Revisit Lowell Road … George Steele Farm

              George Steele Store C1899

This week’s memories extend to the George Steele farm at Stewerts Corner; the intersection of Lowell, Dracut, and River Roads. In the early 1900’s Hudson was serviced by three trolley routes. One of these routes went from the Taylor Falls Bridge, down Central Street, then down Lowell Road to Stewerts Corner. The fare from Taylor Falls Bridge to Stewerts Corner was five cents!! Thus, Stewerts Corner was also called ‘the five cent limit’ or ‘the limit’. During warm months open-bench trolley cars were used. Many children and adults would pack a picnic lunch and ride the trolley to the ‘limit’. Once there they could buy ice cream and soda at George Steele’s farm store. The first photo shows his store C1899 with two ladies and children waiting outside; perhaps for the trolley. If the season was right they could also pick strawberries for Mr. Steele for two cents a box! For additional fare, families could extend their trip down River Road to Lakeview Park, an entertainment area just over the state line, or go all the way to Lowell and spend time shopping.
George and his brother Fred were native to Hudson; growing up and working with their father, Silas, on the family farm on what is now the Steele Road. As a young man of 24, George purchased his own acreage from William Chase in 1887. By 1893 he married Edith Colburn and built their home on River Road. For most of their adult lives, George and Fred continued to operate large vegetable/market gardens near Stewerts Corner. The George Steele farm remained in his family until surviving son, Ralph, sold the property to the Friel family in 1977. The land and buildings are now a part of Green Meadows Country Club.

 

         Aerial View George Steele Farm C1942

The second photo is an aerial view of the George Steele Farm C1942. We see gardens along both sides of River Road. Photos courtesy of the Steele Family and now a part of the Historical Society Collection.  Researched and written by Ruth M Parker.

20 Old Derry Road

20 Old Derry RMP 2019

The Colonial at 20 Old Derry

20 Old Derry road was once a part of a 100 acre farm settled by James Hills in 1737. James was born into the large family of Samuel and Abigail (Wheeler) Hills of Newbury, MA in 1697. By 1710, James, then a lad of 13, along with 2 of his older brothers, Nathaniel and Henry, built and lived in a garrison house on the east bank of the Merrimack River on their father’s land in the town of Dunstable, MA. By today’s landmarks this garrison was located on the east side of Webster Street a short distance north of Elm Avenue. Sometime before 1722 Samuel deeded the southern half of his Dunstable land to James and the northern half to Henry. The oldest brother, Nathaniel, had already purchased 900 acres adjacent to and north of his father’s property from Jonathan Tyng.

James married Abigail Merrill of Newbury, MA in December 1723; soon thereafter he sold his interest in the garrison land and took up residency and began his family in Newbury. About 1737 James and Abigail with their young family of a son, Jeremiah, and a daughter, Hannah, returned to New Hampshire. There had been 3 additional children but they passed at a young age before they moved from Newbury. Returning from Newbury James acquired 100 acres of unsettled land from his brother Nathaniel. It was here that James settled and established the farm. Three additional children were born to him after moving to what became Nottingham West, now Hudson. James lived the remainder of his life on this farm, passing about 1751. The farm remained with his family. By 1800 his grandson William owned the farm. William was born July 1777 to Jeremiah, the oldest son of James. William likewise lived out his life on this farm passing it to his second son, Granville in 1852. By 1877 the farm was owned by a Charles W. Hill(s). It is not entirely clear how Charles W. acquired the farm. Apparently the next family member in line to own the farm was living in the Midwest and choosing not to return he sold his interest to a cousin, Charles W. Hill(s). It is clear that the last Hill having title to the farm was Mary Elida (Hill) Robinson daughter of Charles W. Hill and wife of Frank L. Robinson. Mary Elida was born in Hudson May 1878 and married Frank Robinson in Nashua January 1909. At the time of her marriage she was employed as a teacher in Nashua and Frank was employed as a railroad worker in Nashua. In November 1926 the farm was sold outside of the Hill(s) family and purchased by Grant Jasper. A quick note before the reader gets too confused over Hills vs Hill. In July 1846 Grandville Hills changed his name and that of his family Hill by an act of NH Legislature.

