Story Behind Nottingham West Elementary
Hudson’s Nottingham West Elementary School off of Lowell Road on Pelham Road, was built on Jacques Field. This property was purchased by the Hudson School District in 1966 in order to assure the town of a future school location. Some 23 years later Nottingham West Elementary was ready for occupancy.
Alfred A. Jacques, native to Lowell, and Yvonne I Rodier, native to Nashua, were married in Nashua October 1924. Soon thereafter they moved to Hudson and raised their family of a daughter and two sons. Their daughter Denise was born in Hudson April 1927 and passed at the age of 9 in November 1936. Their sons were Alfred E. born July 1931 and Paul E. born August 1943. When they first moved to Hudson they likely lived with his parents on Lowell Road. By March 1938 they purchased their 20 acre farm on Pelham Road from Eva Kashulines. Here the family remained until 1966 when the property was sold to the Hudson School District. Alfred A. was a farmer and operated a market garden until about 1977 when he was employed by F. H. Bailey and Sons Inc in Nashua, a large florist and flower grower. After selling their property Alfred and Yvonne retired to Orange City, FL. He passed away there on Jan 11, 1969 at the age of 72. He was laid to rest in the family lot of St. Francis Zavier cemetery in Nashua.
By the late 1960’s Hudson Memorial School on Thorning Road, a middle school, was in full use and an addition had been approved by the Hudson voters. In 1970 and again in 1971 voters defeated attempts to hire an architect to develop plans for an elementary school on Jacques field. In 1972 the attempt was successful as voters approved $32,000 for architect drawings for this school.
By the mid 1970’s a number of big changes had occurred in Hudson. Alvirne was destroyed by fire and rebuilt. Enrollment at St. John’s school on Library Street was on the decline and the school was scheduled to close by June 1975. The St. John’s and Hudson School Boards worked together on a transition plan. After leasing the school from the Diocese for a year Hudson purchased the property in March 1977 and renamed it Library Street Elementary School. The purchase cost was $615,000; a big savings over the cost of new construction. This removed the pressure to plan for and approve construction at Jacques field.
As school growth continued, the need became reality and additional classroom space was necessary. At the 1988 School District Meeting voters were asked to approve the construction of two 600 pupil schools of identical design. One school on the Pelham Road site and the second on Derry Road opposite Alvirne High School on the former Morey property. Included in this plan was 1/2 day Kindergarten, converting Webster School to SAU office space, and transferring Library Street School to the town. The cost of this plan was $12.57 million. There was also an option to enlarge each school to 800 pupils for an additional $1.23 million.
The March 25, 1988 Annual School District meeting was the largest and liveliest on record as some 850 voters met in the Memorial School Auditorium. After much heated discussion the plan was amended and later approved to build 1 800 pupil school at a cost of $7.3 million. Kindergarten, Webster school and Library Street School changes were not part of the approved plan. Construction was quickly started with a scheduled opening of September 1989. During August 1989 the School Board officially adopted the name Nottingham West Elementary in recognition of our town’s former name. The schedule was met and the school was in use at the beginning of September. An open house was held on October 5, 1989 where 1,000 townspeople viewed their new 800 pupil school. At that time the actual enrollment was 600 pupils.
At the close of the first school year on June 21, 1990 at 9:30 am the students burred a time capsule containing first year memorabilia. This capsule was to be dug up in 10 years at the same time of the day. I am not aware of what was found in the capsule. If any of you readers know, please let me know by sending email to HudsonHistorical@live.com.
In the fall of 1993 the gym at Nottingham West was dedicated to the memory of Barbara Hamilton, much appreciated recreational director for Hudson. Barbara passed suddenly in early September at the age of 46. The dedication plaque in Barbara’s memory is shown in our second photo. Within the school this plaque is mounted on a wall surrounded by individual tiles made by students of Nottingham West in 1993.
Today Nottingham West is one of four elementary schools in Hudson. Grades 2 – 5 are split between this school and Hills Garrison School on Derry Road. In addition all preschool sessions are held at Nottingham West. The school colors are navy blue and gold and the mascot is the wildcat. Thanks to the staff of Nottingham West Elementary for the photos. Written by Ruth Parker this article was published in the September 6, 2020 edition of The Telegraph.
Hudson’s Boston Post 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.
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.
Story Behind H. O. Smith Elementary
Have you ever wondered about the history behind the H. O. Smith Elementary School and the family background of Dr. Smith?
