Local lore places the first burial in this cemetery as early as 1840. When Robert Jackson purchased 35 acres of land including this site in 1853, at least one grave was already present. Jackson allowed that portion of his land to be used for further burials.
The earliest marked grave is dated 1860. A ladies' cemetery association was formed in 1891, and for many years the graveyard was referred to as "The City Cemetery" or "The cemetery that Mr. Jackson gave to the city." The name Evergreen came into use in 1898 or 1899.
Fewer than 100 marked graves date from before 1900. Most are those of pioneer settlers who died in their 40s and 50s. In 1911, Robert Russell wrote that "more graves are lost in there than are in sight." The number of marked burials increased in 1917, 1918, and 1919 due to a series of influenza epidemics.
The majority of those who died in the city of Orange between 1850 and 1853, when private cemeteries began operations in the area, are buried on this site. Nearly four times its original size, the cemetery contains a variety of grave markers, including family mausoleums, the markers of fraternal orders, and military markers honoring veterans of several U. S. and international conflicts, including the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, and the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. With an estimated 7500 graves in 1998, Evergreen Cemetery is a record of the pioneers of Orange. The cemetery continues to serve the city and surrounding area.