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The House at 26 Lawrence Road



26 Lawrence Road C1893

This house at 26 Lawrence Road is remembered by many, including myself, as the home of Hazel and Walter McInnis and their daughter Winnie.  The McInnis family purchased this farm in August 1944 from the family of Edward Senneville.  For many years Walter McInnis was a dairy farmer; using the brook located across from his barn on  Lawrence Road to water his cows when the farm well was low.  Until the new Route 111 was constructed in the middle 1960’s, this was the state road and traffic along the road was often halted while approximately 12 cows crossed the road to get water from the brook!  Mr. McInnis passed  in 1969.  Mrs. McInnis and Winnie lived here until the farm was sold in August 1982 to The Marcum Family.

In 1858 this was the home of Simeon Robinson, Jr. and by 1892 it was the home of  his son Frank.   Simeon, Jr. was born in March 1821 and by the age of 23 he was a single father and a widower.  His first wife, Elizabeth, passed away in 1844 leaving him with their 4 year old son, Lucius.   In 1848, Simeon, Jr married Charlotte Glidden. Their oldest son, Frank, was born in 1850.   Upon the death of Simeon Jr.  in 1897, the farm passed to his son Frank. It was sold in Oct  1924 to Warren Gilcrest  by Frank’s  widow, Alecia, and two daughters , Charlotte and Annette.  Gilcrest  owned  the place until 1942 when it was sold to the Senneville family.

Attached are two photos of this house.  The earlier photo was taken  about 1893 . Based upon the ages of Simeon, Jr and members of the Frank Robinson family at that time period, the people in this photo are likely Frank’s wife  Alecia,  his father Simeon, Jr, Frank himself, and Frank’s young daughters Charlotte and Annette.  The recent photo  shows the house as it looks today  and is the photo of records with the Town of Hudson.


26 Lawrence Road C 2012


The Robinson Family moved into this part of Hudson (then Londonderry) in 1763 when Peter Robinson, Simeon Jr’s grandfather,  purchased a farm of about 150 acres from Elisha and Mary Cummings of Londonderry.  Peter moved here by 1768 with two adult sons, Simeon and Douglas, plus his second wife and their young family.  Douglas removed to what is now Hancock, NH.  Simeon remained in this area and married first Susannah Tarbox.  The descendants of Simeon and Susannah settled on Peter’s farm.  This farm, now at 11 Old Robinson Road, remains in the family line from  Simeon  and Susannah.   After the death of Susannah in 1818, Simeon married a second time to a widow, Susan (Wyman) Tarbox.   They had one son, Simeon, Jr. who ultimately settled at what is now 26 Lawrence Road.


