Mifflin was married to Julia Duncan Stewart, who was born May 29, 1817, at Shippensburg, in the old residence on Main street which is now occupied as the parsonage of the Church of God. Her father, Dr. Alexander Stewart, located in Shippensburg in 1795. He was a graduate of Pittsburg Medical College and practiced many years in this city, dying in 1830. He was well and favorably known, and was a presiding elder in the Presbyterian Church. He married a daughter of Capt. William Rippey of Revolutionary fame, whose family is one of the oldest in the Cumberland Valley. Capt. and Mrs. Mifflin celebrated their Golden Wedding July 9, 1883, at their beautiful rural home, an occasion of much pleasure to all concerned. Mrs. Mifflin was noted through her long and beautiful life for her wonderfully bright and cheery disposition, always being able to see a streak of sunshine beyond the darkest cloud. Like her husband she was a great reader, and as her memory was most retentive she became a very charming companion even to her last days. Her interest in her family, friends and church continued until the end. Her death took place Jan. 24, 1901, and she was laid to rest by the side of her husband in Spring Hill cemetery. The funeral services were of a deeply impressive character on account of the prominence of the family, and the universal esteem in which she had been held, and were in charge of Rev. W. A. McCarrell, D. D., of the Presbyterian Church, and Rev. M. E. Swartz, of the M. E. Church of Shippensburg, and the pallbearers were: George H. Stewart, Marshall Mains, William McCullough, George V. Johnson, James Hayes and M. F. Robinson.

The surviving children of Capt. Joseph and Julia D. (Stewart) Mifflin are: Joseph and William, of New York City; Martha, of Columbia; Mrs. Timmins, of Philadelphia; and Mrs. William Shapley, of Shippensburg.

Joseph Mifflin attended the local schools until his thirteenth year, subsequently completing his education at Columbia. He started life as a rodman on the Harrisburg and Potomac railroad, and then began to assist in the construction of that road, continuing to work there for three years. Before its completion he was made resident engineer and remained with the company until 1873. Mr. Mifflin then went to farming for his father, but later returned to railroad work, and upon entering the employ of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company accepted its agency in New York City, having his office on West 37th street, where he is still engaged. His duties included watching the business interests of his road along the docks and the supervision of the business of handling freight for shipment over the road. In 1904 Mr. Mifflin purchased the Mifflin homestead for his possible future home. It is one of the substantially built houses of other days, which its present owner has remodeled and made most attractive. The farm includes 105 acres.

In 1881 Mr. Mifflin married Meta, daughter of Henry and Alma (Briggs) Rankin, of Herkimer county, N. Y., prominent people of that section of the Empire State. For many years Henry Rankin operated the first packet on the Erie canal, between Utica and Albany, N. Y. Mrs. Mifflin was educated in the superior schools of the East and is a lady of culture and social graces. She has two daughters by a former marriage: Alfaretta, wife of K. M. Eastman, of the Pennsylvania railroad. New York City, and Miss Deda.

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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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