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The John Brown "Grub" Hudson Story
An excerpt from the Genealogy of the John Brown "Grub" Hudson Family
by Mirl C. Hudson

The Story of My Life
An autobiography by Mirl C. Hudson
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4

The Story of My Life by Mirl C. Hudson (Part 1)

The following autobiography was written by Dave's grandfather, Mirl C. Hudson. Mirl passed away in 1979 and unfortunately never finished it. The work spans seventy years, from 1900 to 1970, and is displayed here exactly as he typed it, without any spelling corrections. Special thanks to Ian Hudson and Jennie Peters for the hours they spent typing it into the computer!

John David and FamilyPhoto: Mirl's parents, John David and Francis Charity Hudson, along with his brothers, Uda and Aud.

SHOULD it matter where a man is born - a shack, a cottage, or a Palace? Does his environment make him or does his blood tell? This is an old question and we'll not debate it here. The only thing is, I pray that it really doesn't matter.

In a place where the Hoot-owls, holler in the day time, In the back woods of the Ozark Mountains of southwest Missouri, Barry County, I Mirl Clesson Hudson, was born on the 29th day of October, 1900.

My father, John David Hudson, was fourth in direct line of descent from John B. Hudson, who emigrated from Virginia to South Caroline, in 1780. And from South Caroline to Kentucky, between 1803 and 1811. The family left Kentucky, sometime between 1818 and 1822, moving westward in 1822 (according to family tradition) setteled in Arkansas, on what was later known as the uncle Joe Burelsen place on crooked creek near the mouth of George's creek, west of Yelville, Arkansas, Marion coutny.

My Great Grandfather, Thomas Crocher Hudson, second oldest son of John B. Hudson, was born in Kentucky on October 12th 1811, and moved with his Father's family to the George's creek community, west of Yelville, Arkansas; (Marion County).

My Grandfather, John Brown (Grub) Hudson, The oldest son of Thomas Croucher Hudson, was born March 8th 1838 at Yellville Arkansas. He married Minerva Carney, on July 28, 1859 Minerva Carney, was the oldest daughter of Calvin Carney, whos Mother was a full blooded Indian.

He and his boys also built a blacksmith and carpenter shop. Grand-pa, being handy with tools, made himself a coffin out of cedar. he had an idea that he would die on his 55th birthday. The birthday came and the years went by; still he lieved. His aged father, who made his home with him, fell ill and died and the casket was used to put him away. Another coffin was made and sat aside of the day that was sure to come. Years came and went, then a neighbor lady, of a poor family, died. This second coffin was used for her. The third was immediately begun, finished and sat aside. For several years it sat in his workshop and was used to store beans and black walnuts. On september 29th, 1917, John brown (Grub) Hudson dided of an infection fo his foot that never healed. he was buried at the Carne cemetery, near Flat Creek Barry County, Missouri.

My father, John David Hudson, the second oldest son of John Brown and Minerva Hudson, was born May 29, 1866 in Barry County Missouri, He moved with his father's family, to Northern Arkansas, sometime between 1869 and 1880. While living in Arkansas, he made a trip to Texas, with his father's family, traveling in a coverd wagon. They lived in Texas for three years. and it was while living here, his little brother, and little sister died of yellow fever (Samual and Tennessee). On their way back to Arkansas, Grandfather painted a sign on the side of the covered wagon, with axle grease. The sign red, (three years from racom-sack and just now racking back). They settled near Eureka Springs, Carrol County Arkansas. My father worked in a sawmill, and hauled lumber to build the first hotel in Eureka Springs. In about 1885 the family mnoved back to southwest Mo. and my father, worked as a farm hand in the Flat Creek and Cape Fair communitys. It was while working near Cape Fair, that he met and married Francis Summers, daughter of Price and Martha Summers, Francis, was a good looking girl of seventeen, and was born and raised on a big farm on the banks of James River. My father and Mother was married on December 18, 1887 they lived at Cape Fair for a while, and them moved to the Dave Potter, farm on flat creek, between Cape Fair and flat Creek Post Office. My oldest brother Uda, was born October 7, 1889 on this farm. My second oldest brother Aud, was born December 18, 1892. My only sister Etta May Hudson, was born Feburary 14, 1894, in a one room log cabin on the Montgomery farm in the Community of Flat Creek Missouri.

