Somerville Ave. Somerville Middlesex County Massachusetts USA Postal Code: 02143 Phone: 617-625-6600 x2500
Cemetery notes and/or description: The Old Cemetery is the first and only pre 20th century burial ground located in Somerville. The Cemetery was built on farm land donated by Samuel Tufts in 1804. It was used by a number of early Somerville families, however, the numbers were small because most used the nearby Phipps Street Burying Ground, in Charlestown. Also the 1832 Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge was used by many Somerville residents. Thus, the Old Cemetery is relatively small.
Somerville Avenue was known as Milk Row in the 19th century. The Milk Row School (1796-1849) stood on the east corner of the cemetery lot. Nearby on Milk Row was the Middlesex Bleachery a large complex of the 19th century.
The marble memorial, in the center of the cemetery, which was erected in the summer of 1863, is thought to be the first soldiers monument in the country to honor those who died in the Civil War. Overall, 1,135 men from Somerville fought in the war effort. They participated in battles like Bull Run, Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Appomattox to name a few. The names of 68 Somerville men who were killed in battle or died from wounds or sickness during their service are inscribed on the four faces of the marble shaft. Another 250 were wounded.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission refers to this cemetery in MACRIS as SMV.800 Old Cemetery - Milk Row Cemetery.