Some of our readers will recognize this as the first location of the Greeley Public Library; others may identify it as the home of Marjorie and Natalie Merrill. Both memories are correct!!
George A(nderson) Merrill was bon in Hudson July 1862 the youngest son of James B. and Persis (Winn) Merrill. James B. was a farmer and a carpenter. He built houses in the Hudson, Nashua, and Lowell areas. James was the great grandson of Rev. Nathaniel Merrill, the first settled minister of Nottingham, MA (now Hudson, NH). George A. attended the local rural schools. worked as a farm laborer, and developed his skills as a carpenter; likely from working with his father. By 1889, at the age of 27, he began to build his house on Maple Avenue upon a lot of land deeded to him by his father. In October of the following year George A. and Emma Blanche Winn were married. Emma, also a Hudson native, had experience as a rural school teacher here in Hudson prior to their marriage. This house at 8 Maple Avenue became their family home. About the time of their marriage George A. began his 45 year career as a woodworker and carpenter for the Cumming Brothers of Hudson. Early in his career he worked on horse drawn carriages, transitioning to auto and truck bodies as the industry changed. In 1896 George A. was a member of the building committee for the construction of Webster School. A few years later he served in the Board of Selectmen.
In June 1894 Emma was appointed as librarian of the Greeley Public Library by the newly formed Board of Library Trustees. The first free public library of Hudson was opened to the towns people at the Merrill residence on Maple Avenue. By April of 1895 she resigned as librarian, most likely because her first child was due within a few months. The library was moved to the Baker Brothers’ building on Central Street. George A. and Emma’s family consisted of three sons (Winn b:June 1895, Maurice Chester b:June 1902, and Fred Rounseval b:June 1904) and two daughters (Marjorie b:September 1900 and Natalie Evelyn b: August 1907). As their family matured the three sons relocated outside of New Hampshire and the two daughters remained in Hudson. Winn served in World War I from April 1918 until his discharge in March 1919, By August of that year he was married and residing near Syracuse, NY; later moving to Hamden, CN where he passed in September 1656. He and his wife, Maude Arthur, had three children and several grand children. Maurice and Fred likewise married and relocated elsewhere. Maurice and his wife Ruth Dove resided in northern California and had two children and several grand children. He passed in June 1982. Fred and his wife Grace Johnson resided in Alabama and had three children and grand children. Fred passed in July 1960.
Marjorie and Natalie remained in the Maple Avenue home taking over the responsibility of it after their parents passed. Marjorie attended Webster school in Hudson and later graduated from Nashua High in 1919. She was a member of the Hudson Congregational Church on Central Street and later a member of the Hudson Community Church when the Congregational and Methodist Churches merged in 1930. She was a life-long member when she passed in October 1982. Marjorie has a 55 year career as a bookkeeper with a variety of businesses in Nashua; the last one being the Memorial Hospital business office.
Natalie likewise attended Webster school in Hudson, then Nashua High; she then attended Plymouth Normal School for a teaching degree. She had teaching experience with the rural school of Wentworth, NH. She returned to her Hudson home and traveled to Nashua where she worked as a clerk and later as a bank teller for Nashua Trust. I remember Natalie as a quiet, but fun loving individual with a strong interest in Hudson and it’s history. She, like her sister Marjorie, was a life-long member of the Hudson Congregational Church and later the Hudson Community Church. She was a 50 year member of the Hudson Fortnightly Club, a Federated Women’s Club; serving prominently on their Historical Committee. She later became a charter member of the Hudson Historical Society.
The records of the Church of Christ in Nottingham, MA were maintained by the pastor, Rev. Nathaniel Merrill as early as 1737. When he passed these records were passed down with his estate to his family. In 1930 these records were amongst the family heirlooms at 8 Maple Avenue. Natalie made a handwritten copy of these records. This copy is now a part of the collection of the Historical Society. The original records are in the archives at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord. With the assistance of Dr. H.O. Smith these records (christenings and marriages) were published by the New England Historic and Genealogical Society in their Register.
Natalie remained in her Maple Avenue home until the early 1980’s when she moved into to the Hunt Community in Nashua. The Hudson home was sold to Nancy Lee Boyer. The exterior of the home looks much like this 1970’s photo but the interior has been reconfigured into apartments. It is currently owned by a gentleman in Milford, MA. Photo from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society. Researched and written by Ruth Parker.