34-36 Old Derry Road

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34 Old Derry Road With Windmill

This farm at 34-36 Old Derry Road has been known by many names. To many it is Jasper Farms Annex #2; to others the George N. Dooley Farm; and still others the Stephen D.Greeley place or even the Henry Hills Farm. This is another of the farms which originated from Nathaniel Hills’ 900 undeveloped acres. It was first conveyed by Nathaniel to his oldest son Enoch (born March 1741 in Newbury). It is not clear if Enoch ever lived on the farm or in this town once he reached his majority (age 21). If he did it was before 1746 when the property was a part of Litchfield, MA. Before 1762 it was occupied by members of the John Marsh Family and Deacon Roger Chase. By 1762 it was occupied by Henry Hills, Jr who remained on this farm until he passed in October 1773. His father, Henry Hills, Sr was the middle of the 3 brothers (sons of Samuel and grandsons of Joseph, the immigrant ancestor). who built and settled at the garrison. Henry Sr. was the last member of the Hills family to own the garrison. He sold it to Roger chase. As it was common practice to dismantle a building and use the materials to build another, there is speculation that the dwelling at 36 Old Derry Road may contain pieces of the timbers used in the garrison.

At any rate, Henry Hills, Jr remained on this farm until he passed in October 1773. His widow Hannah and son William continued to live there. William (born 1754) occupied this place for many years–certainly until some time after 1804. It was later owned by Stephen D. Greeley (born 1811 a son of Moses Greeley) and then by George N. Greeley (born 1871) These two men, although a generations apart, had similar backgrounds. Both were farmers and both were active in town and state affairs. Each served as selectman and in the state legislature. In 1881 Greeley served on a committee to examine the wooden Taylor Falls bridge and recommend repair or rebuilt. The actions of this committee resulted in replacing the wooden covered bridge with the iron bridge. Likewise in 1909 Dooley served on a committee which coordinated the replacement of the iron bridge with the cement bridge.

George N. and Ella (Hadley) Dooley raised a family of 4 sons (Arthur, Walter, George H and Phillip) )and a daughter Ella. Growing up they attended the nearby No 9 School House then to Nashua for High School. From personal memoirs we know that George H rode his bicycle the 4 miles to attend High School in Nashua, graduating in 1936. . George N. passed in 1928 at the age of 57 the result of complications resulting from a farm accident. Ella and the family continued to live here until 1935 when the farm was sold to neighbor Grant Jasper who retrofitted existing and build new structures for his expanding poultry business. By 1940 Mrs. Ella Greeley and daughter Ella, sons George and Philip were living on Ferry Street.

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Farmhouse at 36 Old Derry Road

Our earliest photo shows the barn at Annex #2 after expansion from 3 stories to 4 stories with the windmill over the well. This windmill was built by George N Dooley and removed in 1958 by the Jasper Family. Our second photo shows the farmhouse C 1912. The first is courtesy of the Jasper Family and the second from the Town of Hudson records.

Nathaniel Hills, Jr Farm at 64 Old Derry Road

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C1830 Farmhouse on the Nathaniel Hills Farm C1945

Nathaniel Hills, Jr, a young man of 23 years, settled on this farm about 1739 when his father transferred some 50 acres of land to him. These acres were part of the 900 acres of unsettled land that Nathaniel Hills,Sr had purchased from Jonathan Tyng. References vary as to the size of Nathaniel,Jr’s family. Kimball Webster in his History of Hudson in indicates that Susan (Baldwin) and Nathaniel Hills, Jr raised a family of 7 girls and 5 boys. When Nathaniel, Jr passed ownership was transferred to his third son, Samuel (born 1769). Likewise, with the passing of Samuel in 1843 ownership passed to Abijah (born 1806) and later to his son Franklin Augustus (born 1846). It is interesting to note that Abijah Hills in 1846, by an act of Legislature, had the family name changed to Hill. Franklin Augustus was a dairy farmer. He and his wife Luelle had one child; a daughter Helen who passed at age 14. In 1926 Franklin’s widow sold the farm to their neighbor, Grant Jasper.

This farm had been home to 4 generations Hill(s); passing from father to son beginning with Nathaniel, Jr. The original dwelling place was replaced C1830; likely while the farm was owned by Samuel or Abijah. The earliest photo we have of this C1830 Farmhouse was taken by the Jasper Family C 1945.

