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Celebrating Lydia Hamilton Smith – February 14, 1813 – February 14, 1884

        Lydia Hamilton Smith             20151214_163623

Lydia Hamilton Smith was born on Valentine’s Day 1813 near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to an African-American mother and an Irish father.

Mrs. Smith moved to Lancaster in 1848 and became housekeeper to Thaddeus Stevens, who was elected to the United States Congress that same year.  She oversaw staff for the Stevens homes in both Lancaster and Washington, D.C. while investing in and managing her own boarding houses.  Two of Mrs. Smith’s Lancaster properties, pictured above, are still standing and are part of the Lancaster County Convention Center property.

Smith died on Valentine’s Day 1884 while in Washington D.C.  Her remains are buried in the cemetery of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lancaster where she had long been a member.

To learn more about Lydia Hamilton Smith, Thaddeus Stevens, and the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom please visit:

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