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Hudson’s Boston Post Cane

        Embossed Gold Head of Hudson’s Cane

The year was 1909. Edwin Atkins Grozier, owner and publisher of The Boston Post, launched his most famous and longest lasting advertising campaign to increase readership of his paper: The Boston Post Cane. A letter was sent to the chairman of the of selectmen in many New England towns. With this letter Mr. Grozier asked them to become trustees of a fine ebony cane with a top of 24-caret sheet gold. He stipulated the cane was to be given to the oldest citizen of the town. Upon the death of that citizen the cane was to be returned to the town and quickly transmitted to the next oldest citizen. The canes were separately expressed to each town.

Some time prior to August 1909 Mr. Grozier had arranged for the manufacture of some 700 canes by J. F. Fradley & Co. of New York, widely recognized for their fine canes. The cane itself was crafted from ebony grown in the Congo of Africa then brought here, cut into the desired length, and seasoned for 6 months. Good specimens were then turned on a lathe to the desired size and allowed to season again. They were then given a coat of shellac, rubbed with a pumice, and coated with French Varnish. Each town received an identical cane except for the name of the town embossed on the head of the cane. The cane for Hudson read: “The Boston Post to the Oldest Citizen of Hudson ” in the center. Around the top edge was “New Hampshire” and on the bottom “To be Transmitted’ This cane was not just an ornament, it was designed for daily use by the holder.

Within a few weeks Mr. Grozier made it clear who was eligible for the cane. The intention from the beginning was for the cane to be presented to the oldest citizen, meaning the oldest registered voter in the town. In 1909 women could not vote so the cane was presented to the oldest male voter in town. Even after women could register to vote most towns continued the tradition of presenting to the oldest male voter. As far as Hudson is concerned the award of the cane followed the original intent until 1999 when the Historical Society assumed the responsibility of presenting the cane.

                    Ebony Boston Post Cane

Mr. Grozier remained as owner of the newspaper until he passed suddenly in 1924 at which time his son Richard, also a newspaper man, took on the responsibility until 1946 when he also passed suddenly. The paper was then sold, circulation declined, and publication ended in 1956. What started as a campaign to increase circulation of the newspaper has turned into a century long tradition, outlasting the newspaper itself!

Hudson’s Selectmen in 1909 were James P. Howe, P. J. Connell, and George F. Blood. Soon after receiving the cane the selectmen presented it to Benjamin A. Merrill, Hudson’s first holder. Mr. Merrill passed in late October 1909; the cane was then presented to Hiram Cummings who held the cane until he passed January 7, 1910.

Some towns kept a record of the recipients of their cane. I have not found nor have I heard of any such early records being kept for Hudson. So, in an attempt to create such a list, I did some research. The remainder of this article shares my results.

Following Hiram Cummings (d:1910) research shown the honor was passed to Daniel Greeley (d:May 1916), Kimball Webster (d:June 1916), and Robert A. Andrews (d:1920). The next recipient I found was Clifton Buttrick who passed in May 1935 at the age of 89. Logic tells we there is an unknown recipient between Robert A. Andrews and Clifton Buttrick. Following Mr. Buttrick we have Willis P. Cummings (d:1939), Edwin Gowing (d:1940), David Monroe (d:1941), Charles L. Spaulding (d:1942), Charles Leslie (d:1948), Arthur S. Andrews (d:1949), Aldon Cummings (d:July 1950), Irven Smith (d:Aug 1950) and Charles Edward Cummings (d:1953). After the death of the younger Cummings brother in 1953 I found no further record of a presentation of the cane by the board of selectmen.

According to accession records of the Historical Society our Boston Post Cane was donated to the Historical Society by the Town of Hudson in 1971. It has been on display at the Hills House since that time; being used only occasionally for special presentations.

In 1999 the Society re-activated the tradition of the Boston Post Cane with updated eligibility rules. Both ladies and gentlemen are candidates with the requirement they be a resident of Hudson for the previous 20 years. The recipient is honored with a proclamation from the selectmen, a pin/tie clasp replica of the cane and his/her name engraved on a plaque. This presentation is made at the convenience of the recipient’s family.