Robinson/Parker Homestead 1907


Robinson/Parker Homestead 1907


In 1763 Peter Robinson of Boxford, MA negotiated to purchase a 150 acre farm, including barn and dwelling, FROM Elisha and Mary Cummings of Londonderry, NH.  Sometime between 1764 and 1767 Peter and his large family moved onto this farm.  Members of the Robinson/Parker family have remained here for nine generations.  This farm was located  near Little Massabesic Pond, a name given by the native Americans.  This part of Londonderry was annexed to Nottingham West (now Hudson) in 1788 and over time the name of the water has been changed to Robinson Pond.
Alphonso Robinson was the sixth generation of his family to live on the farm; he was the great-grandfather of the current generation.  All his life was passed at the family homestead; born in 1837 he passed in 1918 at the age of 81.  Alphonso and Louisa Ann Haselton, also of Hudson, were married in 1862.  Her wedding dress of brown silk was saved and later made over for her daughter Hattie Louisa when she married Rev. Clarence C. Parker.  During the Civil War, Alphonso as a farmer was responsible for the livelihood of his grandfather, David; his parents Marinda Caldwell and John Anderson; his wife Louisa Ann, and their young son; John Abner.  As was accepted practice at the time, he paid a substitute to take his place in the Civil War.  During this time the small farmhouse was enlarged and made into a two family dwelling to accommodate his large and multi-generational family.  The main part of the present house was built and the existing house was split and a piece attached to each end as an ell.  
In  their later years Alphonso and Louisa provided a home for three of their grandchildren after the early passing of their mother, Hattie Louisa (Robinson) Parker.  Thus it is that their grandson, Charles C. Parker (aka ‘Charlie’) came to live on this farm.  At the time of his death, Alphonso was cited as one of Hudson’s most respected citizens and a man of high ideals and honest in all his dealings.
Hattie Louisa Robinson and her brother John Abner were of the seventh generation.  John Abner remained on the farm and married Julia Ann Webster in 1890.  They lived their entire married lives on the farm of his ancestors.  John worked with his father Alphonso.  He also served the Town of Hudson as a Selectman for  24 years and as a Representative to the General Court.  By 1911 Charles, Helen, and Alice Parker had come to live with their Robinson grandparents.  Soon thereafter Charles worked on the farm along with his grandfather and his uncle John.  All three grandchildren attended the Number 7 school at Frog Corner, located at the corner of Robinson and Griffin Roads.  Helen later attended Nashua High.  While there she became good friends with Ruth E.Blood of Nashua; said friendship led to the introduction of Ruth E. and Charles.  Ruth E. Blood and Charles Parker were married in 1933.  They too spent their entire married life on the farm of Charles’ ancestors.  
In the 1950’s as a way of helping to balance the family budget, Ruth and Charles joined forces with Farm Vacations and Holidays of New York.  This provided city families an opportunity to spend their vacation “down on the farm”.  This experience resulted in national publicity when an article about Butternut Hill Farm of Hudson appeared in the August 3, 1957 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.   Charles continued to work the farm until the mid-1960’s.  By that time the pressures and cost of modern dairy equipment made it impossible to continue.  His dairy cows were sold to The Emery Nadeau Farm of Hudson. Since that time it became necessary to divest part of the farm.  The present Town Recreation Area at Robinson Pond and the Parker Wildlife Sanctuary were once a part of this farm.  Some acres have been retained, along with this homestead for future generations.  
In 1989, as a result of research on the part of Ruth E. Parker, Butternut Hill Farm was named as a Bicentenial Farm.  The significance being that the farm has been actively farmed by members of the same family since 1789 or earlier.  This is one of two such farms in Hudson so named.  The second was that of Paul Hills on Barretts Hill Road.  
This photo shows the family homestead in 1907.  The home exterior remains the same today except for the extension of the front porch and the addition of a garage.  This photo is a part of my private collection and I am pleased to share some of my family history with you today.  Charles “Charlie” and Ruth E. Parker were my parents.

Martin Block at PO Square 1913


Martin Block at PO Square 1913

By 1913 a business center was developing near the Taylor Falls Bridge at the intersection of Central and Main Streets, called Post Office Square.  The Martin Block, as shown in today’s photo, was at the center of  the activity.  As one came across the bridge from Nashua the roadway branched: right took you up Central Street and past the Methodist/Episcopal Church (now The Community Church).  If you kept to the left you were on Main Street; the Martin Block was at 1 Main Street.  In 1913 Main Street was a short street extending from the bridge to the intersection with Derry Road where it’s name changed to Ferry Street.
The Martin Block and the building shown here dates  to 1877.  Mr. Elisha Z. Martin purchased the property and building about 1876.  Shortly after the building was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by Mr. Martin the following year.  After Mr. Martin’s passing in 1879, Mrs Martin married a Mr Sherman from Connecticut.  Together they continued to make changes and improvements to the building.This site has a long history of being occupied by a grocery or general store.  At the time of the fire it was the location of Nathan Webster’s store, and following reconstruction his business returned and continued until about 1892.  George Andrews succeeded Mr. Webster and continued the business until his death in 1903.  Mr Elijah Reed ran the business for about 1 year after which Mr Charles Daniels in partnership with Charles B. Gilbert took it over and continued until about 1925.

From the information on the reverse of this photo we know the following:  In the left el was a barber shop along with Daniels and Gilbert  Flour, Grain, and Grocery.  Charles  Daniels was the Postmaster at that time so the Post Office occupied a corner of the local grocery.  On the extreme right was a blacksmith shop and horse barn, or livery.  In the main building there were apartments.  In 1913 property taxes were $98 and it cost $50 for insurance!
In the foreground we see the tracks for the  street railway and overhead the electric wires which provided t power to the cars.  On the right is an early street lamp.
This building remained until it was demolished in the 1960’s to make way for the Veterans Memorial Bridge and the access route onto that bridge.  Changes occurred through  the years.  By 1928 it was owned by a Mrs. Jennie Connell and known as the Connell Block. The left side was washed away during the 1936 flood.  The double dormers on the third floor were replaced with a single dormer.  The livery and barn were removed from the right side and remodeled into a grocery store.  As early as 1926 this side of the Connell Block was home to Sal’s Cash Market; with Harry Salvail as proprietor. By 1940 this was the location of the every popular 20th Century Store and owned by Phil Lamoy of Nashua.  Business continued here until demolition when Mr. Lamoy moved his grocery in Hudson to the 20th Century Shopping Center on Derry Road.
My best guess for a present location of this site would be on Ferry Street just as you entered the northern span (Veterans Memorial Bridge) and part of the green space which lied between the access to that and the southern span (Taylor Falls Replacement Bridge).  This photo is a recent addition to our collection at the Historical Society.