This farm became Annex #1 of Jasper Poultry Farms. Poultry man Jasper expanded the business into this new space. The dairy barn was remodeled into a three-deck poultry barn only to be burned in 1933. A new poultry barn was added as well as other improvements including a breeding/brooding house. From 1935 to 1939 operations at Annex #1 increased rapidly. The C 1830 farmhouse was used as living quarters for the employees of Jasper Farms.

Disaster struck the farmhouse during the early morning of January 17, 1947 when a fire started from the flooding and explosion of an oil burner near the kitchen. The flames from this explosion destroyed the entire house. The family in residence lost all their belongings; but, fortunately escaped without injury. The fire spread so quickly that the telephone could not be reached. The family fled on foot for about 1/4 mile to a neighbor in sub-zero January weather. Our second photo show the 1830 farmhouse as a result of the fire. There is no way of knowing what Hills family records were destroyed with this fire.

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Results of Fire Which Destroyed Farmhouse Jan 1947

Little if any time was lost before rebuilding. The current house, as shown in our third photo, was immediately built using the old foundation.

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Farmhouse as Rebuilt C 1948

By 1972, under the management of Robert Jasper, Jasper Poultry Farms ceased operations. However his son, Shawn, reopened a small poultry business at the Annex #1 location from 1979 to 1983. The property remains a part of the Jasper Corporation. The buildings at 62-64 Old Derry Road have been transitioned to retail space for light industrial uses and storage units; this mostly under the management and hard work of Shawn Jasper.

This farm was located on or near the end of Nathaniel Hill’s 900 acres (which proved to be closer to 1600 when finally surveyed). Until 1733 it was within the boundaries of Dunstable, MA; then it was part of Nottingham, MA. In 1734 the town of Litchfield, MA was chartered and this property was within it’s bounds. When the state line between MA and NH was settled this parcel became a part of Londonderry, NH. It finally was annexed to Nottingham West (later Hudson) , NH in 1788. This brief history gives you an idea behind the difficulty one has when researching historical records. All photos are part of the Historical Society Collection; complements of the Jasper Family.

Jasper Poultry Farms … Home Farm 1939

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83 Old Derry 1939

Establishing himself in the poultry business Grant steadily expanded his flock, developed more efficient methods of production and built better houses for the poultry.  This success continued and his became the third largest poultry operation in New Hampshire.  All the while retaining the reputation as a friendly and honest business man.
By the mid 1920’s he expanded by purchasing the adjacent farm, now 62-64 Old Derry Road.  Over the next 15 years two additional farms were purchased.  The first at what is now 36-38 Old Derry Road and the next at 53 Old Derry. Grant  continued to use the name Mapleview Poultry Farm until the first expansion, at which time this  home farm became the headquarters of Jasper Poultry Farms.
Grant and Bernice raised a family of 2 boys (Robert and Forest) and 2 girls (Nancy and Dorothy).  Forest moved to Amherst where he operated a large poultry farm; Nancy moved to Anaheim, California.  Dorothy married David Crockett and they lived locally.  Robert  “Bob” remained at the farm working  with his father.  By 1941 he and his wife Reita moved into the house at 53 Old Derry Road.  Prior to his father’s passing in 1956, he took over the day to day operations of the farm, assisted by his brother-in-law, David.  Business increased, requiring a work force of 13 or 14 people in the late 1960’s. In the 1960’s as a means of increasing local business, he opened Jasper’s Stand on Route 102 opposite Connie’s Country Kitchen.  By 1970 production dropped and two years later Robert retired from poultry and closed down the farm and established  Tuckaway Campground and later a mobile home park.  Robert’s son Shawn did reopen a portion of the operation from 1979 to 1983. Like his father, Robert served as president of the NH Poultry Growers Association.  He  served on the School Board, representing them with the Budget Committee.  He was an Alvirne Trustee for 26 years.  Reita and Robert had a family of 1 son, Shawn, and a daughter, Maria (Jasper) VanderWoude.  Upon his passing in 2012, both the Hudson Town and School District Reports were dedicated to him.
Since the  poultry operation closed  in 1983 the  properties of the Jasper Family have transitioned into residential, storage, and retail space for light industries under the management and hard work of Shawn.  Shawn has a  calling for public service; he has served the Town of Hudson as a call firefighter, several terms on the Budget Committee and Board of Selectmen.  He also has many years of service as a State Legislature and is currently Speaker of The House of Representatives.  Shawn and his wife Laurie (Lyons) were married in 1992.  Shawn, Laurie, and their daughter Sarah, a recent graduate of The University of New Hampshire at Durham, reside at the home farmhouse of his grandparents.  Both Shawn and Laurie are active with the Historical Society.
Laurie is native to Andover, MA and a graduate of The University of Massachusetts at Lowell with a degree in English.  In 1999 she authored Images of America: Hudson, NH published by Arcadia Publishing.  More recently in 2015 she and Shawn co-authored Legendary Locals of: Hudson, NH also published by Arcadia.  She is a regular reporter for Hudson-Litchfield News.    One of her favorite activities is helping with the Hudson History Tours for the third-graders.
The photo is a 1939 view of the home farm from what is now Old Derry Road and is courtesy of the Jasper Family and now a part of the collection of the Historical Society.  