Since 1999 we have 10 recipients. James Glispen was honored in 1999 at the age of 100. Lillian Leaor was Hudson’s first lady to receive the honor in 2005. Following Mrs. Leaor the recipients are: Ella Connell, Thelma Lemire, Ida Hill, Paul Wheeler, Mildred Emanuelson, Laura B. Landry, Clara Charest, and at present Doris Widebeck.

Before leaving the history of honoring our oldest residents I share a couple of events which occurred during the 1970’s. The first event was Founders Day in 1973; a week long celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Dunstable. For this event Hudson sponsored a parade which proceeded from School Street down Lowell Road, to Jacques Field. Being the oldest native of Hudson Ralph Steele (d:1999) was selected as the Grand Marshall.

The second event was the Bi-centennial in 1976; again celebrated with a parade from School Street to the site of Memorial School. The grand marshal for this event was 96 year old William D. Tandy. Mr. Tandy(d:1978) had previously been recognized by the Hudson Lion’s Club as early as 1974 as the oldest man in Hudson.

If any readers have additional information or insights into missing Boston Post Cane recipients please contact me via email at HudsonHistorical@live.com. The photo of the cane was taken by Sue Misek and is part of our collection at the Hills House.  Written by Ruth Parker this article appeared in the August 16, 2020  edition of the Nashua Telegraph.

Do You Remember Fast Day?

State House 1852 engraving

NH State House 1852 Engraving

Do You remembers Fast Day? A day of fasting and prayer was common during provincial New Hampshire. As time progressed this day lost most of its original purpose, even so Fast Day continued as a state holiday until 1985.

The first Fast Day was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the Province of New Hampshire in 1681 when our state was under the rule of the king of England and it was continued for some 300 years. We remember a holiday on the 4th Monday of April where schools and businesses were closed, state and town offices were closed, and many state newspapers did not publish. As this was not a national holiday the postal system remained open. The observance of Fast Day in NH continued until 1985 at which time it became optional. By 1991 it ceased to exist when the NH Legislature adopted Civil Rights Day in January. Later in 1999, under the governorship o f Jeanne Shaheen, that holiday was changed to Martin Luther King Day.

To most the tradition meant a day off from work or the beginning of April vacation in our schools. To some it signaled the beginning of our state’s summer tourist season. Some with longer memories may remember it as a spring Thanksgiving – signaling the end of winter and expressing hope for a good planting for the new growing season. Let’s step back in time and look at the origin of Fast Day

John Cutt along with two brothers Robert and Richard immigrated to the NH province from Wales prior to 1646. John settled at Strawberry Bank which later became Portsmouth. He was a merchant and after settling in Portsmouth he acquired a large parcel of land, became a farmer and a mill-owner. The Cutt brothers came to America in order to seek their fortunes as opposed to religious freedom; they brought capital and expertise to the area and became leading merchants and ultimately some of the wealthiest men in the New Hampshire colony. In July 1662 John married Hannah Starr and they had several children. She passed November 1674 and was laid to rest In his orchard. He married a second time about 1675 to Ursula Cutt.

In 1679 when the Province of New Hampshire was separated from Massachusetts the king appointed John Cutt as president of the council of New Hampshire which consisted of the president along with three men appointed to assist him The provincial government consisted of the council and an assembly which included representatives of each of the towns in the province. This was an earlier version of our present Governor and Executive Council. Two years later President Cutt, then in his 60’s, became seriously ill. The council proclaimed a day of public fasting and prayer for March 17, 1681 on behalf of the popular Cutt in an effort to improve his health. These efforts were unsuccessful as Cutt passed about two weeks later. Through his will he made provision for a family cemetery in his orchard where he had buried his first wife Hannah and his deceased children. He was laid to rest in this family burial ground

The council decided to continue the practice of an annual fast day and within a year they passed a proclamation making it a permanent holiday. History tells us that fasting and prayer were common in the early colonial days as a way of helping with the problems of the times.