Plane Crash of June 17, 1928


Plane Crash Ferryall Field June 17, 1928

Sunday, June 17, 1928 began as a pleasant, slightly windy day at Ferryall Field in Hudson.  Among those present at the airfield was George “Chappy” Lennox, a 24 year old licensed aviator with a recently purchased American eagle type plane.  It had been flown several times the preceding week and had just returned from a short test run.  By all involved and observing at the field, the plane was running perfectly.  “Chappy” and the plane were set to fly and provide passenger rides over the Hudson/Nashua area.  Also present were two well known residents of Nashua; each hoping to be on the first passenger trip of the day.  Marcel Theriault, age 43, and Miss Kathryn L. Thomas, age 22 were engaged in a friendly discussion as to who would be the first passenger of the day.  Mr. Theriault yielded to chilvery and offered that Miss Thomas ride first.  She, out of respect, offered that he ride first.  They settled the discussion by agreeing to both be passengers on the first flight of the day.
Kathryn Thomas was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Thomas of Nashua.  He was a prominent official with the Boston and Maine Railroad and a friend of the Theriault Family.  Present with her at the airfield were a brother and her fiance Dr. Linwood Farrington of Lowell.
Marcel Theriault was native to New Brunswick, Canada and moved to Nashua at a young age.  After graduating law at Boston University in 1914 he entered into a partnership with a Nashua firm.  He left the partnership in 1920 and worked in Concord for a time and then returned to Nashua and purchased Riverside Farm (later Hayward Farm), one of the largest in the state.  Present with him at the airfield was his youngest son, Albert then age 15.
Both passengers wore helmets and flying goggles.  His was of canvas and hers of black felt.  The pilot drove the plane to the south corner of the field so as to take advantage of its entire length during take-off.  At a height of 50-100 feet the pilot saw flames in the cockpit and quickly  and intentionally banked the plane in an attempt to bring it down in adjacent ploughed ground.  The plane struck the ground head on.  The pilot leaped from the plane and then returned to it in an attempt to help the passengers.  The flames drove him away and he rolled to the ground to smother the fire which had ignited his clothing.  “Chappy” was taken to the hospital in Nashua in a nearby auto. He remained hospitalized in critical condition for some time.
Death to the passengers came in an instant.  The plane was immediately engulfed in flames when gasoline from the tank ignited and consumed the plane down to its steel framework.  This accident and death of two well known Nashua residents shocked both communities.  Mr. Theriault, a former lawyer and state senator, chose to be burried on his Riverside Farm on Broad Street.  In 1965, after a recent purchase and proposal for a shopping center, the Theriault family removed his remained from the secluded gravesite to Pine Knoll Cemetery in Hannover. 
Hudson Police Chief, Harry J. Connell was early at the scene.  Based upon his and other  investigations the tragedy was declared an unavoidable accident.  
The account of this accident appeared in the June 18, 1928 edition of the Nashua Telegrph.  Oddly enough, that same paper and the same page, told readers of Amelia Earharts’ flight over the Atlantic – being the first girl to accomplish such a flight.
This weeks photo shows the burned remains of the American eagle type plane at Farryall Field.  Behind the remains are James A. Sherlock, Harry J. Connell, and Fred Mears.  This photo and the newspaper article are a recent addition to our collection at the Historical Society.


