Frietschie or Fritchie, Barbara

Frietschie or Fritchie, Barbara (b. Haver)

(1766–1862) heroine; born in Lancaster, Pa. Her father was a hatter and she married John Casper Frietschie, a glovemaker, in 1806. According to legend, on September 6, 1862, at the age of 95, she boldly displayed the Union flag as Confederate soldiers passed by her home in Frederick, Maryland. In tribute to her bravery, she was not harmed. When an account of the incident reached John Greenleaf Whittier, he immortalized it in his poem: "'Shoot, if you must, this old gray head / But spare your country's flag,' she said." A replica of her house was built in 1926.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.