Civil War Clergy at Mount Auburn Cemetery: Rev. Joseph Thayer

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Rev. Joseph Henry Thayer

By Bill McEvoy

In honor of Memorial Day, local historian Bill McEvoy has compiled histories of some of the Civil War clergy who are buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery. This is part 15 of 15.

Reverend Joseph Henry Thayer was born November 7, 1828, in Boston. He died on November 26, 1901, at Cambridge, from general sarcoma.

He graduated from Harvard College in 1850. In 1854 he earned a Master of Art from Harvard. He graduated from Andover Theological College in 1857. He was a Congregationalist.

He was the pastor of the Crombie Street Church in Salem, Massachusetts, from 1859 until  1864.

Reverend Thayer, was then appointed as a professor at the Andover Theological Seminary.

On September 17th, 1862, he was commissioned as a Field Chaplain in the 40th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment.  He resigned from his Commission on May 15th, 1863, and return to Massachusetts.

During his service, the 40th saw duty at: Washington, D.C., the Expedition to Mill’s Cross Roads, and the Siege of Suffolk.

From 1864 to 1882, Reverend Thayer was a professor of Sacred Literature at Andover Seminary.

In 1884, he became the Bussey Professor of the New Testament criticism at the Harvard Divinity School. He served there until shortly before his death.

For his works as an author and critic, he was ranked among the foremost theologians. Among his numerous published works probably his best known are those relating to the study of the New Testament.

Find the gravesites of the Civil War Clergy by entering their name here: Bill McEvoy can be reached at

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