Barbara Fritchie, her home, and the poem that made her famous. The Barbara Fritchie House is located at:
154 West Patrick St. Frederick, MD 21701
Our local Civil War heroine, Barbara Fritchie was immortalized by John Greenleaf Whittier in his poem, “The Ballad of Barbara Fritchie,” for defiantly waving her Union flag in the face of oncoming Confederate soldiers.
The Ballad of Barbara Fritchie
by John Greenleaf Whittier
Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,
The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.
Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach tree fruited deep,
Fair as the garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,
On that pleasant morn of the early fall
When Lee marched over the mountain-wall;
Over the mountains winding down,
Horse and foot, into Frederick town.
Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,
Flapped in the morning wind: the sun
Of noon looked down, and saw not one.
Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed with her fourscore years and ten;
Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down;
In her attic window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet,
Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.
Under his slouched hat left and right
He glanced; the old flag met his sight.
‘Halt!’ – the dust-brown ranks stood fast.
‘Fire!’ – out blazed the rifle-blast.
It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.
Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf.
She leaned far out on the window-sill,
And shook it forth with a royal will.
‘Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country’s flag,’ she said.
A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;
The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman’s deed and word;
‘Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on! he said.
All day long through Frederick street
Sounded the tread of marching feet:
All day long that free flag tost
Over the heads of the rebel host.
Ever its torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well;
And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Shone over it with a warm good-night.
Barbara Frietchie’s work is o’er,
And the Rebel rides on his raids nor more.
Honor to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewalls’ bier.
Over Barbara Frietchie’s grave,
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!
Peace and order and beauty draw
Round they symbol of light and law;
And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Frederick town!
Famous Frederick County Personalities
It is very rare for any one community to produce or to lay claim to accomplishments of ten outstanding Americans, each with a national reputation – yet the following individuals were either born in Frederick County, made their reputations here, or resided within the boundaries of the County for a period of years.
Francis Scott Key (Author of our National Anthem)
Roger Brooke Taney (Noted Jurist and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for 28 years.)
Barbara Fritchie (Civil War Heroine)
Thomas Johnson (First Governor of Maryland, Patriot and Jurist)
John Hanson (First President of the U. S. Congress)
Sgt. Lawrence Everhart (Revolutionary War Hero)
William Tyler Page (Author of the “The American Creed”)
George Alfred Townsend (Author and Civil War Correspondent)
Admiral Winfield Scott Schley (Hero of Santiago)
Admiral Russell R. Waesche (Commandant, U. S. Coast Guard, World War II)