By the late 1800’s fast day had lost most of it’s original significance was gone. The states of Maine and Massachusetts which had celebrated Fast Day discontinued the holiday in favor of Patriots Day. In 1897 then Govenor of New Hampshire Ramsdell urged the legislature to likewise discontinue the holiday. Rather than abolish they passed legislation in 1899 to make it a legal state holiday. The date was flexible but it became customary for the governor to declare Fast Day as the last Thursday of April. This continued until 1949 when legislation established the fourth Monday of April as Fast Day. This provided state employees with a long weekend. It also became the time for the April school vacation.

Today New Hampshire’s unique holiday has passed into history. Perhaps the single reminder of it’s existence is the April school vacation schedule for on the 4th week in April as opposed to neighboring states which take their vacation during the week of Patriots Day.

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NH State House

This photo shows the State House in Concord. This is the oldest state house in the country in which the legislative body still occupies the original chambers.

World War I Memorial and Libary Park 1922

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View From WW Marker C 1922

Every once in a while we come upon a photo which tells it’s own story. In many ways this C 1922 photo of the World War I Memorial at Library Park is one of those photos. Library Park, that beautifully maintained triangular park bounded by Ferry, Derry, and Library streets was a gift to the Town of Hudson by Mary Field Creutzborg and the efforts of her son-in-law Dr. Alfred Hills. There is a granite boulder with a tablet at the park near the intersection of Ferry and Derry Streets The tablet reads: LIBRARY PARK – The gift of Mary Field Creutzborg 1911. Just prior to 1911, this parcel of land was owned by parties living in Nashua. It was sub-divided it into eleven house lots and offered for sale. Two had been sold and a house was being erected on one of them. The residents of Hudson were beginning to realize that a potential of eleven houses in that area would be of no real value. There had been earlier discussion about acquiring the land for a public park; but, no action had been taken. A special town meeting was called May 15, 1911 to see if the town would authorize the Selectmen to acquire this land by eminent domain for the purpose of a public park. Dr Hills offered a resolution: that the Selectmen be authorized to acquire the property for a public park, to be known as Library Park, at no expense to the town. The resolution passed unanimously. The owner of the house under construction was compensated with a much larger lot in a more desirable location.

The First World War began in Europe during July 1914 and for the first years the United States had a policy of non-involvement. After the sinking of the Lusitania and the killing of some 190 Americans and later attacks on US ships, the United Stated declared war on Germany April 1917. The Armistice which lead to the end of conflicts was signed November 11, 1918.

Between 1917 and 1919 some 71 young men from Hudson were engaged in the Armed Forces. A listing of these servicemen was maintained by historian Julia (Webster) Robinson. At the town meeting in March 1920 the town voted to construct a tablet to honor these men and by early 1922 this granite boulder and attached bronze tablet was placed on Library Park by at a cost of $977.65 to the town. The Dunklee Construction Co. was paid $647 to move this huge boulder onto the park and place it on a foundation. The Hillsborough Granite Co. was paid $30 to cut and shape the boulder for the bronze tablet. The William Highton & Sons Co, was paid $300 for the bronze tablet and setting it into the stone.

Of these 71 service men 3 lost their lives during the conflict. On June 25, 1922 three newly planted trees were formally designated as memorials to these three young men who paid the supreme sacrifice in the World War; a bronze marker was set at the base of each of these trees. These trees were a gift of a local member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Chapter. The dedication ceremony was shared between the GAR and the Town of Hudson. The three servicemen memorialized by these trees were Pvt. Leland H. Woods, Pvt. Carlton L. Petry, and Pvt. Harold M. Spalding.

Leland H. Woods was born February 1897 in Hollis, NH. His parents were Frank A. and Cora Anna Woods. Frank was employed as a brakeman for the Boston and Maine Railroad. Leland registered for the draft in Townsend, MA and entered the US Army via the draft board in Nashua. His death in February 1919 at Coblenz, Germany was the result of disease. He was laid to rest in the Hillside Cemetery, Townsend, MA.