The James Hills (aka the Granville Hill) Farm had been owned by as many as 6 generations of Hills over a period of 180 years. Over these years the farm acreage was reduced from 100 to the 40 acres which Grant Jasper purchased from Mary L. (Hill) Robinson in 1926. From 1926 until 1958 the 40 acre parcel changed ownership 4 times; in 1958 the owner at the time, Harry Tuft, sold 28 acres, including the colonial house, to Ralph and Nellie Weaver who later sold to Lionel Boucher in November 1962. This was the beginning of major changes in the landscape of the farm. Within a month a survey was done and the colonial home along with the current 1.39 acres was separated from the remainder of the farm and sold to John and Margaret Aldrich. The remainder of the farm was surveyed and subdivided for house lots. Our story line continues with the colonial home.

In February 1973 the home was purchased by William and Carol Murray and their son, Terrance. Owning this fine colonial home had a major influence on the lives of this family. They acquires an appreciation and love for antiques and the structure of this home. Much of the following information was reported by The New Hampshire Sunday News and published May 18, 1975.

Change became a two way street when the Murray family moved into this 1800 colonial home in 1973. Not only did they bring about changes by restoring the old colonial, living there changed their life style and interests. Carol developed a sudden interest to furnish her “new” home with period furnishings. Her fascination with “old things” began to rub off onto her family as both son Terrance and husband Bill develop an interest. Bill took to restoring the house; removing modern door knobs and replacing with period latches, all while using groves in the wood where the originals once were. Walls were torn down and replastered; wide floor boards were scraped and refinished. Old chairs were stabilized and in some cases the caning or rush seats replaced. Their interest was such that the Murrays planned to open an antique shoppe and augment the items for sale with some of Carol’s hand crafted items.

Parts of this house were likely built about 1800 during the ownership of William, grandson of James. There is evidence that the present building resulted from two separate buildings being melded together into one. This is shown by two massive beams 12 inches wide running one over the other the width of the house in the attic. Also, one of the upstairs rooms is at a different level, requiring a step up/step down to enter/exit the room. There are 9 rooms, 2 chimneys, and 8 fireplaces; all of which were functional. The kitchen fireplace is deeper than the others with evidence of a baking oven at one time.
This was found to be an old house with lots of hidden charm; one where the Murrays liked to reside in and where visitors liked to come. And here the Murray’s stayed for 27 years until Carol sold in August 2000. Since the Murray’s this colonial has hosted four owners; the most recent, Hughes and Titianta Lafontaine, took ownership a few months ago. Welcome to Hudson!!  Researched and written by Ruth Parker.

Revisit Lowell Road … Aerial View – Luther Pollard Farm Lowell Road C 1939

Aerial View Luther Pollard Farm on Lowell Road C 1939

 

This week we look at the changes along Lowell Road with this 1939 aerial view. The farm buildings in the center of the photo are those of the Luther Pollard Farm. Owned by members of the Pollard/Parker family of Lowell, MA and Hudson; Robert Hardy was the farm manager. Robert and Bertha Hardy along with their large family lived in this farmhouse and worked the farm for the owners. Robert raised turkeys, chickens, cows for milk, as well as a large garden and fruit trees. Besides managing the farm resources, he was able to produce ample food for his family. John Hardy, Robert’s son, purchased the farm in 1946. Behind the farmhouse, but not visible because of the trees, was a large home with spacious porches. This was the Pollard/Parker family’s summer home.

Along side and to right of the farmhouse is Lowell Road. Barely visible because it is hidden under a row of trees. Looking north, towards the top of the photo, pieces of the road are visible. On the opposite side of Lowell Road, to our right, is the farmhouse and farm of Raymond Pollard. Ray, his father and grandfather before him owned and operated this particular farm.

By sharp contrast, today both farm houses are gone. Where the Pollard/Parker farmhouse stood we now have the recently built Inn at Fairview, a part of the Fairview Nursing facility. Likewise the home of Ray Pollard has been removed; now the location of the north end of the parking lot of Market Basket at the corner of Lowell and Wason Roads. The garden seen in the forefront of the photo is now the location of Haffners. Lowell Road is no longer a narrow two lane roadway; now a four plus lane highway with plenty of traffic and traffic lights!! The open fields for market produce have given way to houses and industrial parks.

