Place:Hudson, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States


Alt namesFeltonvillesource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25004095
Coordinates42.383°N 71.567°W
Located inMiddlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Contained Places
Saint Michael Cemetery
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Hudson is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, with a total population of 19,063 as of the 2010 census. Before its incorporation as a town in 1866, Hudson was a neighborhood and unincorporated village of Marlborough, Massachusetts, and was known as Feltonville. From around 1850 until the last shoe factory burned down in 1968, Hudson was known as a "shoe town." At one point, the town had 17 shoe factories,[1] many of them powered by the Assabet River, which runs through town. Because of the many factories in Hudson, immigrants were attracted to the town. Today most people are of either Portuguese or Irish descent, with a smaller percentage of people being of French, Italian, English, or Scots-Irish descent. While some manufacturing remains in Hudson, the town is now primarily residential. Hudson is served by the Hudson Public Schools district.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

In 1650, the area that would become Hudson was part of the Indian Plantation for the Praying Indians. The Praying Indians were evicted from their plantation during King Philip's War and most did not return after the war.[2] The first European settlement of the Hudson area occurred in 1699 when settler John Barnes, who had been granted an acre of the Ockookangansett Indian plantation the year before, built a gristmill on the Assabet River on land that would one day be part of Hudson.[1] By 1701, Barnes had also built a sawmill and bridge across the Assabet.

The settlement was part of the town (now city) of Marlborough Over time, it came to be known as Feltonville. As early as June 1743, area residents petitioned to break away from Marlborough and become a separate town, claiming the journey to attend Marlborough's town meeting was "vastly fatiguing."[1][2] Their petition was denied by the Massachusetts General Court. Men from the area fought with the Minutemen on April 19, 1775, as they harassed British troops along the route to Boston.[1][2]

In the 1850s, Feltonville received its first railroads.[1][2] There were two train stations, originally operated by the Central Massachusetts Railroad Company and later by Boston & Maine, until both of them were closed in 1965. This allowed the development of larger factories, some of the first in the country to use steam power and sewing machines. By 1860, Feltonville had 17 shoe and shoe-related factories, which attracted immigrants from Ireland and French Canada. Feltonville residents fought during the Civil War. Twenty-five of those men died doing so. Two houses, including the Goodale Homestead on Chestnut Street (Hudson's oldest building, dating from 1702) and the Curley home on Brigham Street (formerly known as the Rice Farm), have been cited as way-stations on the Underground Railroad.[2][3] Both properties remain in existence as of 2018.

In 1865, Feltonville residents once again petitioned to become a separate town. They cited the difficulty of attending town meeting, as their predecessors had in 1743, and also noted that Marlborough's high school was too far for most Feltonville children to practicably attend. This petition was approved by the Massachusetts General Court on March 19, 1866. The new town was named Hudson after Congressman Charles Hudson, who had been born and raised in the Feltonville neighborhood.[2][3] Though the naming has sometimes been interpreted as a quid pro quo in exchange for his donation to the library, in fact, his gift came after he received the news of the honor. According to the 1880 Middlesex Co. history, once the town was established, a committee was appointed "to inform Charles Hudson, of Lexington, that the new town was named Hudson as a compliment to him." Upon receiving the news, he sent a "flattering and highly satisfactory letter" to the committee in which he "spoke very approvingly of the enterprise of the town and treated of the value of a free public library." He concluded with an offer of $500 in matching funds towards the construction of a free public library, which the citizens voted on and approved.

Over the next twenty years, Hudson grew as several industries settled in town. Two woolen mills, an elastic-webbing plant, a piano case factory, and a factory for waterproofing fabrics by rubber coating were constructed. Private banks, five schools, a poor farm, and the town hall (still in use as of 2017) were also built during this time.[2] The population hovered around 4,000 residents, most of whom lived in modest houses with small backyard gardens. Some of Hudson's wealthier citizens built elaborate Queen Anne Victorian mansions, and many of them still exist. One of the finest is the 1895 Col. Adelbert Mossman House on Park Street, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The town maintained five volunteer fire companies during the 1880s and 1890s, one of which manned the Eureka Hand Pump, a record-setting pump that could shoot a stream of water .[2][3] Despite this glut of fire companies, on July 4, 1894, two boys playing with firecrackers started a fire that burned down 40 buildings and of central Hudson. Nobody was hurt, but the damages were estimated at $400,000 in 1894 (the equivalent of approximately $11.1 million in 2018).[2][3] The town was substantially rebuilt within a year or two.

By 1900, Hudson's population reached about 5,500 residents and the town had built a power plant on Cherry Street. Many houses were wired for electricity, and to this day Hudson produces its own power under the auspices of the Hudson Light and Power Department, a non-profit municipal utility owned by the town. Electric trolley lines were built that connected Hudson with the towns of Leominster, Concord, and Marlborough, though these only remained in existence until the late 1920s.[2][3] The factories in town continued to grow, attracting immigrants from England, Germany, Portugal, Lithuania, Poland, Greece, Albania, and Italy. These immigrants usually lived in boarding houses near their places of employment. In 1928, 19 languages were spoken by the workers of the Firestone-Apsley Rubber Company. Today, the majority of Hudson residents are of Irish or Portuguese descent, with lesser populations of Brazilian, Italian, French, French Canadian, English, Scots-Irish, Greek, and Polish descent. About one-third of Hudson residents are Portuguese or are of Portuguese descent.[2] Most people of Portuguese descent in Hudson are from the Azorean island of Santa Maria, with a smaller amount from the island of São Miguel or from the Trás-os-Montes region of mainland Portugal. The Portuguese community in Hudson maintains the Hudson Portuguese Club, which was established in the mid-1910s and has outlived many other area ethnic clubs. In 2003 the Hudson Portuguese Club replaced its original Port Street clubhouse with a function hall and restaurant built at the same location.

Hudson's population hovered around 8,000 from the 1920s to the 1950s, when developers purchased some farms that surrounded the town center. The new houses built on this land helped double Hudson's population to 16,000 by 1970.[3] Since the 1990s high-technology companies built plants in Hudson, notably the semiconductor fabrication factory built by Digital Equipment Corporation and now owned by Intel. Although the population of Hudson is now about 20,000, the town continues the traditional town meeting form of government.[2]

Former names

Before becoming a separate incorporated town, Hudson was a neighborhood and unincorporated village within the town (now city) of Marlborough, Massachusetts. From 1656 until 1700, present-day Hudson and the surrounding area was known as the Indian Plantation or the Cow Commons. From 1700 to 1800,[4] the settlement was known as The Mills.[2] From 1800 to 1828,[4] the settlement was called New City or Feltonville. The last name was derived from that of Silas Felton (1776-1828), who operated a dry goods store in the hamlet from 1801 onward and served many years as a Marlborough selectman, town clerk, town assessor, and postmaster.[2][3] Today, Felton remains immortalized in the Silas Felton Hudson Historic District and two Hudson street names: Felton Street and Feltonville Road.

Research Tips

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Hudson, Massachusetts. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.