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William G. Hudson.—No citizen of Ludington, the beautiful capital city of Mason county, commands more secure place in popular confidence and esteem than does William G. Hudson, who has here maintained his home for nearly two score years, who has been prominently identified with the upbuilding of the city, and who has here held various offices of distinctive public trust, including that of postmaster. He was for many years engaged in business as one of the leading merchants of Ludington, and his aid and influence have been potent in connection with the civic and material development and progress of this favored section of the Wolverine state. He is one of the loyal sons of the republic who gave valiant service as soldiers of the Union during the climacteric period of the Civil war, and he manifested the fervor of his patriotism by enlisting when a mere youth. Ancestors of Mr. Hudson in both the paternal and maternal lines were numbered among the patriot soldiers of the Continental forces in the war of the Revolution, and through his own services he added new laurels to the military prestige thus gained by his forebears. A man of broad intellectual ken and of inviolable integrity in all the relations of life, Mr. Hudson well merits the unqualified esteem in which he is held in the community that has so long represented his home, and thus it is but consonant that in this publication be entered a brief record of his career.

William (i. Hudson was born at Gouverneur, St. Lawrence county. New York, on the 14th of October, 1843, and is a son of Henry and Mary (Chappell) Hudson. Henry Hudson was born near Pittsfield, Berkshire county, .Massachusetts, and was of English descent, the family having been founded in New England in the colonial epoch of our national history. His father was likewise a native of the old Bay state, and the latter's father, Darius Hudson, was a valiant soldier with the Massachusetts troops in the Revolutionary war. Henry Hudson was reared to maturity in his native state and there learned the cooper's trade. As a young man he removed to the state of New York, where, in 1834, was solemnized his marriage to Miss Mary Chappell, who was born and reared in that state and whose paternal grandfather was a soldier of the Revolution. Soon after his marriage, which occurred in the southern part of the state, Henry Hudson removed to St. Lawrence county, Xew York, where he engaged in the work of his trade and where he also bought a tract of land. He developed his farm and there continued to be identified with agricultural pursuits until 1845, when he located in the town of Gouverneur, in the same county, where he conducted a hotel for a period of about fifteen years. After his retirement from this line of enterprise he turned his attention to the real-estate business, in which he there continued to be engaged until his death, at the age of fifty-two years; his wife long survived him and was eightytwo years of age when she was summoned to the life eternal. This worthy couple became the parents of five sons and two daughters, and all of the sons served as soldiers in the Civil war. The parents were members of the Universalist church and in politics the father was orginally an old-line Whig, from which party he transferred his allegiance to the Republican party at the time of its organization.

William (J. Hudson was reared to adult age in the town of Gouverneur, New York, where his early educational advantages were those afforded in the common schools and in well conducted private schools. When the dark cloud of Civil war cast its pall over the national firmament the youthful patriotism of Mr. Hudson was roused to definite response, and he was among those who went forth at the time when President Lincoln issued his first call for volunteers. Early in 1861. several months prior to his eighteenth birthday anniversary, Mr. Hudson enlisted as a private in the Sixteenth New York Volunteer Infantry, but illness prevented his being mustered in at this time. Early in August of the same year he enlisted as a private in Battery H, First New York Light Artillery, with which command he was mustered into the United States service and with which he departed for the national capital in the following October.

In the spring of 1862 his battery joined the Army of the Potomac, in the command of General McClellan, for the Peninsular campaign, and from that time forward his record as a soldier of the Union has been briefly summed up as follows: The first engagement was near Newport News, with the Confederate gunboat '' Teaser,'' on the James river; he was at the seige of Yorktown and all through the Peninsular campaign, including Fair Oaks and the seven days' retreat of McClellan from White Oak swamp to Harrison's Landing. During the winter of 1862-3 he was with the army at Yorktown. Virginia, and Gloucester Point. In the spring he joined General Kilpatrick in his raid to Mathews Court House and Mobjack Bay. His command then joined the Fourth Army Corps, under General Dix, in June, 1863, and thus took part in the second expedition against Richmond, along the same route taken by McClellan in 1862, and there were engagements with the enemy' at Baltimore Cross Roads and other points,—principally skirmishes.

The forces then returned to Yorktown and thence to Washington. From the national capital the command proceeded to Frederick City, Maryland, and it arrived just one day too late to take part in the ever memorable battle of Gettysburg. Again joining the Army of the Potomac, at Warrington Junction, Virginia, Mr. Hudson took part in the Mine Run campaign, late in 1863. In May, 1864, he started for Culpeper Court House, with General Grant on his great campaign, and he participated in the battle of the Wilderness as well as in the engagements at Spottsylvania Court House, Jericho Ford, Bethesda Church and before Petersburg, in July; and in nearly all the engagements from that time until September 5, 1864,— thus having served more than three years before attaining to his legal majority. He received his honorable discharge, at the Yellow Tavern, in front of Petersburg, Virginia, on the 5th of September, 1864, and his record as a gallant and loyal soldier of the republic is one that will ever redound to his credit and honor.

