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The Reverend Benjamin Dean moved to town in April 1828 when he became the pastor of the Baptist Church of Nottingham West (now Hudson). We know only a few details of his life before that time. Born in northwestern Massachusetts about 1793 he was ordained at Swanzy, NH in February 1826. Just prior to Hudson he was serving as an Evangelist for the Baptist Society in Westmoreland, NH. Most of his time with the Hudson church was a dark and difficult time. In less than 2 years his connection with the church was terminated as he was deposed by an ecclesiastical council and excluded from the church for immoral conduct. I have no further details about the claims brought against him. To Mr. Dean’s credit it is only fair to say that by 1834 he made a public concession of his wrongdoing and asked forgiveness of both the Baptist and the Presbyterians. You see, at that time both churches were worshipping in two meeting houses at different times; the North meeting house (near Wattannick Hall) and the South meeting house (near Blodgett Cemetery). A short while later he was restored to membership in the Baptist Church; he never returned to the ministry but did reside and work in the Hudson Center community.
The Benjamin Dean house which was located on Hamblet Avenue is known as “The House Twice Moved”. This house was built by Abraham Page in 1747 on the Bush Hill Road and it later became a part of the Haselton Farm. By 1836 the owner, Benjamin Dean, moved the house down to Hudson Center on the east side of the Hudson Center common and a short distance from the North Meeting house where he had once preached. He married Betsey Hadley of Hudson in 1843. The US Census records, and the 1855 Diary of Eli Hamblett give us a sense of Hudson Center at the time. Eli and Benjamin were neighbors, owning the only houses on Hamblett Avenue. Dean often worked for Hamblet in exchange for farm produce. Agricultural lectures and school were sometimes held in Deans Hall; a large room with an arched ceiling on the second floor of Dean’s home.
The census records gave me a clue that he passed between 1850 and 1860. Whenever I searched for his date of death and where he was interred, I hit a brick wall. As it turns out he passed in December 14, 1856 and was interred in the early potter’s section of Westview Cemetery; burial places set aside for the indigent. The “rest of this story” has more to do with how this information made itself known to me than the facts themselves! The information came from two documents; one a part of the Historical Society collection and the second the old Westview Cemetery record book.
From a work ledger (1840 to 1865) kept by Eli Hamblet I learned that on December 14, 1856 he recorded a charge of $1.40 against the Estate of Benjamin Dean for taking his team to Nashua for a coffin and for sexton duties. Since Hamblet had a definite connection with Westview Cemetery I had reason to think Rev. Dean was buried there. This work document came into possession of the Society just a few years ago; it had been in a private collection and the donor wished that it be returned to this town!! Later, while doing some cemetery research on lot 76 (the Simpson family lot) I had reason to look up that lot in the old record book. Two thirds of the present day lot were once a part of the potter’s field which had remained unused except for one grave, that of Rev. Benjamin Dean. This fact had been lost from the records when the new book was started about 1900. I quickly looked at the layout of lot 76 in the current record book. The center of the lot shows the outline of the Simpson family monument superimposed over an outline of a coffin. I knew where Rev Dean was laid to rest! This information has been incorporated into the current cemetery records and steps will be taken for the site to be marked.
A dear friend of mine once said, “if you are looking for information about someone and that person (past or present) wished to be discovered they will assist you by making the information available to you. This may seem “spookey” but in this case with Rev. Dean this omen is true! The photo of the Dean House is from the collection of the Historical Society. That of the gravesite was taken by the author. Researched and written by Ruth Parker
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 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.
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.
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.