THOMAS W. PUDGE. For many years a majority of the ranchers and farmers in Western Kansas have favored the Hereford or White Face cattle as the best suited to all the local conditions and most productive and profitable for beef purposes. These cattle, as is well known, originated in the county of Hereford in Midland, England. The raising of Hereford cattle has been one of the important features of Thomas W. Pudge's activities as a rancher and farmer in Sullivan Township of Grant County. Mr. Pudge comes from the same "garden spot of England" as the ancestors of some of his cattle. He was born on a farm in that shire February 5, 1859. His father and ancestors occupied the same farm for 800 years, and the present owner and occupant is the oldest brother of Thomas W. Pudge. William Pudge, father of Thomas W., was by profession a civil engineer and surveyor and rendered some public service as a tax gatherer. He was a liberal in politics. He died as the result of an accident in middle life. He married Emily Hill, daughter of John Hill, and they were the parents of nine children: William J., who occupies the old English homestead; Richard, who died in England; Thomas W.; Albert, an English farmer; Charles, in the hardware business at London; Henry, who died in England; Georgie, twin sister of Thomas, who died in England as Mrs. Waldron; Mrs. Emily J. Waldon, who lives in England; and Mary, who married and died in France.
Thomas W. Pudge grew up in Herefordshire and had good school advantages, attending both the common schools and a business college at Bath. Even when a boy he took a keen interest in live stock and much of his rural training was with the fine registered Hereford cattle of England.
In 1881 he sailed from Liverpool to the United States, landing in New York, and spent a year on the Atlantic coast near Boston, where he had some associations with the fine stock industry. Mr. Pudge has always been interested in the higher grades of live stock, and as a Kansas rancher has emphasized that feature of his work. From Boston he came to Kansas, and for several years was foreman of the Mount Pleasant Stock Farm near Colony in Anderson County. The inducement that led Mr. Pudge out to Kansas was the advertising of the Santa Fe Railway Company, which described the railroad lands here and the opportunities for the resourceful and enterprising young man. It was Mr. Pudge's early ambition, and one that has been entirely gratified, to acquire a ranch in this state. After almost six years in charge of a big ranch near Colony, where he put in 5 1/2 years without the loss of a single day, he came to Grant County and entered land where he now resides in Sullivan Township. He has been a resident of this locality since 1886, is one of the most extensive stock raisers of the county, and is postmaster of the rural office at Gognac.
His homestead was the southeast quarter of section 6, township 29, range 38. Mr. Pudge was, as may be surmised from the statements that have preceded, a man rather above the average of many early homeseekers in Western Kansas. He came of the sturdy English stock, was thoroughly experienced in the cattle industry, and he brought rather more than the average amount of capital, so that he and his family were spared many of the trials and hardships that beset some of his neighbors. The Pudge household always had plenty to eat and something respectable to wear. He brought with him to Grant County about $1,600 in cash, money which he had made and saved in Kansas. His first shelter was a 14 by 16 foot house with basement, and in it he lived as a bachelor for a year. From the first his efforts were directed towards stock raising. He also experimented one or two seasons with wheat, but without success. He used his land to grow feed stuffs and for several years handled the grades of livestock, but in 1905 took up the registered Hereford business, and three years later began handling registered Percheron horses. His registered animals are males, but he has also brought up his other cattle and horses to a high grade. The registered horse business has paid him well, and he has handled many imported horses and mares from France. The head of his herd is the noted stallion "Indecis." When two years old "Indecis" took first prize at the state fair at Hutchinson.
When Mr. Pudge first lived in Grant County he saw a few wild horses and plenty of antelope in the region. His first view of the antelope was obtained while he was shingling his pioneer house. Sixteen of the animals came up within a few feet of him, stamped their feet, craned their necks and showed the dominant passion of curiosity which is one of the chief characteristics of those animals. Later Mr. Pudge killed some of these animals for food purposes.
He also took up a timber claim, the northeast quarter of section 6, and still owns that, and gradually developed his land holdings by the purchase of tax deeds and quit claims, obtaining some land at less than $1 an acre. At the present time his holdings comprise ten quarter sections in Grant County.
Mr. Pudge became an American citizen while living in Anderson County, Kansas, and as a voter joined the democratic party, but has never made politics an important feature of his career. He has been several times township clerk and for twenty-five years has been an officer of joint school district No. 29. He and his wife are active members of the Nazarene congregation at Gognac.
In February, 1887, he married in Grant County Miss Mary L. Scoville, daughter of Charles and Belle (Oliphant) Scoville. Her father came from Anderson County, Kansas, to the frontier of Stanton County and died a number of years ago. Her mother is now Mrs. James Nutter, of Iola, Kansas. Mrs. Pudge was one of eight children and was born in Henry County, Indiana, May 27, 1874. Her children are: Mabel, Flossie, Harry, Ray, Fred and Elmer, twins, Salome, Delores and Lucile. The oldest daughter, Mabel, is the wife of Lawrence Hipple, of Hutchinson, Kansas, and both are connected with the Robinson-Williams Evangelistic party in gospel work, The daughter Flossie is a music teacher in Grant County and wife of John Doll. Harry married Mary Parker and has a son, Harold. Ray, of Hutchinson, Kansas, married Grace Mickey, and the other children are still at home.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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