Carlton L. Petry was born November 1888 in New York City. His parents were Alfred and Louisa Petry. When Carlton registered for the draft he was living in Hudson and employed as a farm worker by Paul Butter. He was killed in action while serving in France.

Harold M. Spalding was born July 1889 in Hudson. His parents were Charles Laton and Sarah (Merrill) Spalding. When Harold registered for the draft at the age of 27 he was employed as a locomotive fireman for the New England Gas and Coke Co, in Everett, MA. He passed away February 1919 at Noyems Loiset Cher, France. He was laid to rest in Sunnyside Cemetery here in Hudson.

This photo of the WW I memorial is the earliest I have seen of Library Park; being completely open, uncultivated, and with no landscaping. The pre-civil war cannon which we see there today was not placed at Library Park until May 1929. Looking beyond the boulder to the left we see the home of Harry Kendrik House (also knows as the G. O. Sanders and Lenny Smith House). Noticeable is the spire on the ell of this great victorial home. To the right of the boulder we see homes along Derry Road beyond what is now French Insurance Agency.

WW I Marker 2019

View From WW1 Marker 2019

In sharp contrast to Library Park of 1922 our second photo was taken this past week from about the same location. You may ask Where are the memorial trees which were planted in 1922 as a memorial to Privates Woods, Petry, and Spalding? We have searched the park for the specific trees with the memorial markers, but these specific trees and their markers could not be located.

You are encouraged to keep your eyes open for changes comming to Library Park a couple of weeks prior to Memorial Day. This park will become the site of “Field of Honor” at Hudson Library Park. This is a local effort sponsored by the Hudson American Legion, Post #48 which offers area residents an opportunity to honor military veterans and first responders. A flag with the name of each honoree will be flying at Hudson’s Field of Honor until June 14th, Flag Day.

Some Ancient History of the Hill Family of Hudson

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Aerial View of Garrison Marker

