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Hillside View Farm 1910

                                       Hillside View Farmhouse 1910

This week’s piece of history is based upon this 1910 post card of Hillside View Farm which was owned and operated by William H. Youlden. He purchased his farm in June 1908 from Lizzie E. Emerson and moved there with his wife Mary (Robinson)(Mason) Youlden and son, Henry Webster age 6, and daughter, Eleanor age 5. His 40 acre farm was located on Webster Street, bounded on the west by the Merrimack River, on the north by land of George Hill or his descendants, and on the south by Elizia Thomas or his descendants. There were rights of right of way through his property for Webster Street (often called Litchfield Road) and for the electric street railway (trolley) which provided travel from the Taylor Falls bridge to Goffs Falls and on to Manchester. This railway had been in operation since January 1907. The house with attached ell and barn was on the west side of and facing Webster street on a slight knoll overlooking a view of the pasture and river.

Mary (Robinson) Mason and William H. Youlden were married at Somerville, MA in March 1901. He was native to Massachusetts. She was a native to Hudson being a daughter of Noah Otis and Everline (Howe) Robinson. Before moving to Hillside View Farm they lived in Mass. I am not sure of the exact origin of the name Hillside View Farm. The farm is located on land that was a part of the 900 acres that Nathanial Hills purchased from Jonathan Tyng before 1733. His descendants, including George Hill lived on Nathaniel’s parcel for many years. This fact, plus the view from the house across the pasture toward the river likely accounts for the name.

William H. Youlden was a breeder and seller of hogs. He also raised and sold hens. While researching for this article I found numerous classified ads in the Nashua Telegraph aimed at selling hogs and hens to the locals. One added selling point was the ability to take the trolley from Nashua across the Taylor Falls bridge and continue north to Hillside View Farm. By early September 1913 William had sold his stock of hogs and hens and gone to the Boston area to engage in the trucking and moving business. His family remained in Hudson for a while. About one year later his farm on Webster street was sold to Ashton Brown and within a few months he and his family moved to Winthrop, MA. William passed in December 1923 at the age of 61. He was laid to rest with his parents in Evergreen Cemetery in East Barnstable, MA.

Soon after moving to Hudson in 1908 Mary along with her son Henry Webster and daughter Eleanor became active in the Sunday School and affairs of the Methodist Church here in Hudson. Mary was active with the ladies guild of that church and on at least one occasion entertained the ladies in her home at Hillside View Farm. She spent her later years living with family in Somerville, MA. She passed in March 1942 at 70 years of age and was laid to rest with her parents in Westview Cemetery here in Hudson.

                                The Farmhouse 2019

After being sold by William H. Youlden in 1914 the property was sold a number of times; remaining as a 40 acre parcel until the early 1950’s. It appears there was some interest in the owners to cut and sell cordwood from the property. This was a common practice in the earlier years as property taxes were more reasonable. One could harvest the wood for sale, pay the taxes, and still make a modest profit. As early as 1950 the farm pasture on the west side of the street (towards the river) and the east side (containing the farmhouse and barn) were sold separately. This process of subdividing by various owners continued. At the present time the farmhouse has become a 2 family house at what is now 219 Webster Street. As a point of comparison we share the photo from the town accession records. The attached shed and barn are no longer present but the basic house can be identified. The 1910 photo of the farmhouse is from the Historical Society collection complements of Jerry Winslow.

Webster Street looking North C 1920

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Webster St North from Ferry St C 1920

