Thursday, March 10, 2016

Updating Amherst History

The older section of historic West Cemetery

Despite mild concerns from the town attorney the Community Preservation Act Committee voted unanimously (with one abstention) to recommend to Town Meeting the $5,000 historical preservation request for a new headstone to mark the burial area in West Cemetery of Christopher Thompson, who served in the all black 5th cavalry with his son Charles during the Civil War.

Records indicate Christopher is buried in sacred West Cemetery, but since there's no headstone it's hard to know the exact whereabouts of his final resting place.

Retired Amherst College professor Bob Romer, who spearheaded the request, assumes he is located in or near the Thompson family plot so that's where the new granite headstone will go -- near his son Charles.

Interestingly about 20 black Amherst residents fought for the North during the great conflict with the Thompson family accounting for 25% of that (Christopher, his three brothers and son Charles.)

To appease the town attorney the CPAC found the expenditure helps to "rehabilitate" the cemetery and makes it "functional for its intended use."


Anonymous said...

Are you sure the cemetary doesn't need some sprinklers or maybe A/C???

Anonymous said...

Can't the UMass Anthro Dept use ground-penetrating radar to find him?
And aren't there church records from his funeral? Even if the town records are wanting, the ministers usually made references.

Anonymous said...

This is a great way to honor Thompsona and teach some lost history.

Anonymous said...

One other thing: I believe that the DoD will provide a headstone, free of charge, for any veteran.