About 1895, my father setteled a railroad clame of a quarter section fo land (One hundred and Sixty acres) built a log cabin, and a log barn and cleared and fenced about forty acres for crops. The log house at first was a huge single log room. later my father built a lean-to for a kitchen and dining room, this house was about three miles from Flat Creek, Mo, the nearest Post Office. The spot was a lonely one, and this is where I was born October 29, 1900. and spent the first seven years of my life.

And the days when we lived there, we could hear the cowbells from the lonely hilltops. Squirrels played in the tall hickerynut trees out in front of our house. The rabbits played around the house, and ate bark from the peach trees in the winter, an cleaned the cabbige out of the garden during the summer. And snakes often craweld through the tall weeds not far from our door. I remember one summer a large copperhead crawled through the door, and was headed towards my little brother, who was lying on a pallet on the floor, I called my Mother, and she killed the snake with a hoe. Black snakes would rob the hen's nest of eggs. We had to be on the lookout for them, when we went to gather the eggs.

Dogs, for us were not something to be kept as luxuries, they were essentiel things. we could not do without good dogs. We began training them young.There was plenty of game near to train them with, for snakes often came and foxes would come in open daylight and carry chickens out of the yard. The chicken hawk would swoop down out of the air and carry the baby chicks away in his claws. I can remember vividly hearing the train whistles in the far distant, the Missouri pacific railroad was about twelve misles away in the north. I can remember the lightening bugs glowing in the dark summer nights. And hoot-owls gaving out their lonesome Ho-Ho- Hoo-Hoo. I loved all four seasons of the year. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, of all four seasons spring was my favorit one, the martins building their nest in the martin box. The birds singing all through the woods, I believe they were also happy, that it was spring time. I always like to see the fields of corn an hear the blades rustle in the wind. These things make a home. and on into the summer. the pumpkin in the field, the hay stacked on the hill. and the smell of the hot July soil is good for the senses. The smell of smartweed, ragweed, cockleburrs and burdock. These are scenes I have not forgotten. In early spring, I could hardly wate until it was warm enought to go barefooted, it would take a while to get so I could run through the rockey ground, but it wouldent be long until I could knock fire from the flent rocks, I would stump my toes, cut my feet, step on a thorn, but I would go barefooted all summer, my father and I went back in the hills to pick huckleberrys and I borrowed my mothers shoes with high heels, my dad and I found a pretty good patch of berrys on the side of a hill, I was picking berrys about a hundred feet above where my dad was. and herd something in the leafs above me, and saw a big Blue racer snake coming in my direction, and I started down the hill in a run with the snake after me and caught one of my shoe heal on a rock, fell down and the snake ran over me, by then I was ready to go home, I never wore my mothers shoes again.

Then come autumn. The oak trees in southwest Missouri would start shedding their leaves. The flying leaves were of many colors. The crows began to go in pilfering trains over the country. And wild geese went southward with many of honking cry. It was all beautiful back there and the best place in the world after all. The corn was getting ready to cut now. The brown fields of heavy corn looked very pleasant. It was the victory of hard labor. Time now to get ready for the long winter. Cut and shock corn, gather in the pumpkins, dig the potatos, haul in fire wood, gather in the corn and fodder, put the farming tools in the shed, the old oliver turning plow, the double shovel, the bull-tongue, all had to be cleaned and put away. And then, after the first big frost we would gather black walnuts, hickorynuts, hazelnuts, hulla and dry them, gather the popcorn, so we would have something to mince on during the cold winter nights. Then it would come hog killing time, we would butcher a big fat hog. My father would cut it up and hing the hams and sids in the smoke house and smoke that hams with hickory wood. The bacon he, called fat-back. Yes, we had plenty to eat some winters. The seasons came over and over again in the hills. We farmed the same land each year and cleared just a little new land. We all worked hard because existence in the hills compels whole familys to work hard.