In 1893 the horse drawn trolley line from Nashua came across the Taylor Falls Bridge and ended at the Hudson side of the bridge.  Hudson businessmen and residents encouraged the transit company to extend the line further into the streets of town.  By 1895 the line was reorganized as an electric railway and the line extended into Hudson on Central Street, and down Lowell Road.  At the same time the iron bridge, built 14 years earlier was repaired and strengthened to withstand the extra weight of the engines and the increased traffic.
In 1902 a second  line was extended onto Ferry Street to Hudson Center and then on to Pelham and Salem.  In 1907 a third line was completed also traveling on the bridge into Post Office Square.  Rather than continuing on Ferry Street this line made a sharp turn northward along Webster Street towards Manchester.  Some of the tracks for this line were on the street right of way but many ran off road in open fields or wooded areas.  A trip from Taylor Falls Bridge to Manchester took 45 minutes and the fare was 20 cents.
A business area developed near the bridge.  As you crossed from Nashua you could take a left onto Ferry or a right onto Central Street.  If you turned left  there was a business block on your left known as Martin (later Connell) Block.  This was an apartment building and location of Daniels and Gilbert Grain and Grocery,  Later this was location of a small garage and the 20th Century Store.  After passing this block one came to Webster Street, a left turn from Ferry Street.  In the late 1960’s, to make way for the construction of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge (northern span) this entire block and other buildings in the area were demolished.  The northern span was built just north of the old Taylor Falls Bridge at about the same location as this Martin Block.  A a result  in Webster Street ending at a turn around at the Ferry Street end.  Today you can exit from Ferry onto Webster; but cannot enter Ferry from Webster Street.
In the early 1900’s Hudson had a police court  with George W. Clyde and Nathaniel Wentworth acting as judges.  There was a small grainery on the bank of the Merrimack River off Webster Street which also served as a house of detention (jail) for individuals until they were released or transported to Nashua for longer stays and more secure accommodations.

This brings us to this week’s photo of Webster Street, looking north, just after the intersection with Ferry Street C 1920.  Along the left of Webster Street are the  tracks of the trolley which went north to Manchester.  Think of the sharp turn the trolley car(s) made after leaving the bridge, stopping at the transfer station to leave and/or pick up passengers, then making the turn onto Webster street and heading north.

The small building on the left is the grainery which history tells us was also used as the local jail.  You may ask what became of the jail?  According to the Town Report for the year ending 1918 the town paid Law and Ingham $13.00 to move a safe and cells.  Did not state where they were moved from or to.  Also, a brief article in the February 19, 1918 edition of the Nashua Telegraph tells us that a young man named Roland Abbott had plans to repair and remodel the building and use it as a club house for the young people of Hudson.  It is doubtful that this club house ever became a reality.  We do know the building was later moved to Ferry Street, placed on a foundation and used as part of the dwelling at what is now 88 Ferry Street. At the time of this move the property was owned by Nathen Cummings.  Some residents of today may remember it as the home of Clayton and Victoria Smith.  Photo from the Historical Society Collection.

Plane Crash of June 17, 1928

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Plane Crash Ferryall Field June 17, 1928

Sunday, June 17, 1928 began as a pleasant, slightly windy day at Ferryall Field in Hudson.  Among those present at the airfield was George “Chappy” Lennox, a 24 year old licensed aviator with a recently purchased American eagle type plane.  It had been flown several times the preceding week and had just returned from a short test run.  By all involved and observing at the field, the plane was running perfectly.  “Chappy” and the plane were set to fly and provide passenger rides over the Hudson/Nashua area.  Also present were two well known residents of Nashua; each hoping to be on the first passenger trip of the day.  Marcel Theriault, age 43, and Miss Kathryn L. Thomas, age 22 were engaged in a friendly discussion as to who would be the first passenger of the day.  Mr. Theriault yielded to chilvery and offered that Miss Thomas ride first.  She, out of respect, offered that he ride first.  They settled the discussion by agreeing to both be passengers on the first flight of the day.
 
Kathryn Thomas was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Thomas of Nashua.  He was a prominent official with the Boston and Maine Railroad and a friend of the Theriault Family.  Present with her at the airfield were a brother and her fiance Dr. Linwood Farrington of Lowell.
 
Marcel Theriault was native to New Brunswick, Canada and moved to Nashua at a young age.  After graduating law at Boston University in 1914 he entered into a partnership with a Nashua firm.  He left the partnership in 1920 and worked in Concord for a time and then returned to Nashua and purchased Riverside Farm (later Hayward Farm), one of the largest in the state.  Present with him at the airfield was his youngest son, Albert then age 15.
 