Ferryall/Rowell Homestead C 1900


Ferryall/Rowell Homestead Litchfield Road C 1900

This fine victorian home on Webster Street was erected in 1894 by George P. Woodward.  After a few years Mr. Woodward moved to Lowell, MA and by 1912 this home and the surrounding farm was owned by Abraham Ferryall.  It was home to Abraham and his wife Marslene; their son Fred and his wife Angelina (Salival) and their 10 year old daughter Zoula.  Abraham passed in 1915 and ownership of the house farm passed to Fred Ferryall.  Going back in history, this farm was part of the 500 acre land parcel granted to Joseph Hills in 1661.   
Much of the Ferryall Farm was located on the west side of Webster Street and bordered on the Merrimack River.  This intervale land was some of the best agricultural land in New Hampshire.  Despite this, the Ferryall Farm is noted in history for the various civic activities, local and national, which occurred here.
During World War I which the United States entered in 1917, Mr and Mrs Fred Ferryall donated the use of a  field as a landing place for airplanes and seaplanes which landed on the Merrimack River.  This land, known as Ferryall Field, was approved by the US Government as a landing place, and was placed on government maps.  Following the war use of this field continued as an airfield for the Nashua area until the Nashua airport was established in 1934.   This field was used to charter passengers for Nashua and area businesses, transport animals for Benson’s Animal Farm, as a pilot training school, and even as a recreational site for the flying circus. Fred Connell, well known from Hudson’s past, learned to fly in 1929 at the Manchester Airport.  He flew in and out of Ferryall Field carrying many residents on their first plane ride; air fair being set at a ‘cent a pound’.  These events  became so popular that a second plane was added.  At one time as many as 500 cars were parked on the field.  In June of 1928 there was a serious and fatal air crash at Ferryall Field.  The story of this event will be the subject of next week’s Remember Hudson When…
In 1923 Zoula Ferryall and Harold Clinton Rowell were married in Nashua and in 1925 their son Clifford was born.  The Rowell family lived for a time in Nashua.  In 1932 their son Fred was born.  At the time of the 1940 census Mrs Rowell and her 2 sons were living on Derry Road and she was employed as a secretary for the US forest service.
During World War II the donated use of the Ferryall property continued.  Mr. and Mrs. Fred Ferryall donated the use of part of their home for a Government Observation post. This post was manned twenty-four hours a day by civic minded Hudson citizens.  Among those who volunteered were Mr and Mrs Ferryall, their daughter Zoula Rowell.  Her son Clifton was Chief Observer and organized volunteers; those listed above plus Kendall Oliver, Gordon French, Vincent Rigg, and Mary Laflame a domestic employed by the Ferryall family.  Later the American Legion Auxiliary arranged for additional volunteers.  Any and all planes seen or heard were reported immediately via phone to a government number; giving direction of flight, where sighted or heard, and type of plane if possible.  This information was also logged for future reference.  A room in the house which had a separate entrance was furnished for the comfort of the observers.  The use of the phone, heat, and electricity was also donated.
The Ferryall/Rowell family donated the use of a section of the farm adjacent to the river to the government for army maneuvers.  The men camped and carried out their training which included the building of a temporary bridge across the Merrimack. During some of these years the Rowell family lived on Derry Road and used the Webster Street home as a summer home.  
Post WWII and as our town grew donated use of the family homestead continued.  The home was  the first or temporary Rectory and office for St. John’s Church until a permanent rectory was built.  Use of the field was also donated to the parish for their annual carnival.
Later Mrs. Rowell lived there with her son Fred.  When Mrs. Rowell passed, the homestead passed to her two sons.  After the death of Fred, the land and buildings were sold and the Sparkling River development began.
Through the years Zoula Rowell volunteered much of her time and energy to her town.  What stands foremost in my memory are the many hours spent as a member of the Historical Committee of Hudson Fortnightly and later as Chairman of the House Committee of The Historical Society which restored the Hills House for use as a museum of Hudson’s history.  Her sons Clifford and Fred were also active in town.  Clifton was a partner in an electrical business, Rowell and Miller, which had their office adjacent to the family homestead on Webster Street.  He later had a catering business ‘The Shop’ in the same location.  

Ferryall/Rowell Homestead Litchfield Road C 1900

This photo is part of the Historical Society collection; being donated by an unknown donor.

