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The Catholic Cemetery (Saint Patrick’s) on Derry Road

St Patricks Cemetery Entry S

St Patricks Cemetery Derry Road

The availability of jobs resulting from industry and factories coming to Nashua resulted in an increase in the immigrant population of Nashua.  The Catholic Church quickly recognized the need to have pastors and congregations available for these communities.  In the 1850’s Nashua experienced a great influx of Irish families, pushing the construction of The Church of the Immaculate Conception on Temple Street.  At the time of it’s consecration in  1857,  2,000 communicants were added to the church rolls. 

By the early 1900’s the Lithuanian Community was likewise on the increase and a pastor was added to The Church of the Immaculate Conception  to minister to them.  As both communities continued to grow it became evident that a new church was needed.  In March 1891 the church purchased the Hosmer Estate on Spring Street and by 1909  services were being held for the Irish Catholic Community at Saint Patrick’s Church on Spring Street.    
 
Soon after 1909 The  Church of the Immaculate Conception  was turned over to the Lithuanian Community and the name of the church changed to Saint Casimir’s.
 
 On or about 1857 ten acres of land on Derry Road in Hudson was purchased  by The Church of the Immaculate Conception and consecrated for the purpose of a cemetery for the Irish community.   The original land was conveyed by the Pierce Family of, James L, John P, and Edgar B, residents of Nashua.  With the exception of about one acre on the east side which was swampy and unfit for use as a cemetery, lots were laid out. In 1907, a strip of land was purchased on the north side and an enlargement made to the cemetery. By 1912, at the time of the writing of Webster’s History of Hudson, nearly all the lots had been taken up.  The vast majority of the interments within this cemetery were for families residing outside of Hudson. Our first photo shows the hillside as you enter the cemetery.  After the archway with the name of the cemetery is the sacred cross followed by the War Memorial and the American Flag.
Celtic Cross St Patricks

Celtic Cross at St Patricks

 
Acting as a sentinel and gateway to the newer section of the cemetery behind Hannaford’s Super Market is this Celtic Cross, in memory of  R. T.  Rev. Monsignor Matthew J.B.Creamer, the Pastor of St. Patrick’s Church from 1906 – 1939.  
 
Initially this cemetery was to offer cemetery space to members of the Irish community.  By 1895, the Catholic cemetery contained about 4,000 graves sites; the vast majority were for the Irish Catholic community, but a few hundred French Catholics were also interred here.  After St. Patrick’s  Church on Spring Street was built the name of this cemetery was changed to Saint Patrick’s.  Until recently the policy of this cemetery was to offer burial space to members of the Catholic community.  This has changed and space within Saint Patrick’s is available to any member of the Christian community.  With the recent expansion there are lots available.  The contact person is Elaine Poulin at 881-8131.  

 

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Westview Cemetery on Burnham Road

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Westview Cemetery Burnham Road

 

When the Old Hudson Center Cemetery, located on the Common, became nearly covered with graves, the need for additional  cemetery  space in that part of town became apparent.  The Hudson Center Cemetery Association published their intentions on the Oasis, a newspaper published in Nashua for three weeks in a row, in accordance with the laws of the State of New Hampshire.  An initial meeting was held at the town house in Hudson Center, now Wattannick Hall, on December 4, 1849.  At this meeting a set of by-laws and a slate of officers were elected.  Elected as Directors were Jefferson Smith, Joseph Dane, James Smith, 2nd, Dustin B. Smith, and Daniel W. Robinson,  Eli Hamblet was elected Clerk and Amory Burnham as Treasurer.

 

The initial acreage for the cemetery was donated by Reuben Greeley.  This parcel is located to the right as you enter the cemetery gate from Burnham Road.  The cemetery was laid out into large lots, most of which would allow for 12 burials so as to accommodate large families and multiple generations.  Between each lot space was allocated for walkways.  The layout also included streets wide enough so that  horse and wagons, and  later vehicles could enter the cemetery.  All of this was located less than one half mile from Hudson Center.

 

After the Nashua and Rochester Railroad was constructed, a substantial addition of land was made to the cemetery.  All the land between the initial parcel and the southerly line of the railroad land was acquired, making a total of nearly three acres.  After the railroad ceased to operate, the cemetery purchased  the right of way from the railroad.  This right of way is clearly visible today and is used as a short cut from Burnham Road to Hudson Center.

 

So as not to confuse this new cemetery with the Old Hudson Center Cemetery it was called Clement Cemetery.  I am not sure why this name was associated with this yard; but, it is often referred as such in the old records.  The name Westview has since been adopted and it is known by that name today.

 

 

Within this cemetery one will find the final resting place for many Hudson families of the last 167 years.  One will also find a number of lots with beautiful and expensive monuments; as well many of the more common markings.  Records of the cemetery also indicate burials in some of the lots where no visual monuments were placed by the surviving families.  But, thankfully, knowledge of their burials has been preserved by the written records.