Both passengers wore helmets and flying goggles.  His was of canvas and hers of black felt.  The pilot drove the plane to the south corner of the field so as to take advantage of its entire length during take-off.  At a height of 50-100 feet the pilot saw flames in the cockpit and quickly  and intentionally banked the plane in an attempt to bring it down in adjacent ploughed ground.  The plane struck the ground head on.  The pilot leaped from the plane and then returned to it in an attempt to help the passengers.  The flames drove him away and he rolled to the ground to smother the fire which had ignited his clothing.  “Chappy” was taken to the hospital in Nashua in a nearby auto. He remained hospitalized in critical condition for some time.
 
Death to the passengers came in an instant.  The plane was immediately engulfed in flames when gasoline from the tank ignited and consumed the plane down to its steel framework.  This accident and death of two well known Nashua residents shocked both communities.  Mr. Theriault, a former lawyer and state senator, chose to be burried on his Riverside Farm on Broad Street.  In 1965, after a recent purchase and proposal for a shopping center, the Theriault family removed his remained from the secluded gravesite to Pine Knoll Cemetery in Hannover. 
 
Hudson Police Chief, Harry J. Connell was early at the scene.  Based upon his and other  investigations the tragedy was declared an unavoidable accident.  
 
The account of this accident appeared in the June 18, 1928 edition of the Nashua Telegrph.  Oddly enough, that same paper and the same page, told readers of Amelia Earharts’ flight over the Atlantic – being the first girl to accomplish such a flight.
 
This weeks photo shows the burned remains of the American eagle type plane at Farryall Field.  Behind the remains are James A. Sherlock, Harry J. Connell, and Fred Mears.  This photo and the newspaper article are a recent addition to our collection at the Historical Society.

 

Ferryall/Rowell Homestead C 1900

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Ferryall/Rowell Homestead Litchfield Road C 1900

This fine victorian home on Webster Street was erected in 1894 by George P. Woodward.  After a few years Mr. Woodward moved to Lowell, MA and by 1912 this home and the surrounding farm was owned by Abraham Ferryall.  It was home to Abraham and his wife Marslene; their son Fred and his wife Angelina (Salival) and their 10 year old daughter Zoula.  Abraham passed in 1915 and ownership of the house farm passed to Fred Ferryall.  Going back in history, this farm was part of the 500 acre land parcel granted to Joseph Hills in 1661.   
 
Much of the Ferryall Farm was located on the west side of Webster Street and bordered on the Merrimack River.  This intervale land was some of the best agricultural land in New Hampshire.  Despite this, the Ferryall Farm is noted in history for the various civic activities, local and national, which occurred here.
 
During World War I which the United States entered in 1917, Mr and Mrs Fred Ferryall donated the use of a  field as a landing place for airplanes and seaplanes which landed on the Merrimack River.  This land, known as Ferryall Field, was approved by the US Government as a landing place, and was placed on government maps.  Following the war use of this field continued as an airfield for the Nashua area until the Nashua airport was established in 1934.   This field was used to charter passengers for Nashua and area businesses, transport animals for Benson’s Animal Farm, as a pilot training school, and even as a recreational site for the flying circus. Fred Connell, well known from Hudson’s past, learned to fly in 1929 at the Manchester Airport.  He flew in and out of Ferryall Field carrying many residents on their first plane ride; air fair being set at a ‘cent a pound’.  These events  became so popular that a second plane was added.  At one time as many as 500 cars were parked on the field.  In June of 1928 there was a serious and fatal air crash at Ferryall Field.  The story of this event will be the subject of next week’s Remember Hudson When…
 
In 1923 Zoula Ferryall and Harold Clinton Rowell were married in Nashua and in 1925 their son Clifford was born.  The Rowell family lived for a time in Nashua.  In 1932 their son Fred was born.  At the time of the 1940 census Mrs Rowell and her 2 sons were living on Derry Road and she was employed as a secretary for the US forest service.
 
