Hettie Shriver: Resilience Amidst Turbulent Times in Gettysburg

Hettie Shriver: Resilience Amidst Turbulent Times in Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg occurred during one of the most pivotal periods in United States history. Apart from the battle are the very real human-interest stories of the residents who witnessed war at their doorsteps. One of those is the story of Hettie and George Shriver. In this article, we delve into the remarkable journey of this resilient couple, exploring their lives, struggles, and contributions to the community during one of the most tumultuous eras in American history.

A Prominent Gettysburg Couple

Hettie and George Shriver were an influential and respected couple within the Gettysburg community. Both were born and raised in the area and belonged to prominent families. George Shriver was an enterprising businessman who operated successful tanneries with his family. His devoted wife Hettie was known for her kindness and active involvement in various community initiatives.

Building a Life Together

In 1860, Hettie and George Shriver embarked on building their life together when George bought a double lot on the edge of town and started building a home for his family. The land, on South Baltimore Hill (present-day Baltimore Street), was purchased for just $290. The elegant two-and-a-half-story brick structure he built became a cherished home for the couple and their family. Amidst the tranquil surroundings of Gettysburg, they nurtured their family and
prospered in their business ventures, including a new business: Shriver’s Saloon & Ten Pin Alley. Their thriving life, however, would soon be challenged by the impending storm of the Civil War taking a significant turn in 1862, when George enlisted, leaving Hettie to run the home in his absence.

The Battle of Gettysburg: A Turning Point

On July 1, 1863, as the Battle of Gettysburg began, Hettie fled with her two children seek safety at her parents’ farm just three miles south of town. Unfortunately, the farm sat between Big Round Top and Little Round Top, an area where intense fighting occurred.

When the fighting ended, wounded and dead men and horses were all around the farm. Hettie stayed with her parents for a few days after the fighting ended to care for the wounded and bury the dead. Finally, on July 7, Hettie decided to take her daughter’s home.

Enduring the Aftermath

Unfortunately, most of the town of Gettysburg was in shambles. Many of the homes around the Shrivers’ were in ruins. Amazingly, the well-built Shriver house stood strong. Hettie learned from neighbors that Confederate soldiers had occupied her home, setting up a sharp-shooter area in her attic. At least two soldiers lost their lives in that attic. Her home was littered with holes from bullets. Hettie commenced trying to make her house a home again, but without
George, the task seemed in vain.

George’s turmoil

Five months after Hettie’s return to their home, George Shriver was granted a four-day furlough to return home and spend Christmas with his family. The reunion turned out to be a strained, for the war and the two-and-a-half years apart had changed them all, especially George. He returned to Cole’s Cavalry for duty on December 29, 1863. George was eventually taken prisoner on January 1, 1864, and held at the notorious Andersonville Prison in Georgia where
he died in December 1864.

On April 1, 1866, Hettie Shriver was forced to sell her house for $2,100 due to financial concerns. She and her two daughters moved to High Street in Gettysburg. Hettie eventually remarried to Daniel Pittenurf. She died in 1916.

If you are looking to visit Gettysburg, then the Tillie Pierce House Inn should be on your list of places to stay. Consider our Hettie Shriver room, also known as the “blue room” because of the elegant blue color of the walls and lovely blue wedding ring quilt on the queen size bed. Amenities include television, their own private powder room and this room also allows for a third person by the use of a roll away twin bed. Book your stay today!