During the dedication of the Hudson Junior High School on November 5. 1939 long time School Board Member Dr. H.O. Smith provided a brief educational history of Hudson. The first school in town dates to 1766 when 15 pounds was voted by the citizens of Nottingham West for education. Five years later the sum was reduced to eight pounds and during the Revolutionary War no sum of money was allocated for that purpose. The town was divided into ten districts with each district responsible to provide a location for class and salary for the teacher. Since, for the most part, pupils walked to school these districts divided the town by residential groupings and the school house conveniently located within each district. At first private homes were used for classrooms.
The first school building was built in 1806 at or near the crest of Kimball Hill. This was district #5, known as the Center District, Other district buildings were built and soon after 1810 there were 10 district houses located in town.
Not until 1847 were the number of pupils recorded. At that time there were 346 pupils and the education costs totaled $433; approximately $1.25 per pupil! The teaching staff consisted of men and women. Men were typically hired for the winter months and women for the summer months. Men teachers received between $16 and $18 per month which was significantly more than the salary for a woman teacher. There was a town wide committee which reviewed the qualifications of and issued certificates for the teachers.
This concept of local management of the schools continued until 1885 when the town voted to operate as a single district and the first School Board consisting of Kimball Webster, Dr David O. Smith, and Daniel Gage was selected. Hudson was one of the few towns to adopt this system before it became a state requirement. Under the town system use of the local schools were continued; they were phased out over time as new or expanded facilities were available.
By 1935 all Hudson pupils in grades 1-8 were educated at either Kimball Webster School at the bridge or at a school at Hudson Center. Webster was built as a 4 room house in 1896 and later expanded to 8 in 1921. At the Center the D.O. Smith School was built in 1896 as a 2 room house on Windham Road. This school was destroyed by fire in 1907 and replaced by the Hudson Center School on Kimball Hill Road. Pupils in grades 9-12 were educated in Nashua with Hudson paying the tuition,
The completion of the Hudson Junior High School on School Street in 1939 near First Street provided 6 classrooms, an auditorium/gym, manual and domestic arts, an office, and a large study room. Upon graduation pupils would be eligible to attend any high school in the state. Hudson contracted with Nashua High School.
At the final assembly In June 1940 of the Hudson Junior High school there occurred a special ceremony which is remember to this day my members of Dr. H.O. Smith’s family, Dr. Smith was invited to come to this assembly and to bring his son and grandchildren with him so they might see the new school. The doctor was visibly overcome with emotion when his granddaughter, Elizabeth, unveiled a portrait of him at the climax of the program. This portrait was a gift to the school from a group of Hudson citizens as a tribute to Dr. Smith’s interest and dedication to the education and well being of the people of Hudson. The portrait was placed in a prominent place in the upper hallway of the school. It was attractively set in a walnut frame made by Bertram Tardif, Manual Arts teacher of the school. The wood for the frame originated from a discarded piano from the Hudson Center School. Placed there in 1940 it remains to this day. Accompanying Dr. Smith on that day was his son Dr. Deering Smith of Nashua and his granddaughter Elizabeth Deering Smith and grandson Robert Greeley Smith.
Dr. Henry Onslow Smith was born in Hudson December 1864. After graduating Nashua High School he attended Dartmouth college for two years and then entered Bellevue Hospital Medical college in New York. After completing his studies and a year of residency he returned to Hudson at the age of 24 in 1888 to begin his 57 year medical practice. In 1940 he was granted a degree of bachelor of arts by the Board of Trustees at Dartmouth college. In May 1945, after completing a house call for one of his patients, he passed suddenly.
Many knew him as Dr. Harry or as Dr. H.O. He was devoted to his medical profession and also to the education and affairs of the people of Hudson. One tribute to him stated “Dr. Smith himself was never old in spirit.” He greeted all ages as if they were his friends. He welcomed new residents and kept in touch with his old friends. He had a respect for the past and found great pleasure in genealogy and town and state history. I have a personal respect for Dr. H. O. when I reach for a book at the historical society which came from his personal library; often times finding annotations in his own handwriting which offer corrections or updating of the material written in the book.