During World War II the donated use of the Ferryall property continued.  Mr. and Mrs. Fred Ferryall donated the use of part of their home for a Government Observation post. This post was manned twenty-four hours a day by civic minded Hudson citizens.  Among those who volunteered were Mr and Mrs Ferryall, their daughter Zoula Rowell.  Her son Clifton was Chief Observer and organized volunteers; those listed above plus Kendall Oliver, Gordon French, Vincent Rigg, and Mary Laflame a domestic employed by the Ferryall family.  Later the American Legion Auxiliary arranged for additional volunteers.  Any and all planes seen or heard were reported immediately via phone to a government number; giving direction of flight, where sighted or heard, and type of plane if possible.  This information was also logged for future reference.  A room in the house which had a separate entrance was furnished for the comfort of the observers.  The use of the phone, heat, and electricity was also donated.
 
The Ferryall/Rowell family donated the use of a section of the farm adjacent to the river to the government for army maneuvers.  The men camped and carried out their training which included the building of a temporary bridge across the Merrimack. During some of these years the Rowell family lived on Derry Road and used the Webster Street home as a summer home.  
 
Post WWII and as our town grew donated use of the family homestead continued.  The home was  the first or temporary Rectory and office for St. John’s Church until a permanent rectory was built.  Use of the field was also donated to the parish for their annual carnival.
 
Later Mrs. Rowell lived there with her son Fred.  When Mrs. Rowell passed, the homestead passed to her two sons.  After the death of Fred, the land and buildings were sold and the Sparkling River development began.
 
Through the years Zoula Rowell volunteered much of her time and energy to her town.  What stands foremost in my memory are the many hours spent as a member of the Historical Committee of Hudson Fortnightly and later as Chairman of the House Committee of The Historical Society which restored the Hills House for use as a museum of Hudson’s history.  Her sons Clifford and Fred were also active in town.  Clifton was a partner in an electrical business, Rowell and Miller, which had their office adjacent to the family homestead on Webster Street.  He later had a catering business ‘The Shop’ in the same location.  
 
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Ferryall/Rowell Homestead Litchfield Road C 1900

This photo is part of the Historical Society collection; being donated by an unknown donor.

Garrison Farm at 187 Webster Street

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Garrison Farm at 187 Webster

