The name Hudson is familiar to Lowell. Most people drive North and South on Hudson daily. While the name Hudson is common, Alexander Nickolas Hudson, who came to Lowell after the Civil War, was anything but common.
A.N. Hudson, known most of his life as ‘Elder Hudson’ was born in 1814 in New York. He was converted to the Christian faith at a young age and devoted his life to the ministry. He began preaching as a circuit riding minister in New York. He preached around the country, and was ordained in 1857 by the Southern Michigan Wesleyan Methodist Conference. His wife was Lydia Parks and together they had 10 children, including three sets of twins.
In 1862, he enlisted in the First New York Mounted Rifles along with his son Samuel Stark Hudson who was 18. Alexander Hudson was injured in a fall from his horse in 1863. As a result, he was transferred to work at a large plantation with over 600 slaves. He soon began preaching to the slaves, held Sunday school classes and started a school, teaching up through the sixth grade. As they previously had not been permitted to marry, while he was there he married 420 people. One day alone he married 60 couples! He lined the couples up, six rows deep, five couples on each side with a path down between. One by one he made every couple repeat the marriage vows. When he had finished this, he walked up front and delivered a sermon on the do’s and don’ts of a good marriage partnership. Closing with a fervent prayer, he had them all join hands and pronounced them “man and wife.”
Following the war he and his family came to Lowell. Elder Hudson and Samuel purchased lots on the south side of the Grand River in Segwun from Henry Chesebro.
As a circuit riding minister Elder Hudson traveled the countryside. He established the Wesleyan Methodist congregations at Vergennes (Bailey and Parnell) and in Alton (Lincoln Lake and 3 Mile). For a period he traveled between Smyrna and Lowell for services, even through the winter. He was known for his faithfulness and dedication, even stepping in to fill a pulpit when others were unable to travel. For a season his circuit had him walking thirty two miles to preach only two sermons.
Ministry didn’t pay well. He received no financial compensation, but people generously brought goods they had. Flour, chicken, vegetables and eggs were common gifts. Elder Hudson worked in the carpentry field to support his family.
Elder Hudson’s last wedding that he officiated was for his granddaughter. He was 94 years old and went through the ceremony they said ‘with all the poise and dignity of his youth’. When the service was done he remarked, “Don’t you suppose that now it is about time that this marrying parson retires?”
He had been in good health until later that year, when he fell from a horse and broke his hip. He never quite regained his good health, and died in 1910 at the age of 95 years old. Though he was on the road for most of his life, his home was in Segwun, just over the river. Today he rests in Lowell, in Oakwood Cemetery, along with many of his descendants.
Samuel Stark was severely injured in the War and could not work much afterwards. He spent years applying for disability payments from the government which he finally received about 1914. The Museum has been given all of the paperwork and affidavits which document this sad story.