Hudson Historical Society Tells of Bizarre Deaths from Centuries Past

October 23, 2015


by Laurie A Jasper

Sometimes lightning does strike twice.  Society President David Alukonis and Board of Directors member Ruth Parker gave an informative talk about several strange or memorable deaths during the Hudson Historical Society’s “Unusual Deaths of Hudson” held on Oct. 15 at the Alvirne Hills House.

One story they recounted was far stranger than any fictional account.  Captain Thomas Colburn, who was born in 1702, died on Aug. 30, 1765, after being struck by lightning while in bed. Amazingly, his four-year-old son, also named Thomas, was later killed by the same bolt of lightning while in the same bed.  They are buried in Ford Cemetery and their double gravestone is carved with this incredible story.  In past years when Ford Cemetery was part of the Hudson History Tour for third graders, this was known as the “crazy death” by the students.  Alukonis displayed a gravestone rubbing of the stone he completed many years ago using specialized paper and wax.

Hudson’s first known murder occurred on June 26, 1775, when Samuel Davis was killed at age 19 by Roling Ridout.  Roling (Rowland) Ridout hit Samuel in the back of the head with an ax.  Davis’ gravestone is located in Blodgett Cemetery and lists the details of his gruesome death, including the name of his murderer.  The State Archives in Concord has copies of the court records.  Ridout was accused of being influenced by the devil but was ultimately acquitted.  He continued to cause trouble until his death in 1779.

Also mentioned during the evening’s talk was A steam railroad accident in 1901 in which three trainmen were killed at Hudson Center and a September 1903 trolley accident in Pelham in which six were killed and more than 70 injured during a trip to Canobie Lake Park.   A prominent member of the Hudson community, George Andrews, was killed and his wife was seriously injured in the trolley accident.

The Hudson Historical Society will host tours of several local cemeteries on Saturday, Oct. 24, and ask all those interested to meet at Alvirne Hills House, 211 Derry Road at 9 a.m.