While researching the initial location of the Hills Garrison Marker for last week’s photo, I was reminded of this aerial photo of The Garrison Farm at 187 Webster Street.  The garrison marker was placed by Kimball Webster  in the open field a short distance east (to the right) and down the farm road between the barns. At that time, in 1902, this farm of about 60 acres was owned by Justin M. Sleeper and  operated by himself and his son-in-law Joseph Howard Legallee.
Earlier and following some medical issues Joseph Howard  Legallee could no longer continue his work as a paper hanger.  It was decided that he and his father-in-law Justin M. Sleeper would go into farming together.  In 1891 Sleeper purchased a farm from John M. Thompson on what is now the Marsh Road.  This farm later became the Marsh Place and the site of the present golf course.  Joseph Howard Legallee, his wife Eva, their 2 year old son Howard Sleeper Legallee  and his father-in-law Justin Sleeper moved  to Hudson.  By 1900 they sold the Marsh Road farm and purchased the Hill(s)  Farm of about 60 acres on Webster Street at the intersection with Derry Lane.  This farm included 20 tillable acres and a house in need of repair.  The farm fields were in the river valley and extended on both sides of Webster Street.  On the west they stretched to the river bank.  On the east was the house, pasture for the family cows, and a year-round brook which provided a gravity fed water source for the family home, the farm, as well as water source to the Ferryall Farm (later the Rowell Farm and now Sparkling River) as well as The Hardy Place at the end of Elm Avenue (now the home of Dr. and Mrs. Brody). The Sleeper/Legallee family remained on and expanded the farm operation for 3 generations until about 1950 when the farm was sold to Colby Brothers.
As a  farm it changed hands one more time about 1959 when it was operated by George Colby, Jr and Taze “Mac” McPherson.  This weeks photo was taken some time after 1959 but before George and “Mac” built the Garrison Farm Stand just south of the farmhouse.  The farm stand became a ready source for locally grown produce.  By the late 1980’s and into 1990 subdivision of the farm occurred.  The west field became a residential development (Scenic Lane and Shoreline Drive) and the east side became both residential and commercial.  Currently a small convenience store and landscaping business has developed from the farm stand.
Prior to the 1900 purchase by Sleeper/Legallee this farm takes its roots back to 1661 as it was the northern most part of the land granted to Joseph Hills by the Province of Mass.  Joseph willed this northern parcel of about 89 acres to his son Samuel.  In turn 3 of Samuel’s’ sons – Nathaniel Henry, and James built a garrison and settled here about 1710.  It remained a Hill(s) farm until 1900.
A number of Hudson locals remember the farm stand under ownership of George and “Mac”.  As owners they continued to truck produce to markets but also marketed their produce locally.  A few residents may even remember the ownership of Howard Legallee, his wife Phoebe, and their daughters Shirley, Beth, and Frances.   It was Howard Legallee who transitioned the farm from a family dairy farm into a productive market garden.  This began as early as 1913 when Howard completed a special course in agriculture at UNH Durham.  He specialized in potatoes and later potatoes and sweet corn.  One year his production reached 4500 bushels of potatoes.  With the addition of irrigation and the proper storage barn he was able to sell potatoes year round.
Legallees Potatoes 1939 Small

Legallees Float 1939 Parade

Foremost in what I have read was their participation in the 1939 Old Home Day parade with a huge potato pulled on a flat bed trailer by Howard on his John Deere tractor.  The family worked together on this float; constructing a potato from canvas, colored brown with eyes, sewn into the shape of  a potato and stuffed with hay. Both photos from the Historical Society Collection.

Hills Garrison Marker

Hills Marker

Hills Garrison Marker

Four garrisons were built within the town of Nottingham, MA as a protection against the Indians at the start of or during the time of Lovewell’s War.  A garrison consisted of a two-story dwelling surrounded by a stockade style fence with one opening.  The second story of the dwelling extended out over the first story so the settlers could look down and fire upon any intruders below.
The earliest and most northerly of these garrisons was settled about 1710 on land then owned by Samuel Hills of Newbury, MA and settled by three of his sons, Nathaniel,  Henry, and James.  Kimball Webster, town historian, determined the location of the Hills garrison and placed a granite boulder to mark the location in 1901.  This marker was originally placed 25 rods east (412 feet)  of the Litchfield Road on a farm then owned by Joseph H. LeGalee.  Often called Garrison Farm, this farm remained in the LeGalee family for three generations and became a large market garden; it was  later operated by Colby Brothers.  The stone marker was easily accessible and visible to those working in the fields.  As progress occurred and the use of the fields changed to industrial there was concern over the safety of the marker and it’s interference with the development of the area.
In 2008 when Hills Garrison School was completed and so named, the marker was removed from the Garrison Farm location. The photo of the Hills Garrison Marker shown here was taken at its present location along the entry road to Hills Garrison School.  There is a mystery about this marker for which I do not have an answer.  Three brothers, Nathaniel, Henry, and James built and settled in the garrison about 1710; however, Kimball Webster when he erected the marker only mentions the older 2 brothers, Nathaniel and Henry.  Why was James omitted?  Could it be because at the time he was just a lad of about 13 years of age?
The Hills Garrison was built upon a 45 acre parcel which Samuel Hills had inherited from his father Joseph in 1688; a part of Joseph’s original 500 acre grant from the province of Massachusetts.  Neither Joseph or Samuel settled on their land. But, the ensuing families of Nathaniel, Henry, and James became the foundation of all the Hills development and family in Hudson and many of the surrounding towns. Photo from the Historical Society collection.