The Reese-Peters House was built in 1835 for William James Reese and his wife, Mary Elisabeth Sherman. Reese, a native of Philadelphia, was a well-educated man, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s law school in 1822. Mary Elisabeth was the eldest sister of General William T. Sherman and Senator John Sherman, who would both find fame later in the nineteenth century. The Reese’s mansion on “Main Hill” in the famous Square 13 was known from the beginning as the finest house in Lancaster.
In 1842, Reeses left Lancaster in the aftermath of the economic panic of 1837. Over the next thirty years the house changed hands a number of times, being held at one point by Darius Tallmadge, owner of the Ohio Stage Coach Company. In 1872, Philip and Caroline Rising purchased the house. Their grandson, Philip Rising Peters, was the last private owner. He died in 1954, leaving the Reese-Peters House in a trust, with the wish that it would someday be used for a civic purpose.
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