Dr. Harry came from a family of physicians and educators. His father, Dr. David O. Smith was also a lifelong physician in Hudson and he served on Hudson’s first School Board. His brother Dr. Herbert L. Smith and his son Dr. Deering G. Smith practiced in Nashua. Two uncles from his mother’s family were also doctors. His father, Dr. David O. and his grandfather Alvan Smith served on the school committee. His parents were both school teachers in Hudson. In fact David O. Smith earned most of his money for his medical expenses by teaching a private school.
In 1951, after the completion of Alvirne the Junior High building was repurposed and dedicated as H. O. Smith Elementary.
Hudson is unique in that two physicians David O. and Henry O. Smith, father and son each served on the school board and each had a school named in their honor. It has been said and I will repeat it: Dr. Harry and the role he and his family played in Hudson cannot be matched. Thank you Doctors! These photos are from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society. Research and written by Carol Flewelling and Ruth Parker. Published in Nashua Telegraph June 28, 2020.
The farm homes and productive farm fields along Lowell Road, coupled with the street railroad (trolley) operating between Nashua and Lowell, bolstered a cottage industry of guest houses and country resorts along Lowell Road in Hudson during the early 1900’s. By 1895 the Lowell and Suburban Street Railway from Nashua was extended down Lowell Road to connect with the line at Lakeview in Tyngsborough. This provided inexpensive, pleasant, and relatively rapid public transportation from Nashua, through Hudson and on to Lowell and the Boston area. By 1913 this line was in its hayday and offered frequent travel daily along this route. Within a few years as more and more residents operated autos the use of the trolley diminished. Operating at a loss these lines were discontinued about 1931.
Some Hudson residents opened their homes as guest houses during the summer months; providing opportunities for city dwellers to spend vacation time where they could enjoy the rural, cooler farm life of Hudson and still have access to home and easy travel to Nashua, Manchester, and sites in the mountains. One such guest house “The Poplars” was operated by Mrs. Alfereta Joan (Batchelder) Dustin.
Alfereta was born in Hudson November 1853; her parents were Lydia (Steele) and Mark Batchelder. She married Washington Franklin Dustin of Antrim, NH February 1876 here in Hudson. They had three children, one of whom died young due to a heart condition. Sons Mark Willis and Carrol E. had families of their own; one family living near Boston and the other in western Massachusetts.
About 1900 Alfereta remodeled a house on the west side of Lowell Road which had been built by George Kuhn. She named it “The Poplars” and it became her residence and her place of business. She operated a summer guest house from about 1901 to 1910. “The Poplars” consisted of one acre of land with a two story house and an ell; 9 rooms, 2 piazzas, a grove of pines, and a small cottage which was called Camp Crescent. We at the Historical Society are fortunate to have this post card view of “The Poplars”. This postal was sent from Alfereta to one of her perspective boarders providing some details of her location and accommodations. By my research and research of others in the society I place “The Poplars” at or near 143 Lowell Road, just south of Fox Hollow Condominiums.
She was doing a flourishing business as early as 1903 and she continued in this business until 1909 and possible 1910. Her location was convenient to the trolly line thus providing transportation for her guests to/from Nashua, Lowell and even the Boston area. Guests would come to enjoy the cooler more rural setting for their vacation while still being accessible to sightseeing, entertainment, and their homes. The months of June, July, and August were the busiest. At one point in August 1906 there is a record of her having 20 and some days more persons registered at her guest house principally visiting from the Boston area and vicinity.
In 1911 Alfereta became ill and required mastoid surgery. She did not recover from this and passed July 1911. Her funeral service was held from her home “The Poplars” and she was laid to rest in Sunnyside Cemetery here in Hudson.
Following her death “The Poplars” was occupied by the family of William Hadley. In 1913 this family moved to Billerica and “The Poplars” was placed for sale at auction. After that it was owned by various families. At one point, about 1932, it was operated as a tearoom under the name of “The Green Lantern”.
There were other guest houses in Hudson; I know only a few by name: The Twiss Farm on Pelham Road, Pleasant View Farm on Wason Road, Riverside, and Morning Glory Farm. As late at the mid 1950 at least one farm family hosted a guest house for city dwellers; that was Butternut Hill Farm on Robinson Road operated by Charles and Ruth E. Parker. These welcoming homes in Hudson were an earlier version of our Bed and Breakfast. Researched and written by Ruth Parker and published May 31, 2020 in Nashua Telegraph.
When Was Hudson Established?
While giving tours and talking town history we at the Hudson Historical Society frequently hear the question “When was our town established? The bronze tablet pictured here identifies the five birthdays, or founding dates, for the Town of Hudson.
