John Simpson Africa

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John Simpson Africa

Birthplace: Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: August 08, 1900 (67)
Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Daniel Africa and Elizabeth Isabella Africa
Husband of Dorothea Corbin Africa
Father of Benjamin Franklin Africa; James Murray Africa; Walter Greenland Africa and Bessie Africa

Managed by: sue ann starn
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About John Simpson Africa

A son of Daniel Africa and Elizabeth Isabella Simpson. He married Dorothea C "Dollie" Greenland, the daughter of Joshua Greenland. They were married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Rev. David Wilson on January 1, 1856. Notice of their marriage was published in the Huntingdon Globe Newspaper on January 9, 1856.

"J. SIMPSON AFRICA, Huntingdon, Pa., was born in Huntingdon, September 15, 1832, son of Daniel Africa. His great-grandfather, Christopher Africa, was a native of Hanover, Germany, whence he emigrated to America, settled first at Germantown, near Philadelphia, and afterwards removed to Hanover, York county, Pa. He had two sons: Michael and Jacob. Michael Africa married Catherine Graffius, of York, Pa., and removed in 1791 to Huntingdon. There he became one of the founders of the Lutheran congregation, in which he was made an elder.

His son, Daniel Africa, was born in 1794. He became a prominent and influential man; was deputy surveyor for Huntingdon county from 1824 to 1830, and justice of the peace for twenty-two years. He was noted for the extent and accuracy of his legal knowledge. He married a daughter of John Simpson, a native of Bucks county, and a Revolutionary veteran. The father-in-law of John Simpson, and maternal great-grandfather of J. Simpson Africa, was James Murray, who also took part in the Revolutionary war, as captain of a Lancaster company. He was born in Scotland, and coming to this country in 1730, while still very young, he resided in Paxton, now in Dauphin county.

J. Simpson Africa was educated in the Huntingdon public schools and academy, and was instructed in surveying and civil engineering by his father and his uncle, James Simpson, especially the latter. His first work in his chosen profession was done under Samuel W. Mifflin, chief engineer on the Huntingdon and Broad Top railroad, in 1853. His close and conscientious attention to all matters pertaining to his profession, his studious habits and retentive memory, coupled with his long experience, gained throughout the length and breadth of Pennsylvania, have made him not only one of the foremost surveyors of the State, but an almost unerring authority on its land titles. He has shown himself a public-spirited and serviceable citizen of the borough of Huntingdon, taking a pride and pleasure in promoting its business enterprises and improvements. He has served as councilman and chief burgess, and as cashier of the First National Bank. In 1882, he became one of the incorporators of the Union Trust Company of Philadelphia, and has been president of the company since October, 1887.

In 1853, Mr. Africa was elected county surveyor, having then barely attained his majority. In 1858-59 he was a clerk in the State Senate, and in the latter year was elected to represent Huntingdon county in the Legislature. He served on important committees, and soon made his influence felt, as one of the ablest members of that body. His political successes have been the more remarkable that they have been attained in districts ordinarily giving large Republican majorities. He has rendered his most distinguished service to Pennsylvania as Secretary of the Department of Internal Affairs. Selected by Gen. McCandless as deputy secretary at the time of the organization of the department, it has been justly said that its present efficiency is due to the thorough and practical manner in which he accomplished that work. Although defeated for the office of secretary in 1878, the vote given him made the very defeat a triumph. In 1882 he received the unanimous nomination of the Democratic party, and was elected.

Mr. Africa has been a member of the Masonic fraternity for more than thirty years. He served as Secretary and Worshipful Master of Mount Moriah Lodge, No. 300, and as Secretary and M. E. High Priest of Standing Stone Chapter, No. 201. He was R. W Grand Master of Masons of Pennsylvania during the years 1891 and 1892 and is now chairman of the Committee on Temple and member of the Committee on Correspondence of the Grand Chapter. He has been active in the work of the fraternity, rendering important services. He is a fluent writer, and is master of a pure and correct style. For two years - 1853-54 - he published and edited the Standing Stone, issued at Huntingdon. He has written and edited much local historical matter, his most extended and important work of this nature being his "History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties," to which the publishers of this work take pleasure in acknowledging themselves greatly indebted.

J. Simpson Africa was married, January 1 1856, to Dorothea C., daughter of Joshua Greenland, at that time sheriff of Huntingdon county. Their surviving children are: B. ranklin; James Murray; and Walter G. Mr. Africa belongs to the Presbyterian church at Huntingdon; he has served the congregation as trustee, and as treasurer."

SOURCE: Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of the Juniata Valley: Comprising the Counties of Huntingdon, Mifflin, Juniata and Perry, Pennsylvania, Containing Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and Many of the Early Settlers. Chambersburg, Pa.: J. M. Runk & Co., 1897, pages 20-21

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John Simpson Africa's Timeline

September 15, 1832
Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, United States
August 1858
Age 25
Shade Gap, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, United States
April 10, 1863
Age 30
Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, United States
April 11, 1863
Age 30
Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, United States
Age 32
August 8, 1900
Age 67
Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, United States
August 8, 1900
Age 67
Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, United States