There are eleven cemeteries or burial places in Hudson. They are Hills Farm, Ford, Blodgett, Hudson Center, Senter, Sunnyside, Westview, St. Pattrick, Holy Cross, Cemetery of the Unknown, and the Presentation of Mary’s cemetery. Last week we looked at the Senter Burying Ground at Potash Corner. This week we will visit the Hills Farm Cemetery.
Early settlements of Dunstable, MA (now Hudson) clustered around the Hills Garrison in the north and the Blodgett Garrison in the south end of town. The earliest of these occurred about 1710 when three sons of Samuel Hills (Nathaniel, Henry, and James) erected and settled in the Hills Garrison. The original part of the Hills Farm cemetery was located on level, sandy land about half way between what is now the Derry and Litchfield Roads and adjacent to Derry Lane. This was the south-east corner of the Hills farm where Nathaniel and his brothers settled. The exact date when this cemetery was first used as a burial place is not known but must have been some years after the Hills brothers settled at the garrison, and probably not earlier than about 1730. It is known that Nathaniel Hills buried two or three of his children in the in the ancient burial ground in South Nashua near the entrance to Royal Ridge Mall. The early settlers seldom erected head stones to identify the graves of their deceased loved ones; so, the markings we do find do not indicate the earliest interments.
The earliest date found in this cemetery is 1738, crudely cut into a common stone with no inscription to indicate the individual interred there. The next date found is that found in the inscription found on a headstone for Joseph Greele , who departed this life March 7, 1745, in his 95th year.
Even though this cemetery was on the Hills property and likely laid out by Nathaniel Hills it was it was used as a public burial place. The early families of Hudson found among the headstones include Hills, Greeley, Spalding, Marsh, Marshall, Pierce, Cross, and Sprake.
About 1872 small additions of adjacent land were added to the cemetery. These additions with some other vacant land in the yard were laid out into lots, streets were graded, the brush removed, and other improvements were made thus improving the overall appearance of the cemetery. The cemetery contained a little less than one and one half acres. In 1885, as permitted by state laws, the yard was incorperated as “The Farms Cemetery’ The charter was amended in 1905, changing the name to “Hills Farms Cemetery”. About this time Dr. Alfred K. Hills, realizing the need for expansion of the cemetery, purchased a large tract of land adjacent to the cemetery and extending to the Derry Road. He then had six acres of this parcel surveyed for an addition to the cemetery. Upon part of the remaining land Dr. Hills built Alvirne Memorial Chapel in 1908 as a memorial for his wife Virginia.
At the present time the Alvirne Chapel and the main entrance to Hills Farm Cemetery share access from 160 Derry Road. There is a secondary entry to the cemetery from Derry Lane. The entrance from Derry Road is through an iron gate between two granite posts inscribed with Hills Farm Cemetery on one and Alvirne Memorial Chapel on the other. Access to the cemetery is then through a right of way through the parking lot to a shaded, wooden drive which takes you to the cemetery. Hills Farm Cemetery is incorporated and under the management and direction of a Board of Trustees. This cemetery is open for new burials and there are lots available for purchase. The contact person for the cemetery is George LaRocque. The photos were taken by the author.
How about the Musquash cemetery where one marker reads here lies the body of (. ) who was lost at sea and has never been found. At least it was there 80 years ago.
Allen, I am working on the Musquash (Ford) cemetery. I have walked the cemetery and read the inscriptions printed by Kimball Webster in 1908. I must say, so far I have not found the headstone and I have not found the inscription in his list. Thanks for the reminder; I will search one more time before sending to print!! Ruth Parker
For many years the Hills family has been looking for the grave of Joseph Hills B. 1602 D. 1687. It is possible he may have been buried on the land granted him by the king of England for writing the Massachusetts Bay Colony Laws . The land being 500 acres of Hudson and what used to be Derry . Any input is appreciated .
Alan, I am somewhat familiar with the Joseph Hills you speak of and have studied two books which talk about the Hills Grant of 500 acres made to Joseph Hills about 1661. 450 acres were along the east side of the Merrimack River in what is now Hudson, NH; the remaining 50 acres known as Hills meadow was located elsewhere in town. This grant was made prior to the incorporation of Dunstable. Mass. These two books are: 1. History of Hudson, NH by Kimball Webster and 2. the Hills Family in america. Joseph Hills was married 4 times. The last marriage occurred March 8, 1665 at Newbury to Ann, the widow of Henry Lunt of that town. After their marriage and until his death in 1688 he made her dwelling his home. He was totally blind the last 4 years of his life.
I am of the opinion that Joseph never set foot on his 500 acres. In his will he divided the 450 acres along the river into 9 parcels of 45 or 90 acres each to some of his children and grandchildren. The earliest record of a Hills family member settling on this land was about 1710 when three of his grandsons, Nathaniel, Henry, and James who were sons of Samuel.
So, to get to your question about the probability of Joseph being burred on his grant, I would conclude NO. Settlement did not occur until after his death and being totally blind he is not going to venture into the wilderness. I would sooner ‘guess’ he was burred in the town where he last lived; that of his wife Ann (Lunt) Hills of Newbury.
Hope this helps. Further question just ask.
My name is Ron Watson, I am a member of the NH Patriot Guard Riders. I live 2 houses from the Hill Farm Cemetery. While walking the cemetery I noticed the high amount of Veterans buried here. I am interested in learning more about them. I specifically would like more info on a Lt. Reuben Spaulding. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
My name is Alexis. I lived at 13 Derry Lane when I was a young child. I believe the house was dated back to the 1970’s. Is there any relation to that property and the cemetery? I’m trying to find some history of this property so any information is much appreciated. Or if you could point me in the direction of someone who may be able to help me. My family and I experienced paranormal activity in the home to quite an extent. So I’m trying to find out the history of the property and if there is any relation to the cemetery. Thank you!