JAMES W HUDGENS
Among the well-known and respected early settlers of Brown county is the subject of this review, who has been a resident of the community for twenty-two years, during which period he has been actively identified with the agricultural interests and at the same time has given an earnest support to all measures calculated to prove of public benefit. Daniel Hudgens, the progenitor of the Hudgens family of America and the great-grandfather of the subject of this memoir, came to America from Ireland prior to the war of the Revolution and served in the American army. He settled in Virginia, where, it is presumed, he died. He had seven children.
Our subject was born in Andrew county, Missouri, November 5, 1852, and is a representative of a pioneer family of that state. His father, John Hudgens, was born in Kentucky, and, having arrived at years of maturity, married Miss Nancy Duff, who was also a native of the Blue Grass state and belonged to an old Virginia family, celebrated for bravery, industry and honesty. Mr. and Mrs. Hudgens removed to Missouri in the '40s, and there the mother died in Andrew county, at the age of forty years. The father, surviving her, passed away at the age of fifty-two years. He was a man of considerable local prominence and a very successful stock dealer. His political support was given to the Democracy, and he took an active interest in everything calculated to promote the growth and insure the success of his party. One of his brothers, Prince L. Hudgens, of Savannah, Missouri, a prominent lawyer and a Christian preacher, who had large land interests in Kansas, had an office at Leavenworth, Kansas, and was a very prominent factor in the political life of that city for many years, and his ability made him a recognized leader in moulding public thought and opinion. In his religious belief John Hudgens was a Christian. and his wife belonged to the Baptist church. Their fidelity to duty in all life's relations won them the respect of many friends, and they were widely and favorably known in the community in which they made their home. They had a family of four children, namely: James W.; Mrs. Nancy J. Hatch, of California; Letitia and Prince L., of Missouri.
James W. Hudgens was reared on the old home farm in Andrew county, and, as soon as old enough to handle the plow, began work in the fields. While his father informed him in farm work, his mother instilled into his mind habits of honesty and economy. He acquired his education in the common schools and by study at home, his extensive reading having added materially to his knowledge. During the period of the Civil war no schools were conducted in Missouri, and he was thus thrown upon his own resources for his education. In 1870 he came to Kansas, locating on Wolf creek, and in 1878 he took tip his abode upon his present farm in Mission township, Brown county. His land was then wild, but with determined purpose he began its development, and is to-day the owner of one of the best farm properties in the community. Twenty acres of his land has been laid out in town lots, making a valuable addition to the town of Baker. He still has on his farm one hundred and twenty-three acres, which is highly cultivated and improved. A comfortable frame residence stands upon the natural building site and is surrounded with beautiful trees, and an orchard yields its fruit in season. Barns and outbuildings furnish shelter for grain and stock, and well-tilled fields and verdant meadows add to the attractive appearance of the home.
Mr. Hudgens was married to Miss Susan Meisenheimer, who was born in Brown county and was a daughter of John and Frances (Wonderly) Meisenheimer. Nine children were born of this union, namely John L.; Lilly, wife of Henry Bartholomew, of Oklahoma; J. W., who is still on the home farm; Daniel, also of Oklahoma; Susie, wife of Edward Landsing, of Baker, Kansas; Polly, Grover, Frances and Mason. Mrs. Hudgens died December 21, 1890, and on October 28, 1894, Mr. Hudgens was married to Mrs. Mary Hopkins, nee Mary Switzer, daughter of Andrew and Susan (Fry) Switzer, who resided in Virginia and natives of the same state. The great-grandfather of Mrs. Hudgens settled in Virginia at a very early date from Switzerland.
Mr. Hudgens gives his political to the Democracy, and keeps well informed on the issues of the day. He is a licensed exhorter and preacher in the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. He has traveled extensively through Kansas, promulgating the doctrines of the church in which he is a very active worker. He was appointed by the general conference of that church to labor in this circuit. His work has been very effective. He is an earnest and eloquent speaker, his arguments in pleading having largely promoted the interest of the cause. The many excellent qualities which he shows forth in his daily life have gained him high regard, and he is well worthy of representation in the history of Brown county.
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