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Snell was first white man buried here

The view of the St. Croix River at Prospect Park. Silas Snell has the lone gravestone marker near this viewing areain the park.

Prospect Park is located on Liberty Hill, overlooking the St. Croix River and the roofs and steeples of Hudson. The park is adjacent to the location of the old Hudson Hospital.

Among its many attractions is a small granite monument on the rim of the hill that bears the inscription: Silas Snell Buried Here 1847. Snell was, reputedly, the first white man buried in Hudson.

A legendary tale accompanies that marker

Capt. John B. Page (1800-1865), a retired sea captain from Maine, came to this locality in the early 1840s, lured by the rich virgin timber, and settled in what is now Hudson. At that early date the settlement was simply called Page's Landing.

Under Capt. Page, loggers were busy at work by 1847, when Page established a logging camp on the Willow River.

As a footnote to history, we know that Page's daughter Abigail was the first white child born in Hudson on April 15, 1847, the same day the first steamboat landed on the shore at Hudson.

Along with Capt. Page had come another riverman by the name of Silas Snell (sometimes spelled Schnell).

It was told that one day Snell was out on the St. Croix River with Capt. Page and was deeply impressed with the beauty of the high, wooded bluff we know as Liberty Hill.

Snell said to Capt. Page, "When I die I would like to be buried on the top of that bluff." Capt. Page replied, "If you die before me, I will put you there."

Not long afterward, Silas Snell did die. As a man of his word, Page kept his promise. Page cut a path from the bottom of the densely wooded bluff to the top and Snell's body was carried to its final resting place.

However, it was more than 70 years until the modest monument to Snell was erected on Liberty Hill by the Hudson Park Board in October 1921.

Abigail Page first white child born in Hudson

Abigail Page (1847-1945), the first white child born in Hudson, was married in 1868 to George W. Bailey, an Iowan, who settled in Hudson after the Civil War. He was a carpenter by trade and built the family home on their farm that was the east 80 acres of the original area which Capt. Page received as a grant in 1852 when Millard Fillmore was president.

This property is at the east edge of the Hudson city limits, where the high school is located.

There were seven children in the Bailey family, but only one, Leonard L. (1877-1969), made his permanent home in Hudson. Len Bailey was a Spanish-American War veteran and a mail carrier in the 1920s.