Enjoy this step back in time! We will explore more of these early landmarks in the weeks ahead. Photo from the Historical Society collection. The society can be reached for comment by calling 880-2020 or sending email to HudsonHistorical@live.com.

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.

Raymond and Ebenezer Pollard House C1942

Ebenezer Pollard House on Lowell Road C 1942

 

This home of Raymond Pollard was located on the east side of Lowell Road opposite the Luther Pollard/Hardy Farm. Using today’s Lowell Road landmarks, it was located on what is now the northern end of the parking lot for Market Basket. The Raymond Pollard farm was part of the original Thomas Pollard, Jr farm which was settled C 1731. The exact boundaries of the original farm in this area are unclear; but did include this farm, as well as parts or all the Luther Pollard Farm, and the Samuel Gowing Farm. This house was built about 1838 by Ebenezer Pollard, the grandfather of Raymond, on the exact site of an earlier house built by an earlier ancestor!!
Raymond was born in Hudson in 1878 and lived all but the last few months of his 93 years living in this home. In fact, up until age 90 he was actively operating this family farm which had been in his family for over 250 years.
From documentation of this house written in 1942 we learn that the timbers and many of the rafters, were hand hewn and many of the joints were held together by wooden pegs and any nails used were hand made. The main timbers were very large, mostly 10″ by 10″ and a few 8″ by 8″. The stairways were narrow and winding. The chimneys were made of mud brick and, in 1942, one chimney was still in good condition and in constant use.
Raymond and his wife Cora (Cooper) had a daughter Vernetia who married Sullivan W. Brown of Nashua in 1924. Cora passed about 1965; Raymond continued to live here until 1970. Some time, just before or after his passing this property was sold. By 1986 a shopping center consisting of Hudson Snack Bar, State of NH Liqueur Store, and Osco Drug. The center has been expanded and now includes Market Basket of Hudson. Photo and documentation of the house are from a booklet entitled “Hudson NH Homes Built Before 1842”; a project of The Hudson Fortnightly Club and on file at the Historical Society. Researched and written by Ruth M. Parker.

The Home at 50 Kimball Hill Road

50 Kimball Hill Road c 1945

Older homes are usually named for the current resident, some previous resident or notable person who lived there in the past. Such is the case with the home at 50 Kimball Hill Road. It has been called the Ahearn house, the Crabtree house, and even the Daniel Merrill house. Whatever name it goes by this house, without question, is one of the earliest in Hudson. It was built before 1780; however I am not certain of the exact build date or who the builder was. The date on the chimney does indicate the house was built as early as 1768. The builder was either Asa Davis, his uncle Captain Abraham Page, or perhaps a joint effort between them.

Captain Abraham Page (b:1715 in Haverhill, MA) moved to Nottingham West with his father about 1747. The senior Page settled on what is now the Lowell Road somewhere near the junction with Dracut Road. The younger Page at about 31 years of age began to build his home on Bush Hill Road. Captain Page was a foster parent for Nathaniel Haselton. After Page passed in 1802 his house became a part of the Haselton Farm. It was later moved, by the use of ox team and rollers, onto Hamblet Avenue facing the Town Common from the east side. It was known as The Benjamin Dean house (see HLN February 23, 2018).

Asa Davis was born abt 1737 to Ephraim and Mary (Page) Davis. Mary was a sister to Captain Abraham Page; making Abraham an uncle to Asa Davis. Asa purchased acreage on Bush Hill from James Caldwell which became Asa’s homestead. This homestead was passed to his son Taylor Davis who in turn passed it to his son-in-law Augustus Morrison. It remained in the Morrison/Webster family until sold in about 1965. The current house on that location, the Morrison house, was built in 1780. History tells us that this 1780 home was built for Asa Davis by his uncle Abraham Page and that Asa lived at the 50 Kimball Hill road house while this home was being constructed.