After the butcher hogs had been dragged away, I went back and looked at the place where they had been stuck and had bled and I would have gone to the house then, but my father yelled, Hey come here and stoke up ther fire under this kittle. And as the water boiled it was poured into the big barrels. And we also heated big rocks and old plow points to put into the barrels to keep the water hot. Then the hos were sloshed in the hot water until the hair slipped, and the hair was scraped off with knives. They were then hoisted on a gimlet stick (a hickory stick sharpened on both ends) and stuck in the leaders of both hind legs and hoisted to a scaffold fashion, like a teepee. Then my father started slicing the stumach open, while I set the tub underneath to catch the instestines. Mother come out with a dish pan and took charge of the liver and hart. The afternoon was spent rendering the lard, making sausage and trimming the hams, hanging the hams, sholders, and middelings, in the smokhouse to smoke and cure. Then we took the intestines and cleaned them and made lye soap.

In the early spring of 1909, when I was Nine years old, after a long hard winter, we started cleaning up the ground for a new crop, and clearing some new ground, cutting old corn stalks, burning weeds and stalks and brush. As soon as the ground was dry enought to plow, after the freezing aand throwing, we would start braking the corn ground, with the old nineteen oliver turning plow. One plow point would last about two or three days and then they would have to be sharpened. When two or three points would get dull, my dad would put them in a toe sack and sattle up old Selem, and ride over to my Grandpa Hudson's black smith and sharpen them.

I was introduced to the ax and sproting hoe at eight, the plow at eleven. There are no vacations for the children on the wooded hillside ozark farms.

It was from this old pace my sister and I started back to school at the secon grade, at the age of nine. We walked two miles to and from the old school house that sat on the bluff. Our way to school led dow a holler over a desolate country path. We had to go through the woods past the old Dee Marritt place. The Mrrrits had a big flock of geece, and they would chase us down the road. Sometimes we would climb the fence and go through the meddow inorder to avoide being chased by the geece. For some reson I was afrade of fethers when I was a little chapp. My mother said that I used to like to play in the fire, just about the time I was lurning to walk and they would put some feathers on the harth in front of the fire and I would never go near the fire place. I liked to go to school. We would get up at dawn, feed the stock, milk the cows, carry water from the spring, which was down in the holler about a quarter of a mile, carry in wood, and then walk two miles to school, during recess we would play black man, fox hound, cat bat, played with a ball, or sometimes we would just go out to the bluff and throw rocks into the creek below, to see who could throw the fatherest. My oldest brother Uda, said one time when he was going to school here that he help run some pigs of of this bluff. I ask him if it hurt the pigs and he said it busted them all to H----.

My father, was evidently one of those easygoing Goo-natured man who carried the virtue of contentment to an extreme. He appeared never to have exerted himself much beyond the attainment of a necessary subsistence. By a litle farming and occasional jobs, like making railroad ties, and hauling them to the nearest tie market which was about twelve or fourteen miles away. He supplied his family with food and clothes. It seemed that if he had a little food in the house, feed in the barn, coffee and tobacco, a big wood pile, he was satisfied. My father always raised his own tobacco crop, the tobacco crop was cultivated beter than the corn. For he only worked the corn twice, sometimes three times in the new ground soild and it shot out of the hot earth rapidly. It usually grew tall and eared well in the wet seasons. In the dry seasons it grew up slender and the ear was spindly and in some places the corn would not grow only afoot or so high and tassel. My dad would call it bumblebee corn. But the tobacco crop! I can never forget them. In March we sowed the tobacco seedbeds in a place where a brush pile had been burnt. Then we caught the early springs rains for tobacco settling. We cultivated the crop untile the broad leaves met across the balk. And from the middle of the season until frost we had to wom the tobacco plants. That is, pull off the long green worm that loves the weed as same as man, and pull him in two and throw him back into the furrow-the thin green ring of his body and the ambrish fluids within. We suckered the stalks that tried to grow between the leavs of the plant and the main stem.