Dunstable, Mass was founded in 1673. Most of the land contained within the present boundaries of Hudson was included within Dunstable, the exception being about 4,600 acres in the northeast part of Hudson which was then a part of Londonderry. The geography of Dunstable included land on both sides of the Merrimack River including all or parts of some 14 towns in present day Mass and NH. In the early days of Dunstable land had been granted on the east side of the river but no real settlements occurred here until about 1710. We remained a part of Dunstable, Mass until 1733.
As the number of settlers on the east side of the river increased, we petitioned Mass to be set off as a separate town. This petition was answered on January 4, 1733 when the charter for Nottingham, Mass was granted this town included all Dunstable lands on the east side of the river. The General Court ordered that a Town Meeting be held within 3 months and a minister be settled within 3 years. After survey and much debate, the center of the town of Nottingham, Mass was agreed upon and a meeting house built on what is now Musquash Road. The town of Nottingham, Mass remained as such for only 9 years, until 1741.
The ancient boundary between the provinces of NH and Mass was based upon the Merrimack River and the misconception that the river flowed from west to east; with no idea of the abrupt bend northward the river made near Chelmsford. This resulted in some dual grants by the rival provinces of NH and Mass and a boundary dispute which was not settled until 1741. At that time the line was established to run 3 miles north of the Merrimack River from the ocean until reaching a specific point north of Pawtuckett Falls; after that the line ran due west to the Connecticut River. All land south of this line was in Mass. Land to the north was in Nottingham,NH; called by many historians as the District of Nottingham as the towns had not yet been incorporated under the laws of The State of NH.
During the time after 1741 a number of smaller New Hampshire towns were spun off from Nottingham and were incorporated within NH. One of these, Nottingham West was incorporated in 1746 and a charter issued July 5, 1746. Nottingham West contained most of the lands of the present town of Hudson, except for those acres in Londonderry and minor adjustments to the boundaries with Windham and Pelham.
We remained as Nottingham West until 1830. At the annual town meeting of 1830 the voters of Nottingham West adopted an article to petition the General Court of NH to alter the name to Auburn or to designate some other name. The name was changed to Hudson July 1, 1830.
Our town has 5 founding dates or birthdays. In 1672 we were established as Dunstable, MA; 1733 as Nottingham, MASS; 1741 as the District of Nottingham, NH; 1740 as Nottingham West, NH; and in 1830 as Hudson, NH. This confuses our celebrations! In 1933 we celebrated the 200th birthday of incorporation of Nottingham, Mass; in 1972, some 39 years later, we celebrated the 300 birthday of the founding of Dunstable! To my knowledge there was never a centennial or bi-centennial celebration for Nottingham West and no centennial celebration for changing name to Hudson in 1830. So, when will our next celebration be? perhaps in the year 2030, some ten years from now, when we celebrate the 200th anniversary of changing our name to Hudson?
This bronze tablet is located within the School Administration Building on Library Street, aka Kimball Webster School, and was donated to the Town by the students of Webster School as part of our 1933 bi-centennial celebration. Photo taken for publication of Town in Transition and is part of the Historical Society collection. Researched and written by Ruth Parker on behalf of the Hudson Historical Society. Nashua Telegraph March 22, 2020.
EARLY DEVELOPMENT ON THIRD STREET
In 1892 the area along Ferry Street near what is now Third Street was largely undeveloped. A proposed street, named Belmont, was referenced in some area deeds. This article is about a parcel of land at the corner of Ferry and Belmont streets purchased in 1917 by Lucy (Lungarad) and Otis Robert Connell.
Otis was a Hudson native born July 1880, a son to Robert T. and Lizzie (Marshall) Connell. By November 1904 Otis and Lucy Lungarad, a native to Nova Scotia, were married and by November 1917 they purchased a 28,824 sq ft parcel of land at the former of Ferry and Belmont (now called Third) Streets from Edward J. Wells. Shortly after they proceeded to build this house at 6 Third Street, likely with help from his family. It was here from 1917 to 1939 that they lived and raised their family of two sons; Frederick and Maurice “Nick”; and one daughter; Edna Perl. Otis became a 35-year veteran worker with the Boston and Maine railroad as a yard man in Nashua. According to records it became necessary for Otis to place a mortgage on this property in 1937 and by 1939 the property was in foreclosure by the bank and a public auction scheduled. In January 1940 Hudson resident Roland Abbott purchased the property from People’s Building and Loan Association.
