Taken from the Reflector, July 29, 1969. Mrs. Frank (Ada) Strock and Mrs. Charles Libey contributed the history and Mrs. Wayne (Mildred) Champion wrote the story, per The Reflector.
Of some 22 cities and towns of the same name throughout the United States we this week salute one well-known to Steuben County residents. Hudson, Indiana, having reached it's one hundredth anniversary, will observe it's centennial Thursday, July 31, through Saturday, August 2.
Hudson's birth-pains started in a spot designated as Millersburg. The very first business interest in this place Was a saw mill erected in 1855 by Joseph and John Miller. The big "muley" saw was said "to go up one day and down the next. Later the mill was owned by John Ritter.
About 1865 a small store was started near the mill by Michael Miller who later sold it to Ira Allerton. He enlarged tie stock of goods and in 1867 sold to Keller and son,
The original platting took place on August 14, 1869 by Elizabeth Clark,
Peter Miller, Samuel Clark, Ephraim Davis, Delila Clark, Philip Meese and
others. It was named North Benton by Elizabeth Clark, the grandmother
of Mrs. (Carl) Gail Pike Hardy of Hudson. This group caused this ground
to be laid out in nine one-half acre lots on the southwest quarter, Section
31, in Steuben Township.
These lots were platted and placed on record. Ira Allerton erected the first house on the plat which he sold to a man named Davis, who opened a small store in part of the house. At about the same time Mr. Keller erected a building on a lot purchased from Mrs. Clark and opened a store. Mrs. Clark lived on the east side of Main Street in what was known for years as the Bohner property.
Kellers lived in the house now owned by Mrs. Ford Libey.
Fullerton, Ferguson, and Ropp made additions to the original plat. These were all on Section 31, Township 36, Range 13. The land on which nearly all business houses of the town were built was in Brugh's addition, Salem Township. The line between Salem and Steuben Townships is the main street of Hudson.
Joseph Zonker owned 125 acres on the northwest section and he sold five
acres adjoining the town for lots. He settled here in 1851 and the fine
home they built is still standing, and is evidence of their ability to overcome
difficulties. Besides being a farmer, Mr. Zonker was capable of making
anything that was constructed of wood and his ingenuity is shown in the planning of the house and other buildings on his Land. The house is of brick construction and is still in excellent condition. It is now the Kistler Funeral Home, with their living quarters on the second floor. This dwelling was built
An incentive for the purchase of lots was the progress of work on the proposed
Chicago and Canada Southern Railroad in the spring of 1873. Leander
Brugh engaged the County Surveyor to survey into village lots twenty-two acres
of the southeast quarter of section 36. The only buildings on the plat
at the time of the survey were the one story dwelling and barn of Mr. Brugh.
The brick home now owned by Dawson Fifer was built by Mr. Brugh in 1878.
The railroad was never more than surveyed and a road bed built. This
ran east and west on the south edge of the ground platted for William Getz
purchased a lot and erected a two story building south of the present Frank
Leas home. Ira Allerton opened the first store in this building in
the early fall of 1873. The second story
served as living quarters for Win. Hibbard and his sister. Mr. Hibbard was a harness maker. North of the store was a building used for school purposes. This burned in 1873 or '74. North of the school was a store owned and operated by John Henry who came from Auburn. Two Johnson families lived southwest of these building and the saw mill was near their homes, The roller mill was
located just north of where the Wabash Railroad now runs. The residences of Fullerton, Ferguson and Henning were north of the mill; these houses have been remodeled and are still standing. Four places of business were built between the Henning property and the Street running east and west. The corner building remains and is owned by Don Noll.
A lot west of the Brugh home was sold to J. S. Moore of Auburn, and he immediately began the erection of a hotel. This was completed and occupied in 1874. It was known as Benton House. Dr. Morrison took possession of it in 1881. There were various other occupants through the years and it is now a two-apartment house owned by Vern Shively.