Robinson Pond Used For Log Storage 1938


Robinson Pond – Log Storage 1938

The 1938 hurricane struck without warning on Spetember 21, 1938.  The storm roarded up the coast from Cape Hatteras with winds of 75 miles per hour and gusts in excess of 175.  As the storm progressed communications were disrupted so that communities in its track were not alerted to it’s arrival.  At 4:30 pm there were reports of a slight wind; by 5:00 the winds and gusts had increased so vigorously that workers on their way home from work feared for their safety.  Soon trees were crashing down across  the roadways.  Besides the major tree damage, chimneys were toppled, shingles blown from houses, buildings were crushed, and windows were broken.  Whatever was in the path of the wind was blown around with a fury.  By daylight on the next morning the damage was inspected.  Carpenters, bricklayers, masons, and road workers were in demand to repair the damage.  Hudson residents were left without telephones and electricity  for days.
Huge trees were uprooted, some were snapped off like match sticks.  Much of the fine old standing pine timber in Hudson was blown down. A Town Timber Committee was formed by local folks in an effort to salvage the uprooted trees.  Named to this committee were Robert Hardy, Albert Kashulines, and Charles Parker.  The committee met with representatives of the state and federal governments to work out a plan for storing the logs in water to prevent insect damage to the wood.  Robinson Pond was inspected and approved for this purpose.   Owners of the land, John Robinson and Charles Parker, were paid one dollar for its use.
Salvaged logs were trucked to this site on Robinson Road from Pelham, Litchfield,  parts of Nashua, and Hudson. Records were kept listing the owners of the logs, the grade of the logs, and a count.  Logs were measured and stamped.  In the winter the logs were put on scoots and drawn out onto the ice by tractors and rolled off onto the ice; to remain until the ice melted.  The logs remained in the water for two summers. It was estimated that 5 million board feet of lumber were stored here in Robinson Pond.
In the winter of 1939, Bean and Simmonds of Jaffrey, NH owners and operators of a box shop purchased the logs.  Removal of the logs began in 1940.  Two portable steam mills were set up on the “point” at Robinson Pond.  This “point” is now part of the Town Recreation Area and often referred to as Sawdust Island.  The logs were sawed three inches thick and trucked to a nearby field, stacked for drying, and later trucked to Jaffrey.  Bean and Simmonds re sawed them and used them to make ammunition boxes for use in world War II.  Not all logs were removed from the pond.  Occasionally, even to this day, logs drift to shore or pop-op at the pond.
This photo, from the Historical Society Collection, shows logs stacked on the shore of what is now the swimming area for the Town Recreation Area.  The pond is frozen and logs are waiting to be skooted onto the ice.  Across the pond is the open field of what is now 72 Robinson Road.
If you would like to hear more about The Great Hurricane of 1938 please join with The Historical Society on September 22, 2016 at 7:00pm at the Hills House on Derry Road.  Our guest speaker will be Shira Gladstone site manager for Historic New England.

Hudson Speedway C 1947

Hudson Speedway C 1947

Hudson Speedway C 1947

For 70 years, from 1946 to the present, race enthusiasts  of New England have participated in and watched events at the Hudson Speedway.  Located in northern Hudson at what is now the corner of Robinson and Old Derry Roads is this 1/4 mile short oval asphalt  track banked at 12 degrees.  It was initially a dirt track and by 1953 it was paved.
Often times the racing schedule called for 11 individual races during  a Sunday afternoon or evening.  At one time as many as 4,000 race fans were reportedly on hand for these events.  Some Hudson amateur, and not so amateur, drivers participated in events using stock cars they themselves modified and painted for the occasion.  Local race fans Gary and Lorna Granger and their friends Bertha and Richard Ashford drove their cars (#68 and #69) at this raceway and the sister track in Epping, NH.  Stock car races were of several types:  sportsman, modified, demolition derby, powder puff, and spectator races.  This current 2016 season the racing schedule runs from May to October.
The neighborhood and roadways around the Hudson Speedway have changed significantly these past 70 years. Before the early 1950’s the part of Derry Road (Route 102) from Old Derry Road just beyond the Hills House to the Londonderry Flea Market had not been built.  The road we know of as Old Derry Road was The Derry Road.  Robinson Road ended at what is now Old Derry Road at Potash Corner near the Senter Cemetery.  There was an unnamed cross road from this corner to the Litchfield line.  The intersection of Robinson Road, West Road, and Derry Road at The Irving Station and Dunkin Donuts did not exist.
The neighborhood was rural; Nadeau Dairy Farm, Jasper’s Poultry Farm to the south.  On the north towards Londonderry there were there were 2 or 3 houses between the cemetery and the Londonderry line.  The property on Old Derry Road between the speedway and Putman Road, where some 6 houses now exist, was undeveloped and one family lived there.   The  property was later  owned by the town of Hudson for unpaid taxes and in 1955 sold at public auction and by 1971 again sold to a local developer.  By the mid 1970’s there were some 6 families living adjacent to the speedway on Old Derry Road.  Local property owners were issues seasonal passes to the speedway events.
With the increase in residency and continuation of the racetrack activities conflicts  occurred and the local residents organized to seek regulations of the speedway.  The speedway had been in existence for about 25 years before this  occurred.  The issues centered around noise, crowd and traffic control before and after races, litter along highway, and even trespassing on private property.  Neighborhood fields were used for parking with property owners charging for parking; the hours of races were controlled so there were no evening races when school was in session the next day.  To this day, Sunday races continue.  To some of the residents in the area it is part of our neighborhood activities; to others, I am sure, the noise and activities is more that just an inconvenience.
The photo shown here is from an early postcard with the photo by A. Dallaire of Manchester, NH. It is an aerial view looking west to each over the track.  Old Derry Road (Derry Road) is behind the bleachers with a field of the Nadeau Farm across the way being used as a parking lot.  The post card was a recent donation to the Historical Society’s collection.