Wills House Virtual Identity: Rosina Hubley and the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster

Rosina Hubley sits for a photograph. She is wearing a black dress and white bonnett.
Rosina Hubley of Lancaster, PA

Courtesy of Ed and Faye Max Collection

You have selected to discover the story of Rosina Hubley and the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster

To Begin. . .
Read the “Before the War” section below and then proceed to the next room in the Wills House and return to page when prompted.


Before The War

Described as a “woman of great strength of character,” Rosina Hubley was born on November 25, 1793, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In November 1814, at age 21 she married Joseph Hubley, a businessman who owned and operated the Swan Hotel in downtown Lancaster. Together, Rosina and Joseph raised three children — Edward, John, and Mary. In 1830 Joseph Hubley died and Rosina became sole proprietor of the Swan Hotel. In addition to operating the hotel and raising her children, Rosina, always being civic-minded, organized charities to help the poor and impoverished in Lancaster. After the start of the Civil War, she, now 70 years old and just ten days after the war’s opening shots at Fort Sumter, organized the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster, a soldiers’ aid society composed of women dedicated to raising money and providing for the needs of Union soldiers. Rosina served as president of this benevolent association throughout all four years of the war; her daughter, Mary, was treasurer. They organized relief expeditions and furnished desperately-needed supplies after the battles of Antietam and Chancellorsville, but it was for their efforts after the Battle of Gettysburg that the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster are best remembered.

From Here:
Return to the story of Rosina Hubley and her work at Gettysburg after you have toured the first floor of the David Wills house.


During The War

Hearing of a battle so close to her home, Rosina wrote to Governor Andrew Curtin on July 4, 1863, pledging the support of her organization to the wounded at Gettysburg. Soon after the battle ended, the Patriot Daughters made the 50-mile journey west from Lancaster to Gettysburg. Here, they immediately went to work tending to the wounded at the Christ Lutheran Church, which is located on Chambersburg Street, just a block west of the Wills House. They cared for and comforted the wounded and the dying, feeding the men, washing them, and dressing their wounds. They remained at Christ Lutheran Church for approximately four weeks before returning home. But soon an urgent plea reached the Patriot Daughters, urging them to return to Gettysburg to continue helping the wounded. Once more, they responded. The Patriot Daughters returned to Gettysburg and helped transport the wounded from the Christ Lutheran Church to a larger field hospital that was established at the Lutheran Seminary. There, they continued their mission of mercy and compassion.

From Here:
You can return to Rosina Hubley’s story here after you tour the second floor of the home.


After The War

Rosina Hubley and the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster continued to raise money and provide much needed supplies for soldiers in the field after the battle of Gettysburg. The society sewed clothes and made bandages for the soldiers, provided for war widows and orphans, and held fairs with relics from their time at Gettysburg to raise funds. They also published a short, 33-page booklet documenting their experiences at Gettysburg, entitled Hospital Scenes After the Battle of Gettysburg, with proceeds benefitting soldiers and their families. Working with the Patriot Daughters, Rosina led the effort to construct a monument in memory of the Union dead from Lancaster. The impressive, 43-foot-tall monument, which still stands in downtown Lancaster, PA, was dedicated on July 4, 1874, with Rosina Hubley offering a few words at its dedication. One year later, Rosina Hubley, one of so many underappreciated heroes of the Civil War, passed away at the age of 84.

Last updated: October 19, 2021

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