The first hotel opened on the Steuben side was operated by Ambrose Johnson. It is now the home of Mrs. Claude Kochert. At about this time residences were built by D. Baker, Ephraim Davis, Ira Allerton, Daniel Dole and a few others.
Nelson H. Way, the first wagon maker to locate here, erected a shop on lot number two. A blacksmith and a cabinetmaker soon established places of business.
A town called Benton was located several miles west of this place and this caused considerable confusion with the mail. No one living can recall who suggested the name Hudson or why!
The first mail was brought twice a week from Waterloo. It was also
hauled by dray from Summit at one time by George McDougal. Ira Allerton
was made Postmaster on December 10, 1868. On January 15, 1875, David
Ferrier was made Postmaster of the town under the new name, Hudson.
The Post Office was located just north of the stores. About 1890 H.
G. Garmire erected a fine new building for a Post Office and Harness Shop
with ample living quarters above. It is now used for a wreath factory
by Chas. Rowe. The Postmasters following Ferrier were H. K. Leas, Frank
Zimmerman, John Wagner, Joseph Ketchum, John Wagner, and H. G. Garmire.
Then came Samuel Harpham and Lena (Ritter) Weldy who were located in the
Maude Orr building at the south end of main street on the east side.
When Jennings Luttman became postmaster, January 1, 1946, the office was
moved to the Norman building near the center of town. In 1957 it was
moved to the present location. Lawrence Chorpenning is now Acting Postmaster
since November 1, 1967.
A rural delivery was started in 1900. Bert Libey was the first rural carrier, followed by Elmer Clark, George Reinoehl, Warren Sprankel, Russell Collins, and Robert Shire, the present carrier.
In the summer of 1866, Alexander Fullerton came here from Fostoria, Ohio,
and brought with him the entire machinery for a grist mill. It became
known as the Hudson Roller Mill and was owned and operated by Mr. Fullerton
and his son-in-law, Samuel Ferguson. Ananias Ropp and Ira Allerton
owned Mr. Ferguson's interest in the mill for a short period of time, and
Mr. Fullerton's interest
changed hands a few times, but after August, 1884 it remained as the firm of Fullerton and Ferguson for years. In the fall of 1884, very important additions were made to the plant to make it a first class flouring mill, giving it a capacity of sixty barrels of flour a day. A corn sheller was added with a
capacity of one thousand bushels a day. It was not excelled in quality of work by any mill in Northern Indiana.
The first school was south of town near what is known as the Reformed Church Parsonage. This was destroyed by fire in 1873 or '74. A dance ball north of the present David Boyer home was then used for a school. There were no desks, just rough wooden benches; scholars laid their slates and hooks on the floor. The teachers were Amelia Clark and Frank Ritter. They both taught in this room at the same time, for two years. There were 112 pupils enrolled.
In 1877 a frame building known as the "white school house" was erected in the central part of town on the location of the present Van Ransburg property. In 1883, a brick building was constructed in the northeast part of the village in Steuben Township. Because of increased enrollment, two residences were utilized or school purposes, the Adam Bickel house in the northeast part of town, and what is known as the Mrs. Elmer Gorrell home in the southwest part.
On July 12, 1894, the town contracted for the purchase of eight lots in
Brugh's addition at a price of $600 for the purpose of erecting a new school
building. Bonds were issued to the amount of $2,500 for the construction of
the building. That same year a fine two-story brick building with modern improvements
was built. The eight grades and three years of high school, then four
taught here until about 1920. The building was used as a grade school until recent years when the children are transported by bus to either Prairie Heights Consolidated or Angola Metropolitan Schools.