The immigrant ancestor for the Hills Family of Hudson was Joseph Hills; born in England in 1602 he sailed in 1638 on the “Susan & Ellen” and settled in Charleston, MA (later set off as Malden) where he became active in town affairs.  He was a lawyer, leader of the militia, and held many important officers.  He later moved to Newbury.  In 1645, he served on a committee to set off lots in Nashaway Plantation and  In 1648 he wrote the first laws for the colony of Massachusetts.  In return for his services to the colony, he received a grant of some 500 acres in what is now Hudson in 1661.  Of these acres, 450  ran from a few rods north of the Taylor Falls Bridge, north along the east side of the river  beyond Derry Lane to include the site of Hills Garrison.  When the Town of Dunstable, MA was chartered all 450 acres were within the boundaries of that town.
Joseph passed away in 1688.  By his will he divided the 450 acres into 9 parcels  and passed ownership to members of his family.  With one exception no settlement occurred on any of these parcels until ownership passed at least one more time and outside the Hills Family.  The one exception was the northern most parcel of 89 acres he passed to his son Samuel.  By 1710, Nathaniel, Henry, and James, three of Samuel’s sons, built and occupied a garrison house on their father’s land.   Nathaniel was about 27, Henry about 22, and James about 13 years old.
By 1721 Samuel deeded the northern half of his land to Henry and the southern half to son James.  In 1723 James married Abigail Merrill and a few days later he sold to Samuel Whiting and they moved to Newbury.  Some time before 1732 Nathaniel purchased a 900 acre parcel of unsettled land from Jonathan Tyng.  This parcel also bordered on the river and was adjacent to and north of what had been his father’s 89 acres.  Samuel passed away in 1732.
Some time before 1733 Nathanial and his family moved from the garrison onto his 900 acres.  He set up a dwelling about 1/2 mile north of the garrison and near the bank of the river.  He later established and operated a ferry across the river, known as Hills Ferry.  This was operated by him or one of his descendants until 1827 when the first Taylor Falls Bridge was built.
In 1733 the town of Nottingham, MA was chartered to include all Dunstable land east of the river.  In 1734 the town of Litchfield, MA was chartered.  This charter established the southern boundary of Litchfield at the northern most part of the Joseph Hills grant.  Thus, the acres owned by Henry were in Nottingham, MA.  The acres Nathaniel had just purchased were in Litchfield.  About 1739 or 1740 Henry sold his land and the garrison to Deacon Roger Chase.  Henry then moved 1/4 mile east and established a farm on his brother’s land.  By that time none of the Hills Family had any ownership interest in the garrison or the Hills Grant. The families of Nathaniel and Henry were residing on the western part of Nathaniel’s 900 acres.  James, his wife and 4 small children had returned to Nottingham, MA and settled on a farm (now 20 Old Derry Road) which he acquired from his brother.
In 1740 the boundary between NH and MA was established and by 1746 Nottingham West, NH and Litchfield, NH were chartered.  These charters established the boundary between those two towns as we know it today.  During this period of uncertainty over state and town boundaries there were a number of residents  in nearby Londonderry which were of the opinion their homes would become a part of Nottingham West.  When this did not happen these residents petitioned to be annexed.  This became final in 1778 when some 4600 acres of Londonderry became a part of Nottingham West.
Henry Hills remained on his farm until he passed in 1757.  A few years later it was conveyed to his nephew, Elijah Hills.  Elijah was the grandfather of Alden and the great-grandfather of Dr Alfred K. Hills.  Alvirne High School and the surrounding grounds, including the Hills House, are on land which was a  part of this farm.  As time progressed Henry Hills Jr purchased the  farm  which is now 34-36 Old Derry Road.  Also, Nathaniel Hill Jr established a farm (now 62-64  Old Derry Road) upon part of his father’s land.
From 1661 to 1780 the one constant was the land and the location of the land that Nathaniel, Henry, and James and some of their descendants lived on.  Around this many things changed:  What state are you in?  What town do you live in?  Are we being taxed by more that one town?  What county seat do we use to record land purchases?  In the next few weeks we will be Remembering … some of these properties along and near Old Derry Road. This weeks photo, an aerial view of Garrison Farm, shows the original location of the historic marker  for the Hills Garrison.    The marker is in the open field behind the barn left of the roadway through the field.

World War II Honor Roll and War Memorial

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WW II Honor Roll at Library Park

 

Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 the registration of young men for the draft was begun by the Draft Board of Exeter, NH. Registration of Hudson men was held in February 1942 in the lower room of the Hills Memorial Library. Males between 18 and 45 were registered and classified. The total population of our town was then about 3,400.

Members of the American Legion Post No. 48 constructed an honor roll on the east side near Library Street) of Library Park in 1942. As individual men and women entered the service their name was added to the honor roll. As the number of service men increased the initial honor roll board became filled and was replaced by a larger one. The Post Commander, Webster W. White, and a committee of three members, Robert Pratt, Chairman, Paul Buxton, and Harold Farnum with cooperation of the Town Clerk were responsible for the posting of names.The earliest photo shown here is that of the World War II honor roll with some 368+/- names as listed in the Town Report for the year ending January 31, 1944. After the hostilities ended in 1945 this honor roll remained in place on Library Park. Just how long it remained, I am not sure. After it was removed there was no War Memorial for veterans of World War II or any subsequent wars or conflicts until August 1991 when the American Legion erected the present War Memorial.

War Memorial 2016

War Memorial 2016

The Hudson Veterans War Memorial is in honor all who have honorable served in our armed forced, both living and deceased, during all conflicts of our great nation. This project was started in 1989 and authorized by the veterans group in early 1990. Past Post Commander “Billy” Mitchel promoted the original concept, which was further refined by other post members. As with most projects of this magnitude, help from many sources were needed. Mr. James Arsenault designed the center of the monument, Hudson Monument Company was contracted for the stones and artwork. Employees of the Hudson Public Works Department volunteered services for the groundwork, concrete was provided by Brox Industrues, and Hudson Paving Company formed the foundation. The completed memorial was dedicated Sunday August 18, 1991 as part of Hudson’s Old Home Days. Both photos are from the collection of the Historical Society.