Daniel Merrill was born in Rowley, MA March 1765. In 1781, at the age of 16, he served in the Army of the Revolution for 2 years, after which he attended Dartmouth College, graduating in 1789. By 1793 he was preaching as a Congregational minister in Sedgwick, ME. By 1805 Rev. Merrill had converted to the Baptist theology and started a Baptist Church in Sedgewick. Many of his former church members were converted with him. In 1815 the First Baptist Church of Nottingham West (now Hudson) invited Rev. Merrill to become their pastor. He, and his family moved to Hudson and purchased this house from William Marsh. The next seven years were good times for the Hudson Church and for the Merrill Family. His daughter, Joanna, and Reuben Greeley were married and soon began a family of their own (see HLN July 26, 2019). His pastorate with the Hudson church came to a close in 1820. He did retain ownership of this house until August 1832 at which time he sold it to Paul Colburn of Hudson. Rev. Merrill passed June 1833 in Sedgewick, ME.

By July 1840 William Anderson from Londonderry purchased this home from Paul Colburn. It is unclear how long Mr. Anderson resided here, but he certainly contributed to our town’s history. In 1857 a building committee of four residents were given the authority to build the Town House in Hudson Center, now the Wattannick Hall. William Anderson was contracted to do the wood consruction. The total cost for the Town Houese was slightly less than $2,500; of which $1,900 was paid to Mr. Anderson.

From 1846 until April 1919 records show this home was owned by 6 different families. Carl E. Barker was a Nashua native and Margaret Baxter was from New Brunswick. They were married November 1913 in Hudson and purchased this home in April 1919. Carl was a woodworker for a door and sash company, Carl passed in March 1937 and by July 1939 Margaret sold the home to Allen F. and Dorothea S. Crabtree.

Allen F. Crabtree was a native of Effingham, NH and born in October 1906 to Allen F. and Laurina Crabtree. Dorothea Shay was native to and educated in the Boston area. After attending the Charles C. Perkins School in Boston she taught in the public schools in New Jersey for a time. By July 1939 Allen and Dorothea Crabtree and their family of two boys, Howard and Emery Daly, moved into their newly purchased home on Kimball Hill road. Their third son, Allen F. Jr. was born in Hudson February 1941. The oldest son, Howard, attended Hudson schools and later graduated from Nashua High in 1946. He studied chemestry at UNH graduating in 1950. Emery likewise attended Hudson schools and graduated from Nashua High in 1950. He studied mechanical engineering at UNH graduating in 1961. After attending college they both moved from Hudson. Allen, Jr attended Hudson schools and graduated from Alvirne in 1958.

The Living Room Fireplace

From 1939 until his retirement Allen Sr. was employed as a railway mail clerk, often commuting to Boston. During her time in Hudson Dot served on the school board from 1942 to 1953; including the early years of Alvirne. She became one of the early members of the Alvirne Trustees. She was also an active member of the Hudson Fortnightly Club. It was during their tenure at the house that much of the architecture and history of the house was recorded and photographed. In 1942 the Hudson Fortnightly Club wrote a booklet entitled “Old New Hampshire Houses Built before 1840 In Hudson”. A copy of this booklet is a part of the collection of the Historical Society. Dot Crabtree was one of four women who served on the committee to write this booklet. I share with you some of the ancient architectural features of this house.

From the photo of the house you can see the “off center” door a feature peculiar to early homes. The door itself was a double cross and is held together by wooden pegs. There is a hand made latch and sandwich type bulls-eye glass on the top.

Some of the roof boards were 20-24 inches wide and held in place with hand made nails with a split head which was bent to the left and right.

The original chimney was 12 feet square and made of hand hewn oak timbers supported by 8 foot field stones resting on the cellar floor.

Chimney Base

The upper room is 13 by 17 feet with an arched ceiling. It is recorded that this room was used by the Rev. Daniel Merrill for his study. This arched ceiling is a feature found in the Benjamin Dean house which was built by Captain Page.

Window sashes were very thin and fastened with wooden pegs. The glass panes were small and showed 9 panes over 6 panes.

In May 1952 a fire occurred which severely gutted the rear and side of this house. The house was rebuilt but many of the original features and antiques were lost.

After his retirement Allen and Dot sold the house to George and Vivian Ahearn in March 1960. They then removed to his native Effingham where he served as Selectman, Fire fighter, Police officer, and civil defense director. He was active in the Masons. Dot became active in the local Eastern Star, Grange, and women’s Club, She passed in February 1972. Her husband, Allen took over a weekly newspaper column she had been writing and he continued to write for the Carrol County Independent until he passed in April 1980. Allen F. III is currently living in the Sebago Lake area of ME.

