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Celebration of the Fourth of July 1829

Join me for a celebration of the fourth of July 1829 style!

The date is July 4, 1829 the place is Nottingham West, NH.  The occasion is the celebration of the fifty third anniversary of American Independence.  This celebration occurred near and around the town common at what is now Hudson Center.   I  will share a (partial) transcription of a news item from he New Hampshire Patriot & Gazette  July 20, 1829 (Vol 1 Issue 3 Page 3).

Town Common at Hudson Center 1888

But first a sense of what the common and it’s surroundings might have been like in 1829. The common was a 3 1/2 acre triangular piece  from the farm of Deacon Henry Hale.  This 3 1/2 acre parcel had become cut off from the rest of his farm because of roadways.  It was surrounded by what is now Windham Road, Kimball Hill Road, and Hamblett Avenue.  It looked more like a  public pasture than the evenly mowed and landscaped  area of today.  It did include the cemetery but  if there was a wall  around it; it was a loose stone wall. The common and cemetery date back to about 1771.   There were no fir trees; no mill stones, no cannon, no flagpole, and no minuteman marker as seen today.  The earliest photo we have of the common is shown here; taken 1888.
The Baptist church had been organized for 24 years; but they held services in the North  Meeting House (located near the site of the present Wattannick Hall)   This meeting house had been used for town meetings since about 1771   The Baptist Society had owned the north meeting house since 1811;  their  pastor was Rev. Benjamin Deane.  As there was no parsonage house  he provided his own dwelling place; a house  across from the meeting house on Hamblett Avenue facing the common on the eastern side.
 Where the Baptist Church is located  today there was a dwelling and a store – Marshall’s store.  To the left of Marshall’s store was the home and barn  of Reuben Greeley.  In 1829 this was the site of the Post Office.  This house remains today and is the parsonage house of the First Baptist Church.
 Opposite Marshall’s store on the other side of the common  and across Kimball Hill Road was Tenney’s Inn.  The present site of this Inn is kept mowed by the Hudson Highway Department.  Dr. Dustin Barrett was the resident physician and he lived nearby on Windham Road.
A replica (in part)  of the newspaper account of the Fourth of July Celebration of 1829 as printed in NH Patriot & Gazette and as archived by genealogybank.com  is our second photo.  Now for the transcript..
July 20 1829

NH Patriot & Gazette July 20, 1829

                                                         CELEBRATION OF THE FOURTH OF JULY
     The fifty third anniversary of American Independence was celebrated at Nottingham West, by the citizens of that and the neighboring towns.  The following gentlemen were chosen officers of the day, viz:- Capt. C. S. Ford, President;  Zacheus Colburn, M.D. Vice President; Capt. Joseph Blodgett, Daniel T. Pollard and Joseph Deane, Committee of Arrangements; Capt. David Robinson and Lieut. Isaac Colburn, Jr. Marshals.
     At 12 o’clock a procession was formed near Mr. J. Tenney’s Inn, under the direction of the Marshals, and proceeded to the meeting house, accompanied with instrumental music.  The audience being seated, the Throne of Grace was addressed by Rev. Benjamin Deane, and the Declaration of Independence read by Dr. Dustin Barret; after which an able, spirited and truly patriotic address was delivered by the Rev. Benjamin Deane.  The services at the meeting-house were closed by appropriate music under the superintendence of Capt. J.P.F. Cross.  The procession again fomed and marched across the common, where about seventy partook of a sumptuous and splendid dinner, prepared by Mr. James Tenney. —  The cloth being removed, a series of sentiments were given by Thomas B. Wason, Esq. and Dea. Robert Bartley, toast masters, accompanied with music, and the discharge of artillery.  No accident or irregularity occured during the day, and the people retired at an early hour.
The remainder of the article lists various toasts given by  some of the citizens  in attendance.  Here are a few of them:
The Fourth of July –  When Americans shall cease to celebrate the birth day of their Independence, and forget those sages who proclaimed it – then will men have become degenerate and unworthy to be called the sons of Freemen.
The Constitution of the United States – A cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to every true American.
The Revolutionary Heroes, who planted the tree of liberty and watered it with their blood. – We pledge our own to cultivate and defend it.