 

I find the most elaborate monuments within Westview to be along the back wall of the old section.  These belong to the families of Dr. David O. Smith, Dr. Henry O. Smith, and the Haselton family from Bush Hill.  The oldest burial is that of Betsey Beard who died June 1850 at the age of 80.

 

The most  interesting burial site is the unmarked grave of Rev. Benjamin Dean, a minister serving the Baptist Church from April 1828 to June 1830; at which time he left the ministry but remained a resident of Hudson Center and continued to live in  his home on Hamblet Avenue.  When he passed in 1856 he was buried in the Potters Field section of the cemetery.  Many years later when additional lots were laid out, the Potters Field and his burial site was included within one of the new lots.  But, the location of Rev. Dean’s burial site has not been lost to history.  It remains unmarked; but, has been included within the written record of this newer lot.

 

The photo showing the entrance to Westview Cemetery at 20 Burnam Road was taken by the author and is a part of the Historical Society Collection.

Sunnyside Cemetery on Central Street

Sunnyside Entrance S

Entrance to Sunnyside Cemetery on Central Street

As the town grew and burial space in the older cemeteries became limited, the need for Sunnyside Cemetery arose.  According to the incorporation papers the legal name of this yard is ‘The Hudson Cemetery”.  The Sunnyside cemetery as it is commonly refereed to is located on the north side of the highway at 98 Central Street.   According to records, the original yard purchased from William Hadley in June 1846 was slightly over 1/2 acre.  The land was purchased for $13.00 and an additional $257.00 to Ethan Willoughby for the construction of the stone wall which enclosed the yard with an entrance off Central Street.  There were two  additional land purchases, one in 1885 and the second in 1910.  After the first purchase the stone wall was moved to include the parcel within the bounds of the yard.  At the present time this small cemetery contains 2.817 acres shaded from the canopy of maple trees.
According to Kimball Webster in his History of Hudson,  the first meeting of the Hudson Cemetery Association was held at the home of Ethan Willoughby on Central Street  December 6, 1845.  At this meeting the cemetery was organized, and the articles of association were signed by Ethan willoughby, Paul Colburn, Cyrus Warren, Nathan Marshall, William Hadley, David Clement, David Burns, Abiather Winn, Mark Willoughby, Benjamin A. Merril, and William Blodgett,  It was also agreed to purchase the original 200 by 113 feet original parcel for the cemetery.  No record of any subsequent meeting for several years; however business was conducted and the land was purchased, lots laid out,  and stone wall built  by 1851.  
 
The very first lot, number 17, was sold to Alfred Cummings on April 8, 1851.  By 1885 all the lots in the cemetery had been sold and during that same year a second land purchase of 1 acre was added to the cemetery on the east side and the wall was moved so as to enclose it.  The new ground was laid out into lots and the size of the cemetery more than doubled.  By 1908 all the lots in this section had been sold.  Again in 1910, a 1/2 acre was purchased from George Marshall, allowing expansion to the rear of the cemetery.  this land was subsequently improved and laid out into lots, all of which have been sold.
Joseph Fuller Monument

Joseph Fuller Monument

Sunnyside  is an attractive cemetery with a convenient location.  It contains a number of expensive and interesting monuments.   To me, the most elaborate monument is that for the families of Kimball Webster and his Brother Nathan.  This monument greets you on the right as you enter the yard.  The most interesting monument is that for Joseph Fuller (1818-1896) and his wife Belinda Steele (1823- 1891).  This metal monument is shown in our second photograph and  resembles a fireplace.  It is on the right side of the yard about halfway to the rear.
Unfortunately, the surrounding area does not include any possibility for expansion.  It has become the final resting place for many of Hudson’s families such as Baker, Batchelder, Chase, Colburn, Cummings, Davis, Gould, Hadley, Holmes, Martin, Marshall, Pollard, Sanders, Sargent, Stearns, Steele, Willoughby, Winn, and Webster.  At the present time the management of Sunnyside Cemetery in handled by Fred Fuller.
The photo of the entrance to Sunnyside was taken by Lorna Granger, a neighbor to the cemetery.  The photo of the Joseph Fuller monument was by the author.  Both will be part of the Society’s collection.

