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George Hiney was born March 11, 1788, but his birth place is not known, nor are the names of his parents. The name Hiney is German and it's possible that his parents and/or grandparents came over during the massive German migration to Pennsylvania in the 1700s and subsequently became known as the "Pennsylvania Dutch." ("Dutch" was a corruption of the German word "Deutsche" which means "German.")

The name of his first wife, who was the mother of all his children, is unknown. According to the census records, George and his unknown wife had at least four children, 2 girls and 2 boys, one of whom died young. Only the name of the other boy is known—Elias. On March 1, 1836 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, George married secondly, a widow named Elizabeth Lenhart. There were no children by this marriage, though George became step-father to Elizabeth's son, George Lenhart. George & Elizabeth's marriage certificate is shown below.

George fought in the War of 1812 and from his military records, we know what he looked like. He stood 5 feet 6 inches tall, had a light complexion, sandy colored hair and gray eyes.

George Hiney's Application for Bounty Land

George worked as a brick-maker and was a sexton in the Methodist Church. According to the Dauphin County tax records of 1869, George owned 100 acres of mountain land. George died on July 25, 1869 at the age of 81 and was buried in an unmarked grave at Middletown, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth died April 3, 1879. His obituary appears at left below with a transcription on the right.

Death of Father Hiney. Another old soldier of the war of 1812, departed at 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon, last, after a lingering illness, aged 81 years, 4 months and 13 days. Up to within a few months past George Hiney resided in the city of Harrisburg (since then he resided here with Mr. Geo. Lenhart - he was step-father to Mr. L.) and was known to the citizens of that city, generally, as the sexton of the Locust street M.E. Church, of which he was one of the originators. He was one of the oldest citizens in the country, and was identified with the interests of Harrisburg at a very early period in its history. The Harrisburg "Telegraph" of Monday evening says,

"He was born March 11, 1788 and came to Harrisburg when a mere boy. Then there were but three houses west of Market street, that whole section far up being a woody swamp. Being a brickmaker, many of the houses that afterwards grew up and contributed their share to the extension of what is now the Capital City of Pennsylvania, were part of his handiwork. In 1810 he became a devout and sincere member of the Methodist church, then in its infancy and in all the purity and ruggedness of its Wesleyan discipline. At the time he joined that church there were but four other Methodists in Harrisburg, all of whom are now dead. There was no church building here, and the members met at their residences, relying upon the semi-occasional preaching of a minister in a wide and wild circuit. Father Hiney has sat under the preaching of all the old pioneers of the church in this western world, and has himself battled with buckler on, in the service of Christianity in the wilderness of many a new settlement; so that he may be said to have been not only an old solider in the cause of civil liberty, but one of the oldest soldiers in the cause of Methodism - then emphatically a church militant."

He served as a private in the war of Independence, in 1814, in Captain Gowen Henry's Company of rifles - the "Paxton Rangers", a company of young men who volunteered from this locality - attached to Col. Kennedy's regiment of Pennsylvania militia. Mr. Geo. Wyant, another of our old soldier citizens, is the only member of this company now left to tell the tale of its hardships. The fire of his old military days never forsook Father Hiney, and during the late war against rebellion he scouted the idea of there being any peculiar hardships in the service of our Union soldiers. When Lee invaded Pennsylvania in 1863, and threatened her capital, he with all the other old soldiers of 1812 in Harrisburg shouldered his rifle under command of Captain Carson and thus shamed our young men into the ranks.

His funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon, from the resident of Mr. Geo. H. Lenhart (where he breathed his last), attended by the Grand Army of the Republic, of this place, our citizens, generally, and by four old soldiers of 1812 from the city of Harrisburg as follows: F.A. Uisely, aged 77 years; Wm. Bostick, aged 75; George Wyant, aged 74; and David Harris in the 73rd year of his age. These old soldiers were received at the Depot by the Grand Army and escorted to the house of mourning.

 

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See lineage of Hiney Family

Read the Biography of George's son, Elias Hiney

Read the Biography of George's grandson, Kirk Hiney

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