Elizabeth Thorn of Gettysburg: The Wartime Caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery

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by Kathryn Porch & Sue Boardman

According to the history books, the story of the Battle of Gettysburg ended when the armies departed on July 4, 1863. But for the citizens of Gettysburg, their story was only beginning. Many survived three days of battle that raged July 1–3, 1863, through their farms and homes and were left alone to pick up the pieces. To a casual observer, Elizabeth Thorn was no different than all of the other civilians doing their part to restore their town from the devastation of war. However, she was very different. No other woman in town was a six-month-pregnant mother, who simultaneously managed both a household and a cemetery, and acted as sole caretaker to two aging parents. No other woman was asked to dig nearly 100 soldiers’ graves. Elizabeth performed all of these strenuous tasks in the heat and the stench of a battlefield of bodies left to rot in the hot summer sun. This is her story and the story of the Evergreen Cemetery, a small-town burial ground that acquired national fame.

  • Paperback
  • 80 pages
  • S/L #26976