Nashua NH’s Long-Time Merchandiser, Business and Civic Leader, and Choirist: Gertrude May Batchelder (1891-1974)

Gertrude May Batchelder, daughter of Fred L. & Annie (Lampron) Batchelder of Nashua NH. Photograph probably taken in 1910.

Gertrude May Batchelder, daughter of Fred L. & Annie (Lampron) Batchelder of Nashua NH. Photograph probably taken in 1910.

This photograph of Gertrude May Batchelder was probably taken around her high school graduation of 1910 in Nashua NH. She was an only child, born in Somersworth, New Hampshire, attending schools in the Portsmouth NH area, until 1905 when her parents removed to Nashua. Her father was a train engineer for the B&M railroad.

About 1909 she started working for the H.S. Norwell Company of Nashua NH, that was owned and managed by the founder, Harry Slater Norwell. He established the business in 1878. When the H.S. Norwell Company was purchased in 1912 by Sceva Speare, and renamed the Speare Dry Goods Co., Inc., Gertrude Batchelder was kept on the sales staff. The company was housed in the Oddfellows Building on Main Street in Nashua NH.

Oddfellows Building on Main Street in Nashua, taken about the time that Gertrude Batchelder would have first worked there.

Oddfellows Building on Main Street in Nashua, taken about the time that Gertrude Batchelder would have first worked there.

Gertrude remained an employee of the company for a total of 60-65 years, holding the record, perhaps, for the longevity of any merchandiser in Nashua. She early on was a store clerk specializing in underwear and lingerie, eventually become a buyer. In 1970, then president Reynold Dean presented her with a pewter tea and coffee service with an inscribed plate denoting her 60 years of service. She died in 1974.

She was very active, and well known in the Nashua community. She had a lovely voice, and there are probably many living today who might remember her songs at their weddings at the First Baptist Church.

She was a member of the Women’s Fellowship of the First Baptist Church and had been an active member of the church choir. She also held membership in Pilgrim Chapter No. 55, Order of Eastern Star, Olive Branch Rebekah Lodge No. 1 and the National Federation of Business & Professional Women’s Club.

She never married and at her death, she nearest relatives were cousins. Her genealogy follows below.

===Partial Genealogy of Gertrude Batchelder of Nashua NH===

[Note, there are several Batchelder families living in the Topsham VT area, and though I have a few prospective ancestors of Benjamin (below), I could not definitively prove his ancestry.]

Benjamin Batchelder, b. abt 1789 Topsham VT, d. 18 May 1867 [or 1871] in Meredith NH; m. 18 Jan 1814 in Chester, Rockingham Co. NH to Nancy Dearborn, daughter of Sherburne & Elizabeth (Towle) Dearborn. She was b. 16 May 1792 in Chester NH, d. May 1822 [according to her tombstone]. He m2d) 1823 to Ruth Chapman Mudgett, dau of Joshua & Hannah (Chapman) Mudgett. She was b. 10 Feb 1795 in Meredith NH and d. 25 Dec 1884 in Meredith NH.
[her grave]
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1860 US Census > NH > Belknap > Meredith
Benjm Batchelder 72 M 3000 975 NH
Ruth C. Batchelder 65 F NH
Benjm M. 26 M Farmer NH
Sarah A. 29 F NH
B. Forrest 3 F NH
Dora A. 1 F NH
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Children of Benjamin & Nancy (Dearborn) Batchelder:
1. David Batchelder, b. 22 July 1815 Meredith NH; d. 17 Oct 1860
2. Sherburn A. Batchelder, b. 5 March 1817 Meredith, Belknap Co. NH; d. Sep 1839
3. John H. Batchelder, b. 9 Nov 1818 Moultonboro/Meredith NH.
4. Charles Batchelder, b. 10 Sep 1820 Meredith NH
5. William D. Batchelder, b. 7 April 1822 Meredith NH; d. 13? Apr 1849
Children of Benjamin & Ruth C. (Mudgett) Batchelder:
6. Nancy D. Batchelder, b 1823, d. 25 March 1842
7. Benjamin Manson Bachelder, b 5 Oct 1885 in Meredith NH, d. 20 Apr 1903; he m. Sarah A. Randlett. Children: Benjamin Forrest, and Dora A, and D.C. He was a lumber merchant.
8. Mary E. Bachelder, b. 1837 Meredith NH; m. 21 Nov 1863 in Meredith NH to Benjamin Batchelder. He was b. in Loudon NH

