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88 years later, Civil War veteran to be laid to rest

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The tireless work of a local woman has finally brought her family the closure it wanted.

Alice Knapp of Nehalem wanted to know what happened to a loved one who served in the Civil War. That loved one was Peter Knapp and for 88 years, his cremated remains sat unclaimed at a Portland crematorium until Knapp family members started tracing their roots.

That's where Knapp stepped in. She was married to Steve Knapp, a descendant of Peter. She started researching her husband's family back in 1980 when records were primarily kept on paper. And now with the help of modern technology, Alice Knapp was able to continue her search and it started when a distant cousin called her with a tip about Peter Knapp's past.

"She said, 'Did you know Peter Knapp wrote a bunch of diaries about the Civil War?' And I said, 'No.' She says, 'Yeah, look at this article,'" Alice said. "And sends me coughs up a bullet article)

Alice eventually found Peter's obituary.

"From his obituary, it said, they would go to a Portland crematorium and so I called the Portland crematorium and they said, 'Yeah, he's here,'" Alice said. "And I got his death certificate in Washington. I called back and said, 'By the way, is his wife there?' and they said, 'Yeah.' The shock was that he was not ever buried. That was the surprise to me."

That will all change on Friday.

"His family will be together, also," Alice said. "They are really enthusiastic about the whole thing. I've got relatives coming from Colorado and California."

Peter Knapp will be laid to rest Friday at the Willamette National Cemetery -- exactly 88 years after he died. Friday's ceremony will also mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Oregon. The Oregon National Guard is scheduled to provide full military honors.

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