George and Vivian Ahearn lived here for almost 25 years. Vivian passed in 1982 and in 1984 George sold the property to Mark and Ginette Lafreniere. The home is currently owned by Kayla O’Connor.

The photo of the house and fireplace are complements of Allen F. Crabtree, III. Allen and his wife Penelope reside in Sebago ME. Allen is the proprietor of a used book store (CrabCol.com) and a blueberry farm. The photo of the chimney base is from the Fortnightly booklet.  Written and researched by Ruth Parker.

 

Revisit Lowell Road … Robert and Bertha Hard y House

Robert and Bertha Hardy House on Lowell Road C 1980

 

Much has changed in just a few years! The site of this home is now the location of the James A. Taylor Memorial Fire Station at 204 Lowell Road.

This home was located on the east side of Lowell Road, opposite Fairview Nursing Home and adjacent to the entrance road to what is now Mission Pointe. In the 1920’s the family of Marion (Parker) Brown lived here. Marion was one of the daughters of Caroline and George Parker. When John Hardy purchased the Pollard Farm this became the home of his parents, Bertha and Robert Hardy. Robert passed in 1969 and Bertha passed in 1984. The property was sold to settle Bertha’s estate. The home was vacant for a number of years and in 1996 it was demolished to allow for the expansion of Lowell Road in that area. In 2001 it was purchased by the Town of Hudson. This home was on the site recently selected by our town for the proposed Lowell Road Fire Station. Photo from the Historical Society Collection.  Researched and written by Ruth Parker.

The Merrill Home On Maple Avenue 1970’s

         The Merrill Home at 8 Maple Avenue

Some of our readers will recognize this as the first location of the Greeley Public Library; others may identify it as the home of Marjorie and Natalie Merrill. Both memories are correct!!

George A(nderson) Merrill was bon in Hudson July 1862 the youngest son of James B. and Persis (Winn) Merrill. James B. was a farmer and a carpenter. He built houses in the Hudson, Nashua, and Lowell areas. James was the great grandson of Rev. Nathaniel Merrill, the first settled minister of Nottingham, MA (now Hudson, NH). George A. attended the local rural schools. worked as a farm laborer, and developed his skills as a carpenter; likely from working with his father. By 1889, at the age of 27, he began to build his house on Maple Avenue upon a lot of land deeded to him by his father. In October of the following year George A. and Emma Blanche Winn were married. Emma, also a Hudson native, had experience as a rural school teacher here in Hudson prior to their marriage. This house at 8 Maple Avenue became their family home. About the time of their marriage George A. began his 45 year career as a woodworker and carpenter for the Cumming Brothers of Hudson. Early in his career he worked on horse drawn carriages, transitioning to auto and truck bodies as the industry changed. In 1896 George A. was a member of the building committee for the construction of Webster School. A few years later he served in the Board of Selectmen.

In June 1894 Emma was appointed as librarian of the Greeley Public Library by the newly formed Board of Library Trustees. The first free public library of Hudson was opened to the towns people at the Merrill residence on Maple Avenue. By April of 1895 she resigned as librarian, most likely because her first child was due within a few months. The library was moved to the Baker Brothers’ building on Central Street. George A. and Emma’s family consisted of three sons (Winn b:June 1895, Maurice Chester b:June 1902, and Fred Rounseval b:June 1904) and two daughters (Marjorie b:September 1900 and Natalie Evelyn b: August 1907). As their family matured the three sons relocated outside of New Hampshire and the two daughters remained in Hudson. Winn served in World War I from April 1918 until his discharge in March 1919, By August of that year he was married and residing near Syracuse, NY; later moving to Hamden, CN where he passed in September 1656. He and his wife, Maude Arthur, had three children and several grand children. Maurice and Fred likewise married and relocated elsewhere. Maurice and his wife Ruth Dove resided in northern California and had two children and several grand children. He passed in June 1982. Fred and his wife Grace Johnson resided in Alabama and had three children and grand children. Fred passed in July 1960.