34-36 Old Derry Road

34 Old Derry with windmill S

34 Old Derry Road With Windmill

This farm at 34-36 Old Derry Road has been known by many names. To many it is Jasper Farms Annex #2; to others the George N. Dooley Farm; and still others the Stephen D.Greeley place or even the Henry Hills Farm. This is another of the farms which originated from Nathaniel Hills’ 900 undeveloped acres. It was first conveyed by Nathaniel to his oldest son Enoch (born March 1741 in Newbury). It is not clear if Enoch ever lived on the farm or in this town once he reached his majority (age 21). If he did it was before 1746 when the property was a part of Litchfield, MA. Before 1762 it was occupied by members of the John Marsh Family and Deacon Roger Chase. By 1762 it was occupied by Henry Hills, Jr who remained on this farm until he passed in October 1773. His father, Henry Hills, Sr was the middle of the 3 brothers (sons of Samuel and grandsons of Joseph, the immigrant ancestor). who built and settled at the garrison. Henry Sr. was the last member of the Hills family to own the garrison. He sold it to Roger chase. As it was common practice to dismantle a building and use the materials to build another, there is speculation that the dwelling at 36 Old Derry Road may contain pieces of the timbers used in the garrison.

At any rate, Henry Hills, Jr remained on this farm until he passed in October 1773. His widow Hannah and son William continued to live there. William (born 1754) occupied this place for many years–certainly until some time after 1804. It was later owned by Stephen D. Greeley (born 1811 a son of Moses Greeley) and then by George N. Greeley (born 1871) These two men, although a generations apart, had similar backgrounds. Both were farmers and both were active in town and state affairs. Each served as selectman and in the state legislature. In 1881 Greeley served on a committee to examine the wooden Taylor Falls bridge and recommend repair or rebuilt. The actions of this committee resulted in replacing the wooden covered bridge with the iron bridge. Likewise in 1909 Dooley served on a committee which coordinated the replacement of the iron bridge with the cement bridge.

George N. and Ella (Hadley) Dooley raised a family of 4 sons (Arthur, Walter, George H and Phillip) )and a daughter Ella. Growing up they attended the nearby No 9 School House then to Nashua for High School. From personal memoirs we know that George H rode his bicycle the 4 miles to attend High School in Nashua, graduating in 1936. . George N. passed in 1928 at the age of 57 the result of complications resulting from a farm accident. Ella and the family continued to live here until 1935 when the farm was sold to neighbor Grant Jasper who retrofitted existing and build new structures for his expanding poultry business. By 1940 Mrs. Ella Greeley and daughter Ella, sons George and Philip were living on Ferry Street.

36 Old Derry 2012 S

Farmhouse at 36 Old Derry Road

Our earliest photo shows the barn at Annex #2 after expansion from 3 stories to 4 stories with the windmill over the well. This windmill was built by George N Dooley and removed in 1958 by the Jasper Family. Our second photo shows the farmhouse C 1912. The first is courtesy of the Jasper Family and the second from the Town of Hudson records.

Nathaniel Hills, Jr Farm at 64 Old Derry Road

64 Old Derry pre 1947 S

C1830 Farmhouse on the Nathaniel Hills Farm C1945

Nathaniel Hills, Jr, a young man of 23 years, settled on this farm about 1739 when his father transferred some 50 acres of land to him. These acres were part of the 900 acres of unsettled land that Nathaniel Hills,Sr had purchased from Jonathan Tyng. References vary as to the size of Nathaniel,Jr’s family. Kimball Webster in his History of Hudson in indicates that Susan (Baldwin) and Nathaniel Hills, Jr raised a family of 7 girls and 5 boys. When Nathaniel, Jr passed ownership was transferred to his third son, Samuel (born 1769). Likewise, with the passing of Samuel in 1843 ownership passed to Abijah (born 1806) and later to his son Franklin Augustus (born 1846). It is interesting to note that Abijah Hills in 1846, by an act of Legislature, had the family name changed to Hill. Franklin Augustus was a dairy farmer. He and his wife Luelle had one child; a daughter Helen who passed at age 14. In 1926 Franklin’s widow sold the farm to their neighbor, Grant Jasper.

