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Author brings life to Civil War veterans through book

Literature — Kathy Thornes book, Here Lies the Boys in Blue and Gray, recounts the lives of 55 Civil War veterans buried in Newberg


Kathy Thorne was looking for an “easy project,”— easy compared to the 540-page book “They Put the Flag a-Flyin’: The Roscommon Volunteers,” she spent the past 20 years compiling.

“This (project) started about a year ago with a visit to Newberg Friends Cemetery,” Thorne said.by: GARY ALLEN - Digging up history - James C. Wills is one of 55 Civil War   veterans buried at Newberg Friends Cemetery. After discovering how many veterans rest in Newberg, local author Kathy Thorne decided to write a book exploring the lives of each veteran.

After talking with former curator Derrol Hockett about the upcoming 150-year anniversary of the Civil War, she discovered he had individual histories on all 55 veterans buried in the Newberg cemetery.

“Derrol had gone onto Ancestry.com to find out these guys’ history,” she said. “He’d also copied many of the obituaries from The Graphic. So for each of the 55 members he had gone through, I said, ‘This is wonderful what are you going to do with it?’ He said, ‘Well I’ve got it here in my file cabinet.’ I said, ‘Well nobody’s going to see it over there. You need to get this into a form people can have in their hands. They need to know this.’”

And her new project was born.

The book, “Here Lies the Boys in Blue and Gray,” takes the history of each man and compiles it in four or five lines.

“There was not a civil war going (in Oregon), so the question is where have they been and how did they get here,” said Lewis Thorne, who is helping his wife compile photos for the piece.

She is also including a reference section in the second half of the book because she said a lot of the men fought in different battles and areas.

“One was out here in the Indian War,” she said.

This way if readers wish to learn a little about the battles and the timeline, Thorne said, they have the information on hand.

She’s still trying to get the book funded and hopes Newberg Friends Church will pick up the tab.

“I keep bugging somebody at Friends Church to help us money wise,” she said. “We wouldn’t need thousands of copies, a few hundred maybe, but we would want them in the schools, the library and in peoples’ hands.”

She also wants to organize a “grave walk” closer to the anniversary.

“(Current curator) Mark Thompson, he thought it would be fun to get a theater department, maybe at GFU, dressed in period costumes and do a grave walk,” she said. “Just something that would be interesting.”

But she said none of this would be in the works without the work Hockett put into the project.

“Without the research he did this project it would have gone no where,” Thorne said. “This is happening because I saw what he’d done. He did too much work to let it sit.”

Thorne plans to release the book sometime before April 2015.

For more information about Thorne and her works, visit www.generationpubilshing.com.




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