MG 800 - Oenslager Collection

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Scope and Content

Contains a document of the indenture of John Oenslager to George J. Heisley executed in Harrisburg, November 3, 1835, and a certificate of citizenship issued by John A. Weir, Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas of the county of Dauphin held at Harrisburg, April 16, 1844 for John Oenslager of Darmstadt, Germany, admitting him to become a citizen of the United States.


Despite his humble beginning, John Oenslager, at the time of his death in November, 1898, was Harrisburg's largest real estate owner. He was born in Germany in 1820, came to America with his father and sister in 1833. He was bound out, first, to a preacher who took him to Hagerstown. He came to Harrisburg in 1834 and apprenticed himself to G. I. Heisely to learn his trade. After seven years in the jewelry business, he entered into a partnership with Albert Hummel, who kept a shoe store. He was with Mr. Hummel for thirteen years, when he retired to give his entire attention to the management of his real estate interest. At the time of his death, he owned more than two hundred houses and was the city's heaviest individual taxpayer. He was prominently identified with Pennsylvania's "underground railway" before and during the Civil War. He was married to Harriet Froener; they had four sons.

Date(s): 1835, 1844

Extent: 2 folders, 2 enclosures