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History has informed us about the Greeley Public Library but this week we look at the man behind this library, Adoniram Judson “AJ” Greeley, MD.
A Hudson native he was the oldest son of Joanna (Merrill) and Reuben Greeley. Reuben owned a farm in Hudson Center adjacent to the Town Common; a prominent leader in town he served as postmaster, town clerk, selectman, representative to the legislature and an early members of the First Baptist Church. AJ’s mother, Joanna, was born in Sedgwick, Maine where her father, Rev. Daniel Merrill, was the pastor of the local church. Rev. Merrill served in the Revolution and graduated from Dartmouth College. He first served as a Congregational pastor but converted to Baptist and became a leader in the Baptist movement in New England. Rev. Merrill and his family moved to Hudson, then Nottingham West, in 1814 when he accepted the call to be the pastor of the Baptist Church here in Hudson. One could say the rest is history as Reuben, a prominent young man, and Joanna, the pastor’s daughter, were married in Hudson November 1817.
In September of the following year their first child was born and named Adoniram Judson Greeley in honor of the first protestant missionary sent from North America to serve in Burma. He was a New Englander and a Baptist, so it was natural that Reuben and Joanna named their first son in his honor.
AJ’s childhood home exists today at 234 Central Street, the parsonage of the First Baptist Church with the church located next door at the corner of Greeley and Central Streets. Much of the land surrounding 234 Central was Reuben’s farm; including the site of the church, and extending up Greeley Street and west along Central Street. During these early years the Baptists met in the north meetinghouse located near the site of the present Wattannick Hall. The Baptist meetinghouse was not built until 1842 when AJ was 24 years old. Neither did the church have a parsonage, Rev. Merrill and his family occupied a home on Kimball Hill Road.
AJ’s early education was from his parents and a local one room district school; most likely district #4 located on Kimball Hill Road. His high school education was at the Academy and Theological Institution in New-Hampton, NH. Following high school he attended Brown University in Rhode Island graduating in 1841. He then did medical studies at Harvard and received his MD in 1845. He practiced medicine in Searsmount, ME for about 10 years moving to Clinton, MA for a short period and then settled in or near Providence, RI area where he practiced nearly 40 years until his sudden and unexpected death in 1893.
In addition to medicine he had an advocation for antiquity. He traveled to various countries and was particularly knowledgeable about Europe and Egypt. He was known to have a sizeable estate which included his personal library of nearly 3000 books. In his will he bequeathed some 500 volumes to the town of Hudson for a library.
Dr. A. J. Greeley died unexpectedly at the age of 74. He was found unconscious in his office and passed away the next morning at a local hospital. A local police officer was doing rounds and noticed a trail of blood outside in his doorway. He followed the bloody trail to the doctor’s office where he was found unconscious. At first his passing was considered an accident, suffering head injuries as the result of a fall. Dr. Greeley did leave a blood stained note instructing whoever found it to get in touch with his brother, H.C. Greeley, the executor of his will. Following his death and an examination of his body the medical examiner declared his injuries were not consistent with an accident and his death was considered a homicide. The theory being he was attacked during a robbery as he was known to carry money on his person. It is unclear if anyone was prosecuted for this crime.
The rest is history. His brother was the executor of his estate. Through AJ’s generosity and the generosity of his heirs nearly 2000 volumes of his books came to Hudson over the next few months to form the nucleus of the Greeley Public Library. A.J. himself was returned to his hometown where he was laid to rest in the family lot in Westview Cemetery along with his parents and four of his siblings. Our first photo is of the book plate of the Greeley Public Library showing the early method for cataloging books. The second photo shows Dr. A. J. Greeley’s memorial in Westview Cemetery.
In 1896 Hudson residents voted to erect two new school houses. This vote began the movement to a centralized school system; departing from the the district school system. The Smith School shown here was erected for the convenience of families in/near Hudson Center.
The Smith School house was erected in Hudson Center on what is now Windham Road. The building committee was authorized to spend up to $3,000 to build and equip this school; which was named in honor of Dr. David O. Smith. In his younger years David O. was a successful teacher, he then studied medicine and became a very skillful physician. After becoming a doctor he retained his interest in the schools of this town, doing more for our schools than any other person during his long lifetime. This school house was completely destroyed by fire and was replaced by the Hudson Center School on Kimball Hill Road in 1909. The Smith School was located on the north side of the road at or near the present address of 42 to 44 Windham Road. This picture is from an old sepia photograph from the Historical Society collection.
