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99 Dracut Road

99 Dracut Road C2004

99 Dracut Road C2004

Oginskis/Karos Homestead

Our Remember Hudson… travels this week take us to the south end of Hudson and 99 Dracut Road; for many years home to the Oginskis/Karos Family. The family of Joseph and Barbara (Martin) Oginskis purchased a farm of 57 acres plus house and barn from John Balandis on Old Lowell Road (now Dracut Road) in 1927. Their daughter Vera was about 22 years of age at the time. By 1940, Barbara was widowed; Vera was employed as a mill operator in Nashua. John Karos was residing at the farm and working as a farmhand. Four years later, in 1944, Vera and John were married.

This farmhouse at 99 Dracut Road remained home to Vera and John as well as to Barbara, Vera’s mom, who passed in December 1950. John worked as a machinist in Nashua, his last employment was with Sanders Associates. John passed in August 1966. Vera passed in 2004 at the age of 98. She lived all of her remaining live, except last few months, in this house; having been a Hudson resident for 75 years. I did not know Vera; but in talking with folks who did know her, she was a generous and respected neighbor. One neighbor remembers Vera’s kindness as she passed this home on her way to to catch the school bus a mile from her own home. Another person remembers Vera’s artistic talents and was able to save one of Vera’s paintings before the house was demolished. That painting is now at the Historical Society.

Hudson Meadows

By 2004 all but 14 plus acres including dwelling and barns had been subdivided and sold. As part of her estate the remaining acres were sold to a developer and Hudson Meadows Condominium Association was soon established.

99 Dracut Road 2016

99 Dracut Road 2016

In the 13 years prior to 1927 this 57 acre farm with buildings had changed hands about 5 times. Going back to the early 1800’s this farm was purchased in 1824 by a Paul Hardy from Pelham, NH and it remained in the Hardy family until about 1913 when it was sold by his daughter Susan (Hardy) Cutter. From the age and style of the farmhouse I estimate it was built about 1850 by the Hardy Family.

The photo of the Karos Farmhouse is in the collection at the Historical Society compliments of Hudson Meadows Association. The photo of Hudson Meadows was taken just this week.


Three Haselton Sisters

Three Haselton Sisters

In most New England towns many families are interrelated even though they have different last names. Hudson is no exception. This week I introduce you to three sisters who grew up on Bush Hill Road, each of whom married men from Hudson, thus making one extended family out of four.

Luther Haselton, age 29, and Polly Ladd Smith, age 28, were married here in Nottingham West in 1826, most likely at the Baptist Church in Hudson Center. At that time the Baptist Church was meeting in the North Meeting House, located about where Wattannick Hall is now located. Luther and Polly lived on the Haselton Farm on Bush Hill, in the house adjacent to the Haselton Barn, long since removed. Their family consisted of 2 sons, David and George Washington; and 3 daughters, Hannah Page, Louisa Ann, and Marietta. Members of the Haselton family were hard working, prosperous, considered honest, and prominent in the community. Today I wish to focus on the three daughters and the men each of them married.

Hannah Page (Haselton) Smith

Hannah Page (Haselton) Smith

Hannah Page (Haselton) Smith

Dr. David Onslow Smith graduated Harvard Medical School in 1850 and established his practice in Hudson with a reputation as a highly skilled physician. He was also an educator and excellent musician; noted for his singing voice, as a conductor of choral groups, composer, and organist. He was also an educator leading a private music schools and serving on the school committee for the Town of Hudson. He married Mary Hannah Greeley in 1855 and they had 5 children: Minnie, Edmond who died young, Martha Robinson, Herbert Lewellen, and Henry Onslow. Mary passed in 1867, leaving Dr. David Smith with a family ranging in ages from 3 to 11. In 1874 Hannah Page Haselton and Dr. David Smith were married. Although they had no children of their own she did enter the existing household and continued with the raising and providing a home for the family. Also, when the time came, Dr Smith and Hannah adopted one of his grandchildren, David Onslow Smith, Jr.

