Women and the War

Women and the War

Women history-makers aren’t a new concept in Pennsylvania. While the soldiers waged war on the battlefields families stayed behind in towns and cities. Women, children, and other non-fighting citizens were left to make their own mark on American history. And in the end, it was just as important as what happened on the battlefields. Here’s the story of Pennsylvanian families coming together and the impact they left on the Civil War era.

York County Heritage Trust Museum – York

From quilts to tiny photographs, the Historical Society Museum and Library houses both exhibits and an extensive research and genealogical library. Exhibits range from York's Native American settlers through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and into the early 20th century. The building, constructed in 1921 as an automobile dealership, still has the original showroom floor in the spacious two-story entrance hall. In the lobby is the 1804 Tannenburg organ, still played for seasonal concerts. This building also houses the main offices for the York County Heritage Trust. Of particular interest are the Cassandra Small displays. Cassandra Small was the daughter of leading York County merchant P.A. Small, and she left behind the most complete and revealing first-person account of the Confederate occupation of York in her letters to her cousin Lissie Latimer.

Rewalt House - Wrightsville

This is where Mary Rewalt served breakfast to Gen. John B. Gordon and his Confederates soldiers as a thanks for saving her house. When the Union army set fire to the Wrightsville Bridge in 1863 to prevent a Confederate advance to Philadelphia, the fire reached the town too. Gordon's men could not save the bridge but did protect the home of Mary Rewalt, daughter of Wrightsville's chief burgess. Mary invited Gordon and some of his staff to breakfast at her house. Gordon inquired "as to whether her sympathies were with the Northern or Southern side...." She replied, "You and your soldiers last night saved my home from burning, and I was unwilling that you should go away without some token of my appreciations. I must tell you however, that, with my consent and approval, my husband is a soldier in the Union Army, and my constant prayer to Heaven is that our cause may triumph and the Union be saved."

Bethel AME Church – Lancaster

Bethel A.M.E. is the oldest American Methodist Episcopal church in Lancaster. According to oral tradition, Bethel sheltered Africans who sought freedom along the Underground Railroad and served as a center of spiritual renewal for free African-Americans who lived in Lancaster. Today, journey back to the time of the Civil War and experience first-hand the plight and struggle of African freedom seekers while viewing and participating in the living history production "Living the Experience."

Eat Here: Roosevelt Tavern - York

This historic family-owned and operated restaurant is located on the corner of Philadelphia and Penn Streets, in the city of York. Open for lunch and dinner, Roosevelt Tavern offers delicious soups, appetizers and entrées.

Sleep Here: The Yorktowne Hotel - York

Within walking distance of various attractions, this prominent landmark reflects the history of another nostalgic era, the roaring twenties. Built in 1925, The Yorktowne Hotel stands 11 stories tall in the heart of downtown York’s historic neighborhood. Twenty foot high ceilings, ornate chandeliers, and wood paneling welcome you as you enter the lobby of The Yorktowne Hotel.