Barbara Fritchie (1766–1862) is a central figure in the history of Frederick, Maryland. A Unionist during the Civil War, she is best known for her folkloric defiance in the face of Confederate troops. As the occupying rebel forces were marching out of Frederick in September 1862, Dame Fritchie, then 95, was said to have waved a Union flag from her upstairs window. Her fabled act of heroism was immortalized in an 1863 poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. The ballad uses a German spelling of her name, Frietchie.
Fritchie (née Hauer) was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, before her family moved to Frederick. She married John Casper Fritchie, a glove maker, in Frederick on May 6, 1806. She was 15 years his senior.