Jasper Family Homestead at 83 Old Derry Road

83 Old Derry Road has been home to five generations of the Jasper family.  It all began back in August 1916 when Grant Jasper, then a young man of 26, purchased a small poultry farm from Carlton C. Brain and moved here with his parents, Arthur and Sarah Jasper.
Grant was born in Amsterdam, NY

83 Old Derry 1919

Mapleside Poultry Farm 1919

and while a young child the family moved to Lowell, MA where he attended school and graduated from Lowell Textile School in 1912.  He worked as an apprentice in the textile industry and then as a weaver for 3 years.  His dad, Arthur, was also a weaver and known for his skilled craftsmanship.  Preferring to work out doors, Grant went to work at Lord Farm, a poultry farm in Methuen, MA.  He spent 20 months there, working and learning the basics of poultry farming.

From 1909 to 1916 Carlton Brain operated Mapleside Poultry Farm on Derry Road (now Old Derry Road) in Hudson.  With failing health he sold his home, out buildings, a truck, 300 leg horns, and a row of Maple trees in front of the house to Grant Jasper for $6,000 and moved to California.   By 1917 Grant and Bernice Louise Fall, a former secretary at Lord Farm, were married.  Our first photo shows the house and barn with the wood and carriage sheds which connect them.  Along what was then a dirt Derry Road is a  beautiful stone wall. This photo was taken in 1919 by Carlton Brain.  Prior to 1909 and ownership by Carlton Brain this property was owned by a number of individuals.  The earliest known being Fredrick Peabody a blacksmith from Pelham who purchased from Nathan and Abigail Andrews in 1829.  It is likely that prior to that this property was a part of Londonderry which was annexed to Nottingham West in 1778.
Establishing himself in the poultry business Grant steadily expanded his flock, developed more efficient methods of production and built better houses for the poultry.  This success continued over the next 30 years and his became the third largest poultry operation in New Hampshire.  All the while retaining the reputation as a friendly and honest business man.
By 1922 he expanded by purchasing the adjacent farm, now 62-66 Old Derry Road.  Over the next 22 years two additional farms were purchased.  The first at what is now 34-36 Old Derry Road and the next at 53 Old Derry.  Jasper Poultry Farms continued to operate for two additional generations.  First with the leadership of Grant’s son Robert “Bob” assisted by his brother-in-law David Crockett; and later by grandson Shawn who continues the management of The Jasper Properties to the current time.  Our second photo shows the home farmhouse C1950 as home to Grant and Bernice Jasper.
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Home of Grant and Bernice Jasper C 1950

The photos shown here are courtesy of the Jasper Family and a part of the collection of the Historical Society.  In the up coming weeks  we will be sharing the history of other properties along Old Derry Road, including those annexed by Grant Jasper as he enlarged  Jasper Poultry farms.

Some Ancient History of the Hill Family of Hudson


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.

