The subject of this biographical review was born June 6, 1813, in Cumberland County, Pa., coming of good old Pennsylvania stock. His father, of the same name as himself, was also a native of the Keystone State, his birthplace in Lancaster, but his mother, Elizabeth Ruplee, was born in the same county as himself. They had a hard time of it in their early married life, as Mr. Longnecker, who was a farmer, had to struggle to pay for his farm of 200 acres. The mother passed away from the scenes of earth first, dying in February, 1839. The father survived her some fourteen years. Eleven children gladdened the lives of that worthy couple, four of whom are now living, three daughters and our subject.
Joseph Longnecker received a meagre education, attending school only in winters, and in the summer seasons worked to earn money to defray the expenses of his education. At the age of seventeen he began to learn the trade of a carpenter, serving an apprenticeship of about three years, and at the age of twenty had acquired a thorough knowledge of the trade. For awhile after that he worked as a journeyman carpenter until he found employment in building railway cars, but after working at that a few years he went into the commission business.
April 15, 1851, by his marriage to Nancy, daughter of Peter and Sarah (Houser) Barnhart, of Germany, he secured the able assistance of one who has proved the best of wives and the kindest of mothers. Nine children have been born unto them, of whom the following is recorded: Sarah, born Jan. 28, 1841, is the wife of James Watt, of Winchester, and they have five children; Peter, born Feb. 28, 1857, lives in Newton, Kan., where he is engaged in business as a jeweler; John, residing on the homestead, married Ella Young, and they have four daughters (for further particulars concerning John see biography of him on another page of this work); George, born April 8, 1862, unmarried, owns a jeweler's establishment in Winchester, but makes his home with his parents.
Mr. and Mrs. Longnecker came to Illinois with their children in 1846, and after living in Winchester two years he moved onto his farm, having bought 145 acres of land on his arrival here. He has added to it since until he now owns 224 acres of fine farming land, lying all in a body, and nearly all under cultivation. The years that followed his settlement here was fraught with labor and care, as he was busily engaged in clearing his land of timber and tilling the soil, planting shade trees and orchards, etc., and building the present roomy, substantial dwelling, barns, sheds, etc., that adorn the place. Our subject continued engaged on his farm until 1856, when he bought an interest in a flour mill, and assisted in its management, but after a year's experience in that line he sold out and gave his entire attention to his farm. He has interested himself greatly in rearing stock, keeping as many cattle and horses as the farm can support.
Mr. Longnecker is fairly alive to all political issues, and at general elections votes the Democratic ticket, but in local affairs votes for the man whom he regards as best fitted for the position without regard to his party affiliations. He has usually tried to shun office, though a man of his ability, judgment, and integrity is rightly considered by his fellow citizens to have the requisite qualifications for a civic official, and they have twice elected him to be Alderman of the First Ward. Religiously, both he and his wife are valued members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and he has been Trustee of the same. He has always been a very temperate man, never using tobacco or liquor, and his life has been guided by high principles, and its record is without blemish. He and his family occupy a high social position in their community, and are in every way worthy of the consideration and respect accorded them.