Frank Ditmars Hodges 1874 – 1919

Frank Ditmars Hodges was born 29 September 1874, in Middleborough, MA.  The town of Middleborough is a 70-square mile historic industrial town on the Nemasket River and was a major Native American settlement area used for seasonal fishing, hunting and berry gathering. 

Frank was the son of Jonathan and Henrietta J (Vroom) Hodges.  He shares his middle name with his grandfather John Ditmars Vroom, whose mother was Abigail Ditmars.  Jonathan was born in Nova Scotia, of Irish descent, and Henrietta was born in Nova Scotia, of Dutch Loyalist descent from New Jersey.  The family moved to Massachusetts, but after his father died, the family moved back to Morristown, Kings County, Nova Scotia and lived with his mother’s mother. 

In 1884, the family moved to Lynn, MA.  The family at that time included his mother, and his sister Etha.  An unnamed baby and his infant brother Charles had died.  Frank worked as a clerk at 847 Western Avenue, and lived at 92 Congress, and 82 Harwood.  By 1899, he was listed as a grocer.  In the 1900 census, he lived at 123 Holyoke Street, next door to Josie Smith, his future bride.  He was listed as a produce dealer.  The household included Henrietta’s cousin Charles Vroom and Charles’ daughter Cora. 

Frank and Josie were married on 28 November, 1900 by Charles Blackett, at the South Street Methodist Church.   The church organized in 1830. It was originally a plain substantial edifice, without a steeple, with two doors in front, and a vestibule running the whole length of the house. Over this was the singing gallery, and between the entry doors, the pulpit. The house remained in this state until 1851, when a steeple was built, which greatly added to its beauty. Much later, the church became a community center, and since has been remodeled into condominiums. 

The Hodges family lived in Lynn, at 44 Reed, 35 Bullfinch, 216 Maple, and 115 Graves.  Frank continued to work as a grocer, but was also an insurance agent in 1904 and 1905.  In 1906, he was listed as a trustee at the South Street Methodist Church, South, near Western Avenue.  By this time, he was the father of four sons.

In 1907, the family moved to Lowell MA, and they also lived at Dracut.  They returned to Lynn by 1910, and Frank was working again as an insurance agent, with the family living at 13 Smith.  In 1911, they lived at 6 Pond Road.  The family moved to Nashua by 1911.  They lived at 4 Prospect, but by 1913 were living at 8 Water, in Hudson.  In 1915, the family moved to South Merrimack.  Frank wanted to be a farmer, and at one point rented a farm in Amherst where he raised milk cows and produce.

On 12 September 1918, Frank registered for military service.  At that time, they were living in Moore, Delaware County, PA.  He was working during the Great War as a carpenter at the Philadelphia shipyard. Son Albert also worked there.

He was a member of Pilgrim Congregational church in Nashua, which started in 1684.  The building where Frank would have attended church was built in 1882 on Temple Street.  When he moved to Amherst, he joined the Amherst Congregational church. It was built in 1771 on the common, then moved in the early 1800s to its current location.

Frank died 12 November, 1919 in Hudson NH.  The death certificate listed him as a grocery clerk.  Cause of death was cancer of rectum. His obituary described him as “a man devoted to his family and an excellent man to meet.”   He was survived by his widow Josie, four children, Albert W, F. Chester, Donald, and A. Roland, his mother Henrietta, and his sister Etha.


1 Comment

  1. Evelyn Laber said,

    November 13, 2010 at 20:32

    Nice writeup. I learned that both my maternal grandmother (I think) and my paternal grandfather died of cancer.

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