Aerial View Derry Road 1977

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Aerial View Derry Road 1977

This 1977 aerial photo of  Derry Road was taken from behind the 20th Century Shopping Center (Now 102 Plaza) looking easterly such that  we see Saint Pattrick’s Cemetery, McDonalds, and Hudson Mall across the two-lane Derry Road.
As plans for the new bridge(s) across the Merrimack River evolved in the 1960’s businesses and homes near the old  Taylor Falls Bridge were slated for demolishion.  This included 20th Century Store, White Cross, Hudson Pharmacy,  along with other businesses, apartments, and homes.  Phil Lamoy, owner of the 20th Century Stores announced plans to build a shopping center on the Derry Road; ground breaking on the 25 acre parcel took place in July 1969.  His site included the location of the former Goodwin’s Fried Clam Stand.  Goodwin’s, a popular clam stand and restaurant,  had been located hear since 1931.  By 1970 Lamoy had moved his 20th Century Hudson store into this center which provided retail space for a drug store, beauty shop, barber shop, and restaurant along with a large parking area.  By 1977 the 20th Century Store had given way to Bargain Outlet.  The center went by the name of 20th Century but the store itself was no longer doing business in Hudson.
By August 1970 the president of The Bank of NH (formerly the Second National Bank and now TD Bank) announced the purchase of a spot on the northern part of the 20th Century Center for a branch office.  Just north of the bank was Quigley’s CITGO gas station which began operation about 1972.  This Citgo has morphed over the years into the Mobil Station.    North of the gas station where we now have a Dunkin Donuts and the roadway to Abbott Farms Condominiums we see no development.
Development of Hudson Mall on the opposite side of the road occurred a few years later.  This was the site of Abbott Dairy, operated initially and for many years by George Abbott.  After his sudden death in 1929 his sons Roland and Kenneth ran the milk business.  Local dairy farmers would deliver their milk for processing after which milk and cream were delivered to homes and businesses in the Nashua and Hudson area.  After Roland’s death in 1964, “Kenny” carried on until the property was sold for the new Hudson Mall.  Prior to 1968 the west side of Derry Road near Quigley’s station had been home to Roland and Hazel Abbott and their family.  On the east side, adjacent to Abbott Dairy, was the home of Kenneth and Hilda Abbott and their family.
In 1973 Vickery Realty, owner and developer, publicized their plans to build Hudson Shopping Mall on the east side of Derry Road, just north of St. Patrick’s Cemetery.  The original mall was a multi-million dollar complex of a climate controlled, enclosed sidewalk mall with a large Alexander’s Super Market on the north end.  Alexanders opened for business in 1974; other smaller stores and First Federal Bank soon followed.   By May 1977 McDonald’s Restaurant was added as a stand alone business.
Significant changes have occurred over the years.  In 1988 the Post Office was relocated to this mall.  In 1990 Alexander’s supermarket (now Hannafords) moved up in size and relocated to the south end of the Mall.  At about the same time, the mall itself was modified to eliminate the interior sidewalk.  The space occupied by the original Alexanders has been re-configured into a number of retail spaces.
This photo, from the Historical Society Collection,  was taken for preparation of the publication of Town In Transition.

Hudson Center From Kimball Hill 1946

Hudson Center from School 1946

Hudson Center from School 1946

Traveling down Kimball Hill Road in 1946 one paused in front of the Hudson Center School for this photo of Hudson Center.  Moore’s General Store, at the base of the cemetery and at the intersection of Hamblett Avenue and Kimball Hill Road, began operation about 1925 when Earl “Dinty” Moore purchased the store and house from Harvey Lewis.  At the time Earl Moore was a rural mail carrier for Hudson but his family helped with the operation of the store.  Harvey Lewis had operated a general store at this location since about 1888.
The large, 2 story home in the foreground was home to Earl and Vesta Moore and their family.  Behind the house to the left you can see  the  general store. Parking was limited to along the streets and the short driveway between the store and the house.  Ownership of the store passed from Earl to his son Kenneth.  Later, Kenneth’s brother-in-law Morillo Post entered the business.   After Morillo passed, the business was sold to David and Robert Thompson, both of whom grew up nearby on Hamblett Avenue and had worked for the Moore Family in previous years.  The Thompson Brothers operated the store at this location until November 1969 when fire badly damaged the building.  Rather than rebuild on this site the Thompsons relocated their business to 230 Central Street, now the location of the 7-11.
This property was rebuilt to a smaller size and then rented and later sold.  It is now the location of the ever popular Kahil’s sub and sandwich shop.  You may ask what became of the Moore family residence?  At some point in time it was moved across the street and up the hill slightly to what is now 9 Kimball Hill Road.  This allowed for some parking and permitted the town to widen the streets.
Hudson Center from School 2017

Hudson Center 2017

Looking at the rest of the photo, we see Hamblett Avenue looking toward Wattannick Grange.  Also, beyond the cemetery are the Baptist Church and the church parsonage.  At the time of this photo, this was home to Jessie (Wentworth) Gilbert. As a point of
comparison we have included a photo of that same location in 2017.The mailbox and driveway on the left are for 9 Kimball Hill Road, the current location of the Moore home.
Photo courtesy of Esther McGraw and a part of the collection of the Historical Society.