A Couple of Christmas Decorations at the Henry Baugher House
December 19, 2008
Reverend Henry Louis Baugher was born in Abbottstown, Adams County, Pennsylvania on July 19, 1804. His father was a tanner and one of his grandfathers was a Lutheran minister. During his formative years Henry Louis Baugher was educated by Gettysburg’s Presbyterian Reverend David McConaughy (1775-1852), the uncle of lawyer and Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association founder, David McConaughy (1823-1902). Baugher entered Dickinson College, which at that time was affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, in 1822 and graduated second in the 19 member class of 1826. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
The first President’s House on the campus of Gettysburg College was built in 1860. It was the home of then Pennsylvania College President Henry Louis Baugher (1804-1868). Before Baugher and his family moved into this house, they lived at a structure still standing at 444 Harrisburg Road. That home during the Civil War was the home of Dr. John Crawford. It was a very rainy Friday when we visited the President’s House looking for Christmas Decorations. We were somewhat disappointed that one of Gettysburg’s most historic homes was not more ornamented.
Upon graduating from Dickinson, Baugher at first planned to study law with Francis Scott Key, the author of the Star Spangled Banner. But the death of Baugher’s mother influenced him to enter the Presbyterian affiliated Princeton Theological Seminary in 1826. He was at Princeton for two years when he had a religious change of heart and transferred to Gettysburg’s Lutheran Theological Seminary in 1828. After a year at the Lutheran Seminary, he was licensed to preach in 1829, and established a Lutheran congregation in Maryland. In 1829 he also married Clara Mary Brooks at the First Presbyterian Church in Carlisle. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
In 1831, Baugher became a teacher of classical studies at the Gettysburg Gymnasium, which was then under the Seminary. The Gymnasium became Pennsylvania College (now Gettysburg College) in 1832 and he was selected as professor of Greek and the Belles Lettres, a position that he would hold until 1850. In 1833 he was ordained as a Lutheran Minister. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
After College President Charles P. Krauth resigned his position in September 1850, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted Baugher the second president of Pennsylvania College. He was the oldest member of the faculty, and in length of service he was second only to Dr. Michael Jacobs. He was energetic and effective, and his experience enabled him to get results. He was a commanding personality, a born leader, and though it was felt that he was too impulsive at times, he was also said to be “wise and just and sympathetic.” At that time he was 46 years old, and had been in educational work for nineteen years. No other candidate was formally considered by the Board. This view was taken facing west at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
Baugher remained an active member of the faculty throughout his Presidency. He stopped teaching Greek in 1850 in favor of a professorship in “Mental and Moral Science.” Baugher also continued to practice as a minister while President of the College. When he arrived at Gettysburg, he was the pastor at Christ Lutheran Church. His sermons were noted for their preparation and eloquence, and Baugher was recognized by many as the “most effective preacher in Gettysburg.” This view was taken facing west at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
The Pennsylvania College Board of Trustees built this house on the college campus in 1860 for Baugher and his family, and they moved here in December, 1860. The 1860 federal census (taken at his house at 444 Harrisburg Road) showed that by 1860 his household included: Clarissa Baugher (1810-1872), born in Pennsylvania; Leyh Baugher (1834-), born in Pennsylvania; Alice Baugher (1842-), born in Pennsylvania; Wilmer Baugher (1846-), born in Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Lenzy (1810-), born in Pennsylvania; Samuel Wilson (1850-), born in Pennsylvania. Other sons were not living with him at the time of the census. His son, Henry Louis Baugher Jr. (1840-1899), was a Pennsylvania College graduate, a professor and a minister. Another son, Nesbitt Baugher (1836-1862), was a lawyer in Illinois when the Civil War began. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
The 1860 federal census showed that Henry Louis Baugher’s real estate had a value of $6000 and his personal estate had a value of $2500. This made him the 20th wealthiest person in Cumberland Township. If he had lived in Gettysburg when the census was taken, he would have been the 57th wealthiest person, tied with Professor Michael Jacobs. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Tuesday, December 14, 2008.
