At 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, the Amherst Historical Commission will hold a ceremony in West Cemetery dedicating a new stone memorial to serve as an historic interpretive sign honoring Christopher Thompson, a black soldier who enlisted for Amherst and served in the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry during the Civil War. Several of Thompson’s relatives are expected to attend the ceremony. All interested citizens are invited to attend.
The new memorial sign was fabricated and installed using Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding. The sign also identifies the African-American Burials area of the cemetery, and honors four other members of the Thompson family—brothers, sons, nephews—who served during the Civil War. Some of them are buried in West Cemetery, along with other Amherst black Civil War soldiers such as Charles A. Finnemore who, at the time 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 in the Amherst Planning Department at (413) 259-3040 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.