Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 122
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
H. C. HODGSON
One of the most prosperous farmers and horticulturists of Rice county is H C Hodgson. Indefatigable energy has been the key which has unlocked for him the portals of success and from its storehouses he has garnered rich fruits. He came to the county in the epoch of its primitive development and as the years have passed he has not only added to his individual prosperity but has also largely promoted the welfare and progress of the community, co-operating in all measures and movements which tend to contribute to the general good. Classed among the representative citizens of the community he well deserves mention in this volume and with pleasure we present his record to our readers.
He belongs to a Virginian family honorable and prominent. His birth occurred in Frederick county, Virginia, November 4, 1843, and his younger days were spent on his fatherís plantation and in the school room. He is a son of Samuel and Rebecca (Beam) Hodgson, both representatives of prominent families of the Old Dominion. The father was a son of Abner and Rebecca (Johnson) Hodgson, also of Virginia, the former a leading and influential farmer who died in his native state. During the war of 1812 he sent a substitute to the army. He had three children, Elizabeth, Mary and Samuel.
The last named was born, reared and spent his entire life in Virginia, where he was a well known and successful farmer and slave owner. He was identified with the farming interests of Frederick county and his work netted him a good financial return. During the war of the rebellion he was loyal to the Union, although he knew that the success of northern arms meant the loss of his slaves. His home was in the path of the contending armies, but his house was searched by neither, although he suffered heavy losses in his farm products and stock. He, however, was never harmed, for he was widely and favorably known and commanded the respect of all. Politically he was a Whig and later a Republican. He lived the life of an honest, unostentatious planter and never aspired to political preferment. His wife yet survives him and is living at the old homestead in Virginia, at the age of ninety years. Her father, James Beam, was an extensive farmer of the Old Dominion, in which he spent his entire life. His children were: Nathan, who died in McPherson county, Kansas; Uriah, who departed this life in Missouri; Eliza, Judith, and Rebecca. Unto Samuel Hodgson and his wife were born eight children: Abner, who died in Virginia; James, who died in Iowa; John R, who passed away in West Virginia; H C, of this review; Ann E, the wife of A J Howard; George, a leading farmer of Rice county, Kansas; Mary R, who is with her mother; and Mrs Florence Willis. The mother is a consistent and worthy member of the Presbyterian church and into the minds of her children she instilled the principles of right living.
H C Hodgson was reared in the Old Dominion and remained at home until twenty-five years of age. During the rebellion he was enrolled in the militia and was thus forced into the Rebel service, but after nine days succeeded in obtaining his release and like the others in his family remained loyal to the Union cause. In 1869 he married Miss Hannah Wright, a lady of intelligence and culture, who was born in Virginia in 1845, a daughter of Amos and Rachel (Lupton) Wright, both of whom were natives of Virginia. They were prominent people and members of the Friends Society. Her father would take no part in the Civil war and the secessionists therefore put him in prison, but after a short time he was released. He was opposed to the war and therefore would take no part in the fighting. His death occurred in Virginia, after which his wife found a good home with her daughter, Mrs Hodgson, in Kansas, where she died. They had four children. Rebecca, who gave General Sheridan the information concerning the situation at Winchester before the fight, was rewarded for that service by an appointment to a position in the treasury department at Washington, where she has remained for thirty-three years. She is now the wife of W C Bonsal, and resides in Washington, DC. George, the second of the family, was killed while serving in the Rebel army; Hannah, now Mrs Hodgson, is the next of the family; and John T, is a resident of Ohio. All are members of the Society of Friends. Unto Mr and Mrs Hodgson have been born five children: John W, at home; Edward H, who is attending school in Manhattan, Kansas; Frederick E, also at Manhattan; Mary B and Henry C, at home.
After his marriage Mr Hodgson engaged in farming the old homestead until 1871, when he came to Kansas, locating in Rice county, where he filed a homestead claim in the valley of Little River. His first work was to build a dugout, in which he settled his family and then began the improvement of his land. Like most of the pioneers he had limited capital and had to endure many trials and difficulties. He bought a team and when winter was over his money was gone and hard work lay before him, but he soon began the development of his fields and from that time his farm has been self-supporting. In 1874 he suffered the loss of his corn crop and vegetables by the grasshoppers, but he did not suffer as many of his neighbors did. He worked hard and prosperity followed his indefatigable labors. He early began setting out fruit and shade trees and finding that the fruit would grow and mature he kept extending his orchards until he is now one of the leading horticulturists of the state. In 1886 he planted a large orchard and now has about five thousand bearing apple trees and about two thousand peach trees besides other smaller fruits. He has the largest and finest orchards in Rice county, if not in central Kansas. He was reared in a good fruit country, always took an interest in horticultural pursuits and determining to make the venture in Kansas he found that he could succeed here as a fruit grower, and this branch of his business has proved quite successful. He has had some short crops, but many years his trees have yielded bountifully and his fruit sales have thus materially increased his income. He also manufactures pure cider vinegar quite extensively and finds a ready market for all the products which his farm yields. His farm and orchard are fenced with hedges and he has planted many forest trees, having fine groves for windbreaks. As his financial resources have increased he has added to his homestead and now owns eight hundred acres of valuable land without any incumbrance. His land is under a high state of cultivation and he raises and handles stock besides carrying on general farming. In 1888 he erected a large barn and in 1899 he built a commodious two-story frame residence, supplied with all modern conveniences and situated upon a natural building site and in the midst of beautiful groves of evergreen, fruit and forest trees, making his place one of the best improved farms in the state. He started with his dugout and sod house, two years later erected a small frame dwelling and now has a most beautiful residence. These homes indicate his steady progress on the highroad to success. He is ever reliable and straightforward in business, commanding the respect and confidence of all with whom he is associated and winning the high regard of many friends.