Willie Miller Hudson was born on 12 August 1895 in Newport, Jackson County, Arkansas. After thirty-five years of research, Willie’s ancestry remains a brick wall. His parents’ names are unknown. A DNA test on thirty-seven markers on his son on 30 September 2005 with Family Tree DNA, placed Willie’s mtDNA in Haplogroup L1c2, Western European on his father’s direct male line and African on his mother’s side. The Genographic Project placed his Y-chromosome DNA in Haplogroup Rib (M343). On legal documents, Willie referred to his grandfather as Jack Miller Hudson and his mother as Jeanette Beatrice Williams.

In the 1900 federal census taken in Talladega, Jefferson County, Arkansas, on 2 June, a black male, Willie Hudson, born in Arkansas, in August 1898, age one was listed as a boarder in the home of Anderson Godfrey. He was the son of Veloney Hudson, age twenty-two, born in June 1878 in Louisiana. There was also a daughter Charity Hudson, born in Arkansas, in August 1896, age three. I am uncertain if this is the same Willie Hudson.

Willie said his mother brought him to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. It appears that his mother died of tuberculosis, per Willie, prior to 1906 when the Department of Education, Greenville, Mississippi, confirmed that a “Will Hutson,” age eleven was enrolled as a student in 1906 with “Jack Hutson” listed as parent/guardian. They lived at 912 Red Bud Street.

In the 1910 federal census, taken in Greenville, Washington County, Mississippi, on 7 May, Willie Hudson, a mulatto, was enumerated with Cuba “Jobe” Bagsby as his adopted son, age sixteen. At this time, Willie was employed as a laborer in a box factory. Cuba also worked there as a supervisor. The family lived at 462 N. Harvey Street. Jobe Bagsby is buried in Dardanelle, Yell County, Arkansas.

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

In the 5 October 1912 Census of Educable Children, Town of Greenville, Mississippi, Willie D. was listed with Elizabeth Bagsby, wife of Cuba, as eleven years of age, which would place his birth around 1900 or 1901.

In the 1913–14 city directory for Greenville, Mississippi, Willie Hudson was listed as a driver for Henry Tolliver, who owned a restaurant at 912 Nelson and a meat market at 309 N. Shelby. In the 1916–17 city directory in Greenville, Willie lived at 805 Nelson.

Willie met Velva Mae Morton while living and working in Blytheville, Mississippi County, Arkansas. They were married there on 23 April 1917.

After serving in France during World War I from 29 October 1917 until 18 June 1919, the family lived in Arkansas and Florida while Willie worked for the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company.

In 1932, Willie purchased forty acres of farmland in Bragg City, Pemiscot County, Missouri, where he farmed and drove a school bus prior to relocating to St. Louis County in the fall of 1943. Willie acquired employment as a Pullman porter at the Pullman Railway Company and moved his family to St. Louis County. Much of his correspondence to his wife was censored during World War II.

In February 1945, Willie transferred to the Pullman Company Roundhouse on Bircher Boulevard and worked as an electrician repairing train generators until his death on 15 September 1962 at 1:30 p.m. in Jewish Hospital, St. Louis City, Missouri. His burial occurred on 19 September 1962 at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Sources include census records, marriage records, death certificates, deeds, military records, obituary, family documents, social security application, employment records, 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 19:48