Sunnyside Cemetery – Connecting the Community with the Past, Present and Future

July 19, 2019

 

by Doug Robinson

The year was 1845 when several Hudson residents pooled their resources to create “The Hudson Cemetery Association,” and established a cemetery that would come to be known as Sunnyside, located on Central Street.

Now, more than 173 years later, dozens of Hudson residents have come together to help preserve and maintain this historic Hudson landmark, which connects the present with the town’s forefathers.

This ad-hoc, grassroots organization has met twice, and its numbers continue to grow in support of the town taking over the private ownership of Sunnyside and then transferring that ownership to the town.  With this transfer, the town’s Board of Cemetery Trustees would then be responsible for that care and upkeep of this cemetery.

Many of Hudson’s founding fathers and families found their final resting place at Sunnyside Cemetery.  Included in that illustrious group are Kimball Webster and family, as well as the families of Cummings, Davis, Marshall, Sargent, Merrill, and Fuller.  The family trees for these and many more families are not only etched upon the cemetery monuments, but their descendants continue to work and reside in Hudson.

The cemetery was created when “The Hudson Cemetery Association” purchased one-half acre of land from William Hadley for $13.  By 1851, a wall was constructed to surround and enclose the cemetery for $257.  The cemetery has a covered canopy of maple leaves that turns crimson with autumn colors. As the sun rises in the east, radiant rays of the sun can be seen peeking through the leaves.

As the cemetery lots were secured, additional land was purchased in 1885 and 1910 to accommodate the growing needs of those who wished to rest in peace within Sunnyside.  Currently, the cemetery consists of 2.8 acres.

The first lot to be purchased was number 17.  Hudson Town Father Alfred Cummings bought that resting spot.

The cemetery hosts a variety of headstones and markers that celebrate and identify those who have passed:  upright headstones, flat headstones, Kerbed headstones and cremation memorials, made from marble, granite, limestone, tin, and bronze.  While some are brightly polished, others show the wear and tear from the harsh New England winters.

For many years, Hudson resident Fred Fuller has volunteered his time and talents to care for, maintain, and provide upkeep for this cemetery.  It has been volunteerism out of love and respect for those who have gone before us.

As time and circumstances in our lives change, residents of Hudson found the need and have formed an ad-hoc committee to re-create a new Hudson Cemetery Association, its predecessor having been dissolved in the 1980s.

The town cemeteries, managed by the Board of Cemetery Trustees, include Ford Cemetery, Musquash Road, Blodgett Cemetery, Pelham Road ,Old Hudson Center Cemetery, Central Street and Kimball Hill Road, Senter Cemetery, Old Derry Road, and the Poor Farm Cemetery (also known as Cemetery of the Unknown), Twin Meadow Drive.  All are closed to further burials.

The town’s cemetery trustees are not responsible for the private cemeteries in town, but “Should a private Cemetery fall into neglect, it would be the responsibility of the Hudson Cemetery Trustees to acquire that cemetery and protect it for posterity” states the trustee by-laws.

The private cemeteries are as follows:  Hills Farm Cemetery, Derry Road, Westview Cemetery, Burnham Road, Sunnyside Cemetery, Central Street, St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Derry Road, St. Casimir’s Holy Cross Cemetery, Ledge Road, and the cemetery for the nuns of the Presentation of Mary.

The plan agreed to by the ad-hoc group, the town’s Board of Cemetery Trustees, and as proposed by the Office of the Attorney General, will petition the probate court to re-instate the Hudson Cemetery Association and appoint a board of directors.

Upon approval by the probate court, the newly re-created Hudson Cemetery Association would then petition the Hudson Board of Selectmen, and upon their approval, the oversight, upkeep, and care of Sunnyside would be put before the voters of Hudson next March.

Legal costs associated with this plan are estimated to run between $750 and $1,500 and are being funded by donations made by the descendants and families of those buried at Sunnyside as well as by other friends of the cemetery.

Donations may be sent to Smith-Weiss Shepard, PC, 47 Factory St., Nashua, NH 03060. Please include: “Sunnyside Cemetery” in the memo line.