A special memorial dedication at Cedar Grove Cemetery for Civil War heroine Frances “Dolly” Harris Lesher is set for Saturday, November 2, the 174th anniversary of her birth. The ceremony will begin at 1 PM at the cemetery located at 130 North Franklin Street. The public is invited to attend the dedication.
During the Invasion of PA in June 1863 that initiated the Gettysburg Campaign, Confederate soldiers marched through Greencastle on Carlisle Street, past Dolly’s home at 37 North Carlisle Street. Col. William Roane (A-let) Aylett, of Pickett’s division and great-grandson of patriot Patrick Henry, said, “Why the bravest woman I ever saw was a Pennsylvania “girl” who defied Pickett’s “WHOLE” division as we marched through the little town called Greencastle. She had a United States flag as an apron which she defiantly waved up and down as our columns passed by her and dared us to take it from her.” She called them traitors and scoundrels. Under the circumstances of an affidavit, Private John T. Boyd Sr., CO K, 57th Regiment VA Vol. said, under oath, quote “as to her wearing a badge I remember she wore one and think it was a Lincoln badge. As Gen. Armistead passed by, she waved the stars and stripes at him and he saluted her.”
Dolly is the only woman from Franklin County who is considered to be a Civil War heroine and was the only woman buried with military honors upon her death in February 1906. For no known reason, a headstone was never erected on Dolly’s resting place in the Cedar Grove Cemetery, Chambersburg, PA. The generosity of Dr. Paul Orange funded the cost of the obelisk headstone to be placed on her gravesite.
Descendants of Frances “Dolly” Harris and her husband John Lesher, from VA, TN, FL, and MO, will be in attendance at the November 2 dedication.