Ferry Street May 30, 1949

Behind this week’s photos we find not one story but two!  The first being the Sherman Tank and army vehicles heading down Ferry Street.  The second is the story behind the houses along Ferry Street we see in the background.

Memorial Day May 30, 1949 Ferry Street

These photos were taken May 30, 1949.  In that year Memorial Day observations for Hudson were  held over a two day period.  The activities were under the direction of American Legion Post #48 with Roger L. Boucher as Chairman of the Memorial Day Committee.  On Sunday, May 29th the Legion and Auxilliary attended Mass at St. John The Evangelist Church.  In the afternoon Post members joined with veterans’ organizations from Nashua and parishioners of St. Patrick’s Church Parish in the dedication of The War Memorial at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Hudson.
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Memorial Day 1949

On Monday Morning, May 30, a parade assembled on First Street with the line of march proceeding to Ferry Street and down the hill to Library Park assembling for the activities to be conducted there.  This  parade included a police escort, parade marshall and representatives from veteran’s and service organizations from Hudson and Nashua.  In these photos we see one modified Sherman tank.  According to newspaper write-ups the next day, there were actually six such tanks included in the Hudson parade.  At Library Park Harry Salvail  Past Post Commander was the Master of Ceremonies.  The guest speaker of the day was Elliot A. Carter of Nashua.  Wreaths were placed on three markers in honor of those who gave their lives for their country.
On Monday afternoon American Legion Post 48 participated in the Memorial Day Program in Litchfield where a tablet was unveiled in honor of the war dead of Litchfield.  The Sherman Tanks, at least five of them, proceeded to Nashua to participate in the Memorial Day parade through the streets of Nashua.
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Sherman Tank on Ferry Street

The second story is with the houses along Ferry Street we see in the background; what is now 44 and 46 Ferry Street.  In the mid to late 1940’s and in to the 1950’s there was a large increase in traffic along Ferry Street; automobiles and gas were more available and  individuals were traveling to Nashua for employment.  During this time period there were a number of small Mom and Pop enterprises opening up.  Of course we remember The 20th Century and before that Sal’s Market. There were also the smaller variety stores like Bradley’s Market at the corner of Library and Ferry.  Even further up Ferry at what is now 44 Ferry was a small variety store operated by Herbert and Mary Shepherd.  If you lived in that area and/or attended Webster School or Hudson Junior High School,  you may have memories of your own.  George Abbott remembers going across the field between School Street and Ferry Street to buy snacks from ‘Mamie’ Shepherd on his lunch hour during Jr. High.  Neil Cunningham who lived further down on Ferry Street remembers his Mom sending him to ‘Mamies’  for a loaf of bread.  Carol (Whittemore) and David Flewelling remember going there for candy and ice cream.

Mary  ‘Mamie’ and Herbert Shephard

Mary ‘Mamie’ (Perkins) and Herbert Shephard  lived in what is now 44 Ferry Street from about 1946 until Herbert passed in 1961; at which time Mary continued to live there until 1972.  During this time Herbert was employed as a bus driver, a railroad worker, or a grocer.  Mary operated a grocery or a variety store there in the mid to late 1940’s.  Mary lived her final years in Milford with family. 44 Ferry street is now a private residence.
These photos are from the collection of the Historical Society courtesy of Paul Whittemore.  My thanks to Carol Flewelling for her assistance with the research.  This article was printed in HLN on January 27, 2017 and in the Nashua Telegraph on June 14, 2020 as a revisit.