Otis Robert was a public servant to the town of Hudson. Elected to the Board of Selectmen in 1922, serving some 18 years until 1940 after which he announced he was not a candidate for re-election. He also served as our town’s first Overseer of the Poor. He was remembered by his fellow towns people for his quiet and unassuming disposition. Otis passed in March 1942. His wife Lucy remained in Hudson for several years and later moved to Vagge Village in Nashua. She passed in 1972. Otis and Lucy were laid to rest in the Connell family lot at Westview Cemetery.
Hudson resident Dave Flewelling was 2 years old in 1940 when his parents Russell and Eunice (Porter) moved from Nashua into the house at 6 Third Street; a home they rented from the Abbott Family for more than 30 years. Russell and Eunice lived here until she passed in October 1969. Following her death, this continued to be his residence until about 1973 when Russell moved to live with their son, Dave, and his wife Carol who were living on Windham Road in Hudson. Dave and his brother Robert (B: 1943) grew, played, and attended Hudson schools from this home. Dave was a 1956 graduate of Alvirne and entered the service in 1958 where he served for 4 years. By 1964 Dave and Carol (Whittemore) were married. Carol’s parents Roy and Annamay (Doherty) Whittemore had moved into the Third Street community in 1951 when they built their home at 11 Third Street. This 1956 photo is courtesy of the Flewelling Family. Younger brother, Robert “Bobby” Flewelling was born in 1943 and was a 1961 graduate of Alvirne.
Getting back to the story of 6 Third Street, by May 1984 the original parcel of 28,824 sq ft was subdivided into 2 lots: 6 Third Street and 77 Ferry Street. The 6 Third Street property was then sold by the Abbott family to Joseph and Denise Cantin. Little is known of the house and who lived there for the next several years. By February 1995 it was in foreclosure and was purchased by John and Donna Holmes. The 1995 photo is courtesy of the Holmes Family and the 2019 photo is from the Town of Hudson records. It is currently the home of Donna Holmes, the owner and operator of Donna’s Place on Lowell Road.
The house at 6 Third Street received several significant changes since it was purchased by the Holmes family. Entrance to the house is now from the side porch which has been opened and expanded. The front doorway which faced the street is now a bay window. The roof has been raised and re-shaped to provide more living space as well as an addition to the rear and side of the house.
Natural Descent of the Merrimack River
Hudson’s western boundary is marked by a delightful section of the Merrimack River; stretching from Litchfield on the north, some 6.5 miles south to the state line with Ma. River crossings to Nashua occur at the Sagamore Bridge at the south near Walmart and at the Taylor’s Falls Bridge and Veterans Memorial Bridge near the Nashua River. There has been a Taylor’s Falls Bridge in this area since 1811. Initially a wooden toll bridge, then an iron bridge, a concrete bridge, and now the southern bridge of the twin span which dates to the 1970’s. So, the question is: Where were the Taylor Falls and what became of them?
The Pawtucket Falls in the Merrimack River at Lowell, MA was an important fishing ground for the Pennacook Indians during the pre-colonial times. “Pawtucket” is an Algonkian word meaning “at the falls in the river”. These falls were a barrier to commercial travel along the river to the early settlers, leading to the construction of the canal in the late 1700’s. In order to maximize the hydro-power and control the flow to the canal, a dam was built at the top of the falls in 1820 and expanded in 1840. The final structure exists in much to same form today, consisting of a stone dam topped with five foot wooded flash boards, This dam had the effect of raising the level of the river some 8 feet near the dam to 4 feet as far north as Cromwell Falls in Merrimack; eliminating any falls or rapids in the river from Lowell to Litchfield/Merrimack.
Besides the Pawtucket Falls there were three sets of rapids or waterfalls of significance to the early settlers; The Wicasuck Falls in Tyngsboro, the Taylor’s Falls in Hudson, and Cromwell’s Falls in Merrimack. The building of the Pawtucket Dam displaced each of these falls.
The Wicasuck Falls were about 4 miles north of Pawtucket where the river swept around a considerable island of the same name. This offered good fishing for the Indians and early settlers. The island played a significant part during King Philip’s War when Captain Jonathan Tyng “overlooked” a party of praying Indians that lived on this island for some 10 years thus keeping them out of the strife. In consideration of this the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony granted this island to him in December 1693, It became known as Tyng’s Inland.
