Hills Family Descendent Tours Hudson

September 6, 2013

by Laurie Jasper

For a few hours on Tuesday, August 27, Hudson’s past came alive for one descendent of the Hills family.

Ron Messner, from Illinois, arranged to spend part of his Connecticut vacation with members of the Hudson Historical Society to see various points of interest.  Messner first contacted member Ruth Parker via the Society website in the winter for more information about his ancestors, which led to the summer visit.

Ron Messner descends from the Hills family through James Hills.  As many in Hudson know, the Hills family was one of the first to settle the land we now know as Hudson.  The first Hills in America was Joseph, who was born in England in 1602 and arrived in America in 1638, settling in Charleston, MA (later known as Malden).  The first and only land grant within the present boundaries of Hudson made prior to the incorporation of Dunstable was 500 acres to Joseph Hills in 1661.  Joseph married four times and had 15 children.  When he died in 1688, his will divided his land into nine parcels and his son Samuel received approximately 89 acres.  Samuel Hills was born in 1652 and had 13 children.  Three of his sons – Nathaniel, Henry and James – settled their father’s land in what is now Hudson and built the Hills Garrison in 1710.  A garrison was a fortified house built to protect the people in the area from attack.

Hudson Historical Society members Sue Misek, Ruth Parker, David Alukonis and Shawn Jasper accompanied Messner on his Hudson tour.  Parker and Misek, who is chairman of the society’s genealogy and research committee, have been researching the sections of town that were part of the Hills grant and gave detailed information.  Alukonis, who is also a cemetery trustee, led the group through the Hills Farm Cemetery and pointed out ancestral graves.  Parker, who is also an Alvirne trustee, conducted the tour of Alvirne Chapel.  Jasper shared his knowledge of the land once known as Hills Row, from Alvirne farm on Derry Road to the farms on what is now known as Old Derry Road.  The group also viewed the former site of the Hills Garrison marker as well as its current location in front of Hills Garrison School.  Hills Memorial Library, Library Park and “Alvirne” Hills House were other points of interest.  Among the highlights of the day was the introduction of Messner to Paul Hills at his historic Bicentennial Farm.  Paul Hills is the only living descendent with the surname of Hills in town.  Ron and Paul are third cousins twice removed, according to research!

Visit www.hudsonhistorical.com for more information about the Hudson Historical Society.