William Major Oster biography

WILLIAM MAJOR OSTER, one of the foremost cement, curbing and paving contractors in Lancaster, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 18, 1848, a son of William and Elizabeth (Major) Oster, grandson of William Oster and great-grandson of Henry Oster. William Oster was a blacksmith by trade, as was also his father, Henry, who served during the Revolutionary war, and died at the age of fifty-nine. During the war he came near freezing to death, supposedly at Valley Forge, his two companions succumbing to the severe cold. William Oster, the father of William Major, was a general blacksmith by trade, and with the exception of a temporary absence between the years 1844 and 1852, spent his entire life in. Lancaster. His death occurred in 1872, when he was aged sixty-one, and his wife died in 1855, at the age of forty-two. Born of this union were the following children: Reuben S., deceased ; Henry A., deceased; Mary A., deceased wife of John Evans; Elizabeth, Mrs. Lee, of Lancaster; Margaret, wife of Grafton Cheney; Catherine, wife of James Fulton, of Baltimore, Md., a cigar manufacturer by occupation; William M.; and Jacob, a blacksmith of Philadelphia. When four years of age William Major Oster came to Lancaster with his parents, and was educated in the public schools of the city. When fifteen years old he took up blacksmithing with his father, and completed his trade with the Lancaster Locomotive Works, thereafter following the business until 1876. He was then appointed chief mailing clerk in the Lancaster postoffice, a position he retained for ten years, or until he began his present contracting business. Socially Mr. Oster is connected with the Odd Fellows, and in political affiliation he is a Republican. He is a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church. In 1872 Mr. Oster married, in Lancaster, Harriet A. Witmyer, daughter of Frederick and Fredericka (Shiley) Witmyer. She was born in Manhelm, Pa., in May, 1844. Frederick Witmyer and his wife were born in Germany, and upon emigrating to America settled in Manheim. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Oster, viz.: Reuben S., traveling salesman for the Atlantic Refining Co., of Lancaster, who married Elizabeth Riedel, a school teacher; Estella W., a school teacher; William W., a druggist at Lancaster; Nellie L.; and Mary E. Mr. Oster is the friend of education, and his children have all graduated from the high school.

Source: [Anonymous], Biographical Annals of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and Many of the Early Settlers (J. H. Beers & Co., 1903), p. 1517.