A series of rapids known as Taylor’s Falls were located some 8 miles north of Tyng’s Island and one mile south of the junction of the Nashua and the Merrimack Rivers which is located just north of the Taylor’s Falls Bridge; placing them a little over 1/2 mile below the bridge. John Taylor built a garrison on that part of the Joseph Hills grant that was deeded to Gershom Hills and later the Charles W. Spalding farm. This garrison was built behind the house toward the river. The Spalding farm house is now the site of Continental Academie on Derry Road. Little is known of this John Taylor except that the Taylor’s falls were most likely named for him and clearly the Taylor’s Falls Bridge was name for the falls.
Joseph Cromwell was an early fur trader in Old Dunstable on the Merrimack side of the river. The site of his trading post is identified by a marker between the Anheuser-Bush brewery and the Clydesdale Hamblet in Merrimack. Cromwell Falls was visited by Henry David Thorreau and his brother John in September 1839 and this visit chronicled in his book “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers”. In this book he stated that the Cromwell Falls were the first falls they met while traveling on the Merrimack; thus indicating that the river level had been raised by that date.
Today the smooth surface of the Merrimack gives no indication of the underlaying rapids and falls were eliminated between Pawtuck and Cromwell Falls. Most of the information in this brief article is from Webster’s History of Hudson. The photo of the Taylor’s Falls bridge in moonlight is from a post card within the collection of the Hudson Historical Society. Researched and written by Ruth Parker. This story was printed in the Nashua Telegraph April 5, 2020.
Baker Homes and Baker Street 1890’s
Baker Street was laid out July 23, 1889 on land owned or previously owned by Kimball Webster. This street went from Main Street (now Ferry Street) near Derry Road and proceeded northward to land set aside for the Methodist Church parsonage and then eastward to Derry Road (now a part of Highland Street). By 1892 when the Hurd Atlas of New Hampshire towns was published there were only four houses on Baker Street; corresponding to 4, 6, 8, and 10 Baker Street of today. Each of these four homes were built between 1889 and 1892 by/for John H. Baker, Ezra A. Martin, Gerry Walker, and Abi A. Sanders restively. . A short time after 1892 a house was built on what is now 12 Baker Street and land at 13 Baker Street (now the corner with Highland Avenue) had been designated as the site of Methodist Church parsonage, replacing their parsonage which was destroyed by fire on Central Street a few years earlier.
Lovisa Underwood (Webster) and John Henry Baker moved from the Pembroke, NH area between 1856 and 1858 with their son John Julian. A daughter Mittie and a son William Wallace were later born in Hudson. John Henry was a stone cutter and a farmer. In October 1888 he purchased a 22,800 square foot lot from his brother-in-law, Kimball Webster. This lot was located near Derry Road on a proposed street to be named Baker Street. His Victorian style home was the first to be built on that street and it became the family home for 3 generations of Bakers. John Henry lived here for the duration of his life; passing in January 1916. His wife, Lovisa pre-deceased him in March 1900. They were laid to rest in Sunnyside Cemetery. This house became home to siblings Mittie and John Julian. Their other sibling, William Wallace, also resided here until his marriage to Sarah Lee Oldell in December 1899 about which time he secured the lot at 6 Baker Street.
After receiving their education John Jullian and William Wallace each spent a few years working for their uncle, Nathan Webster, in his grocery and grain business on Central Street. In 1890 these brothers became business partners as they took over the operation and ownership of the store.
John Julian passed in February 1942 at the age of 89 and Mittie passed in July 1949 at the age of 89. After settling the estate of Mittie Baker title for the home at 4 Baker Street went to her nephew, John Earl. John Earl lived there until August 1965 when the home was sold outside the Baker family to Fred and Hazel Felber. who owned it for 28 years until it was sold from her estate in 1993. In the intervening 26 years to the present time this property had had 3 owners. At the present time it is a 3 family complex.