The 1860 tax records for the Borough of Gettysburg show that H.L. Baugher owned eight acres or lots in the borough worth a total of $320. This is an average of $40 for each acre or lot. Adams County, Pennsylvania taxed him $1.28 for his $320 worth of real estate. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania taxed him $.80 for his $320 worth of real estate. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
During the Civil War, the Baughers suffered the loss of a family member. Nesbitt Baugher (1836-1862) was wounded seven times during the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee (April 6-7, 1862) and died of his wounds on Friday, May 16, 1862 at the age of 25 years, seven months, and 24 days at a hospital in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois. Henry Louis Baugher travelled to Quincy to see Nesbitt and brought his body back to Gettysburg. Nesbitt was buried in Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery on an unknown day in May, 1862 at 12:00 PM in Section I, Lot Number 147. The amount paid to Evergreen Cemetery for his burial permit was $2.50 This view was taken facing west at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
The Civil War approached Gettysburg in the summer of 1863. 61 students or recent graduates joined the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency militia after Lee’s army invaded Pennsylvania. After signing the muster rolls some students returned to the College to inform Baugher. One of these students, E.W. Meisenhelder, recalled that Baugher, who had lost his son the year before, spoke to them and attempted to dissuade them from joining the military. In his “paternal capacity” he encouraged them to remain in school, but his loyalty and patriotism was “unquestioned and unquestionable.” This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
The inexperienced 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia was routed by Confederates commanded by Jubal Early west of Gettysburg on June 26, 1863. This view was taken facing south at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
For those students who remained on campus, classes remained as normal. In fact, classes were in session on the morning of July 1, until Union soldiers entered the main college building, Pennsylvania Hall, to make use of its cupola as a signal station. This view was taken facing south at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
The students were distracted, and Baugher dismissed his class, telling them that they knew “nothing about the lesson anyhow.” Pennsylvania Hall was hit by projectiles during the fighting. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
The Confederates took the college buildings that evening, put all of the college and students’ possessions in Baugher’s office, and used the remainder of Pennsylvania Hall as a hospital. Approximately 400 wounded were treated there. Baugher later said that the building was filled with “the voice of prayer, the cry of the wounded, and the groans of the dying.” The wounded used books for pillows, and in some of the books, the dying wrote their names and hometowns. This view was taken facing east at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
Baugher, along with his family, chose not to flee, and remained in their home throughout the battle. Here they attended to seventeen wounded soldiers, and successfully hid a Union officer. His wife and daughter were singled out with praise for the work that they did with the wounded. The wounded would not be removed until the end of July, and the school year would not be completed. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
Shortly after the battle, Baugher opened his home and ate dinner with a former student, James Crocker, a Confederate officer and Union prisoner of war. Crocker wrote the story of this event, saying that, “They were all very courteous; but I fancied I detected a reserved dignity in old Dr. Baugher. It was very natural for him to be so, and I appreciated it. The old Doctor, while kindhearted, was of a very positive and radical character, which he evinced on all subjects. He was thoroughly conscientious, and was of the stuff of which martyrs are made.” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
Crocker continued, “My knowledge of him left me no need to be told that his views and feelings involved in the war were intense. And there he was, breaking bread with a red handed rebel in his gray uniform, giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Was he not put to it to keep mastery of himself? Happy for man that he is double sighted; that there is within him a quality allied to conscience, – call it charity – that enables him to choose on which side to look. The venerable Doctor saw before him only his old student, recalled only the old days, and their dear memories. If there was anything between his heart and his country’s laws, there was nothing between his heart and his Saviour’s sweet charity.” This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:30 PM on Tuesday, December 14, 2008.
Henry Baugher gave the benediction at the ceremony opening the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863. On the platform, Baugher sat to President Abraham Lincoln’s right, and spoke after Lincoln’s now-famous Gettysburg Address. One Cincinnati newspaperman said that Baugher had “a semi bald head, a hooked Roman nose, clear blue eye, and a decidedly clerical face. He would pass anywhere for a theological professor, a man of firm will, but kindly.” This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
Henry Baugher’s benediction on November 19, 1863: “O Thou King of kings and Lord of lords, God of the nations of the earth, who by Thy kind providence has permitted us to engage in these solemn services, grant us Thy blessing. Bless this consecrated ground, and these holy graves. Bless the President of these United States, and his Cabinet. Bless the Governors and the representatives of the States here assembled with all needed grace to conduct the affairs committed into their hands, to the glory of Thy name, and the greatest good of the people. May this great nation be delivered from treason and rebellion at home, and from the power of enemies abroad. And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our Heavenly Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.
Henry Lewis Baugher died on April 14, 1868, three months short of his 64th birthday. He had been suffering from an unknown disease for several years, caught a cold, and died ten days later. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, along with his wife. The couple had seven children, five of whom survived him. This view was taken facing west at approximately 4:20 PM on Friday, December 19, 2008.