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The David Wills House - Gettysburg, PA

A native of Gettysburg area, David Wills graduated from the former Pennsylvania College, which is now Gettysburg College, and trained as a law student in the office of Thaddeus Stevens. Wills was a powerful figure in Gettysburg who served several other important roles, which included:

  • Judge for the 42nd Judicial District

  • Burgess of the Borough of Gettysburg

  • County Superintendent of Adams County Schools

  • Bank of Gettysburg director

  • Trustee of Wilson College and Dickinson School of Law

In 1863, the Civil War came to the doorstep of the Wills home. On June 26th, the Confederate soldiers came to Gettysburg in search of supplies. During the Confederate occupation of the town Wills invited local citizens to take safety in his cellar. He also provided aid to the wounded on the first floor of his home. Local women acted as nurses tended to the wounded, and the U.S. Sanitary Commission (an early version of the American Red Cross) established a temporary warehouse here.

A week later on July 10th, Governor Andrew Curtin and David Wills visited the battlefield and were saddened by how poor the conditions were. Governor Curtin appointed Wills a state agent and put him in charge to ensure there were proper burials for the deceased.

This led to the creation of the Soldier’s National Cemetery, a place for the dead to be buried. Wills prepared a cemetery dedication and invited Edward Everett as the main speaker in addition to President Lincoln. Lincoln would stay in Wills’ home, and this would become the location where he would finish completing the revisions to the famous Gettysburg Address.

The David Wills house is now a preserved landmark in Gettysburg, PA.

Located at: 8 Lincoln Square, Gettysburg, PA 17325

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