1823 - 1902
founding father of the Evergreen Cemetery, David
McConaughy was a man of vision. McConaughy was the
driving force in establishing Evergreen Cemetery and
served as the association's president from 1854 - 1863. A
year before the Battle of Gettysburg, he envisioned a
Soldiers' Cemetery as part of Evergreen. At the time,
only two native sons of Gettysburg had been killed during
the Civil War, so there was not enough support from the
community to fund the project.
When the Battle took place in July of 1863, McConaughy was in the forefront once again. Having already laid the groundwork for his concept by previously talking to the adjoining landowners, McConaughy acquired purchasing rights for the 17 acres of land north of Evergreen Cemetery. By doing so, McConaughy foiled rival lawyer David Wills' plans to purchase the land for the State of Pennsylvania. Ultimately, the Evergreen Cemetery gave the rights to the state of Pennsylvania to acquire the land with the stipulation that a fence divides the two properties.
Immediately following the battle, McConaughy began buying parcels of land with his own money to preserve the battlefield. He left the presidency of Evergreen Cemetery Association to help establish the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, for which he served as its first president for 10 years.
Elizabeth Thorn emigrated from Germany and were married
on September 1, 1855; coincidentally, the same day the
cornerstone was laid for the Evergreen Cemetery
gatehouse. The Thorns were the first family to live in
the gatehouse when Peter became Superintendent of the
cemetery in 1856. After Peter joined Co. B, 138th
Pennsylvania Infantry, Elizabeth was left in charge of
the cemetery and served as caretaker from 1862-1865. With
the help of her elderly father, Elizabeth buried 91
soldiers in the weeks following the Battle of Gettysburg.
While six months pregnant, she dug the graves in one of
the rockiest regions of the cemetery. Her post-war
reminiscence is one of the best known civilian accounts
of the battle.
Rev. Samuel S. Schmucker
of the Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary and
Pennsylvania (Gettysburg) College. A prolific writer, Schmucker was the most influential Lutheran in America at the time. He served as president of the Evergreen Cemetery Association from 1864-1865.
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