Daniel Hartman Hastings (1849-1903)

Daniel Hartman Hastings (1849-1903)

Daniel Hartman Hastings was born near Lamar Township in Clinton County, Pennsylvania on February 26, 1849, the youngest of nine children of Scottish and Scots Irish immigrant parents. William Hastings and Sarah Hartman ran a struggling farm and were only able to send their son to a nearby select school. Their son took full advantage in a remarkable intellectual rise from fourteen year old assistant teacher, to eighteen year old principal of the local high school. At the same time, he studied Latin and Greek at the nearby Bellefonte Academy, served as an assistant editor of education with the local Bellefonte National, and also studied law. He had risen to superintendent of schools in Bellefonte before, in 1875, he passed the Centre County bar and began a full time practice of law.

With a successful practice well begun, he entered local politics and served on the school board and town council in Bellefonte. He also became involved with the Pennsylvania National Guard and within ten years was appointed as adjutant general. In the same year, 1887, his political career was established as he chaired the State Republican Convention and the following year nominated with widely admired oratory John Sherman of Ohio as President. Besides this strong involvement in national politics, Hastings gained fame closer to home when he supervised the National Guard's rescue and recovery efforts after the disastrous Johnstown Flood of May 31, 1889. In 1894 he was nominated and elected to the governorship of Pennsylvania and served from January, 1895 to January 1899.

Along with his law career and a strong investment involvement with Pennsylvania coal, Hastings retained his interests in education. He served as a trustee of Pennsylvania State University and in 1893 was elected to the board of Trustees of Dickinson College and served energetically until his death. Dickinson awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1895.

Hastings married Jane Armstrong Rankin in 1877 and the couple had two daughters. Daniel Hastings fell ill with pneumonia in early 1903 and died January 9, 1903 at home in Bellefonte. He was fifty-three years old.

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Dickinson College Archives
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