Enjoy an afternoon of tea and talk about Harriet Rebecca Lane, First Lady of Franklin County and the United States. Author Bob O’Connor will speak about Harriet Lane, sharing excerpts of his book, “Harriet Lane: The Original First Lady of Washington.” Emily Martin, a local thespian, will bring a young Miss Lane to life as she mixes and mingles with her visitors.

Event begins a 1 PM and runs until 3 PM and is being held in the 1865 lobby of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 15 South Main Street in Chambersburg. The 10,000 sq. ft. building served as a bank from 1865 to 2015.

A Little About Harriet  

Harriet was born in Mercersburg, Franklin County, PA on May 9, 1830 to Elliott Tole Lane and Jane Buchanan Lane. Her grandfather was a merchant, who came from Donegal County in Ireland and established a good foundation for his family. Harriet’s father was a merchant, and her mother was the younger sister of James Buchanan. It was a family of ample means.

Even with a level of wealth, her life was not easy. At age nine, her mother died and two years later, her father. Her favorite uncle, James Buchanan, adopted Harriet.  She would serve as his confidante and consultant, traveling to Great Britain when Buchanan served as Minister to England. She was a favorite of Queen Victoria and the royal court. When James Buchanan became president, she served as “First Lady” and was an accomplished hostess.

She chose to hold off marrying until she was 35 years old. Within three years, she would have two sons and a happy family life. Tragedy returned in 1881, 1882, and 1884 when she lost both sons to rheumatic fever and her husband died unexpectedly.

Harriet Lane came to understand the fleetingness of life, the value of family, and the importance of keeping a purpose. She gave generously to the research of children’s disease, endowed a school for boys, and planted the seed of a national art gallery.

The Perspective of a Celtic Blessing 

“May God give you, for every storm, a rainbow, for every tear, a smile, for every care, a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sign a sweet song, and an answer for each prayer.”