[File Created by RKW years ago.]
Robert Hudson, Jr.
Robert Hudson, Jr., early day optometrist in Winfield, camped with his parents at Island park on Christmas 1869, although he did not claim to have settled in Winfield until early in 1870. (NOTE: This is from the Biographical Record of Cowley County. Published in 1901. RKW)
Though Mr. Hudson skips over the tragedies of that era, he says life was pretty wild before law and order were established in 1880. Indians roved the plains, and one of their local headquarters was north of town near Union cemetery. The Ponca and Cheyenne tribes lived around here, but didn’t molest the settlers. Mr. Hudson recalls the time when the government was moving the Indians to Indian territory. Indians from this area were herded through here toward Oklahoma. (Note - I believe these were the Nez Pierce Indians.RKW) They marched single file with their heads down. The warriors, who were still fighting, were sent down through western Kansas, where there were but few settlements.
The first school was a one-room frame building where the Coffee Cup cafe now stands. Mr. Hudson recalls how the room became crowded as the town grew and how he and James Lorton had to sit in the same single seat for many of the sessions. (And how occasionally he or Jim went down on the floor, depending on which gave the hardest shove.)
Mr. Hudson, like most of the boys at that time, gathered arrowheads and other Indian equipment. He treasured the flint heads most of all.
Mr. Hudson remembers the first story, a log building with a dirt floor, located close to the present site of the state bank. Upstairs was the first newspaper. Mr. Hudson worked with the printer, (He was the devil- he inked the type with a roller while the printer placed the paper, made the impression and took out the finished result.) when he was little, and his brother, Will, as well as Ed Greer, were typesetters. Setting a column of print a day was considered a good days work which they both were able to do.
The younger Robert Hudson in his youth worked on farms in the vicinity, freighted lumber from Emporia, the nearest railroad point, then took up the jewelry trade when 16. He would have been a member of the first Winfield high school graduating class, but quit school to take up his trade. When the Courier was first organized he was one of the first “devils” in the back shop.
George and Will Hudson had a jewelry store at 904 Main street, and taught their younger brother (Robert) the trade. Robert worked in the store after school hours and gradually learned the trade.
Winfield Courier, January 2, 1879.
HUDSON BROS., are young men, born mechanics. They are in the jewelry, silverware, watch, and clock trade, and they know how to make and mend in the best of style. Their strict attention to business and pleasing manners are winning over an excellent trade.
Winfield Courier, June 21, 1883.
A New Jewelry Firm. Robert Hudson, Jr., & Co., will start in the Jewelry house lately vacated by Farrager, with a large and fresh stock of goods. The new business will open up on the first of July.
Robert was within three months of receiving his high school diploma (in 1883) when the opportunity opened for him to establish his own business and he rented the building on the location now occupied by Smyer Travel service at 908 North Main. This building had been used as a saloon. A mirror in an ornate walnut carved frame, a part of the saloon bar equipment, occupied a place in the front of the Hudson store and attracted much comment from customers with an eye to the unusual. He later took in another brother, John. It made a rather unusual business arrangement, but the two stores operated without rivalry. Mr. Hudson said they were known as the east side and west side Hudsons. He opened the Store July 4, 1883 in the morning, closed at noon and went to the Fourth of July celebration at Riverside park, which at that time was the only park in the city. It is now a grove south of the fairgrounds, where pecan trees drop their loads every fall.
Robert Hudson was in business by himself at first, but after awhile he was joined by his brother John, who remained for 15 years before he moved to Hollywood, Calif.
About 1888 Mr. Hudson purchased a frame building on his present location, 915 Main), and several years later built the present structure.
Until the first World War, the store hours were from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Although he lacked the three months of completing work for his diploma, Mr. Hudson continued studying at night and became proficient in bookkeeping, commercial law, penmanship, engraving and other subjects.
Robert Hudson, Jr., married Martha Fink in 1893. They had two sons, Robert Ellis, Eugene Fletcher, and two daughters, Catherine born 12/7/1906, and Martha who died in infancy.
His son, Ellis, became a member of the firm in 1919, after returning from war service, but had worked in the shop since a small boy.
Ellis Hudson was born Jan. 8. 1897 and died March 5, 1963. He married Bessie Kern Welch in 1922. She died Feb. 6, 1972. They had one daughter, Martha June Hudson, born June 19, 1925. He was educated in the Winfield high school and subsequently graduated from the Gem City business College at Quincy, Illinois. Subsequently he became a licensed optometrist. He also served in the First World War.
Martha June Hudson married Raymond King in 1946. Donald Hudson reported in his 1985 book “the Hudson Family” the following;
“Three chimes were played at three o’clock Sunday afternoon at the First Methodist church, at which time Miss Martha June Hudson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Hudson of 615 East Twelth, and Raymond Edwin King, son of Mr. and Mrs. V. E. King of 1010 Stewart, were united in marriage. Rev. Joe Riley Burns officiated at the double ring service.
“The bride, who was given in marriageby herfather, wore a long dress, with a faille taffeta bodice, sweetheart neckline, full short sleeves of net, and a long full net skirt. Herfinger-tip veil of illusion was held in place with clusters of orange blossoms on both sides of her head, with single orange blossoms tied on the viel with a white satin ribbon at varying places. She carried a white Bible, topped with a white orchid, and showered with white satin streamers. The white Bibles carried by the the bride and maid of honor were graduation gifts to the bride and Miss Arnette from Miss Jacqueline Fry. The bride carried a lace handkerchief carried by her paternal grandmother at her high school graduation and wedding and also carried by her daughter, Mrs. R. M. Haney of Wichita, at her wedding.
“Aaron Johnson served the groom as best man, and William King and JackKing, brothers of the groom, Jim Barnthouse and Harry Barnthouse were ushers.
“A reception in the church parlor, given by the bride’s parents, followed the ceremony.
Mrs. Joe Bailey was in charge of reception arrangements, and those presiding were Mrs. R. M. Haney, Mrs. E. F. Hudson, and Miss Helen Welch, aunts of the bride, Mrs. Frank Phelps, Jr., Mrs. Martin Sidener, Miss Julia Morrene Anders, and Mrs. Fay Greene, Jr., Miss Patricia Graham and Miss Dorothy Nell Arnette were in charge of the guest book.
“Both Mr. and Mrs. King have lived in Winfield all of their lives, and both are graduates of the 1943 class at Winfield High School. Mrs. King attended Southwestern College and Kansas University, and has been employed as stenographerat the First National Bank.
“Mr. King enlisted in the Navy and left following his graduation to serve 35 months, participatiog in eight naval engagements. He was discharged April 20, 1946 at St. Louis, Mo., and plans to enter college next fall.”
They have two children, Karen Rae King (born May 20, 1952) and Craig Robert King (born June 25, 1954.)