John H. Batchelder/Bacheldor, son of Benjaman and Nancy (Dearborn) Batchelder, b. 9 Nov 1818 Moultonboro NH and d. 9 Feb 1906 Meredith NH; he married 19 August 1845 in Gilford NH to Mary Ann Blake, daughter of Ithemar E. & Sydna L. (Whidden) Blake. She was b. abt 1826 NH and d. 22 Sep 1897 in Meredith NH. Buried Plymouth Street Cemetery, Meredith NH.
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Children of John H. & Mary A. (Blake) Batchelder:
1. John Frank Batchelder, b abt 1850 Laconia NH, d. 23 Jan 1884 in Meredith NH of meningitis; single
2. Ida J. Batchelder, b. abt 1858 NH; she d. 23 Feb 1907 in Meredith NH; she m. M.O. Moulton. Buried Plymouth Street Cemetery, Meredith NH
3. Belle L. “Mary Ann” Batchelder, b. 2 Sep 1860 Campton NH; d. 11 March 1929 in Meredith NH; she m. 26 Nov 1879 in Meredith NH to Frank P.Corliss; buried Plymouth St. Cemetery, Meredith NH
4. +Fred L. Batchelder, b. 19 Sep 1866 in Meredith NH

Hollis Street Railroad Station, Nashua NH. Fred L. Batchelder was a train engineer for the B&M Railroad.

Hollis Street Railroad Station, Nashua NH. Fred L. Batchelder was a train engineer for the B&M Railroad.

Fred L. Batchelder, son of John H. Batchelder, b. 19 Sep 1866 in Meredith NH, d. 28 Jan 1936 in Nashua NH. He m. 1 Sep 1890 in NH to Anne Amelia “Annie” Lampron, daughter of Henry or Moses Lampron. She 16 Dec 1867 in Vermont [d cert says Nashua NH], died 22 Jan 1935 in Nashua NH. He was a fireman in 1891. They removed to Nashua about 1906. In Nashua he was an engineer for the B&M railroad. They are buried Edgewood Cemetery, Nashua NH
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1870 US Census > NH > Belknap > Meredith
John H. Batchelder M 52 NH
Mary A. Batchelder F 44 NH
John F. Batchelder M 20 NH
Ida J. Batchelder F 12 NH
Bell L. Batchelder F 8 NH
Fred L. Batchelder M 6 NH
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1880 US Census > NH > Belknap > Meredith
John H. Batchelder Farmer
Mary A. Bachelder wife F 54 NH
J. Frank Bachelder son M 30
Ida J. Bachelder dau F 22 NH
Fred L. Bachelder son M 15 NH
Ruth C. Bachelder F 85 NH grandmother
——————-
1930 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Nashua
Fred L. Batchelder Head M 64 NH NH NH NH Engineer, Steam Railroad
Annie A. Batchelder wife F 62 VT Can-Fr Can-F
Gertrude M. Batchelder daughter F 38 NH NH VT Sales Lady Dry Goods Store
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Children of Fred L. & Anne (Lampron) Batchelder:
1. unknown
2. + Gertrude May Batchelder, b. 20 Dec 1891

