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In 1861 Thorne was separated from Clarendon and joined with Leslie to form a new municipality, with James Martin as its first mayor. At that time its population of 465 was made up of people of mixed national origin.

Ten years later, when the municipality was separated from Leslie under the mayoralty of John Rennix, it had seen and influx of German settlers.

Thorne's main village, Ladysmith, was first called Upper Thorne Centre. Later, the name Danzig was proposed, but in 1902, at the end of the Boer War, the name Ladysmith was chosen to honor a village in South Africa.

St Stephen's Anglican Church in Greemount was built in 1883; St George's Anglican Church at Thorne Centre in 1894. From 1877 till 1898, the Lutherans of Ladysmith used a log building for their services. St John's Lutheran in Ladysmith was built in 1898, and was rebuilt later after a fire. St John's Lutheran at Schwartz was built in 1916, and was also rebuilt after a fire in 1936.

The first Lutheran pastors held their services exclusively in German until about 1935, when English began to also be used.
The Thorne Community Recreation Association grounds in Ladysmith has been the site of many community celebrations over the years, including the famous Oktoberfest Ladysmith.