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Historian’s Report

On 17 February 2010 I received a nice package in the mail from Thayer Representative and Civil War aficionado Donald Owen Thayer of Chehalis, Washington. It contained the book The Killer Angels, by Pulitzer prize-winning Civil War Novel writer, Michael Shaara. Writes Don’s dear wife, Betty: “Don thinks you should read this book – he’s read it 3 times! He feels it’s the best view of Gettysburg he’s ever run across. His genealogy research started his interest in Civil War history. Don says ‘If you read the book, it’ll be a great background for your visit to Gettysburg.’
As a youngster my family made many stops at Gettysburg on our way to Baltimore to visit grandparents. This was in the 40’s and 50’s. My father, a Dutch immigrant was interested in American Historical places and would point out to me: ‘Look at this, this is a part of your heritage, it’s important’!! He researched my mother’s family back to Revolutionary War... It pleased my father that his offspring could be so American!!
Don’s genealogy work has given us both great pleasure and pride. As you get older it seems to be important to find out where you will fit into the ‘picture of life.’” 

Thank you Don and Betty for thinking of me and my need to know more about this fascinating period in American History! 

For many decades I had searched for the parentage of my husband, Donald’s great grandfather, Reuben Clay Reever. Don’s mother, who just recently passed away at 89, had given to Don a soft leather gold bank pouch containing the treasures of a young ten year old boy. The treasures had been passed down to her by her grandfather Reever, who, as a 10 year old lad, sat on the rail fence of his family’s farm and watched a Civil War battle transpire. It was a surreal experience for Reuben to have listened to the painful screams coming from his farmhouse and watching as wounded soldiers struggled to seek medical assistance and safety from the horrors of the battlefield. Once the dust settled, Reuben went out on the field and gathered small items and stuffed them into his pockets. These included musket balls, uniform buttons, shrapnel, bullets, small cannon shotgun balls, belt buckles, chest buckles and a cannon’s fuse plug. 

Reuben’s mother was said to have taken into her home both Confederate and Union wounded soldiers requiring medical assistance. For some of the solders, unable to be moved, she stayed with them and nursed them back to health. It was not until just recently that I learned that the mysterious battlefield was GETTYSBURG!!! Don and I hope to discover the Reever ancestral home site, and you can be assured that we are greatly looking forward to this forthcoming Thayer reunion and TFA bi-annual meeting!! See you THAYER! 

Patricia Thayer Muno – TFA Historian