A list of the early teachers is hard to compile, but the following is a
list of some of the people who have served the Hudson Schools: Marshall Dunlap,
Aaron Wolf, William Baker, Amelia Clark, Frank Ritter, Frank Baker, Lynn
Weaver, Blenn Crays, Susan Dodge, Lute Wicoff, Ina Craig, Asutie Mountz, Seth
S. Avery, Charles Kettering, Sanders Van Auken, Enos Parsell, Prof. Elbert
Bradner, Allie Ewing, Jennie Grosbeck, Jennie Clink, Prof. J. B. Munn, Reba
Crays, Mate Ewing, Prof. Fred Frederick, Ethel Chard, Prof. Eddy, Irma Sniff, Prof. Hardy, Dessa Davis, Bernice Mountz, Winifred Walcott, Mildred Butler, Dale Hughes, Wilma Hughes, Hazel Wertenberger, Prof. Jesse Fleming, Lucile Libey, Stella Phingstag, Cleota Lint, Prof. Harold Harmon, Kary Bodley, Ray VanDusea, Dena Bright, Dolores Christ- offel, and Rowena Ringler.*
* A few other teachers would include Marian Cole, Marjorie Conrad, Dwight Putt, Rachel Collins Blair and Raymond Rensch.
The first commencement held here took place on June 12, 1896 at the Methodist
Church with a class of 20. The music was furnished for the occasion
by Lacey's Orchestra. Each member of the class delivered a three minute
production and the class address was presented by Prof. L.W. Fairfield.
Members of this class were: Della Synder, Worthy Shuman, Pearl Leas, Florence
Day, Bertha Ketchum, Huma Brugh, Vesta Kimmel, Bert Libey, Bertha Henning,
Leone Miller, and Fred
Kirkland, Valedictorian; all these being from Hudson; and the following from the other township schools were: Chester Klink, Salutatorian,; Dessa Metz, Etta Ringler, Grace Kelley, Mattie Clink, George Noll, Maude Doerrer, Eva Kimmel, and Maude Skelly. Floral souvenirs were presented to each member of the class by Mrs. Charles Kirkland.
In the early days, religious services were held in various homes, and out
of these came the organized churches. A log church was located across
the road from what is now known as the County Line Cemetary. Joseph
Miller. A local preacher, conducted a revival in this log church in
1854, assisted by John Johnson, a United Brethren. Many were brought
into the fold, some uniting with
the Methodists and some with the United Brethren. This was the start of both denominations in this section. In the same year, Rev. John Kissel organized St. John's Reformed Church south of Hudson. The Nazarenes organized a church south of Hudson in 1941.
The Methodists first held their meetings in private residences. A Methodist church was built in 1874; this was a frame structure 34 by 56 feet. In 1916, under the leadership of Rev. D.A.J. Brown this building was remodeled, being enlarged and covered with brick veneer.
In the early days the United Brethren erected a building for worship on
what is known as the Dave Leas Corner, one-half mile north of town.
Prior to this, about 1859, the membership of 20 worshipped in a barn on this
same location. A few years later the new building was moved to the village
lot south of the Joseph Zonker property and became a general purpose hall
for town meetings, school plays, medicine shows and other activities.
When no longer needed in
this capacity, Carl Hardy purchased it and used it for onion storage. Later he gave the building to the United Brethren Church (the lots adjoin) for a Fellowship Hall. In 1885 the United Brethren had built a substantial brick building, and this, too, has been enlarged and remodeled.
Fraternal, social, civic and cultural organizations have been important
to the history of the town. Hiawatha Loge No. 528, Free & Accepted
Masons was organized in 1876. The Eastern Star Chapter, Hudson No. 373
was instituted in 1910. G.A.R. Post No. 183 was formed in 1883 and
the Woman's Relief Corp in 1896. The Knights of Pythias organized in
1890 and the Odd Fellows in 1892. Both had women's auxilaries, but all have
disbanded. Through the efforts of Mrs. Bernice Faulkerson a study club
was formed in 1919. By the suggestion of Mrs. Ester Whittig it was
named "The Pollyanna Club" and it has continued fellowship throughout the
years. Through the suggestion of Rose Ella Kneubuhler Mills, a younger
group met and organized "The Work and Play Club" in October 1948. The
Hudson Economic Club, now the Hudson Home Demonstration Club, is now
in its thirty-sixth year.
Hudson became an incorporated town in 1892. George Simon was President
of the Town Board and H.G. Garmire, Clerk.
Submitted By: Tom Kistler