Elizabeth Thorn of Gettysburg

The Wartime Caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery

Kathryn Porch, Sue Boardman

This is the remarkable story of civilian Elizabeth Thorn: a six-month-pregnant mother, caretaker of aging parents, and head of household, who would dig nearly 100 soldiers' graves in Gettysburg's Evergreen Cemetery in the stinking heat and aftermath of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.
Publication date:
April 2015
Publisher :
Gettysburg Publishing
Illustration :
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9780983863168

Dimensions : 216 X 133 mm
Available in 3-4 weeks


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.