Major Richard “Dick” Winters was born in New Holland, PA in 1918. He grew up in the area, and eventually graduated from Franklin and Marshall College. The same year he graduated college, he enlisted in the Army eventually joining the new airborne forces becoming a paratrooper. He was a member of the 101 st Airborne Division, in E- or “Easy” Company of the 506 th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War 2. Winters saw combat beginning on D-Day as Easy Company parachuted into Normandy, and would serve alongside his fellow soldiers in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany until the end of the war. Having earned the respect of his men for his leadership and bravery, Winters moved through the ranks ultimately being promoted to Major. Following the war, Major Winters lived a quiet life and retired in Hershey, Pennsylvania. His legacy, and that of his fellow comrades-in-arms, are memorialized through Stephen Ambrose’s book, Band of Brothers: Easy Company, 506 th Regiment, 101 st Airborne Division from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagles Nest, and accompanying HBO mini-series.
Robert Fulton was born in Little Britain, Lancaster County, PA in 1765. He eventually moved throughout Pennsylvania before traveling abroad to England where he studied and was commissioned for his art. Fulton was an inventor at heart and especially enthusiastic about the engineering of nautical machines. Much of his time in England was spent researching and refining the idea of steam-powered ships, as well as torpedoes and submarine-type vessels. Fulton returned to America in 1806 and built the first steamboat, named “Clermont”, for which he is remembered. His contribution to travel and trade would change the American way of life. Robert Fulton’s birthplace is still standing and can be seen when traveling on Robert Fulton Highway, in Fulton Township in southern Lancaster County, PA.
Thaddeus Stevens was born in Vermont in 1792. Despite his family’s struggles and personal hardships, Stevens graduated from Dartmouth College and thereon decided to pursue law. He taught at York Academy and studied law at a local law office, eventually passing the bar. Stevens thus began his career as a lawyer in the Gettysburg area, becoming quite successful and involved in many cases that reached the Supreme Court. His interests grew in politics and eventually he would be elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In 1842 Stevens moved to what would be his home for the rest of his life: Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is remembered for his fight for a free public education system, racial equality and the abolishing of slavery, as well as voting rights. Stevens was also involved in the Underground Railroad in Lancaster. Thaddeus Stevens contributions to these important issues at such a pivotal time in history are why he is remembered in Lancaster and memorialized through the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
Madame Ann LeTort made her way to America in the 17 th century for the same reason many of her European counterparts did at the time: to escape religious persecution. Originally from France and identified as Huguenots, Madame LeTort and her husband Jacques traveled to England and teamed up with William Penn who promised them land in his “Pennsylvania” as place to establish their religious freedom. Madame LeTort and Jacques are credited with being the first white settlers of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They established a trading post in Conestoga, successfully trading goods with the Native Americans in the area. Madame LeTort would run the trading posts independently even after her husband’s death and continued a mutually respected relationship with the Native Americans throughout her life.
Hannah Gibbons was born in Lampeter, Lancaster County, PA. Hannah and her husband, Daniel were Quaker abolitionists, and both were actively involved in the Underground Railroad. Hannah and Daniel housed and cared for many enslaved individuals along their journey to freedom. Hannah nursed many sick fugitives to health and sheltered them amidst the increasing hostility and fugitive slave laws. Hannah and Daniel experienced opposition from some of their neighbors but continued to fight for the freedoms of the African American fugitives in their care, even in their old age. It is believed they ushered close to 1000 formerly enslaved individuals to freedom. Hannah and Daniel Gibbons are remembered for their bravery as participants in the Underground Railroad and the pivotal role they played in combatting slavery.
Charlotte White was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1782. She was orphaned at the age of 11 and was moved to Massachusetts to be with her older sister. Charlotte was later married and gave birth to a son; both her husband and infant son died within months of each other. These distraught circumstances led Charlotte to a local Baptist church where she came to faith. Charlotte had a growing interest in international missions and became the first appointed single, female missionary. She was originally sent to Burma, by way of Calcutta, India where she met and married her next husband, Joshua Rowe. Joshua and Charlotte began their ministry in Digah, India. They learned Hindi and cared for the local people as well as British soldiers in the area. Charlotte eventually had to return to America following her husband’s death. However, she will be remembered as a brave woman who paved the way for many other single females to be used by God to spread the Gospel to the nations.