Pre-Civil War Cannon at Library Park

Cannon at Library Park C 1942

                  Cannon at Library Park C 1942

This US Navy Cannon at Library Park and an identical one at The Hudson Center Common, sat for years on their respective concrete moorings.  Children would play on then, walk up the  steps of the mooring and sit horse-back on the barrel of the cannon.  Many family and group photos have been taken on or around them through the years.  Occasionally on Halloween, teens would decorate the cannons by pouring random colors of paint over the barrel.  The cannons were soon repainted in black by the wandering teens at the request of the Police Department or else  by the Highway Department or some service organization.
It is my understanding that these two 3-ton cannons were brought from the New Hampshire Armory on Canal Street in Nashua to Hudson in May 1929  through the efforts of Harry Emerson.  One of them was placed on Library Park and the other at the Hudson Center Common.  These cannons were cast in 1848 in a foundry near Boston  and their serial numbers are within 2 digits of each other.  The Library Park Cannon was fired but we are not sure if it was actually used in battle and if so, which battle.  Harry Emerson was a long time resident of Central Street and at the time a custodian at the armory.  He served the town of Hudson for over 50 years as a member of the Fire Department.  Serving as Chief from 1946 to 1952.
The Library Park cannon remained silently on the park until September 2, 2015 when it was involved in a collision with a school bus which was the victim of faulty brakes.  Fortunately there were no students on the bus and the driver was not injured. Realizing the brakes were faulty the driver steered the bus onto the park, grazed a tree, hit the cannon and stopped!  The cannon itself was not harmed but the concrete mooring was pulverized.  The cannon and debris were removed by the Highway Department.
Library Park Cannon 2016

                              Library Park Cannon 2016

For several months the cannon was at the town garage being sand blasted, restored, repainted, and a new mooring constructed.  Earlier,  in May of this year it was returned to Library Park; thanks to the efforts of our award winning Highway department; the recipient of the First Annual Community and Cultural Heritage Excellence Award sponsored by the Hudson Historical Society.  Photos from the Society’s collection.

First World War Monument at Library Park

WWI Monument Library Park 2016

First World War Monument 2016

The First World War began in Europe during July 1914 and for the first years the United States had a policy of non-involvement.  After the sinking of the Lusitania and the killing of some 190 Americans and later attacks on US ships, the United Stated declared war on Germany April 1917. The Armistice which lead to the end of conflicts was signed November 11, 1918.
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Bronze Tablet Listing Servicemen

Between 1917 and 1919 some 71 young men from Hudson were engaged in the Armed Forces.  A listing of these servicemen was maintained by historian Julia (Webster) Robinson. At the town meeting in March 1920 the town voted to raise a tablet to honor these men and by early 1922 this granite boulder and attached bronze tablet was placed on Library Park by the Town of Hudson at a cost of $977.65.  Of these young men 3 of then lost their lives during the conflict.  On June 25, 1921 members oft he local Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Chapter planted 3 maple trees nearby on Library Park near this monument as a memorial to Carlton  Petry, Merrill Spaulding, and Leland Woods.  Photos from the Historical Society Collection.

Town Seal and Flag

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Town Seal 1965

We see the town seal prominently displayed on various town vehicles, in town literature, on the web site, and even used (with permission) by some town organizations.  The seal, as show here, was first displayed on the back cover of The Hudson Annual Report for 1960.  At the town meeting in March 1961 the voters adopted this seal as the official seal.Just prior to this Henry A. Fraser, a Hudson resident designed this seal at the request of Ned Spaulding, long time moderator of Hudson.  He used a sketch of a typical garrison house from Webster’s History of Hudson as a basis for the center.  The letters encircling identifies the incorporation date of 1746; when the town of Nottingham West (now Hudson) was chartered by New Hampshire.  The original charter signed by then governor Benning Wentworth is preserved in the archives of Rodgers Memorial Library.
Mr. Fraser and his wife Gloria built their home and raised a family after he purchased land from the Merrill family on Maple Avenue.  Professionally he was a wood worker and artist; employed by various companies in NH and Mass.
After adoption as the official seal a full color rendition was converted to a decal/print for use by and by permission of the Town of Hudson.
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Town Flag 1975

