Patriot Daughters of Lancaster

The Patriot Daughters of Lancaster

1861 ~ 1865

      During the Civil War numerous societies, often referred to as “ladies’ aid societies,” were formed in the North by civilians wishing to support local troops and contribute to the war effort. On April 22, 1861 -- just ten days after the firing on Fort Sumter-- a group of ladies met at the Lancaster Court House to organize the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster.  Rosina Hubley was elected president and continued in that position for the duration of the war.  The initial purpose of the organization was to provide money, food and supplies for soldiers serving in local companies of Pennsylvania Regiments.  They organized the sewing for needed articles of clothing and made bandages for hospitals. The Patriot Daughters provided the soldiers from Lancaster with supplies as they left for the war and welcomed them home with elaborate dinners after they had been mustered out of the service.  They also provided national flags to Lancaster companies.  Wagons loaded with provisions were driven to sites where there had been major battles by Lancaster men acting as agents for the Patriot Daughters. Their effect on the soldiers in the field was profound. In a letter from Harrison’s Landing, Captain William L. Bear of Company B, 1st Pennsylvania Reserves wrote, “Could the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster have but seen the countenances and hear the grateful expressions which fell from the lips of the survivors of the bloody conflicts before Richmond, they would have been in some measure repaid for their generous offering.”

      The Patriot Daughters opened and managed an infirmary for ill soldiers. In addition, they collected money for widows and children and provided for children whose fathers had gone to war.   The Patriot Daughters held sanitary fairs and bazaars to raise money. One huge event, “A Soldiers Fair,” was held in February 1864 at Fulton Hall, now the Fulton Theater, with proceeds totaling $12,000 (over $175,000 in today’s dollars). The week-long fair included displays of relics of the war, items from the Battle of Gettysburg, ladies’ handwork, fine art, concerts and tableaux, refreshments, and items for sale. 

     After the Battle of Getttysburg in July of 1863, the ladies volunteered for service at Christ Lutheran Church used as one of the may "hospitals" to serve the thousands of wounded and dying left behind.  The ladies remained there for four weeks, nursing and cooking for the soldiers.  Later, they were asked to return to Gettysburg to care for wounded at the Seminary hospital. The Slaymaker family donated equipment to haul the ladies and their provisions. The Patriot Daughters described their experiences in the book, Hospital Scenes After the Battle of Gettysburg  published in 1864. 


     After the formal organization was disbanded in 1865, its members continued to support widows and orphans and helped to educate freed slaves. Patriot Daughters spearheaded fundraising for Lancaster’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument erected in Penn Square in 1874.



Patriot Daughters of Lancaster Reenacted

     Today's Patriot Daughters of Lancaster endeavor to remember and honor the dedicated service of those civilians of Lancaster by portraying the Patriot Daughters, along with their wagoneers and the soldiers they served. They participate at local living history events, Gettysburg National Military Park, and major Civil War reenactments. The Patriot Daughters are part of the Lancaster County Civil War Living History Association (LCCWLHA) and are an active unit member of United States Volunteers (USV) Civilians -a national reenactment organization.       

    For more information about the group, contact


Jeanne Herr Cassidy

LCCWLHA President and USV Civilians Committee Member 


     2017 Patriot Daughters Flyer is attached

The Patriot Daughters of Lancaster2017 flyer.pdf1.23 MB
Patriot Daughters at Landis Valley Farm Museum 2017.jpeg3.06 MB