In the fall we cut the tobacco before the heavy frost hit it and took it to the barn and hang it up so it would cure well. Then when moist autumn days came, when the leaves were damp, my father would pull off the leaves and did them up in hands. So many leaves were put in a bundle with a leaf tied around the end. Then it was put into a box and put in the smoke house or some suiteble place to age. The next big rainey day my father would stem and twist the tobacco and put it up to dry, and then it was ready to smoke or chew. This is what got me started to using tobacco. We would chew it in the summer time and chew and smoke it in the winter.

In the early spring of 1909, when I was nine years old, after a long hard Winter, we started cleaning up the ground for a new crop, and clearing up some new ground. Cutting old corn stalks and burning brush and dead weeds. As soon as the ground was dry enought to plow after the freezing and thowing we would start baking the corn ground. I remember the old number nineteen Oliver turning plow my dad would use. One plow point would last about two days until it had to be sharpened. When two or three points would get dull my dad would put tem in a gunny sack and saddle up old Selim and ride over to my grandpas black smith shop and sharpen the plow points. After the ground was broke, we would harrow it wih a A-harrow, then drag the ground to smooth it, and then we would take a calf tongue plow and mark the field by plowing a shallow fur about three feet apart, then it wold be ready to start planting. Now it was time to go barefooted. I loved to walk in the fresh plowed ground in bare feet, the warm earth squashing up between my toes. I was free as a colt unshod. One morening my dad said Mirl, Im gonna learn you to plant corn today. I could hardly wait to get started that morning. Dad harnessed up old selim, and hooked him to the plow and with a sack of seed corn and a gallon bucket headed for the field. My dad hooked old selim to the singletreeand started a fur oppsit te direction fo the other furres so it would make rows both ways, and told me he wanted two grains to the hill. So I started in and it was not long I was keeping up with my dad. The next thing was to get the potatoes in the ground. Corn and potatoes was the mean life of the hills. We planted a garden near the house that year, and some sorgum cane in the new ground. Our crops that year did exceedingly well. We raised a large crib of corn. The potatoes yielded abundantly. After the crops were lade by, we would hitch the horses to the old spring wagon, fix some lunch and go out into the hills and pick huckleberries to can up for the winter. I remember going to cross hollers and picking black berries about Eight miles away. We would be gone all day. In spear time my father would go bee tree hunting, when he found a bee tree he would cut an X on the tree and that ment that it had been located by someone and no one would ever bother it. And maby the next day we would take the wagon, saw, ax, bee smoker and washtub full of wild honey from one tree.

Then comes fall and the sorgum cane would be ready to strip and cut. I never liked to strip cane, the blades would cut your arms if you was not careful. My dad, installed a cane mill down inthe holler just below the spring, where he would make mollesses in the fall of the year. We had a crop of cane that year, and my dad made several barrell's of lesses.

Yes 1909 was a good year for ever thing, we raised plenty of corn and potatos, we had put up paenty of fruit and berries, jams, jelleys, dried apples, dried peaches. Had plenty of honey sour crout, lasses, we had fattened some hogs for meat. My moyher could sure sat a good table of grub; We would have spare ribs, ham, gravy sweet and sour milk, rost goose chicken, blackberries, strawberries, huckleberries, wild grape jely, honey cornbread, biscuits, pickle beans, corn, kraut, pie, cake, and quail if we wanted it. What more would you want.

I remember going possum hunting with my oldest brother one night, we had the best possum dog in these hills. Old fido. I ain't saying this because he was our dog, I guess it was becase I grode up with him. We got three possums that night, carried them home in a toe-sack and put them under the old kittle untile next morning when it was daylite we skinned them and stached them on a board. We would get from firty cence to a dollar a peace for the hids.


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