Louisa (Haselton) Robinson

Louisa (Haselton) Robinson

Louisa (Haselton) Robinson

Alphonso Robinson, born 1837, was the 5th generation of the Robinson family to live on and work the farm on Robinson Road. The family homestead at the time was small, likely about four rooms. Alponso lived here with his parents John Anderson and Marinda (Caldwell) Robinson, his grandfather David, and 3 siblings. Louisa Ann Haselton and Alphonso were married in 1862; soon thereafter the small home was enlarged to more than three times the size to allow for multiple generations. Alphonso passed in December 1918, having spent his entire life living on his native homestead. He was a well respected in town and knows for his high ideals.

Marietta (Haselton) Buttrick

Clifton Buttrick was born in Wentworth, NH July 1846 and moved to Hudson about 1850 when his mother, Sally (Cutler) Buttrick married John Bunyan Robinson. Clifton grew up in a Robinson household with two half sisters, both of whom passed young. Clifton and Marietta (Haselton) Buttrick were married before 1869; living on Clifton’s farm located on Windham Road in Hudson Center. They had one son, Ernest Clifton who died young and twin daughters, Clara and Sarah born December 1870. At some point the twins opted to change their names to Belle and Maybel. Marietta passed in July 1873 at the age of 42. By 1874 Clifton married a second time to Charlotte Colburn. I was surprised to learn that when a son was born to Clifton and Charlotte, he was named George Washington Buttrick after Clifton’s first brother-in-law and friend. Clifton was a respected farmer, served as selectman and trustee and long time member of the Baptist Church. He passed in 1935, at which time he held possession of the Boston Post Cane. The twins lived into their mid 80’s. Maybel became Mrs. Jarome Melvin and settled on Barretts Hill Road. Belle remained single and remained on the Buttrick farm. Both were well known in the community.

Here we have four families Smith, Buttrick, Haselton, and Robinson who become one larger family by virtue of the marriages of these three sisters. This shows the importance of following the maternal lines when tracing family history. To use a favorite expression, each of these sisters became the woman behind each of three respected Hudson statesmen.

The photos shown here are of Louisa Ann (Haselton) Robinson and Hannah Page (Haselton) Smith. I do not have a photo of Marietta (Haselton) Buttrick. The photo of Louisa Ann, my great grandmother, is from my private collection. The photo of Hannah Page is from the Historical Society collection, complements of the H.O. Smith Family.


Last Minute Gift Ideas

Hudson Historical Society

Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Holidays

FREE SHIPPING through December 31, 2016!

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Perfect for that person on your list who might be hard to shop for just the right gift!

Remembering Benson’s Wild Animal Farm by Bob Goldsack $17.99

Images of America Benson’s Wild Animal Farm by Bob Goldsack $21.99

Legendary Locals of Hudson, NH by Shawn and Laurie Jasper $21.99

Two book set, Webster’s History of Hudson, NH 1673-1913 and Town in Transition    1913-1977 $95.00.

Please send your order and shipping address along with a check made payable to  Hudson Historical Society P.O. Box 475 Hudson, NH 03051.

Thank you!!


Tiny’s Garage Atwood Avenue

Tiny's Garage Atwood Avenue

Tiny’s Garage Atwood Avenue

         This week we again travel down Lowell Road with a right turn onto Atwood Avenue and a stop at number 7,  the site of Tiny’s Garage.  We remember the man called ‘Tiny’, his business, and the  family who worked with him.
          Chester ‘Tiny’ Sojka grew up  in Derby, CN and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps as a young man.  After Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the Army and served as a tank mechanic; being stationed in North Africa and Italy.  He met his wife Mary while on leave and they were married in December 1944.  After his discharge in 1945 he started a garage repairing and towing cars.  They settled in Nashua and later moved to Hudson and opened his business here.  Over time the business evolved to include salvaging and selling used car parts, especially those which were hard to find.  His business included the entire cycle:  towing wrecked cars, recycling automotive liquids (gas, oil, antifreeze), breaking down the wrecked vehicle for usable parts, maintaining an inventory of these parts, and selling them to other mechanics and ‘do it yourselfers’ as they repaired vehicles of the same or comparable model.  I’m sure many mechanics or DIYers remember going to or calling ‘Tiny’ to see if he had the needed part in stock.  I myself recall an ad for Tiny’s that said:  Please Drive Safely – We Don’t Need your Business.
        ‘Tiny’ and his brother John were noted for their inventory control prior to the computer age. Much of the inventory was well cataloged in their minds augmented by books that cross referenced replaceable parts.  All customers, professional or not received the same service and same price.  This became a highly competitive business.  A 2-way street with insurance companies was established:  biding for the wreckage in all parts of New England, salvaging usable parts and placing then in stock, then selling to insurance companies or their mechanics to get damaged autos back on the road.
      This was a family business.  He was helped by brother John; his wife Mary acted as the bookkeeper, and son Eric grew up with the business and took over from ‘Tiny’.  He had a passion for miniature Dachshunds. He rode his motorized scooter with pet Dachshund Holly on board  in the early 2000’s.  ‘Tiny’ passed in 2004 at the age of 87 leaving behind memories which defy his nickname.
           Information on Chester ‘Tiny’ Sojka and his business was previously published in The Hudson News November 12, 1969  and in the Nashua Telegraph at the time of his passing in November 2005.  The photo is from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society.