Marjorie and Natalie remained in the Maple Avenue home taking over the responsibility of it after their parents passed. Marjorie attended Webster school in Hudson and later graduated from Nashua High in 1919. She was a member of the Hudson Congregational Church on Central Street and later a member of the Hudson Community Church when the Congregational and Methodist Churches merged in 1930. She was a life-long member when she passed in October 1982. Marjorie has a 55 year career as a bookkeeper with a variety of businesses in Nashua; the last one being the Memorial Hospital business office.

Natalie likewise attended Webster school in Hudson, then Nashua High; she then attended Plymouth Normal School for a teaching degree. She had teaching experience with the rural school of Wentworth, NH. She returned to her Hudson home and traveled to Nashua where she worked as a clerk and later as a bank teller for Nashua Trust. I remember Natalie as a quiet, but fun loving individual with a strong interest in Hudson and it’s history. She, like her sister Marjorie, was a life-long member of the Hudson Congregational Church and later the Hudson Community Church. She was a 50 year member of the Hudson Fortnightly Club, a Federated Women’s Club; serving prominently on their Historical Committee. She later became a charter member of the Hudson Historical Society.

The records of the Church of Christ in Nottingham, MA were maintained by the pastor, Rev. Nathaniel Merrill as early as 1737. When he passed these records were passed down with his estate to his family. In 1930 these records were amongst the family heirlooms at 8 Maple Avenue. Natalie made a handwritten copy of these records. This copy is now a part of the collection of the Historical Society. The original records are in the archives at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord. With the assistance of Dr. H.O. Smith these records (christenings and marriages) were published by the New England Historic and Genealogical Society in their Register.

Natalie remained in her Maple Avenue home until the early 1980’s when she moved into to the Hunt Community in Nashua. The Hudson home was sold to Nancy Lee Boyer. The exterior of the home looks much like this 1970’s photo but the interior has been reconfigured into apartments. It is currently owned by a gentleman in Milford, MA. Photo from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society. Researched and written by Ruth Parker.

Lowell and Birch Street C1970

               Lowell and Birch Street C 1970

For this week’s photo we are flying low over the southern end of County Road looking west and slightly north onto the intersection of Birch Street with Lowell Road. Today this a busy intersection with traffic signals and stacking lanes. In the 1970’s traffic was flowing quite nicely with a couple of cross walks and a stop sign at the end of Birch Street. The building in the top right is the Hudson Super Duper Market, owned and operated by Bob and Doris Provencal. There was a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony in 1972. That same year Bob Provencal was named Grocer of the Year by The NH Grocers Association. Their family of Greg, Donald, and Charlene grew up in the grocery business. Charlene studied floral arrangement and would soon have her own shop. Donald was managing the frozen food department, and Greg was studying business in a local college. By 1972 the Super Duper was aligned with the Piggly Wiggly enterprise. Along with this super market the Shop and Wash and Richard Coiffures were located in this building. Today this building has been reconfigured into Citizens’ Bank, Rite-Aid Pharmacy, and office space for Hudson Chamber of Commerce.

Sharing the same parking space and just off Birch Street is the Hudson Shopping Center. At the time of the photo this was the site of Gio’s Pizza on the Birch Street side with Giovanni’s Blue Whale Restaurant facing Lowell Road. Next to the restaurant was Gosselin’s Pharmacy and then the NH State Liquor Store. Today this is known as T-Bones Plaza. T-Bones moved to Hudson C 1991 and has become a popular place for lunch and dinner with outside dining on the Birch Street side of the building. Other businesses in this complex include Subway, Supercuts, Pleasant Smiles Dental, a Tanning and a Nail Spa.

Birch Street takes a sharp turn behind the Hudson Shopping Center and we get a short glimpse of homes at 11 and 13 Birch. The latter, a brown square shaped home was once located on Lowell Road at the “other” corner with Birch Street where it was home to Etienne and Rose Levesque and family. After his passing the building was moved from Lowell onto Birch street by local contractor John Lester. By 1970 a 3- store front building at 87 Lowell Road was built; the first occupants being Cumberland Farms, Anton’s cleaners, and Russel and Son’s Carpets. Cumberland Farms and Hudson House of Pizza were the occupants in this photo. They remained until just a few years ago; Veria Pizza and Hudson Mini Mart are the current occupants.

Proceeding to the opposite side of Lowell we see the side and back of the home at 88 Lowell. Looking north on Lowell (to your right) is a green space and Second Brook which is visible through the foliage. If you follow the brook toward the river you see it was culverted under the street and parking lot; to emerge again behind the Hudson Shopping Center.

