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Yearly Archives: 2017
Cemetery of the Unknown
Holy Cross Cemetery on Ledge Road
The Church of the Immaculate Conception at what is now 119 Temple Street, Nashua was consecrated in 1857 as an Irish Catholic Community. By the early 1900’s the Lithuanian Community was on the increase and a pastor was added to this church to minister to them. As both communities continued to grow it became evident that a new church was needed. By 1909 the Irish Community moved into the newly constructed Saint Patrick’s Church on Spring Street. Soon thereafter The Church of the Immaculate Conception was transferred to the Lithuanian Community and the name of the church changed to Saint Casimir’s in honor of the Lithuanian saint.
One of the first additions made by Saint Casimir’s church was the purchase of property on Ledge Road in Hudson for a cemetery; Holy Cross Cemetery. At the entrance to this cemetery from Ledge Road there are two flagpoles: one flies the US Flag the other the Lithuanian Flag.
Saint Casimer’s church was closed in 2003 and the congregation merged into Saint Patrick’s on Spring Street. The property at 119 is now Casimir’s Place, an affordable housing complex. Holy Cross cemetery retains it’s original name but the management and operations have been combined with Saint Patrick’s Cemetery. In a sense the congregations of Saint Patrick’s and Saint Casimir’s have gone full circle. Originally the Irish and Lithuanian congregations shared The Church of the Imaculate Conception on Temple Street. As congregations grew, the Saint Patrick’s Church was built on Spring Street and the Lithuanian community remained on Temple Street as Saint Casimir’s. Some 90 plus years later in 2003, Saint Casimir’s has merged with Saint Patrick’s.
Initially this cemetery offered burial space to members of the Lithuanian community. Until recently the policy of this cemetery was to offer burial space to members of the Catholic community. This has changed and space within Holy Cross, like Saint Patrick’s, is available to any member of the Christian community. The contact person is Elaine Poulin at 881-8131.
The photo of the entrance to Holy Cross was taken by the author and is part of the Historical Society collection.
The Catholic Cemetery (Saint Patrick’s) on 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.
Westview Cemetery on 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
.. Hudson Center Cemetery
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.