The official town flag shown here was created as part of Hudson’s celebration of the US Bicentennial which began in 1975.  A contest was held by the art department of Alvirne High School and a number of entries resulted.  This particular design was selected as the winner and later adopted for the official town flag at the Town meeting of March 1975.  The winning entry was by Terry Battey, then a senior at Alvirne.  The design is simple but nice:  the center being the same garrison house used in the town seal, surrounded by 9 stars signifying that New Hampshire was the 9th state to ratify the US Constitution.  These were then placed in the center of a light blue flag.  After the winner was chosen, some number of flags were made and displayed at commemorative events during the US bicentennial  celebration,  one is now on display in the corridor of the main floor in the Hudson Town Building. After graduating from Alvirne Terry attended Keene State College.  She now lives in Auburn,NH and is busy with a full time job,and as a mother, and grandmother.
The rendition of the town seal shown here is from the 1960 Town Report; the photo of the flag is from 1975 Town Report

Minuteman Marker at Hudson Center Common 1975

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Minute Man Marker Hudson Center Common

Shortly before midnight on April 18, 1775 a detachment of 800 British troops began their march from Boston to Lexington and Concord.  The word of the impending battle was immediately sent by mounted messengers throughout the country; including the Merrimack Valley and Nottingham West, a distance of about 40 miles.  Tradition says the news reached Nottingham West before noon of April 19 and mounted messengers again sent the word out to the various sections of our  town.  The message and the response was so quick that by that very same afternoon, 65 men equipped for war with muskets and ammunition had gathered at the Hudson Center Common ready to march to Lexington.  These men were organized under the command of Captain Samuel Greeley and awaited his orders.  The old military records are lost or destroyed but we do have the muster roll of this company of 65 men – all from Nottingham West.  These men  left for Lexington on the evening of April 19.
Before reaching their destination they were met by a courier who informed them of the retreat of the enemy.  The command returned to Nottingham West.  After this, many of these men enlisted in the army at Cambridge and at least 16 of them later fought at Bunker Hill in June of the same year.
Samuel Greeley was the oldest son of Samuel and Rachel Greeley.  In 1740, at the age of 19, he came to Nottingham West from Haverhill and settled with his father on the Greeley Farm.  This was a 200 acre farm just north of the Joseph Blodgett Garrison place on Lowell Road.  Samuel married Abigail Blodgett, daughter of Joseph and Dorothy (Perham) Blodgett of the Blodgett Garrison in May 1744.  He lived here until 1777, when at the age of 56, he and Abigail moved to Wilton; leaving the farm to his sons Joseph and Samuel.  He died in Wilton.  After his passing, his wife Abigail returned to town where she lived until the age of 95.  While in Nottingham West Samuel was Town Clerk for about 28 years and on the Board of Selectmen for 14 years.  He is remembered in our history as the Captain of the company of militia from Nottingham West who turned out 65 men as volunteers at the time of the Battle of Lexington April 19, 1775.
The Town Common at Hudson Center, originally about 2 acres of land, was used for many events including  training for the town militia, Old Home Day activities, Chautauqua Programs, and recreation. In the early 1960’s the State of New Hampshire built the present route 111 through the center of the Common and eastward to West Windham.  In 1962, the Board of Selectmen received a letter from the Hudson Fortnightly Club recommending that an historic marker commemorating the town’s minutemen be placed on that part of the Common which was not taken by the state for the highway.  This was done by the town in 1963.
On April 19, 1975, some 200 years after the Battle of Lexington and as part of the United States bi-centennial activities a wreath was placed at this monument.  For this event the carillon bells of the Baptist Church were played, and a floral wreath was placed by Phyllis Keeney, Selectman and a Past President of Fortnightly.  The floral wreath was made by club member Mrs. Florence Bogan.  Following the raising of the American Flag with color guards from Veteran’s Auxiliary and  Girl Scouts and  the singing of the National Anthem by Mrs. Bruce Cole, the Muster Roll of the 65 men was read by John Beaumont.  A benediction  and playing of God Bless America on the carillon bells closed the activities.  This marker is located at the point of land on the common near Kimball Hill Road  at the intersection with Central Street.  Photo from the Historical Society collection.