This farm had been home to 4 generations Hill(s); passing from father to son beginning with Nathaniel, Jr. The original dwelling place was replaced C1830; likely while the farm was owned by Samuel or Abijah. The earliest photo we have of this C1830 Farmhouse was taken by the Jasper Family C 1945.

This farm became Annex #1 of Jasper Poultry Farms. Poultry man Jasper expanded the business into this new space. The dairy barn was remodeled into a three-deck poultry barn only to be burned in 1933. A new poultry barn was added as well as other improvements including a breeding/brooding house. From 1935 to 1939 operations at Annex #1 increased rapidly. The C 1830 farmhouse was used as living quarters for the employees of Jasper Farms.

Disaster struck the farmhouse during the early morning of January 17, 1947 when a fire started from the flooding and explosion of an oil burner near the kitchen. The flames from this explosion destroyed the entire house. The family in residence lost all their belongings; but, fortunately escaped without injury. The fire spread so quickly that the telephone could not be reached. The family fled on foot for about 1/4 mile to a neighbor in sub-zero January weather. Our second photo show the 1830 farmhouse as a result of the fire. There is no way of knowing what Hills family records were destroyed with this fire.

64 Old Derry aft fire S

Results of Fire Which Destroyed Farmhouse Jan 1947

Little if any time was lost before rebuilding. The current house, as shown in our third photo, was immediately built using the old foundation.

64 Old Derry rebuilt 1948 S

Farmhouse as Rebuilt C 1948

By 1972, under the management of Robert Jasper, Jasper Poultry Farms ceased operations. However his son, Shawn, reopened a small poultry business at the Annex #1 location from 1979 to 1983. The property remains a part of the Jasper Corporation. The buildings at 62-64 Old Derry Road have been transitioned to retail space for light industrial uses and storage units; this mostly under the management and hard work of Shawn Jasper.

This farm was located on or near the end of Nathaniel Hill’s 900 acres (which proved to be closer to 1600 when finally surveyed). Until 1733 it was within the boundaries of Dunstable, MA; then it was part of Nottingham, MA. In 1734 the town of Litchfield, MA was chartered and this property was within it’s bounds. When the state line between MA and NH was settled this parcel became a part of Londonderry, NH. It finally was annexed to Nottingham West (later Hudson) , NH in 1788. This brief history gives you an idea behind the difficulty one has when researching historical records. All photos are part of the Historical Society Collection; complements of the Jasper Family.

Jasper Poultry Farms … Home Farm 1939

83 Old Derry 1939 S

83 Old Derry 1939

Establishing himself in the poultry business Grant steadily expanded his flock, developed more efficient methods of production and built better houses for the poultry.  This success continued and his became the third largest poultry operation in New Hampshire.  All the while retaining the reputation as a friendly and honest business man.
By the mid 1920’s he expanded by purchasing the adjacent farm, now 62-64 Old Derry Road.  Over the next 15 years two additional farms were purchased.  The first at what is now 36-38 Old Derry Road and the next at 53 Old Derry. Grant  continued to use the name Mapleview Poultry Farm until the first expansion, at which time this  home farm became the headquarters of Jasper Poultry Farms.
Grant and Bernice raised a family of 2 boys (Robert and Forest) and 2 girls (Nancy and Dorothy).  Forest moved to Amherst where he operated a large poultry farm; Nancy moved to Anaheim, California.  Dorothy married David Crockett and they lived locally.  Robert  “Bob” remained at the farm working  with his father.  By 1941 he and his wife Reita moved into the house at 53 Old Derry Road.  Prior to his father’s passing in 1956, he took over the day to day operations of the farm, assisted by his brother-in-law, David.  Business increased, requiring a work force of 13 or 14 people in the late 1960’s. In the 1960’s as a means of increasing local business, he opened Jasper’s Stand on Route 102 opposite Connie’s Country Kitchen.  By 1970 production dropped and two years later Robert retired from poultry and closed down the farm and established  Tuckaway Campground and later a mobile home park.  Robert’s son Shawn did reopen a portion of the operation from 1979 to 1983. Like his father, Robert served as president of the NH Poultry Growers Association.  He  served on the School Board, representing them with the Budget Committee.  He was an Alvirne Trustee for 26 years.  Reita and Robert had a family of 1 son, Shawn, and a daughter, Maria (Jasper) VanderWoude.  Upon his passing in 2012, both the Hudson Town and School District Reports were dedicated to him.
Since the  poultry operation closed  in 1983 the  properties of the Jasper Family have transitioned into residential, storage, and retail space for light industries under the management and hard work of Shawn.  Shawn has a  calling for public service; he has served the Town of Hudson as a call firefighter, several terms on the Budget Committee and Board of Selectmen.  He also has many years of service as a State Legislature and is currently Speaker of The House of Representatives.  Shawn and his wife Laurie (Lyons) were married in 1992.  Shawn, Laurie, and their daughter Sarah, a recent graduate of The University of New Hampshire at Durham, reside at the home farmhouse of his grandparents.  Both Shawn and Laurie are active with the Historical Society.
Laurie is native to Andover, MA and a graduate of The University of Massachusetts at Lowell with a degree in English.  In 1999 she authored Images of America: Hudson, NH published by Arcadia Publishing.  More recently in 2015 she and Shawn co-authored Legendary Locals of: Hudson, NH also published by Arcadia.  She is a regular reporter for Hudson-Litchfield News.    One of her favorite activities is helping with the Hudson History Tours for the third-graders.
The photo is a 1939 view of the home farm from what is now Old Derry Road and is courtesy of the Jasper Family and now a part of the collection of the Historical Society.  