Gertrude May Batchelder, daughter, and 2nd child of Fred L. & Annie (Lampon) Batchelder, b. 20 Dec 1891 in Somersworth, Strafford Co. NH, d. 23 Dec 1974 in Nashua, NH. She is buried in Edgewood Cemetery. In 1940 living at 369 Main Street (renting), occupation, Saleslady, retail underwear.
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1917 Directory of Nashua
Batchelder, Gertrude M clerk 97 Main, b. 2 Williams [her parent’s house]
1943 Directory of Nashua
Clerk, Speare’s Dry Goods, h 369 Main
1950-1955 Manning’s Nashua Directory
Batchelder, Gertrude clk Speare Dry Goods Co. r369 Main
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In August of 1935, along with Mrs. Mabel Thompson Cooper and Mrs. Florence Speare of Nashua, Gertrude Batchelder traveled as far north as West Taku Arm, Alaska where the sun shines round the clock.
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Nashua Telegraph, Nashua NH, 21 Feb 1970: SPEARE DRY GOODS CO. STORE HONORS GERTRUDE BATCHELDER. Gertrude Batchelder was recently honored at a testimonial dinner by co-workers and officials of Speare Dry Goods Co., store in recognition of her 60 years’ service. She is widely known in the community. She is a charter member and past president of the Nashua Business and Professional Women’s Club. She has appeared often as a vocalist in church choirs and other activities. The event was held in the Thunderbird 88 Restaurant. Officials seated at the head table with Miss Batchelder were preisdent, Reynold A. Dean; vice-president, Harry Downing Jr., assistant treasurer, Paul S. Dean, and secretary, Atty. Frank B. Clancy, who was toast-master.
President Dean, on behalf of the establishment, paid high tribute to Miss Batchelder’s 60 years of service in her capacity as a clerk and buyer, and said “I doubt that Miss Batchelder’s 60 years of serice has parallel in the city’s merchandising history.”
Clancy said that, in going over the records, he found she was first employed with the store in 1909, while a junior in high school. Following graduation in 1909, she came to work full time for the company that was known then as the H.S. Norwell Company, owned and managed by the founder, Harry Slater Norwell, who established the business in 1878. The store was acquired in 1912 by the late Sceva Speare and Miss Batchelder was kept on the sales staff. “This gives her the unusual and unique distinction of having been employed by both the founder and the successors,” Clancy said. Dean presented her a pewter tea and coffee service with an inscribed plate denoting her 60 years of service.
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Nashua Telegraph, Nashua NH, Tuesday, 24 Dec 1974
Miss Gertrude M. Batchelder, 82, of 68 East Pearl Street, died Monday night [23 Dec 1974] in a local hospital after a long illness. She was born in Portsmouth on Dec 20, 1892, daughter of the late Fred and Annie (Lampron) Batchelder.Educated in Portsmouth schools, she came to Nashua in 1905. Shortly after she entered the employ of Speare’s Dry Good Co., where she remained for more than 65 years. She later became a department head and retired in 1973, at which time she was honored by the company for her many years of service.Miss Batchelder was a member of the First Baptist Church, the Women’s Fellowship of the church and had been an active member of the church choir. She also held membership in Pilgrim Chapter No. 55, Order of Eastern Star, Olive Brach Rebekah Lodge No. 1 and the National Federation of Business & Professional Women’s Club. Survivors include six cousins: Irving Badger of Quincy, Mass., Reuben Corliss, Herbert Horn, Walter Corliss, Mrs. Kenson Covey, all of Meredith, NH; and Mrs. Nancy Daniels of CT. The Davis Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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Nashua Telegraph, Nashua NH, 28 Dec 1974, Saturday, page 2
Funeral Services for Miss Gertrude M. Batchelder of 63 East Pearl Street, retired department head of Speare’s Dry Goods Co. were held in the chapel of the Davis Funeral Home Friday afternoon. The Rev. Kenneth A. Flery minister of the First Baptist Church officiated. Bearers were W. Elliott Ayer, Melvin G. Becker, Stanley Brooks, Reynold A. Dean, Frank L. Irvine and B. Leonard Merrill. Present were representatives from Olive Branch Rebekah Lodge, Pilgrim Chapter O.E.S., National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Club and the First Baptist Church. Burial was in the family lot, Edgewood Cemetery.

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