In the autumn of 1864 Mr. Hudson came to Michigan and located at Olivet, Eaton county, where he engaged in the work of his trade, that of painter, and where his marriage was solemnized in December of the following year. He finally established a paint and oil store at Olivet, where he continued in business until January, 1872, when he removed to Ludington, which was then a mere lumber town. Here he opened a paint store, and from a modest inception he built up a prosperous enterprise, in connection with which he became one of the representative business men of the village. He continued in this line of business until 1888 and in the spring of the following year he was appointed postmaster of Ludington, after General Harrison had succeeded Grover Cleveland in the presidency of the United States. He retained this office four years, when a return of Democratic administration compassed his retirement. In 1892 Mr. Hudson was elected city assessor and he hold this office two years.

In 1898. after the election of MeKinley to the presidency, Mr. Hudson was again commissioned postmaster, and at the expiration of his first term of four years he was reappointed, thus serving under both Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt. He retired from office in 1905, and his administration of the affairs of the local postoffice has passed on record as one of signal ability and discrimination, as well as one that gained uniform popular approval in the community. Since leaving the postoffice Mr. Hudson has lived virtually retired. He has ever been uncompromising in his allegiance to the Republican party and has been an active worker in behalf of its cause, as well as a leader in its local councils. He has held various city and county offices, including that of chairman of the board of supervisors of Mason county, and his loyalty, integrity and public spirit have brought to him unequivocal confidence and esteem in the community that has so long represented his home.

Mr. Hudson is an appreciative and valued member or comrade of Pap Williams Post, No. 15, Grand Army of the Republic, and he has been long and prominently identified with the time-honored Masonic fraternity. He was raised to the degree of Master Mason in Bellevue Lodge, No. 83, Free & Accepted Masons.- at Bellevue, Michigan, in 1868, and in the same year he there received also the degrees in Bellevue Chapter, No. 53, Royal Arch Masons. In 1870 he received the maximum chivalric order in Marshall Commandery, No. 17, Knights Templars, at Marshall, Michigan, He was a charter member of Olivet Lodge, No. 267, Free & Accepted Masons, and was its worshipful master in 1871. He was also one of the organizers of Ludington Chapter, No. 92, Royal Arch Masons, in 1873, and was for four years High Priest of the same. Mr. Hudson received the Council degrees in Oceana Council, No. .27, Royal & Select Masters, at Pentwater, Michigan, and is a charter member of Ludington Council, No. 48. He has had the distinction of serving as Grand Master of the Grand Council of Michigan, an office of which he was incumbent in 1883.

He was thrice Illustrious Master of Ludington Council for four years, and in his home city he also is actively affiliated with Pere Marquette Lodge, No. 299, Free & Accepted Masons, to which he was dimitted upon his removal to this city. In 1890 he served as Grand High Priest of the grand chapter of Michigan and he was one of the foremost in effecting the organization of Apollo Commandery No. 31, Knights Templars, in Ludington, in 1882. He is a charter member of this Commandery and was its first Eminent Commander, an office which he retained four consecutive years. In the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Masonry Mr. Hudson received "the thirty-second degree on the 16th of February, 1881, in DeWitt Clinton Consistory, in the city of Grand Rapids, and on the 15th of September, 1891, in the city of Boston, was conferred upon him the maximum and honorary degree, the thirty-third. He is affiliated with the various bodies of DeWitt Clinton Consistory and in the same city he also is identified with Saladin Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Even these brief data offer assurance that Mr. Hudson is one of the prominent exemplars of Masonry in Michigan and he is well known in the circles of the great fraternity, of whose noble teachings and history he is deeply appreciative. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

At Olivet, Michigan, on the 28th of December, 1865, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hudson to Miss Melissa J .Whitney, who was born in Illinois but who was reared to maturity in Eaton county, Michigan, where her father, the late Marcus Whitney was an honored pioneer. Prior to her marriage Mrs. Hudson had been a successful and popular teacher in the public schools of Eaton county, and in Ludington she has long been a popular factor in religious and social activities. Mr. and Mrs. Hudson became the parents of two children,—Mortimer L.. who was born on the 3d of January, 1868, and Bertha May, who was born May 6, 1871, and died April 18, 1881. Mortimer L. Hudson, who is associated with the Edward Hines Lumber Company, of Chicago, was graduated in the law department of the University of Michigan and was engaged in the practice of his profession in Ludington until 1898, .when he removed to Chicago and formed his present connection. He served as city attorney of Ludington and also as prosecuting attorney of Mason county, and he was recognized as one of the essentially representative members of the bar of this section of the state.

A history of northern Michigan and its people, Volume 2 By Perry Francis Powers, Harry Gardner Cutler

 

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