This house which stood at 192 Central Street was home to as many as 5 generations of McCoys. The earliest McCoy we find that lived here was James Otis McCoy, born 1788 in Windham, NH. He purchased this location and a corresponding site on the opposite side of the road from Abigail Chase in 1859 when he was 71. Ownership of this homestead passed from James Otis to his grandson James (B:1846), then to Herman Richards (B: 1878) and then to Herman’s daughter and son-in-law,Thelma McCoy Ives and Merrill ‘Joe’ Ives, Herman’s widow, Ethel Augusta Woodward, continued to reside there until she passed in 1968.
The younger James McCoy was born in Boston, MA in 1846 and came to Hudson with his parents, Daniel Gregg and Harriet (Barrett) McCoy, at the age of 6 weeks. By 1856 his father Daniel Gregg passed at the age of 41. James was 10 years old. By 1863, when James was 17, his mother Harriet passed at the age of 51. When he was 19 James enlisted in Company I First NH Heavy Artillery volunteers. Returning to Hudson after his service in the Civil War he purchased the McCoy homestead on Central Street from his grandfather, James Otis, in 1867.
On December 2, 1868 at the age of 21 James and Emma Cinderella Richards were married in Hudson. They lived their 26 years of marriage in this McCoy home. During this time they raised a large family. James passed in January 1915 after a period of poor health. He was survived by six children: James Otis of Manchester; Mary Haselton of Hudson, Herbert W. of Shirley, MA, Herman Richards, Daniel Gregg, and Elgin Leon all of Hudson. He had been predeceased by his wife Emma Cinderella Richards. James was known as a quiet man who was well liked by his fellow townspeople. Of his surviving children Herman, Daniel, and Elgin are significant to the history of 192 Central.
Herman received title to this Central Street home in 1915; 1/3 by will from his father James; 1/3 from his brother Elgin; and 1/3 from his brother Daniel. In October 1916 at the age of 37 Herman and Ethel Augusta Woodward were married in Nashua. Herman and Ethel made their home in the house where he was born. They raised a family of 2 daughters, Mildred (b:1918) and Thelma (b: 1925) and 1 son, Robert (b:1922). Mildred married and moved to Nashua. Robert moved to Illinois. Thelma married Merrill “Joe” Ives and they remained local.
Herman was employed with B&M Railroad, Maine Manufacturing, and later with Beede Ruber Co. For many years he served as superintendent and secretary of Westview Cemetery which was located adjacent to the rear of his house. His widow, Ethel, continued to reside here until she passed in February 1968. Thelma and “Joe” Ives purchased the McCoy home and resided there until the time of their divorce when it was sold to John C. Graichen who resided there for several years. Following the passing of Mr. Graichen it was sold to the family of Michael Dumont and later to his son Donald. Our photo of the house was taken by the author in 2010, following several years where the house was unoccupied. Soon after this photo was taken the building was razed. The lot at 192 remains vacant to this day. Thelma (McCoy) Ives remarried to Al Carroll. Thelma Carroll passed in 2017.
It is difficult to determine when this house was built. We do know there was a dwelling on the property when it was purchased by the McCoy family in 1859 from Abigail Chase. Prior ownership has been traced through various owners to Paul Tenney in 1834 at which time there was also a dwelling on the property.
The house at 200 Central Street in Hudson Center is known to many as the home of Florence Parker, her sister Ernestine, and Ernestine’s son Raymond Parker. They were the oldest daughters of Rev. Clarence Charles and Hattie (Robinson) Parker. As a pastor Rev Parker served in Nottingham, NH, East Hampton, MA, Bolton, CN, and Post Mills, VT. Their mother, Hattie, passed in April 1912 at the age of 42 while they were serving a church in VT. In addition to her husband she was survived by eight children ranging in age from 3 to 15 years. There were 6 daughters (Florence, Ernestine, Ruby, Mildred, Helen, and Alice) and 2 sons (Charles and Lehsten who was also known as Erich. After Hattie passed her eight children returned to Hudson to reside with either their Parker or their Robinson family. Florence, Ernestine, Ruby, and Erich lived with their Parker grandparents, Lydia (Batchelder) and Charles Clarence Parker in this very house. Mildred lived with a neighbor and aunt, Lillian (Parker) Smith. Charles, Helen, and Alice went to live with their Robinson grandparents on Robinson Road.
So, this house was home to Florence and Ernestine from 1912 until they passed. Florence passed in 1977 just short of her 80th birthday; Ernestine in 1990 at the age of 91. Of the other siblings who also lived here Ruby died at the age of 20 and Erich married Almina Bassett and they moved elsewhere in the area.
Professionally Florence was a school teacher in Hudson for more than 40 years, mostly at the Center School on Kimball Hill Road. She received her training from Nashua High School and Keene Normal School. Florence had a natural aptitude for teaching and received many awards and recognitions. The photo shows Florence as she received the Teacher of the Year Award just prior to her retirement.
