The Thaddeus Stevens Society is a non-profit group started in 1999 to promote, preserve and protect the legacy of Thaddeus Stevens, the most powerful congressman during and after the Civil War and a champion of freedom and equality. We hold seminars, have trips to historic places associated with Stevens and support efforts to restore sites related to Stevens.
Stevens was a lawyer, owner of iron mills, Pennsylvania state representative, congressman, abolitionist, participant in the Underground Railroad and champion of public education and equal rights for all.
We have done a lot over the last 24 years, but there is so much more to do. Below is a list of endangered Stevens sites and unfinished projects that need our attention. If you would like to get involved in one or more of these projects, please contact us or make a donation today.
Thaddeus Stevens's House
The restoration of Thaddeus Stevens's house in Lancaster, PA is the most important project in the effort to educate the public about Stevens's legacy. While the outside looks great, the interior remains a shell waiting for work to start. After many delays, the project is slated to be completed in early 2025 at the earliest. The Society supports this very important project.
For 20 years, the Society, under the leadership of Donald Gallagher, has been campaigning for a commemorative stamp for Thaddeus Stevens. So far the effort has been unsuccessful, but the effort continues and Don could use your help.
Stevens's grave with its epitaph about equality is the most inspirational grave in America. The cemetery, which includes other historic graves, is overseen by a dedicated group of volunteers, but much needs to be done to put the cemetery on a solid long-term basis. This includes funding an endowment, clarifying the cemetery's ownership and creating a permanent maintenance program.
Stevens Boyhood Home &
The house where Thaddeus Stevens lived when he was going to Peacham, VT academy still exists nearly in it's 19th century condition. Unfortunately the structure has been vacant for the last few years after its most recent occupant died. It is crucial that action be taken to prevent this historic house from falling into disrepair.
The house that Stevens bought his mother still exists in Peacham, VT and is occupied. While the outside is still the same as it was in Sarah Stevens's day, the inside has been remodeled into a modern house.
Both houses need to be protected by historic easements or other means that would prevent these properties from being destroyed and used for other purposes.
The McPherson House
At the corner of Carlisle and Stevens Streets in Gettysburg, PA is the ancestral home of the McPherson family, one of the most important families in 19th century Gettysburg. A member of this family was Edward McPherson, an associate of Thaddeus Stevens and the long-time clerk of the House of Representatives. Edward was instrumental in Stevens's parliamentary maneuver that barred ex-Confederates from Congress on December 4, 1865. The house, now owned by Gettysburg College, is in pristine condition and would be a perfect place for an exhibit about Thaddeus Stevens, the McPhersons, the Underground Railroad, abolitionism and the Seconf Founding of the U.S. The fate of the house is now in limbo. Hopefully, the Society and other historical groups can encourage the college to have an exhibit that would be unlike any in Gettysburg.
Maria Iron Furnace & Tapeworm Railroad Remains
Along Iron Springs Road in Fairfield, PA, are the remains of two endeavors of Thaddeus Stevens -- his Maria Iron works and the so-called Tapeworm Railroad. Next to the railroad that runs alongside the road are the vegetation covered remains of the furnace stack of Stevens’s Maria Furnace that operated from 1826 to 1837. Further down the road is a stone viaduct, which was part of a railroad that Stevens tried to have the state build in the 1830s. The railroad, which would have connected Gettysburg to western Maryland, was abandoned after Stevens lost political power in 1838.
The furnace stack is badly in need of a clean up and perhaps signage telling visitors what it is. It also needs a historic easement to protect it from future development. The massive viaduct is no danger of being eliminated, but it could use some signage. Fortunately, the owner of the property in front of the viaduct is willing to work with us.