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 Mandana Coleman <I>Major</I> Thorp

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Mandana Coleman Major Thorp

  • Birth 25 Jan 1843 Almond, Allegany County, New York, USA
  • Death 7 Jul 1916 Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, USA
  • Burial Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, USA
  • Plot Sec 106 Lot 8A
  • Memorial ID 86918740

Mrs. Thorp was the daughter of Col. John W. Major and the former Cyrene Rathbone, a descendant of Revolutionary War soldier Moses Van Campen. Mrs. Thorp was educated at New York's Alfred University.
During the Civil War, Mrs. Thorp sang at Union recruiting rallies; her melodic voice and patriotic songs urging young men to volunteer. It was at these occasions that she became acquainted with Capt. Thomas Thorp, a dashing Union officer six years her senior. Thorp was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 130th New York Infantry. Before the regiment shipped out, the soldiers formed in a hollow square on the banks of the Genesee River to witness the marriage of Lt. Col. Thorp to nineteen year old Mandana Major. The wedding was performed September 6, 1862 by Rev. Joel Wakeman who was also the captain of Company H.
Mrs. Thorp was not content to remain at home and she made plans to join the regiment in the field. She made her way to the front lines and rendered service as a volunteer nurse providing comfort to the sick and tending wounded in camp and hospital the duration of the war.
The victorious Union Army was ordered to Washington D.C. where they were to march in a Grand Review before President Johnson and General Grant. Leading the 1st New York Dragoons was Thomas J. Thorp, riding under a banner emblazoned with the single star of a brigadier general. Riding at the general's side under her own banner decorated with a full eagle, was a woman so beloved by the regiment she was granted that place of honor: The Angel of the Battlefield, Mandana Major Thorp.
After the Civil War the Thorps lived in New York, Michigan, Arizona, and Oregon. Mrs. Thorp was a prohibition crusader in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and was also active in the Woman's Relief Corps representing Oregon at the 1897 national convention in New York.
Following her husband's death, the U.S. Congress, in appreciation for the Thorps Civil War service, passed a bill awarding Mrs. Thorp a pension of $30 per month. Mandana Thorp moved to Portland to live with her daughter Bessie but outlived her husband by less than a year. She passed away on July 7, 1916 at the age of seventy-three.

Ninety-seven years after her death, a successful fundraiser effort purchased a headstone to mark the grave of this incredible woman. The headstone was dedicated on April 6, 2013 by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.


Family Members


  • Created by: Randy Fletcher
  • Added: 17 Mar 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 86918740
  • Oregon Civil War 150th
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mandana Coleman Major Thorp (25 Jan 1843–7 Jul 1916), Find A Grave Memorial no. 86918740, citing River View Cemetery, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Randy Fletcher (contributor 46798805) .