The first home at 6 Baker Street was built by Ezra A. Martin about 1889 and unfortunately destroyed by fire by in 1890. There is no evidence he rebuilt as the lot was taken over by William Wallace Baker and he built his own residence there in 1899. From this home William Wallace and Sarah (Oldall) Baker raised their family of 3 sons; John Earl (B:1901), Sidney (B:1902), and Walace Grant (B:1907). William Wallace and Sarah continued to reside here. He passed in December 1932 and by October 1941 the house was purchased by James and Ethel Hopwood. James was employed in Wilton, NH and Ethel was teacher in the Hudson School System; teaching primarily at Webster School. By the mid 1950’s they had retired. The Baker Street house was then sold to George A. Fuller and Roland Levesque in November 1961. It was converted to a multi-family residence and has since been owned by members of the Cassavaugh Family and now by Alexander Croker.
Our first photo is from an early 1900 post card of the John Henry residence. The second shows the William Wallace home decorated for the 1933 town bi-centennial. Researched and written by Ruth Parker and published May 3, 2020 in Nashua Telegraph.
Revisit Rural Hudson … Smith Farm Stand on Kimball Hill Road
As we continue to revisit rural Hudson we stop at Smith Farm Stand on Kimball Hill Road.
With this week’s photo of The H.E. Smith Farm Stand on Kimball Hill Road we get to visit with another Smith Family in Hudson. By 1924 Elmer Frank and Ethel May (Connell) Smith and their young family of 2 sons (Henry Elmer and Robert Connell) and 2 daughters (Elizabeth Ella and Gloria Lillian) settled on a 300 acre parcel of land on what was then known as Pelham Road, now Kimball Hill Road. The location of the Smith parcel is at and near the intersection with Gibson Road and near the town line with Pelham.
Recently married Henry Elmer and Mary (Kayros) Smith began their dairy farm on a portion of his father’s land in 1933. At that time there were about 70 farms of various sizes in Hudson. Henry and Mary established their home around the corner of this farm stand on Gibson Road. Their they raised a family of 3 boys (Dustin, Tom, and Tim) and 1 girl (Nancy). The family continued with the dairy farm with all members helping out where they could. In 1963 they gave up dairy farming and switched to plants and vegetables and opened the farm stand as means to marketing their produce. This established a tradition which Henry’s son Tom has stayed with and has continued to the present with his own son, Dylan. Management of the farm and farm stand was passed from Henry to Tom in 1977.
Gloria and Elizabeth, sisters of Henry remained in Hudson after they married. Gloria continued to live on the family homestead and married Leslie Binks. Leslie was an animal trainer for Benson’s Wild Animal Farm; Gloria became became a prominent business woman and leader in Hudson. Her sister, Elizabeth married Richard Albee and they settled on Greeley Street; living there for many years and then moved to Alaska.
After raising their family Henry and Mary divided their home into 2 living quarters. Tom, his wife Tina, and their family lived there along side his parents. Henry passed in 1991 at 80 years of age; Mary passed in 2004 at the age of 94. Both remained on and helped with the work of the farm as long as they could. Today operating the farm remains a family affair: Tom, his wife Tina, their son Dylan, and a sister-in-law Charli. Tom’s daughters and his brother, Tim, helps with the operation from time to time.
The Smith Farm specializes in home grown vegetables and plants. It is estimated that over 90% of the products they sell were grown or started on their own farm. Often the stand will remains open through the holiday season specializing in holiday trees, wreaths, and kissing balls. The kissing balls are made by the Smith family; trees and wreaths are brought in from a reliable grower.
By February of next year work will begin in the various greenhouses starting a wide variety of veggies and flowers for both their own gardens and to sell in the farm stand as starter plants. When I talked with Tommy he said…”we’ll be here next year!!”
The Smith family has been farming on Kimball Hill Road since 1933. First Henry and Mary with help from their growing family. The oldest, a daughter Nancy, married and moved to Illinois and raised a family there. Dustin, the oldest brother, remained in the neighborhood and a close brother and friend with Tom, but opted for a different career path. He and his wife, Susan, began a computer business called ‘ComputerSmith’ in the 1980’s. Dustin lived nearby,just a quarter of a mile from brother Tom in the original Smith family homestead. Younger brother, Tim, lives in Hudson and helps with the work of the farm from time to time. The third generation, Diyan, works along with his father Tom.
The photo of the Henry E. Smith Farm Stand C 1980 is from the photo collection of the Hudson Historical Society.
The Family of John Henry Baker
This is the first of two articles recalling the family of John Henry Baker and the ‘laying out’ and early development of Baker Street. This week we look at the descendants of John Henry and some of the contributions they made to our town.
