An entry from Ohio Biographical Sketches, 1876 (available online through Ancestry Library Edition) states that John H. Hudson was born on July 5, 1824 in Auburn, New York to Emmanuel and Margaret (Boyd) Hudson. He was associated with the Buffalo and Erie Railroad, and the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, before accepting positions with the United States Treasury Department during the Civil War.
John H. Hudson married Louisa Clark in 1844 in New York state. Their son Henry F. Hudson was born on February 29, 1852. Louisa died quite young, leaving John a widower with a young son. In October of 1852, John Hudson married Elizabeth A. Orton, the daughter of Rev. Samuel and Clarissa Gregory Orton. In 1869, John and Elizabeth Hudson were living in Sandusky, Ohio, where John was a grain dealer.
In 1873 John H. Hudson was elected to the State Senate of Ohio. He was re-elected in 1875, defeating a local newspaper man, I. F. Mack. Charles E. Frohman wrote in his book about I. F. Mack, Sandusky's Editor, that Mack did not take losing the election to Mr. Hudson very gracefully. He wrote his reflections about the election in a newspaper column on October 27, 1875 stating that the Republicans who voted for John H. Hudson “would have voted for the devil, Jeff Davis, or a Jesuit priest, just as cheerfully.”
Elizabeth A. Orton was born on June 16, 1827. In a genealogical book about the Orton family, An Account of the Descendants of Thomas Orton of Windsor, Connecticut, 1641, the writer describes Elizabeth: “She is a lady of unusual intellectual activity and force and does not allow the burden of years to weigh down her vivacity or depress her ambition.” After the death of Mr. Hudson in 1893, Elizabeth Hudson was left in difficult economic circumstances. (Mr. Hudson had suffered financial losses in the 1890’s.) To support herself, she painted watercolor paintings, gave art lessons, and rented out rooms. It is believed that Mrs. Hudson was a mentor to artists Emma Matern, Charles F. Shuck, Elizabeth Nourse, and Charles Courtney Curran.
Following Mrs. Hudson’s death on November 27, 1911, the Art Study Club of Sandusky adopted a resolution which was printed in the December 2, 1911 Sandusky Register. It read in part, “Resolved, That as a loving tribute to her memory we, the members of the club of which she was a most honored and worthy one, always contributing to its upbuilding by her interest, enthusiasm and thorough knowledge of the subject of art was ever a source of inspiration to the members. We express our deep regret over her removal from our midst where she was found worthy of our highest esteem.”
Mr. and Mrs. John H. Hudson are buried in Block 56 of Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. In the photograph below, Mrs. Hudson can be seen gazing at a portrait of Mr. Hudson at their home on 318 Huron Avenue in Sandusky.
The brother of Elizabeth Orton Hudson was Edward Orton, Sr., who was the first president of the Ohio State University, and served as the state geologist of Ohio for many years.