Ernestine commuted to Nashua and was employed for many years in the mills in Nashua. As a young adult Ernestine enjoyed visiting with her brother Charlie on the Robinson Farm. This photo shows Ernestine and Charlie C 1920.
By the middle 1950’s the Parkers had reconfigured their home to include a gift shop on the front of their house facing Central Street. From this shop they sold some very fine pieces of glassware as well as souvenirs of Benson’s and Hudson. This shop continued to operate into the early 1970’s.
Both sisters had a talent for the arts and crafts. An untold number of scarfs, sweaters, and mittens were distributed to Hudson children that originated from the needles and hands of Florence or Ernestine. Florence caned chair seats, even into her later years with failing eyesight. Ernestine’s specialty, especially in her younger years, was quilting. I have seen some phenomenal original quilt patterns which she has designed and made.
They were both active with the Baptist Church at the Center. Ernestine served for many years as a financial officer and teacher in the Sunday school. Florence served as the church organist for years.
Before opening their home in 1912 to their grandchildren, Charles Clarence Parker and his wife Lydia Lowe Batchelder had already raised their own family. He was born in Warren, NH in May 1852 a son of Rev. Lafayette and Hannah Wyman Parker. He came to Nashua as a student in the Crosby school. For 30 years he worked diligently compiling and publishing a dictionary of the English language. While engaged in this work he had a book store on Main Street in Nashua.
He married Lydia Lowe Batchelder August 1873. She was born in Hudson May 1852 a daughter to Mark Batchelder and Lydia Steele. Charles and Lydia settled and raised their family in Hudson; spending most if not all of their married life in this house on Central Street. Their oldest Clarence Charles was born April 1874. He was 38 years old when his wife Hattie passed leaving him with 8 children between the ages of 3 and 15. Their second child and only daughter, Lillie Jane,was born July 1877. She married a neighbor, Herbert Newton Smith and resided next door to her parents. Their second son George Henry was born October 1879. He married Edith Snow of Hudson. Their third son Ernest Josiah was born August 1883 and died young at the age of 15. The 1895 photo of the house includes the family of Charles C. and Lydia. From left to right we have Ernest with his dog, Clarence in the grass, Charles seated, Lydia, and Lillie Jane.
Members of the Parker family owned this house at 200 Central Street as early as March 1870 when Daniel Marshall, administrator for the estate of Moses Griffin, sold it at public auction to Josephine Parker in order to settle claims against the estate. A few years later it was transferred to Lafayette Washington Parker, the father of Charles Clarence. It is probable that Charles Clarence and Lydia moved into this house soon after their marriage even though some other member of the Parker family owned it. He did take title to the house in January 1887 after the death of his father Lafayette. Charles retained title until his death in November 1936.
By the will of Charles Clarence the title of this house was transferred to Florence and Ernestine. By 1989 Ernestine entered a local nursing home. Her son Raymond acting as her power of attorney sold the property to Randy Turmel and Kevin Slattery. Soon after thereafter fire destroyed the building. The property remains idle and is available for sale.
It is difficult to determine the age of the house. We do know that in 1858 it was the home of Moses and Dolly Griffin. In 1856, Moses Griffin of Somerville, MA purchased an acre parcel with building from Olivia Tenney. No clues who may have lived here. Moses passed at the age of 69 in July 1858 and was survived by his widow, Dolly, a son, George, and three daughters; Francis, Rachel, and Louisa Ann. He was predeceased by a daughter also named Louisa Ann who passed at the age of 2 prior to their move to Hudson. Dolly continued to reside in the home. After her death it was sold at public auction to settle the estate. Moses and Dolly are interned in their family plot in Westview Cemetery near their Hudson home.
Do your memories of Central Street along Route 111 in Hudson Center include Hudson Furniture and Home Fashions operated by Joseph and Ann Gagnon? Shopping for a dining room set, a sofa for your living room, or a comfortable chair for the den? Hudson Furniture offered a display of options with the convenience of local shopping.
Joseph (Joe) Gagnon purchased the Lester Gove residence in May 1969 and was soon operating Hudson Furniture. A few years later, as the adjacent residential property of Berkley Swinertin at 216 Central became available, Ann and Joe Gagnon made that purchase along with a smaller parcel from a local real estate agent. Gagnon then consolidated the three parcels and subdivided into two parcels. The first contained two plus acres and the preexisting buildings; Hudson Furniture and the dwelling from the Swinertin home. This dwelling would soon become Home Fashions. The second parcel was a small lot adjacent to Merrill Brook; over time this retail lot was used for Parent Farm Stand and other sellers.
