Harriet Lane Tea & Talk, Franklin County Visitors Bureau

Harriet Lane Tea & Talk, Franklin County Visitors Bureau

Saturday May 14th, 2022 * 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
The event is being held in the 1865 lobby of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 15 South Main Street in Chambersburg.
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.
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.”
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Harriet Lane: First Lady of Franklin County

Harriet Lane: First Lady of Franklin County

Born on May 9, 1830 in Mercersburg PA, Harriet Lane served as First Lady for her uncle, 15th President James Buchanan. By the time she was ten, both her mother and father died, so James Buchanan took her into his care.

Harriet was a fun loving child who was the ringleader of schoolgirl pranks, but so was she intelligent with always doing well in her studies. Harriet and her uncle became very close. She was his confidante, and she was exposed to the world of politics—something women did not experience in the Victorian era. When she traveled abroad with her uncle, she endeared herself to kings and queens, always leaving them wanting more of her wit, intelligence and humor. Queen Victoria considered her a true friend.

People, who had concerns and problems, would come to Harriet to ask her to bring an issue to President Buchanan’s attention. For example, a member of the Chippewa nation complained to her that a government agent was selling liquor to his people. She intervened to end abuses by government agents and worked for better medical treatment and educational opportunities. She became known to the Chippewa as “Mother of the Indians.”

After she left the white house, she remained involved in education and the arts. and continued her support. When she died in 1903, an important provision of her will was money be given for the clinic in Baltimore that she and her husband had incorporated in 1883 to care for children regardless of race, creed or the ability of the parents to pay. It was called the Harriet Lane Home for invalid Children, now the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Franklin County is proud to have Harriet Lane as its First Lady.

Read more about Harriet Lane here.

Article by Kelly Spinner.

Franklin County Visitors Bureau Honors Ladies of Franklin County For Women’s History Month

Franklin County Visitors Bureau Honors Ladies of Franklin County For Women’s History Month

Franklin County Visitor’s Bureau celebrates Women’s History Month by recognizing important women of Franklin County. By far, the first lady of Franklin County is Harriet Lane, who actually served as “First Lady” when she was the White House hostess for her uncle, 15th President James Buchanan. She also served in a similar role when Buchanan was a diplomat in England. For more information about Harriet Lane’s contributions, read Harriet Lane Johnston (May 9, 1830 to July 3 1903) by Joan C. McCulloh of the Mercersburg Historical Society. Download a copy here. (more…)