Give to a man the instincts and ability of a merchant by birth and he
will sooner or later identify himself with that particular line of
business, regardless of what his early training with reference to other
pursuits may be. Many a man has made his mark in the field of
merchandising, lacking the very desirable advantages of education and
training. How much greater, then, is a man's chance for ultimate success
in business when he is fortified with a liberal general education in
addition to that great fundamental necessity, natural ability. The
career of Ira J. Hudson particularly emphasizes this truth, as a glance
at his record will amply confirm.
Ira J. Hudson was born in Clinton, Kentucky, July 19, 1877, being the son of Henry J. Hudson, now a merchant in Mounds, Illinois, but born in Hickman county, Kentucky, near Clinton, in 1853. He was the son of another Henry Hudson, who became a resident of the Corncracker state in about 1835, coming there from Virginia and acquiring a tract of farm land near Clinton, for which he paid the nominal figure of two dollars and a half per acre. Henry Hudson, the Kentucky pioneer, had no brothers, but he had three sisters: they were Mrs. Morris Brown, of Hannibal, Missouri; Mrs. Sichling, the wife of Dr. Sichling, of Ullin, Illinois; and Mrs. Maryon Woodard of Clinton, Kentucky. He was the husband of Amanda Spicer, who bore him six children, as follows: Mary J., who married J. Vaughan and spent her life near Clinton, Kentucky; Sarah E., who became the wife of H. H. Harmon, and also passed her life near Clinton; Mrs. T. F. Gwyn, of South Columbus, Kentucky; Henry J., of Mounds, Illinois; and Martha Ellen, the wife of J. V. Brady, of Chaffee, Missouri. The remainder of his life was passed in Hickman county, Kentucky, and there he died in 1900, having reached a venerable age.
The early life of Henry J. Hudson was spent as a farmer in his native county. The usual common school advantages of a youth of that period were his, and on reaching years of manhood he married Miss Annette Lentz, a daughter of Paul Lentz, of German birth, and a settler of Hickman county from North Carolina. When Henry J. Hudson came to Illinois in 1881 he continued his life as a farmer until the birth and early development of the railroad activities at Mounds, Illinois, when he went to that city and engaged in business in a mercantile way, conducting a grocery business of a particularly thriving nature for years under the firm name of H. J. Hudson and Son. In 1909 he was succeeded in that business by his son, and he subsequently opened a small confectionery establishment on the same street, where he is still conducting a lively and lucrative business. Henry J. Hudson is a Republican in his political convictions, and he comes from a family with pronounced Southern sympathies, which statement is considerably emphasized by the fact that two of his brothers-in-law served in the Confederate army. The issue of his marriage with Annette Lentz, previously mentioned, are Ira J., of Mounds, Illinois; Henry, cashier of the Cotton Belt freight office at. Cairo, Illinois; Omer, in the service of the Illinois Central at Mounds; Bertie, married to Van Pope, but now deceased; Otis, a doctor who took his medical degree some years ago and practiced for a time in the Southern Illinois Penitentiary at Chester, but is now located at Mounds; and Paul and Ray, both in the employ of the Illinois Central at Mounds.
Ira J. Hudson as a boy and youth was a regular attendant at the common schools in Ullin, Illinois. At the age of sixteen he was graduated from the Friendship School in Pulaski county, Illinois, and later spent two years at the Southern Illinois Normal at Carbondale. Following that he read law for a year in the law department of McKendree College at Lebanon, Illinois. He then engaged as a teacher, and he served in that capacity for several years in the counties of Pulaski, Jackson and Alexander, in all of which places he held an admirable record for careful and efficient service. His last work as a teacher was performed in the year 1900, .when he became associated with his father in the mercantile business. In 1905 he took service with the Illinois Central and became night foreman at Mounds, a responsible position which he held for several years, severing his connection with that company in 1909, at which time he took over the business then being conducted under the name of H. J. Hudson and Son, and he has conducted that business successfully since that time, always improving, expanding, and in every way reaching out after trade, and generally demonstrating his inherent ability and capacity for successful merchandising.
Mr. Hudson politically is a Republican, and has been more or less active in the affairs of his party for a number of years. He is now serving his fourth term as city clerk of Mounds, thereby showing himself to be sufficiently public spirited to encumber himself with the cares of office in addition to the manifold responsibilities of everyday life. He is identified with a number of fraternal societies, in all of which he is prominent and active, among them being the order of Odd Fellows and the Modern "Woodmen of America. He is a past master in Masonry and has served as deputy grand master. In his church relations he is of the Methodist Episcopal faith.
On June 13, 1901, Mr. Hudson was united in marriage with Miss Retta Gher, a daughter of Dr. Gher, of Makanda, and they are the parents of one child, Ira J., Jr.
Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 2, page 719.
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