This undated photo of the Cross home on Barrett’s Hill Road came to the Historical Society from the estate of Jessie Gilbert and was later identified as being the home Arden Cross. None of the individuals in the photo were identified.
27 year old Hiram Cross purchased land on Barretts Hill Road from William T. Baldwin in 1846. By the end of 1847 Hiram and Sarah Savage were married in Hudson. The 1850 census shows Hiram and Sarah as supervisors of the poor farm (Alms House) along with nine clients ranging in age from 90 to as young as 9. Perhaps this position provided living space while they prepared to build their home or even provided some financial assistance. By 1860 Hiram and Sarah were living in their own farmhouse on Barretts Hill Road along with three sons; William (age 8), Addison (age 4), and Arden (age 2).
Hiram was a fifth generation descendant of Nathan Cross (B:1703 in England). Nathan settled in Dunstable and in 1724, while our town was still a part of Dunstable, MA, purchased a part of the Joseph Hills Farm along what is now Derry Road.
For 125 years or so, the Cross farm on Barretts Hill Road was operated first by Hiram, then by his son Arden (B:1855 D:1927), then by his grandson Nathan Erwin (B:1894 D:1991). Hiram passed in 1892, at which time he was survived by four sons. In addition to William, Addison, and Arden, there was a younger son Herbert some 9 years younger that Arden. Ownership of the farm passed to Arden as each of the other sons had moved to neighboring towns.
The second family to operate the Cross farm was that of Mary Willoughby and Arden Cross. Mary was native to Hollis and they were married in 1893. Their family consisted of a son, Nathan Erwin (B:1894) and a daughter Ruth Vivian (B:1898). We do have some ideas about the farming activities on the Cross Farm. Arden had a productive dairy herd. In 1906 he added two Jersey cows to this herd. The less stony fields surrounding the homestead were used to grow and harvest hay for the winter use. The stony fields were used to pasture the herd during the warmer months. The family garden and orchard was the source of most food supplies: potatoes, carrots and other root crops. apples and pears from the orchards. Neighboring farmers would often assist each other with work which required more than one person: haying, picking apples, digging and storing potatoes to name a few. One major winter activity was harvesting ice blocks from nearby Robinson Pond and stacking then in the ice house using sawdust for insulation.
The third generation was that of Emma Lane, from Claremont, and Nathan Erwin Cross (B:1894). They were married about 1920. There are indications that Nathan Erwin, often known of as Erwin, lived near Clarement prior to their marriage. About 1921 Erwin and Emma returned to Hudson to assist his father who was having difficulty with advanced age and poor eyesight. Erwin and Emma had one daughter, Helen, born about 1932. She attended Hudson Schools and then Nashua High School. After high school graduation she attended Colby College in ME. In March 1955 she married Edward Stabler of New York and made that state her home. Erwin continued with the farming operation until advancing age and poor eyesight required he retire. He continued to reside at the homestead on Barretts Hill as long as possible; spending his last few years with his daughter and her family in New York. The home in Hudson was vacant for many years and has since been demolished. The land which was the Cross Farm is located at the corner of Barretts Hill and Tiger Roads.
Let’s return to the photo for a few moments. It was taken by “Eaton Photographer Oppo. City Hall, Nashua, N.H.” according to the information on the back of the original photo. Thanks to research by Jim Hogan of Nashua we are able to isolate the date of this photo to be circa summer of 1870. Eaton Photographer was listed as a business in the Nashua City Directory but only once, and that was in the 1870-1871 edition. In the same edition, the residential section had a listing for “Eaton, Asa B., photographer, 91 Main St, opp City Hall, house at Hollis” This has also been supported by the 1870 census for Hollis.
Given the Cross family history this is a photo of the home of Hiram Cross, father of Arden. The man on the right would be Hiram (age about 51) and the younger man on the left would be his older son William (age about 18). Arden (age about 8) is not in the picture. Back next to and almost hidden by the shrub between the windows is a woman, likely Hiram’s wife, Sarah. The “photographic artist” placed the men away from the shade of the trees and had them remove their hats so as to make their faces more visible. Possibly Sarah shied away from being in the photo because she does not have on her fancy clothes.
The man and the horse and carriage might be a neighbor passing by who stopped to watch as the photo was taken. It may also be the transportation the photographer used that particular afternoon to drive through the country taking photographs. Notice that he seems to be holding the reins tight so as to control the horse. Also, the carriage is taking up most of the width of the dirt, narrow, Barretts Hill Road. Thanks to Jim Hogan, a historic writer and researcher from Nashua for sharing his work with the Society.