Mellen Farm Barretts Hill Road C 1960

Mellen Farmhouse C 1960

Mellen Farmhouse C 1960

Charlotte and Judah Mellen purchased the Bagley Farm in the spring of 1939.  This farm was located in Hudson Center on the left side of  Barretts Hill Road just a few hundred feet after turning  from Windham Road.  The nine plus room house, barn, out-buildings, and open fields were located  up the hill and overlooking Windham Road.  Our photos of the farm house and grazing herd of dairy cows were taken about 1960.  The Bagley Farm had been in the family since about 1900.
Initially the house had white clapboard siding and a one-pipe hot air heater, most likely powered by wood or coal.  Over time the clapboards were replaced with light green siding and the heater replaced with steam heat powered by oil.  The out-buildings included a small garage and on the hill above the garage a building used at first for the two dapple gray work horses and later to house the John Deere Farm equipment.  There was a large dairy barn for their herd of Holstein and Guernsey cows.  Hay was stored in the lofts.  At one end of the barn was an attached milk room; on the other end two silos.
At first the dapple greys were used for the farm work.  The land could not be worked fast enough with the horses so, when it became possible the John Deere equipment was purchased.  It was a worthwhile investment.  The fields were adequate for cutting and storing hay for the winter, except on a dry summer.  Then hay from Canada was purchased through Mr. Charbonneau who trucked large trailer loads from Canada.  There was not enough cleared acreage to also raise corn for silage.  As a result corn was purchased from a farmer on the Litchfield Road.   Their son Clayton would cut the corn, load it onto two platform trailers, and then haul it over the roads with the John Deere tractor.  The silos were filled each year.
Mellen Farm Pasture C1960

Mellen Farm Pasture C 1960

The main produce was milk from the 30 dairy cows.  The farm also had ever bearing raspberries which Charlotte trucked to Nashua and sold to various markets. The Mellen family farm operated until 1965 when Judah retired.  By December of that year the 155 acres was sold to Edward and  Lois Roy and the Mellen family moved into a house on nearby Frenette Drive in Hudson.
Son Clayton was about 10 years old when his folks purchased the farm.  He helped with the farm work as a teen and  attended Hudson and Nashua Schools.  He later worked for a Milwaukee, Wisconsin company.  He moved to Wisconsin, married, and raised his family there.  He passed in 1997.  There were also two daughters, Ruth and Esther.  They both attended Hudson schools, later married and moved from Hudson.  Ruth and her family lived in Amherst, NH whereas Esther lived in Springfield, VA.  Judah passed in 1988 at the age of 87 while he and his wife were living at Frenette Drive.  In addition to helping Judah with the farm operations, Charlotte taught elementary school in Merrimack for 14 years, retiring in 1978.   She passed in 1999 at the age of 95 while living in Amherst.
You may ask what became of the 155 acres?  By April 1966 plans were before the town Planning Board for Greeley Park Subdivision by RoyCraft Homes, Inc.  After development this subdivision gave rise to Daniel Webster Drive off of Greeley Street.  Later, by 1984 another subdivision plan was submitted; this for Barretts Hill Estates, This development gave rise to Lois Drive, Roy Street, and some of the development near Rangers Drive.
information and photos of The Mellen Farm were written by Charlotte about 1985.  They are a part of the Historical Society collection.