Jennie Wade
Born May 21, 1843
Died  July3, 1863
Our Jennie's Story
   A young volunteer of the great Civil War, Jennie Wade is a heroine to her hometown of Gettysburg Pennsylvania. Killed while baking bread for the troops, Jennie and her sister had regularly volunteered their time to help the Union troops who traveled through the region.
    To the Friends of Jennie Wade the restored riverboat attraction, Jennie, the boat's namesake,  represents the spirit of the many men and women who volunteered their time and energy to save her. Spearheaded by the McClains, the Jennie Wade riverboat was saved from destruction some 13 years ago. Ironically the real Jennie Wade's lifeless body was sheltered by another family of McClains back some 140 years ago. Coincidence or paradox? Real or surreal?   This story is filled with the spirit of this young woman. Jennie's spirit of volunteerism  seemed to attract people to this boat's restoration from the very beginning.  Now, as the media center project ends its first season, that same spirit of volunteerism has surfaced again in our young Jennie Wade. Through this new project,  the story of the young Civil War volunteer, Jennie Wade continues to be told.  Leighann reminds her audience that we need more people to be community volunteers.  Volunteerism is as important today as it was back then.
       Last summer, the young Ripley High School student entered the riverboat dock side attraction with her grandmother. She was interested in the project and was especially interested in "who Jennie Wade was." When she was shown the photos of the young girl and the place where Jennie Wade was killed, two things amazed us.. First of all Leighann felt she had been in that place before. Secondly, her resemblance to the young Jennie Wade was shocking. Like looking in a mirror, same eyes, hair, nose and stoic stare, it was amazing. Leighann picked up the book telling her story and asked if she could read it. When we asked if she would like to do an impression of the  young woman, she never hesitated for one minute. She embraced the opportunity and she said she would do it as a volunteer. Like the real Jennie Wade, she took on the challenge before her.  Later, it was discovered that Leighann had been to the house where Jennie was killed.  That was on school field trip. Had she also been there in another time?  I guess we can only wonder.  Her mother added another special twist to this story. She tells of the day that Leighann was born.  Her mother wanted to name her "Jennie" and even wrote that name in her baby book.
    The Jennie Wade Media Center is a non-profit organization presenting educational programs to visitors and residents of the region. It is also open to regional businesses for community functions, schools for classes and field trips and organizations for meetings and other activities.  More volunteers are needed to greet visitors and tell the stories of others from this region. If you are interested in being a volunteer during the 2004 season, please contact the "Friends" at
mcclainw@bright.net 
    Information about becoming a member of the Friends of Jennie Wade non-profit organization can be found on the
jenniewade.com web site. You can get an appliation on line too.  Just click on    Mark Twains' photo below.
Young Leighann as Jennie Wade, pictured al left and center in her first professional poses. At right, Jennie Wade stands next to the Chatanooga Star, waiting for guest to board the Jennie Wade riverboat. Here, she relays the real Jennie Wade's story to visitors of the media center.  It looks like the spirit of that Jennie is with her.
This page is dedicated to the spirit of all the volunteers who gave of their  time, energy, labor and material to make this project come together. The list grows daily and is posted under supporters, This list of supporters covers those who helped in the past five years and especially those who have joined the Friends of Jennie Wade since January of 2003.

A special note of thanks also goes out to the special people who were part of Jennie Wade's early restoration in Pennsylvania from 1991 to 1994. That list is presently being compiled and will be listed on this site in the near future.