"Over Barbara Fritchie's grave,
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!"
John Greenleaf Whittier
From the poem, entitled "Barbara Frietchie,"
Atlantic Monthly magazine, October, 1863
Barbara Fritchie's 96 years of life spanned our country's history including three major conflicts on American soil. Born Barbara Hauer in 1766, Ms. Fritchie moved with her family to Frederick from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The wife of a glove-maker, her long life was humble and frugal, typical of German settlers of the period.
"Barbara Frietchie," a poem written by John Greenleaf Whittier of Massachusetts, was based on a story told to the author relating to the 1862 invasion of Maryland during the American Civil War by Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The Confederates, along with their legendary general Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, occupied Frederick in early September, hoping to garner supplies and support for the Rebel cause. Whittier's poem created a patriotic fervor in the North, making household names out of Barbara Fritchie and Frederick, Maryland in the process. The poem is still considered one of the best examples of American poetry, inspiring countless visitors to seek "the clustered spires
of Frederick Town," the Fritchie house, and Dame Barbara's final resting spot.