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.