Just north of the brook is the business complex of Hall’s Market and Kay’s Donut and coffee shop. Over time this site has transitioned to Palmer;s Market, Suzie’s Diner, a Hair Salon and a Laundromat. Beyond in the photo we get a glimpse of the Phillips 66 Station; not a Sunoco Station. Prior to 1966 this was the home of Xavier and Exilla Gagnon and family. Photo from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society.  Researched and written by Ruth Parker.

 

Search for Rev. Benjamin Dean

The Reverend Benjamin Dean moved to town in April 1828 when he became the pastor of the Baptist Church of Nottingham West (now Hudson). We know only a few details of his life before that time. Born in northwestern Massachusetts about 1793 he was ordained at Swanzy, NH in February 1826. Just prior to Hudson he was serving as an Evangelist for the Baptist Society in Westmoreland, NH. Most of his time with the Hudson church was a dark and difficult time. In less than 2 years his connection with the church was terminated as he was deposed by an ecclesiastical council and excluded from the church for immoral conduct. I have no further details about the claims brought against him. To Mr. Dean’s credit it is only fair to say that by 1834 he made a public concession of his wrongdoing and asked forgiveness of both the Baptist and the Presbyterians. You see, at that time both churches were worshipping in two meeting houses at different times; the North meeting house (near Wattannick Hall) and the South meeting house (near Blodgett Cemetery). A short while later he was restored to membership in the Baptist Church; he never returned to the ministry but did reside and work in the Hudson Center community.

Benjamin Dean House on Hamblet Avenue C 1942

The Benjamin Dean house which was located on Hamblet Avenue is known as “The House Twice Moved”. This house was built by Abraham Page in 1747 on the Bush Hill Road and it later became a part of the Haselton Farm. By 1836 the owner, Benjamin Dean, moved the house down to Hudson Center on the east side of the Hudson Center common and a short distance from the North Meeting house where he had once preached. He married Betsey Hadley of Hudson in 1843. The US Census records, and the 1855 Diary of Eli Hamblett give us a sense of Hudson Center at the time. Eli and Benjamin were neighbors, owning the only houses on Hamblett Avenue. Dean often worked for Hamblet in exchange for farm produce. Agricultural lectures and school were sometimes held in Deans Hall; a large room with an arched ceiling on the second floor of Dean’s home.

The census records gave me a clue that he passed between 1850 and 1860. Whenever I searched for his date of death and where he was interred, I hit a brick wall. As it turns out he passed in December 14, 1856 and was interred in the early potter’s section of Westview Cemetery; burial places set aside for the indigent. The “rest of this story” has more to do with how this information made itself known to me than the facts themselves! The information came from two documents; one a part of the Historical Society collection and the second the old Westview Cemetery record book.

From a work ledger (1840 to 1865) kept by Eli Hamblet I learned that on December 14, 1856 he recorded a charge of $1.40 against the Estate of Benjamin Dean for taking his team to Nashua for a coffin and for sexton duties. Since Hamblet had a definite connection with Westview Cemetery I had reason to think Rev. Dean was buried there. This work document came into possession of the Society just a few years ago; it had been in a private collection and the donor wished that it be returned to this town!! Later, while doing some cemetery research on lot 76 (the Simpson family lot) I had reason to look up that lot in the old record book. Two thirds of the present day lot were once a part of the potter’s field which had remained unused except for one grave, that of Rev. Benjamin Dean. This fact had been lost from the records when the new book was started about 1900. I quickly looked at the layout of lot 76 in the current record book. The center of the lot shows the outline of the Simpson family monument superimposed over an outline of a coffin. I knew where Rev Dean was laid to rest! This information has been incorporated into the current cemetery records and steps will be taken for the site to be marked.

The (unmarked) Grave Site of Rev. Dean

A dear friend of mine once said, “if you are looking for information about someone and that person (past or present) wished to be discovered they will assist you by making the information available to you. This may seem “spookey” but in this case with Rev. Dean this omen is true! The photo of the Dean House is from the collection of the Historical Society. That of the gravesite was taken by the author.  Researched and written by Ruth Parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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