Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 1577
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
GEORGE W. HODGSON
No history of Rice county wound be complete without the record of George W Hodgson, who was the first settler to locate within its borders and who from that early epoch has been actively and honorably connected with the work of improvement and development. He arrived in this county in October of the year 1870, and through more than three decades he has here consecutively been engaged in agricultural pursuits, while he still retains the ownership of the first quarter section of government land to which claim was entered in Rice county, while he was the one to make the original entry, as has been previously noted by inference. This quarter section had been previously taken up by Andrew Johnson, who died before proving on the claim, so that the land then reverted to the government. Mr Hodgson then entered his claim and forthwith began the work of improvement, while he eventually proved title and secured in due course of time his deed to the property. Great changes have occurred in this section of the Sunflower state since that early day when he thus took up his home in a section which was on the frontier and practically isolated from civilization. As the years have fallen into the abyss of time other settlers have come to Rice county and the wild land has been reclaimed and transformed into fine farms, equaling in attractiveness and fertility those to be found within any other section of our vast national domain, while the stretching prairies are dotted with comfortable farm homes, school-houses and churches; towns and villages have sprung into existence, bringing with them all the industries and business enterprise known to the older east, and today Rice county is an important section of a great and prosperous commonwealth.
In the picturesque and historical Shenandoah valley, Virginia, George W Hodgson was born, the date of his nativity having been March 15, 1848, - a year rendered memorable as the one in which gold was discovered in California. His father, Samuel Hodgson, was born in Frederick county, Virginia, being a son of Abner Hodgson, who likewise was a native of the Old Dominion and a representative of one of the families early established in that section, where was cradled much of our national history. When the war of the Revolution was inaugurated Abner Hodgson secured a substitute to aid in the gaining of independence, and he was signally devoted to the cause of the colonies in their efforts to escape from the unjust domination of the mother country. He was a planter and slave-owner and carried on his operations upon an extensive scale, having one of those fine country estates which were the pride of the Old Dominion in the early days and up to the time of the Civil war. In that state the family was founded in the early colonial epoch, the original ancestors having come thither from England, where the lineage is traced through many generations of sturdy and worthy stock.
Samuel Hodgson, the father of our subject, was reared on the old plantation in Virginia, and when he had attained to man’s estate he was united in marriage to Miss Rebecca Bean, a daughter of a well known Virginia planter and a representative of one of the old and distinguished families of that state. Samuel and Rebecca (Bean) Hodgson became the parents of nine children, concerning whom we incorporate the following brief record: Abner, James, John and Nathaniel are all now deceased; Clay is a prominent citizen of Union township, Rice county, Kansas; Eliza is the wife of a Mr Howard, of Oregon; George W is the immediate subject of this sketch; Mary maintains her home in Winchester, Virginia, and that city is likewise the home of the other surviving sister, Mrs Florence Willis. The honored father of this family, after successfully conducting his plantation for many years, was finally called to his eternal rest, at the venerable age of eighty-three years. He was a man of spotless integrity and ever retained the confidence and high regard of all who knew him. He was loyal to the Union during the war of the Rebellion and gave an earnest support to Lincoln in his administration of national affairs during the dark and gloomy period of the history of our republic, when brother was often arrayed against brother and when it became veritably true that a “man’s own foes were they of his own household.” He was fearless in his advocacy of his honest convictions, and over the record of his life there falls no shadow of wrong. His widow, a woman of noble and gentle character, is still living, having attained the age of eighty-nine years, and being honored by all who know her and have come under the influence of her gracious personality, so that in her grateful evening of life she has the affection and esteem of “hosts of friends.”
On the old Virginia plantation where he first opened his eyes to the light of day George W Hodgson was reared. He secured his early educational training in the schools of the locality, but eventually his youthful ambition led him to seek his fortune far from the state where his ancestors had lived and labored to goodly ends. In 1870, when twenty-two years of age, he came to Kansas and forthwith identified his interests with those of Rice county, where he has remained continuously since. In the fall of 1871 he entered claim to the homestead farm where he now resides, but previously to this he had filed a pre-emption claim to the southwest quarter of section 34, Union township. He first took up his abode in a sod house of the primitive type so common to the early pioneer days, and later he constructed a dug-out, and in this he kept bachelor’s hall while he proceeded with the improvement and cultivation of his farm. Finally he removed from his pre-emption claim to his present farm, in Rockville township, and here constructed another sod house, in which he lived for a number of years. Finally, however, this pioneer abode was replaced by a good residence. As time passed and his financial resources have been increased he has added continuously to his local real-estate holdings until his landed possessions now reach the notable aggregate area of eight hundred acres. This fine farm is enclosed with Page woven-wire fence, and splendid equipments are to be found on this model farmstead, including a grove of forty acres and a fine orchard, which yields excellent returns for the care bestowed. The buildings are commodious and substantial and the extensive barns afford shelter for grain and stock, while excellent pastures furnish an adequate feed supply for the livestock during the summer months. Mr Hodgson has upon his place at the time of this writing one hundred and seventy head of white-faced Hereford cattle and a large herd of Chester White hogs. His annual sales of stock aggregate about three hundred head and bring to him a handsome financial return. His farm is divided into four hundred acres of bottom land and an equal amount of upland, all lying within the borders of Rockville township, except about eighty acres in Union township.
Mr Hodgson has been three times married. In July, 1872, he wedded Melvina Brady, who was born in Kentucky, and they became the parents of one son, Samuel, who is now a student in the Kansas State Agricultural College, at Manhattan, Riley county, and who married Miss Lena Allen, of Rice county. For his second wife our subject chose Miss Mary Morrison, of Wayne county, Iowa, who died in 1885, leaving a daughter, Georgiana Rebecca, who is now a student in the high school at Little River. On the 22nd of March, 1886, Mr Hodgson married his present wife, whose maiden name was Amelia Barkley. Mr Hodgson and his estimable wife have become the parents of two children, - Charles M and John Frank. Mrs Hodgson is a member of the Wesleyan Methodist church and is a lady of marked refinement and pleasing presence.
Mr Hodgson is recognized as one of the leading representatives of the Populist party in this portion of Rice county. His fellow citizens, recognizing his worth and ability, have frequently called him to public office, and it may be noted that he has served as township trustee and assessor, filling the latter position for a period of eight years in a most creditable and honorable manner. Along many lines he has aided materially in the progress and development of the county and his name is synonymous with honorable conduct and manly principles, while he is one of the popular pioneer citizens of this section of the state.