Joseph Gearhart, inventor of the Gearhart Knitting Machine and founder of the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company, was also a devout member of the Methodist church as well as a lay minister who conducted services at rural churches in the Clearfield area. If that’s not enough to keep a person busy, he also wrote two books of a religious nature which were copyrighted in 1903 and published by the Christian Standard Co,. Ltd. of Philadelphia. He also raised eight kids, was married twice (first wife died), and bought real estate in Florida. In his spare time he obtained eight patents (not 40 as other’s report), and invented at least four other devices including a vacuum cleaner and a rail-car pusher which he subsequently sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad. Oh yes, he also made some efforts to become a candidate for the United States President, representing the Prohibition Party. This party was an important force in US politics in the late 19th century and the early years of the 20th century (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_Party).
I don’t know about you, but I’m booked with just one kid and one full-time job, and I don’t even watch TV! Back in the old days, I guess people just got to work and did things. I bet they didn’t complain much either, unlike today’s population including me. Honestly though, if I could accomplish just a portion of what Joseph managed to do, I’d be a pretty satisfied with things at the end of my life. The best thing to do now, since I’m pretty far into my 50’s, is to keep going and see if I can make a few more goals.
Anyway, back to Joseph. He was pretty religious. In his early years, he attended the “Old Mud Church” in Philipsburg. This well-perserved church now called “Union Church” was built with logs in 1820 and is surrounded on three sides by a cemetary containing a prominent plot of graves marked with the names of members of the Gearhart family. The Revolutionary War solder John Gearhart (1754-1840) is buried here. Private William Gearhart (1843-1864) is also buried here. He was Joseph’s brother and was a Civil War soldier who died of starvation while being held as a Prisoner Of War. Indeed, this must have been a town founded by proud people.
Later on, Joseph attended the Trinity Methodist Church in Clearfield. This church was built in 1904 and was destroyed by fire on December 21, 1968. The church was rebuilt in 1971. In 1903, when he was 55 years old, he wrote two books. The first book was titled Receiving the Holy Ghost. I’ve never been able to locate copy of this book, but will continue to keep a look-out for it. The second book was titled What Jesus Said About The Holy Ghost. Several years ago, I was able to find this book at the used-book site ww.abebooks.com. I’ve never seen this book appear since then, but that’s OK since I quickly bought it and now have it sitting in my bookcase.
This second book is 91 pages in length, with 6 chapters. Its got a nice writing style and is very easy to read in one long sitting. I contacted the Christian Standard Co,. Ltd. of Philadelphia and asked them about the first book, but they didn’t have a copy of it and could not offer any suggestions about where to get a copy. So for now, I’m happy to have at least one of his books. For some reason, I can’t explain why, I suspect I’m the only Gearhart descendant with a copy of his book. If you know otherwise, I’d sure like to hear from you…