Jan 16



The structure at 66 West High Street and 68 West High Street has been the home to multiple Gettysburg educational institutions. From 1856-1871 is was the home to the Gettysburg Female Institute. Look at the second floor. Count three windows from the right. The black spot to the left of that third window is an artillery shell sticking in the wall. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.

The large brick building located at the souteast corner of East High and Washington Streets has been the home of various educational institutions. The Gettysburg Academy operated in the building from 1813 until 1829. The Lutheran Theological Seminary used this building from 1826 until 1832. The Gettysburg Gymnasium, a preparatory school for the Theological Seminary, educated students here beginning in 1827. In 1832 the Gymnasium became Pennsylvania College, now Gettysburg College. The College remained in this building until 1837 when it moved into Pennsylvania Hall on its new campus. From 1837 to 1856 this structure was used as a school by various teachers. From 1856-1871 it was run by the Reverend David Eyster, and later his wife Rebecca, as the Gettysburg Female Institute. The structure has been a private residence since the 1880s, and has an artillery projectile embedded in its north wall.

As we do with many local history questions, we went back to look up an article by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Tim Smith that he wrote for the Adams County Historical Society Journal in 1996. Tim is also a research assistant at the historical society, and his article in that year’s Journal (Volume 2), “A Tour of Gettysburg’s Visual Battle Damage,” presents a good overview of the buildings we have featured over the last couple of weeks. We highly recommend that you pick up a copy at the Adams County Historical Society on Seminary Ridge in Schmucker Hall, or order a copy ($6.95) from the Adams County Historical Society. Click this link for their online giftshop.



This map shows the buildings with visible battle damage that we will have been featuring. We have marked the locations with red stars. #1 is the McClean House at 11 Baltimore Street. #2 is the Wills Building at 9 York Street. #3 is the John Kuhn House at 221 North Stratton Street. #4 is the Crass Barbehenn House at 218 North Stratton Street. #5 is the David Troxell House at 221 Chambersburg Street. #6 is the Carrie Sheads House at 331 Buford Avenue. #7 is the Samuel Schmucker House on West Confederate Avenue. #8 is the Gettysburg Female Institute at 66/68 West High Street. This map was created at approximately 6:00 PM on Sunday, January 4, 2009.



In 1856 Rev. David Eyster, A.M. (1802-1861), purchased the property, and with the assistance of his wife, Rebecca Mary Reynolds Eyster (1812-), described as “a lady of culture and administrative ability,” established the the Gettysburg Female Institute. This view was taken facing south at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



The Gettysburg Female Institute was in operation for fifteen years, at first with David Eyster as Principal and Rebecca Eyster as Vice-Principal. After Eyster’s death, while under the direction of Mrs. Eyster, the Institute “attained great popularity and usefulness.” This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



The 1860 census shows that David Eyster (1802-1861) was “white,” born in Maryland, the Principal of the Female Institute, and that he lived in the same dwelling and was part of the same family with Rebecca M. Eyster (1812-), born in Maryland; William R. Eyster (1841-), born in New York; George Eyster (1849-), born in New York; Jane Cassatt (1837-), born in Pennsylvania. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



Ice is shown on the grass, tree branches, and bushes. The 1860 federal census showed that David Eyster’s real estate had a value of $3000 and his personal estate had a value of $3100. David Eyster’s total of $6100 for his real estate and personal estate made him the 71st wealthiest person in Gettysburg. He was just behind James Pierce, the father of Matilda Jane “Tillie” Pierce, one of the students at the Institute. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



The “Reverend” David Eyster (1802-1861) died of “Chronic Diarrhea” on December 8, 1861 at the age of 59 years. He was buried on December 9, 1861 in Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania at 2:00 PM in Section I, Lot Number 149 for a burial permit cost of $2.50. This view was taken facing south at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



The students of Rebecca Eyster’s Young Ladies Seminary were studying in this “old Academy Building” on June 26, 1863. One of those students, Tillie Pierce, described the arrival of the Confederate troops from Seminary Ridge in her book, At Gettysburg: What A Girl Saw and Heard of the Battle. “Rushing to the door, and standing on the front portico, we beheld in the direction of the Theological Seminary, a dark, dense mass, moving towards town.” This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



According to Tillie Pierce, Mrs. Eyster told her students, “Children, run home as quickly as you can. It did not require repeating. I am satisfied some of the girls did not reach their homes before the Rebels were in the streets.” This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



After this group of Confederates (Early’s Division) headed east towards York, the students returned to the school. Just before noon on Tuesday, June 30, 1863, Buford’s cavalry arrived in Gettysburg and the girls went out to see them. This view was taken facing south at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



Tillie Pierce described the scene, “A crowd of ‘us girls’ were standing on the corner of Washington and High Streets as these soldiers passed by. Desiring to encourage them, who, as we were told, would before long be in battle, my sister started to sing the old war son ‘Our Union Forever.’ As some of us did not know the whole of the piece we kept repeating the chorus.” This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



“Thus we sought to cheer our brave men; and we felt amply repaid when we saw that our efforts were appreciated. Their countenances brightened and we received their thanks and cheers.” Buford’s men would have been coming towards the camera as are the cars with their lights on. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



“After the battle some of these soldiers told us that the singing was very good, but that they would have liked to have heard more than the chorus.” This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



Tillie Pierce’s thoughts on this building: “With pleasant recollections I bring to mind the Young Ladies Seminary on the corner of High and Washington Streets. Here I received instruction; Here in the bright and happy flush of young womanhood, I was graduated and given my diploma.” This view was taken facing east at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



Like many buildings in the town, this structure was used as a hospital. Tillie’s description of the building continued, “Within those same walls had been placed some of the wounded and dying heroes of the struggle; and as we passed from room to room we would speak in subdued tones of the solemn scenes which imagination and report placed before our minds as having transpired when the conflict was over.” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



There are not contemporary accounts of the artillery shell hitting the wall on the second floor. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



It is a 3-inch Read (or Reed) projectile. It is not known whether it is a solid shot or a shell. This view was taken facing south at approximately 4:30 PM on Tuesday, December 14, 2008.



The Solid Shot Reads were approximately 2.92 inches in diameter, 6.37 inches in length, and weighed from 9 pounds,8 ounces to 12 pounds. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



The Read shells, were approximately 2.94 inches in diameter, 7.5 inches in length and weighed approximately 8 pounds. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.



Read shells were usually fired by 10-pounder Parrott rifles. If the shell is the original shell, and if it is at the same angle that it struck the building, then it was probably fired from Confederate artillery on Seminary Ridge, and from the area of the Seminary campus. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.

See the following related posts:

Gettysburg’s Samuel Schmucker House Artillery Shell on January 15, 2008.
Gettysburg’s Carrie Sheads House Artillery Shell on January 13, 2009.
Gettysburg’s David Troxell Artillery Shell on January 9, 2009.
Gettysburg’s Crass-Barbehenn Artillery Shell on January 7, 2009.
Gettysburg’s John Kuhn House Artillery Shell on January 6, 2009.
Wills Building Artillery Shell Might be the Actual Shell on January 2, 2009.
Gettysburg’s McClean House Artillery Shell on December 27, 2008.
Christmas Decorations on the Carrie Sheads House on December 25, 2008.
Sweney House (Farnsworth House) Christmas Decorations on December 24, 2008.
Christmas Decorations at the Gettysburg Academy on December 21, 2008.
Civil War Artillery with Licensed Battlefield Guide George Newton on November 21, 2008.

.


About Us  •  Support  •  Archives  •  Subscribe  •  Creative Commons License