.. Hudson Center Cemetery

Hudson Center Gate1

Hudson Center Cemetery Gate

Actually, the next Hudson cemetery in terms of age is the Senter cemetery which we visited a few weeks ago when we were exploring Old Derry Road,  Remember, interments at the Senter site occurred as early as 1759 while this part of Hudson was within the town of Londonderry.  It became a Hudson cemetery when annexed to Hudson in 1788.
The old burial ground at Hudson Center is a small site containing about 1/2 acre.   It was first used a s burial site about 1775.  This was a public burying ground, given for that purpose by Deacon Henry Hale from a small piece of his farm.  Following tradition, the burial ground was located near the North Meeting House.  Today, this ground is  on the lower, east corner of the Hudson Center Common, just above Kahil’s Sub Shop.  The North Meeting House was located opposite the common on Central Street, and very near the site of the current Wattannick Hall.
Kimball Webster in his Hudson History, printed in 1913, stated there was a verbal tradition among the old timers that the first internment made in this yard was a Mrs. Gibson.  There is not such stone in the yard, probably none was erected.  Other than this possibility, the oldest date found here is that of John Haselton Smith, son of Page and Lydia Smith,, who died September 5, 1778 at the age of two,  This yard became filled with graves as early as 1850; and few, if any, burials have been made there since that date. It is estimated the unmarked graves within this yard out number those with headstones by as much as 200-300%.
 Once burials ceased to be made, it became neglected and suffered from brush and trees so that it became a disgrace to the residents of Hudson,  A petition  suggesting the removal of the remains probably moving then to another cemetery.  In 1871 a special town meeting was called at which this petition was dismissed.  In 1886, Mr. John Foster of Boston, a native of Hudson, made a proposition to the town.  He would  pay the expenses of building a substantial and permanent granite wall enclosing the yard on the condition that the town would clean up the ground and to keep the site in a good condition.  His proposition was accepted  and in 1887 the current wall was erected.  It has ever since that time been maintained by the town of Hudson.
Center Sign

Foster Family Memorial Sign

A memorial plaque exists to the right of the game as a memorial for the wall to his parents. Today this is done by the Highway Dept. and the town cemetery trustees.  A few years after 1887 the fir trees were added to the Common beside the cemetery wall.
Today’s photos were taken in 2017 by Jonathan Rollins and are a part of the Society collection.

Blodgett Cemetery

 

Blodgett Cemetery

Blodgett Gate at Pelham and Lowell Roads

Our next cemetery to visit is the Blodgett Cemetery, located on Pelham Road at the intersection with Lowell Road and about 1 1/2 miles south of the Taylor Falls and Memorial Bridges. It is the third burial yard, in order of age, in Hudson. It contains about 1 acre of land and was acquired by the town on or before 1748 from Benjamin Whittemore for a meeting house and public uses. The state boundary with Massachusetts was established in 1746, leaving the residents of town in need of a meeting house site more central to it’s people. This site was selected and by 1748 the second meeting house was erected by the town. Kimball Webster in his History of Hudson describes the site of the meeting house as on the south side of the yard and near the present gate of the cemetery. The burial plots were the church yard, surrounding the house on the rear and on both ends.

In time the meeting house was moved away, and the No 4 school house built on the site. By the winter of 1855 the school house burned. Prior to this time a question was raised about the town’s title to this lot on the north side. At the town meeting of 1839 the town appointed a special committee of Thomas Wason, Jeremiah Smith, and Daniel Davis to investigate. This committee met with Reuban Greeley, Esq. the abutter on the north end. After this meeting, all parties agreed to establish an east west boundary on the north side of the town owned land.

After the schoolhouse fire in 1855 that site was abandoned in favor of a location nearby. As the land upon which the schoolhouse had stood belonged to the town it was added to the cemetery and a short time later a cemetery association was organized. The yard was then enclosed by a stone wall with an iron gate. The grounds were cleared of bushes and rubbish and other improvements were made. Family lots were located and laid out using the vacant grounds. Unfortunately, either from carelessness or willfulness, new lots were plotted upon grounds of some ancient graves and they were obliterated. In Webster’s History he reported this as inexcusable and lacking the respect which should have been due to these early settlers.

The most ancient date found among the inscriptions of this place is that of Priscilla Chase who passed October 5, 1749. The most frequent surnames found on the headstones are Blodgett, Greeley, Burns, Chase, Pollard, Winn, Wason, Hale, Caldwell, Page, Wilson, Cross, Merrill, and Burbank.

Within this cemetery are four generations of Blodgetts with the name Joseph. Joseph, born 1760, served in the Battle of Bennington in 1777. Being a lad of 17 he did not receive credit for his service at either the local or the national level until 2007, some 229 years later. His service has since been registered at the national level by Ruth (Baldwin) Williams, a descendant of his from Oak Forest, IL. when she applied for membership is the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Young Joseph served with his father and the records for his service were credited to his father. His grave site in Blodgett Cemetery received a Revolutionary Soldier marker at a Memorial Day ceremony in 2007. Mrs. Williams coordinated this event with the Cemetery trustees, the American Legion of Hudson, and the Hudson Historical Society.

The photo shows the gate into this cemetery in 2007 and is part of the Historical Society collection.