The Chalifoux/William Winn House
Many remember this house as the home at Rose Chalifoux and Sons Farm; and later the home of Floreda Chalifoux. John B. and Rose (Delisle) Chalifoux and their family of two sons (Levi and Ernest) and one daughter, Floreda lived in Drewsville, NH an unincorporated community within Walpole, NH when John was killed in a lumber accident. In 1921 Rose and her oldest son Levi (age 21) purchased the farm of Bernard Ready in Hudson, NH. According to the deed of purchase this included land and buildings plus all the cattle, tools, and horses on the farm. The family them moved to Hudson and took on the operation of the farm; at the time Levi was 21, Ernest 17, and their sister Floreda was 18.
Brothers Levi and Ernest worked to improve and expand the dairy farm from that time until the mid 1970’s. In it’s prime the operation consisted of 60 Jersey Cows. Originally milking was a hand process; straining the milk into 20 quart jugs, water cooled on the premises until they were picked up by Descheaux Brothers of Dracut for processing. As times progressed electric milking machines were used and ultimately in the 1960’s a bulk tank was installed for storing and cooling the milk. Levi and Ernest were very acting in Hudson Grange; serving as officers locally, at the county, and state level. They displayed some of their prized Jersey cows at the Hillsborough County Fair. In 1949 they were recognized by “Look” magazine when they won the Golden Cup Award for one of their Jersey cows.
Levi married a Hudson girl, Mildred Shunaman, whose family operated a farm on Musquash Road. Soon after their marriage in 1939 they built a house a short distance from the farm home on Chalifoux Road. They had two daughters, Laura and Margery, both attending Hudson schools and graduating from Alvirne. Laura graduated from UNH with a biology degree. She was employed in the medical research field for many years during which time she authored/coauthored many scientific papers and book chapters. Even from her childhood she was a lover of animals. Laura passed in September 2016 and was laid to rest in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Walpole, NH with her parents and family. Margery married Walter Coomes, JR in Februaray 1969 and they have a family of one son and a daughter. They reside in Belchertown, MA. Mildred Chalifoux is remembered by many as their elementary school teacher in Hudson.
Levi married Ethel Morris of Pelham in October 1947. They likewise moved into their own home adjacent to the old homestead. Ethel, like her sister-in-law, was an elementary school teacher in the Pelham School District.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Dick Hanlon, present owner of this house and a great nephew Ernest and Ethel Chalifoux. Dick fondly recalls driving one of their grey Ford tractors at an early age as he helped his uncles cut, dry, rake , and bail hay from their fields to store for winter feed for their dairy cows. In addition to their own fields, they would harvest the hay from the Luther Pollard and Ben Morgan farms along Lowell Road. Whenever they had too many bails to store in their own facility the used space at the Lebouf barn on River Road.
In the late 1970 the Chalifoux farm was leased to Jack Allen of Walpole, NH for 5 years. During this time he continued the dairy operation and added strawberry fields. Many remember visiting Alllen’s Strawberries to ‘pick your own’ berries. By 1982 Jack returned to the Walpole area and the Jersey stock was sold. The farmhouse was subdivided from the farm land. The farm land was then sold to Sanders Associates (now BAE Systems).
Fromt the earlier history of this house we learn that in 1892 it was on a portion of the Sylvanus Winn Farm. Upon his death it was purchased by Clarence and George Muldoon of Pelham who later sold to Bernard Ready of Lowell who in 1921 sold to the Chalifoux family; hence the present day name for the road. Looking at the 1858 Chace map we see this house was in the family of Timothy Ford who had ownership until 1880 when it transferred to Sylvanus Winn.
In 1942 this house was included in a booklet written by the Hudson Fortnightly Club entitled “NH Homes Built Prior to 1842” From this booklet and research at the Registry of Deeds we know that William Winn and his brother Isaac took possession of this place about 1830. William Winn was born 1797 in Hudson and married Pirsis Gildore of Manchester in 1830. Pirsis passed in 1843 and one year later William sold the place to Timothy Ford and moved to Pelham.
A search at the Registry of Deeds tells me the previous owner, and the earliest I have found, was John Pollard. A few years prior to 1830 he had mortgaged the place to Moses Greeley, Jr. This mortgage was assigned to William and Isaac Winn in 1830. As a result of some judgements against Mr. Pollard the property was seized by the sheriff to satisfy those obligations. By April of that year a sheriff’s deed transferred the property to William Winn.
