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Missouri Veteran's Daughter Thora Kron Dies At Age 89

Kathryn Jorgensen

- (January 2007) DONIPHAN, Mo. - Thora McCauley Kron, the daughter of a Confederate veteran, died in a local nursing home Dec. 10 at age 89.

She was a retired registered nurse, author of Nursing Team Leadership, and a pilot. Phyllis McCauley of Waterloo, Ill., the great-granddaughter of Kron's father, says Kron was "a very smart lady."

It is through hearing stories from Kron, her great-aunt by half blood, that McCauley can share some of the family lore about veteran James Robert McCauley, who was known as J.R. Having an interest in genealogy helps, as Phyllis McCauley sets a reporter straight on the family line - she's descended from J.R.'s first wife, while Thora was his child by his second wife.

Thora did not remember him. Her mother was a young wife, a couple years younger than his youngest child, and they were divorced when Thora was a baby.

Thora is survived by her husband Edward. Her ashes will be buried with her family in Minnesota later in the year.

James Robert McCauley's 1936 obituary in the Doniphan Republican said he was believed to be Ripley County's last Confederate veteran and that he took part in all of Gen. Sterling Price's battles.

His great-granddaughter doesn't know J.R.'s regiment. She knows he was born in Benton County, Tennessee. The family story is that he lived on a farm on the Arkansas/Missouri border and went north to enlist in Missouri.

His brothers George and William also enlisted. Another family story is that J.R. came home after the war with George thrown across a horse, so emaciated that his cheekbones were protruding through his cheeks.

Phyllis McCauley says that feelings were so intense after the war and the burning of Doniphan that nobody talked about it for some 30 years. She understands that J.R. did talk within the family and told about the Battle of Pilot Knob, Mo.

J.R. and a Confederate veteran friend would cross the street rather than have to speak to Union veteran Ben Johnson who wore his uniform coat around town.

J.R. was buried in Towles Cemetery in a rural area south of Doniphan. The family placed an obelisk on his grave. It deteriorated and a grandson replaced it in the 1970s. The original marker said "J.R." and by then no one could remember his first name, so the newer stone mistakenly says "John" instead of "James."

The Sons of Confederate Veterans headquarters sent Phyllis McCauley contact information for some camps near her to help get a marker with J.R.'s correct name and recognition of his Confederate service.

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