Jasper Family Homestead at 83 Old Derry Road

83 Old Derry Road has been home to five generations of the Jasper family.  It all began back in August 1916 when Grant Jasper, then a young man of 26, purchased a small poultry farm from Carlton C. Brain and moved here with his parents, Arthur and Sarah Jasper.
Grant was born in Amsterdam, NY

83 Old Derry 1919

Mapleside Poultry Farm 1919

and while a young child the family moved to Lowell, MA where he attended school and graduated from Lowell Textile School in 1912.  He worked as an apprentice in the textile industry and then as a weaver for 3 years.  His dad, Arthur, was also a weaver and known for his skilled craftsmanship.  Preferring to work out doors, Grant went to work at Lord Farm, a poultry farm in Methuen, MA.  He spent 20 months there, working and learning the basics of poultry farming.

From 1909 to 1916 Carlton Brain operated Mapleside Poultry Farm on Derry Road (now Old Derry Road) in Hudson.  With failing health he sold his home, out buildings, a truck, 300 leg horns, and a row of Maple trees in front of the house to Grant Jasper for $6,000 and moved to California.   By 1917 Grant and Bernice Louise Fall, a former secretary at Lord Farm, were married.  Our first photo shows the house and barn with the wood and carriage sheds which connect them.  Along what was then a dirt Derry Road is a  beautiful stone wall. This photo was taken in 1919 by Carlton Brain.  Prior to 1909 and ownership by Carlton Brain this property was owned by a number of individuals.  The earliest known being Fredrick Peabody a blacksmith from Pelham who purchased from Nathan and Abigail Andrews in 1829.  It is likely that prior to that this property was a part of Londonderry which was annexed to Nottingham West in 1778.
Establishing himself in the poultry business Grant steadily expanded his flock, developed more efficient methods of production and built better houses for the poultry.  This success continued over the next 30 years and his became the third largest poultry operation in New Hampshire.  All the while retaining the reputation as a friendly and honest business man.
By 1922 he expanded by purchasing the adjacent farm, now 62-66 Old Derry Road.  Over the next 22 years two additional farms were purchased.  The first at what is now 34-36 Old Derry Road and the next at 53 Old Derry.  Jasper Poultry Farms continued to operate for two additional generations.  First with the leadership of Grant’s son Robert “Bob” assisted by his brother-in-law David Crockett; and later by grandson Shawn who continues the management of The Jasper Properties to the current time.  Our second photo shows the home farmhouse C1950 as home to Grant and Bernice Jasper.
1976031001 S

Home of Grant and Bernice Jasper C 1950

The photos shown here are courtesy of the Jasper Family and a part of the collection of the Historical Society.  In the up coming weeks  we will be sharing the history of other properties along Old Derry Road, including those annexed by Grant Jasper as he enlarged  Jasper Poultry farms.