A few other facts of interest. In early deeds what is now Chalifoux Road was called the Ferry Road. According to Kimball Webster and his History of Hudson, NH a ferry at the south end of town was established by Jonathan Hardy who was assessed here in 1748. This ferry was later known as Pollard’s Ferry and was likely operated by Capt. John Pollard son of John Sr.
I hesitate to give a build date for this house. We do know that a house existed on this premise in 1830 and also while John and Elizabeth Pollard resided here. This house has a number of features we find in houses of the mid to late1700’s. There is a center chimney with 3 fireplaces on the first floor; a large one for the kitchen and smaller ones for each of the living and dining rooms. It is a 1 1/2 story house with 2 bedrooms on the second floor. The windows were narrow and tall with 4 panes of glass (2 over 2) in each. Some rooms had ‘gunstock corners’. This feature shows a part of the corner post exposed to the interior of house; resembling the stock of a gun; hence the name. The sheething board were wide and and rough. The rear wall was a double wall stuffed with sawdust for insulation.
If one were to build a list of Hudson houses built prior to 1800, the William Winn house would be included. In fact this is clearly one of the oldest in our town. Researched and written by Ruth M. Parker.
Revisit Lowell Road … Camp Cayuga C1956
As early as 1956 boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14 were bused, transported by car, or walked to Camp Cayuga on the Lowell Road in Hudson. Camp Cayuga, a summer day camp, was operated by John S. Groves on his family’s 265 acre farm. The camp activities started at 9 am and ended at 4 pm. Each camper brought their own lunch except on Thursdays when there was a noonday cookout. The camping season was 8 weeks, during the months of July and August. As many as 125 plus children came from towns like Milford, Amherst, Merrimack. Lowell, Chelmsford, Nashua and Hudson. Camp facilities included a large barn for a place of assembly, a swimming pond on the property which was recently dug by a bulldozer along a brook which ran thru the property, bath houses, Indian camps where campers divided into tribes, playing fields, horseback riding rinks, and woods for nature study. Horse back riding was one of the more popular events. special events,such as horse shows, carnivals, and fishing derbys, were often held.
The Groves farm was located on the western side of Lowell Road and extended to the Merrimack River. Until 1955 Mr. Groves had farmed the land and operated an automobile sales agency on the premises. He then turned from auto sales to teaching school. The idea of using the farm as a summer camp was suggested to him by a friend a few years earlier. The possibilities for expansion were considered as tremendous as within a 15 mile area there were 200,000 people and only 2 other day camps in the area.
Within a few years growth came to Lowell Road and with it an increase in property values. The State of New Hampshire had plans for a Circumferential Highway. By the early 1970’s the northern portion of this farm was used for the access road to the Sagamore Bridge. Of the remaining acres, the part abutting Lowell Road is the location of Sam’s Club; the back portion toward the river is part of The Green Meadows Golf Course, Photo courtesy of Leo Demers and now a part of the Historical Society Collection.
Let’s Take The Trolley
So..you want to ride the trolley to Manchester, Lowell, or Salem?
By 1893 tracks for the street railway (trolley) were in place from Nashua down East Hollis Street to and over the iron Taylor Falls Bridge into Hudson ending near the east end of the bridge. For two years this was a horse drawn trolley which provided fairly good service between Hudson and Nashua.
By 1895 it was re-organized as an electric railway and the tracks extended from the bridge up Central Street and down Lowell Road with a popular stop at the ‘five cent limit’ where Lowell Road branches into Dracut and River Roads (aka Stewert’s Coner). The tracks went beyond this point down River Road to the state line. The infrastructure of the iron Taylor Falls bridge was improved to handle the heavier trolley cars and the increase in both trolley and automotive traffic. This line provided service from Nashua to Lowell via Hudson. Hourly trips were made during the winter months and every 30 minutes in the summer. Running time from Nashua to Lowell was about 1 hour 10 minutes at a fare of 20 cents. The fare from Hudson to Lowell was 10 cents. If you had 10 cents in your pocket you could ride to ‘the limit’, enjoy a picnic lunch, and return home later in the day.
