Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


JOHN RANDOLPH HUDNALL. Four score years is a long time to live, in view of the fact that the average life of mankind is only thirty-three years. One can accomplish much and do a vast amount of good in the course of eighty years or on the other hand one can idle the time away or spend it in a manner that is harmful to himself and to those with whom he comes in contact. Human life is at once a serious and a powerful thing. It is often said to be what we make it. Others believe that environment and fate, which is another name for luck, shapes our destiny and often prevents us from doing noble things even if we have the desire to do them. Those familiar with the life record of John Randolph Hudnall, for many years a widely known traveling salesman out of Springfield, who is now living on a small farm in Clay township, Greene county, passing his declining years in serenity, are unanimous in their opinion that he has lived to good purpose and has accomplished a great deal of good.

Mr. Hudnall was born in Litchfield, Illinois, September 16, 1834. He is a son of Dr. Moses L. and Minerva (Henderson) Hudnall. The father was born in Lee county Virginia, in 1808, was reared on a plantation there and received a good education in the schools of that state. When nineteen years of age he began the study of medicine and when twenty-one years old moved to Tennessee, later locating in Kentucky, where he practiced medicine for two years, then moved to Pike county, Illinois, where he practiced about ten years, and from there came to Scotland county, Missouri, locating in the town of Memphis in 1845 where he continued the practice of his profession until the breaking out of the Civil war. In 1863 he went to Arkansas to work for the Federal army as surgeon, but not long afterwards he died in that state. He was a prominent man in the communities where he lived and was a skilled physician, enjoying large practice wherever he located. He was among the first settlers in Scotland county, Missouri. He married while in Tennessee. Politically, he was a Whig and for some time a Democrat. He was a member of the Masonic order and prominent in the work of the same. His wife was born in Claiborne county, Tennessee, and she was reared on a farm in Powell's Valley. She received a common school education. She was noted for her piety and hospitality as well as industry. To her parents five children were born, namely: Rhoda, who married John Hunt of Polk county, Missouri, which county he represented in the state Legislature for some time; he died at Jefferson City, Missouri, while a member of the Legislature. Preston and Calvin are both deceased; Minerva (mother of our subject); Paul, deceased. Mrs. Minerva Hudnall, died at Memphis, Missouri, several years after the war.

To Dr. Moses L. Hudnall and wife eight children were born, namely: Mrs. Ermina E. Blackburn, deceased; Mrs. Emily Gorin, deceased; Mrs. Mary, Martin, deceased, was the wife of Charles Martin, who was deputy secretary of the state of Nevada for some time, and he and his wife were friends of Mark Twain, the humorist; Mrs. Lena Bridges lives in Long Beach, California; Mr. Bridges was sheriff of Greene county two terms, also a state senator for two terms; John R. of this review was next in order of birth; Mrs. Venitia Hamilton, deceased; Mrs. Helen Seaman lives in Iowa; Theodore F., youngest of the children, lives in Memphis, Missouri.

John R. Hudnall was reared in Memphis, Scotland county, Missouri and educated in the common schools. At the age of sixteen he went to St. Louis where he worked in a broker's office as cashier for a time, remaining in that city four years, then went back to Memphis where he engaged in the general mercantile business until 1857 when he engaged in the livery business.

Mr. Hudnall was married November, 1856 to Ann M. Knott, a sister of Governor Knott, of Kentucky. Our subject's wife lived only fifteen months after her marriage. Mr. Hudnall remained in Memphis until the breaking out of the Civil war when he enlisted in the Confederate army as secret service agent in which he remained until the close of the conflict, performing much meritorious work of a dangerous and exciting character. After the war he went to St. Louis and worked for the Appleton & Noyes Company, a wholesale boot and shoe house, as traveling salesman. Remaining in that capacity about two years he then went to work for the Frisco railroad, having charge of the store department at the time of the construction work in this state. In 1870 he went into the produce business at Marshfield, Webster county and remained there until the great cyclone of the spring of 1880 which destroyed the town. He was secretary of the Marshfield Relief Committee after the storm. Leaving there soon afterwards he came to Springfield and took a position as salesman for the McGregor, Noe & Keet Hardware Company, later traveled for the Crenshaw Hardware Company here, then traveled for Rogers & Baldwin in the same line for several years. Mr. Hudnall is now living retired at 427 South Market street where he and his daughter occupy a fine residence in the very heart of the city.

Mr. Hudnall was twice married, his second wife being Elizabeth Harold, who came from Mt. Vernon, Ohio. She was a daughter of Isaac and Alice Harold. She was a member of the Episcopal church. Her death occurred October 22, 1913 in Springfield, at the age of seventy-nine years. One child was born to Mr. Hudnall's first marriage, Anne, who is chief clerk at the mint at Carson City, Nevada. Three children were born to his second marriage, namely: Bruce M., deceased; Retta Lee Hudnall lives in Springfield; and Isaac R. who makes his home with our subject.

Mr. Hudnall is a Democrat and has always been faithful in his support of the party. He is a member of the Christian church. Miss Hudnall is a member of the Episcopal church.

[828-830]


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