John Henry was the first Baker of this line to move to Hudson. He was born in Manchester, NH November 1822 to Jesse and Sally (Howard) Baker. Jesse was a stone mason and a farmer and he resided in a number of places including Pelham, Windham, Manchester, and lastly Hudson.
By December 1846 John Henry married Lovisa Underwood Webster in Hudson. She was born in Pelham January 1824 a daughter of John and Hannah (Cummings) Webster and a sister to Nathan, Moses, and Kimball Webster. At the time of their marriage he was living in the Manchester area and after their marriage they remained until some time between 1856 and 1859. Like his father John Henry was a stone cutter. John and Livisa had two sons and two daughters. Their first child, Ida Ella, was born in Pembroke September 1853 and passed before her second birthday. Their second child, John Julian, was born in Pembroke August 1856. The remainder of their family was born in Hudson; a daughter Mittie born December 1859 and a son William Wallace born September 1865. After moving to Hudson John Henry continued his occupation as a stone cutter. In 1863 he registered for the Civil War draft as a stone cutter. By 1870 he was listed as a farmer. He attended the Methodist Episcopal Church here in Hudson and was on the committee to build the brick church in 1880 after fire had destroyed the church and parsonage on Central Street near Melendy Road. John Henry lived out the remainder of his 93 years as a farmer in Hudson. He passed in January 1916 and was laid to rest in Sunnyside Cemetery.
After moving to Hudson with his parents as a young child John Julian received his early education in the local district school, perhaps attending school at #8 District on Derry Road. His higher education was at the Nashua Literary Institution and Pembroke Academy. In 1876, at the age of 20, he began working for his uncle, Nathan Webster, as a clerk in his grocery and grain business. This employment lasted until 1885 when he was appointed to the U.S. railway mail service running between Boston and Keene, NH. Four year later he returned to Hudson.
William Wallace received his early education in the local district school, perhaps attending the same #8 as his older brother John. William’s higher education was from the McGraw Institute in Reeds Ferry. In 1885, at the age of 20, he likewise entered the employ of his Uncle Nathan as a clerk and was soon appointed Assistant Post Master, a position he held until 1890.
In October 1890 brothers John Julian and William Wallace Baker took over and expanded the building and grocery business from their uncle. The Baker Brothers’ building was the location of the early post office at Hudson bridge when the Democrats were in office. When the Republicans were in office the Post Office would re-locate across the square in Daniels and Gilbert. The Bakers’ Building had a long history dating back to the 1860’s. Owners were James Carnes, then Nathan P. Webster, and then John J. and William W. Baker and later Sidney. After operating for two generations it was sold to the Rodgers Family of Hudson prior to being demolished as part of the bridge revitalization.
John Julian was elected town clerk and treasurer in 1892 and continued for 3 years. He was elected again in 1903 and continued as clerk and treasurer, with the exception of 1 year, until 1940. His total years of service as clerk and treasurer were over 40 years! In March 1940 he was honored by his town with a formal resolution for his service. John Julian passed February 1942 and was laid to rest with his family in Sunnyside Cemetery,
William Wallace and Sarah Lee (Oldall) Baker were married in Hudson December 1899. Their family consisted of three sons; John Earl (born February 1903), Sidney F. (born May 1905), and Wallace Grant (born February 1907). William Wallace passed December 1932 at the age of 67.
In the mid 1920’s John Earl took a trip to California and visited Hollywood. After returning home he started a theatrical production group called Hudson Players. He and Vera Tieiney married in November 1927. After his uncle, John Julian, retired as town clerk and treasurer, John Earl was elected. He converted an old roadside farm stand used by Vertner Fogg for the sale of veggies into an office from which he conducted his insurance business as well as his business as Town Clerk. He served as town clerk and tax collector until he passed in 1966, a total of 25 years!
Sidney F. was educated in Hudson and Nashua, graduating from Nashua High. He married Frances M. Slavin om June 1928. Sidney took on the operation of the family grocery store from his father, William Wallace. As a young man Sidney was active in the affairs of the town serving on Police and Fire Departments. After the passing of her brother-in-law Frances served as town clerk for 6 years and as tax collector for 4 years; after which time these positions were held by John P. Lawrence. Sidney and his family resided on Cutler Street in Hudson. Sidney passed May 1888 and was laid to rest in Hills Farm Cemetery.
Between John J., John E. and Frances the Baker family occupied the office of town clerk for 71 years from 1892 to 1972. Researched and written by Ruth M. Parker.