Velva Mae Morton was born on 2 April 1900 in Grand Chain, Pulaski County, Illinois, the first of twelve children born to Thord Thomas and Susie Lee (Williams) Morton.

In the federal census dated 14 June 1900, Velva was unnamed and listed as baby daughter, age 2/12ths. The Department of Commerce, U. S. Census Bureau sent her a letter dated 21 March 1942, advising Velva to use this census record to establish her date of birth, as certificates were not issued until required by law in November 1912.

Velva Mae attended school in Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois, Helena, and Blytheville, Mississippi County, Arkansas, completing the eighth grade. Velva Mae taught school in Joiner, Mississippi County, Arkansas, after completing her eighth grade studies, which was acceptable at that time.

Velva Mae met Willie Miller Hudson around 1914 while he was a boarder at Susie Lee and Thord Morton’s boarding house in Blytheville, Arkansas. Willie was employed by the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company at that time and lived and traveled between Helena and Blytheville, Arkansas, and Greenville, Washington County, Mississippi.

In a letter written to Velva Mae, dated 20 January 1916, Willie proposed marriage. They were married on 23 April 1917 in Blytheville, at the home of Velva Mae’s parents by Walter T. Turner, Deputy County Clerk.

After Willie’s release from the U.S. Army on 18 June 1918, the couple settled in Blytheville in 1920 where they started their family. They were the parents of eight children, five of whom are deceased. Their deceased Hudson children were Frencella Kathleen, Frederick Henry, Robert Curtis, Opal Gwendolyn, and a stillborn unnamed son.

Velva Morton and Willie Hudson
Velva Mae Morton and Willie Miller Hudson
Photo in the collection of Eloise Hudson Hunt
Used with permission

The family relocated to Bragg City, Pemiscot County, Missouri, in November 1932 where Willie purchased and farmed forty acres of land. In February 1944, Willie relocated his family to St. Louis County, Missouri, purchasing a home at 6512 Whitney Avenue in Pagedale. In later years, Velva worked as a domestic in private homes and attended Washington Technical School of Nursing in St. Louis City to become a practical nurse.

Velva and Willie wanted their children to acquire higher educations than they had in addition to learning a skill or trade to enhance their lives. Their children did not disappoint them, as four had their own businesses, others acquired skills, and some completed college. Five of their children completed their education in St. Louis and two daughters and one son currently reside in St. Louis County.

Velva Mae Morton died at 4:45 a.m. on 20 December 1974 at the Hilltop Nursing Home, Cool Valley, St. Louis County. Her obituary appeared in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper on 21–22 December 1974. She was buried on 23 December 1974 at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Sources include census records, marriage records, death certificates, family documents, deeds, an obituary, and personal knowledge.

Written by Eloise Bernice Hudson Hunt
May 2017
© 2017, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 26-Oct-2018 19:41