The Hudson, Pelham, and Salem street railway was incorporated by the state legislature March 7, 1889 with the authority to construct and maintain tracks from the bridge through Hudson Center and on to Pelham, Salem and the state line. This line was opened September 8, 1902. The tracks went from the bridge over Ferry Street. At the end of Ferry Street (near Burnham Road) the tracks went “off road” behind Westview Cemetery taking a sharp right turn crossing Central Street near what is now Burger King. From there it continued “off road” through wooded areas and behind the Haselton Barn on to Pelham. Relics of these tracks can be seen off to the right along parts of Speare road and again when it crossed the Gibson Road before entering Pelham. The speeds required to maintain good travel time were often times considered reckless on parts of this line. I have read that some folks even refused to ride this line and some predicted disaster.
Disaster did occur on Sunday afternoon September 6, 1903. Two cars collided on a section of track in Pelham, each car traveling around 25 miles per hour with about 70 travelers on both cars. Many of the passengers on the west bound car were returning home after a visit to Canobie Lake. The crash occurred on a hilly curve where visibility was poor. This accident resulted in 6 fatalities; and more than 40 injuries, many serious. Of those killed was Hudson Postmaster George C. Andrews. His wife Anabel received serious injuries from which she never completely recovered. The cause of the accident was a misunderstanding of the start-up orders for the train leaving Nashua and heading east. Once discovered, it was too late to stop either of the cars.
Between the huge damages and the safety factor this line was forced into receivership late 1904, was reorganized in 1907 and 5 years later consolidated into another company. The tracks for the Salem, Pelham, and Nashua line were abandoned in March 1924.
A trolley line from Taylor Falls bridge traveling north along Webster Street, through Litchfield, Goffs Falls, and Manchester was incorporated in 1905. The line opened for public travel January 1, 1907 with a 12 mile trip from the bridge to Goffs Falls at a cost of 20 cents and a running time of 45 minutes. Trips were made every hour in winter months and every 1/2 hour during the summer months.
These three trolley lines and the concrete Taylor Falls bridge built in 1909 did much to expand the growth of Hudson especially in the bridge area, causing the business center of town to shift from Hudson Center to the bridge area. The area around the intersection of the three trolley lines near the bridge became known as ‘railroad square’; so named for the street railroads as opposed to the steam railroad.
Before the popularity of the automobile residents could rely on the trolley for transportation to/from their jobs;for travel to Nashua and/or Lowell for shopping; and for recreation!! The owners of each of these trolley lines, in an effort to increase ridership invested in destination recreation facilities on each line. Just beyond the state line on River Road was Lake View Park; on the Pelham and Salem line was Canobie Lake Park; and on the Litchfield to Goffs Falls run thee was Pine Island Park.
The 1920’s with the rise of the automobline was tough on the trolley. Ridership dropped, safety vs speed became an issue. By 1932 all trolley traffic in Hudson had ceased. Researched and written by Ruth Parker.
Revisit Lowell Road … George Steele Farm
This week’s memories extend to the George Steele farm at Stewerts Corner; the intersection of Lowell, Dracut, and River Roads. In the early 1900’s Hudson was serviced by three trolley routes. One of these routes went from the Taylor Falls Bridge, down Central Street, then down Lowell Road to Stewerts Corner. The fare from Taylor Falls Bridge to Stewerts Corner was five cents!! Thus, Stewerts Corner was also called ‘the five cent limit’ or ‘the limit’. During warm months open-bench trolley cars were used. Many children and adults would pack a picnic lunch and ride the trolley to the ‘limit’. Once there they could buy ice cream and soda at George Steele’s farm store. The first photo shows his store C1899 with two ladies and children waiting outside; perhaps for the trolley. If the season was right they could also pick strawberries for Mr. Steele for two cents a box! For additional fare, families could extend their trip down River Road to Lakeview Park, an entertainment area just over the state line, or go all the way to Lowell and spend time shopping.
George and his brother Fred were native to Hudson; growing up and working with their father, Silas, on the family farm on what is now the Steele Road. As a young man of 24, George purchased his own acreage from William Chase in 1887. By 1893 he married Edith Colburn and built their home on River Road. For most of their adult lives, George and Fred continued to operate large vegetable/market gardens near Stewerts Corner. The George Steele farm remained in his family until surviving son, Ralph, sold the property to the Friel family in 1977. The land and buildings are now a part of Green Meadows Country Club.
The second photo is an aerial view of the George Steele Farm C1942. We see gardens along both sides of River Road. Photos courtesy of the Steele Family and now a part of the Historical Society Collection. Researched and written by Ruth M Parker.