The Amherst Historical Commission will hold a ceremony in West Cemetery at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, to dedicate a stone memorial honoring Christopher Thompson, a Black soldier from Amherst who served in the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry during the Civil War. Several of Thompson’s descendants are expected to attend, and all interested citizens are invited.
The new memorial was made and installed using Community
Preservation Act funding. The monument also identifies the African-American burial area of the cemetery, and honors four other members of the Thompson family, including brothers, sons, and nephews who served during the Civil War. Some of Thompson’s relatives are buried in West Cemetery, along with other Black soldiers from Amherst who fought in the Civil War. They includes Charles A. Finnemore who, when he enlisted in 1863, was living with Christopher Thompson’s family.
West Cemetery is Amherst’s oldest burying ground, dating from 1730, when Amherst was still a part of Hadley. Located in Amherst center, West Cemetery can be accessed on foot from North Pleasant Street using the walkway just north of the Toy Box at 191 North Pleasant Street, or from Triangle Street. Those attending this ceremony are asked not to drive or park in the cemetery, but to find parking nearby.
For further information, please contact Senior Planner Jonathan Tucker at the Amherst Planning Department, by calling (413) 259-3040 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.