Cross-posted at Lancaster at War blog. Lindsey thought it would be a good idea to post it here, too, for the opportunity to see early/mid-war dresses with information known about the women who wore them.
|Donation list appearing in July 14, 1863, Daily Evening Express|
In the weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg, Lancaster's citizens responded liberally to the need for hospital goods in Gettysburg. The Patriot Daughters of Lancaster sprang to action, collecting goods from Lancaster and surrounding towns (and then taking them to Gettysburg and serving as nurses, but that's another story
). The Daily Evening Express
supported their work by printing daily lists of donors and their gifts that filled column after column in July 1863. I noticed one in particular from Drumore Township in southern Lancaster County, and recognized a few of the names from a photo album that is one of my favorite items in my wife's and my collection. Since going through that list took my on a few research tangents, including one related to the underground railroad, here's a post matching that list with a few photos and biographical notes.
|Detail of Bridgens 1864 Atlas map of Drumore Township showing area around Liberty Square|
|Rachel S. Smith
Photo by T&W Cummings, Lancaster|
This particular donation list appeared in the July 14, 1863, Daily Evening Express, and contains the names of many residents from near Liberty Square in Drumore Township (not far from the Susquehanna River) populated by Quaker, Scots-Irish, and African-American families. Acting on the Patriot Daughters' behalf, Rachel S. Smith collected dried fruit, preserves, and hospital supplies from about forty of her neighbors. Rachel lived with her father, Joseph Smith, a wealthy Quaker farmer, on their farm near where Susquehannock State Park is today.
Little else is known about these donations, but I was excited to find Rachel's photograph in a CDV album I purchased on Ebay a couple years ago.
That album mostly depicts the extended family of her cousins, Annie and Edwin Shoemaker, and their spouses, John B. and Margaret F. Kensel, who were also siblings. Most individuals in the album belonged to the Drumore Friends Meeting at Liberty Square. The women's well-fitted bodices, full and pleasingly-shaped skirts, and elegant trim--as well as the Philadelphia backmarks of almost all images--testify to a level of prosperity enjoyed by this neighborhood of southern Lancaster County farmers.
It turns out that Rachel (1825-1904) also had interesting stories to tell, as her father's farm was one of the most important Underground Railroad stops in Lancaster County
. African-American drivers working for her father would take produce to Baltimore and have the chance to interact with slaves and spread knowledge of a network to escape. Rachel even became involved, and is mentioned in Robert Smedley's History of the Underground Railroad
for once accompanying slavecatchers executing a search warrant to search her father's house. We also have this very interesting account (p. 231) attesting to the importance of her family's role:
In October, 1859, Joseph's daughter Rachel visited Niagara Falls, and registered at the Cataract house. The head waiter, John Morrison, seeing her name and residence upon the book, approached her one day and politely made apology for intruding himself; but said he would like to ask if she knew a man named Joseph Smith in Pennsylvania. She replied that he was her father. He continued, "I would like to tell you about the poor fugitives I ferry across the river. Many of them tell me that the first place they came to in Pennsylvania was Joseph Smith's. I frequently see them when I visit my parents at Lundy's Lane. Many of them have nice little homes and are doing well." He ferried some across the river during two of the nights she was there.
Photo from Larkin Gallery, Philadelphia|
Rachel Smith's sister-in-law, Emmeline Smith (nee Tennis) also appears on the list, having donated "1 shirt, 2 bags peaches, 1 pot sauce, rusk." Emmeline's husband, George Smith, is listed in Pennsylvania records
as one of six conscientious objectors from Drumore Township. See this link for a biographical portrait of their son, Gerritt Smith
The third woman on the list who also appears in our photo album is Emeline Shoemaker (nee Lamborn), daughter of Smedley Lamborn, who had a farm near Joseph Smith and is linked to the Underground Railroad (see biography of his son, George
). Emeline donated two cans of fruit, two shirts, and a roll of muslin. Three of her siblings are included in the album, including William Lewis Lamborn, who fought with Company E, 79th Pennsylvania, and Mary Elizabeth Lamborn, who married Thomas B. Hambleton of the same unit. Interestingly, their older brother, Aquilla Lamborn, is another one of the six conscientious objectors from Drumore Township.
Photo by I. R. Bishop, Philadelphia|
The goods collected by Rachel Smith were likely forwarded to the Patriot Daughters' outpost of mercy, Christ Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, to be distributed to the wounded soldiers of the Second Division, First Corps, of the Union Army (although the could have very easily been donated to another location in need, as well). I don't know of any of the women mentioned going to Gettysburg as nurses, but the donations show how a Quaker community in one corner of Lancaster County responded to the battle and provide an opportunity to learn about a family network with deep connections to abolitionism and the Underground Railroad.
Vince and Linsey,ReplyDelete
What a great post! I really enjoyed it, especially the pictures of the ladies. I read with interest, as I recently made reference to these types of war-effort activities in our most recent living history at Wheatland.
I once read that Harriet Lane was among the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster, and also served as a nurse ... but the article did not provide a source. I have never seen anything to substantiate this. If you ever run across anything, let me know! Excellent post!
I haven't run across anything related to Harriet Lane, but I haven't looked too hard. I did see this article in the July 30, 1863, Daily Evening Express:ReplyDelete
OFF FOR BEDFORD: Ex-President Buchanan and his household, together with several of his personal friends, started yesterday for his customary Summer retreat at Bedford Springs. From the signs there will apparently be a large gathering of political gentlemen at that ancient "water cure" during the month of August--live men and "fossils."