Biography of Judge B. B. Hudgins

JUDGE B. B. HUDGINS. The present circuit judge of the Fourteenth District of Arkansas is Judge B. B. Hudgins, who was born in Taney County, Missouri, August 15, 1854, the eldest child born to Dr. John W. and Malinda (Byrne) Hudgins, who were born in Jackson County, Ala., and Marion County, Tennessee, respectively.

The paternal grandparents were Benjamin and Martha (Ellis) Hudgins, and were born and reared on the Atlantic coast, and Benjamin was a young man when he came West. He was descended from one of three brothers who came to this country from England. Dr. John W. Hudgins was a young man when he removed to Tennessee, but prior to this he was married in Alabama to Eliza Proctor, by whom he had three children: William L., James and Cynthia, the two sons being now residents of Texas. Their mother died in Missouri, and Dr. Hudgins afterward married Miss Byrne, a daughter of Brice and Ann (Rawlston) Byrne, natives of North Carolina, but who were reared and spent their lives in Tennessee and later in Arkansas. William Byrne, the father of Brice, came from Ireland when a young man, married in North Carolina, and later moved to Tennessee, his death occurring in Jackson County. In 1848 Brice Byrne located in Carroll (now Boone) County, and there made his home until his death in 1869. He was a prominent man in public affairs, held the office of county surveyor, was a Democrat politically and socially a Mason. He was a wealthy farmer. His wife was born in Tennessee, a daughter of James Rawlston, who was a colonel in the War of 1812, under Jackson, with whom he was at New Orleans. His wife died in Boone County in 1880, having become the mother of nine children, all of whom reached maturity, of whom Mrs. Hudgins was the third in order of birth. The parents settled on Government land about one mile from Harrison, and this farm is now owned by the subject of this sketch. Dr. Hudgins was a successful medical practitioner and came from Taney to what is now Boone County, settling about ten miles south of where Harrison now is. He finally settled on Crooked Creek, where he died in 1858, having been one of the first medical practitioners of this section of the country. He was a Mason, a Democrat politically, but gave but little time to politics. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was successful in the accumulation of wealth. His widow, who is living in Harrison, is in the enjoyment of good health. She has been a resident of Arkansas since eighteen years old, and has spent the most of her life in the vicinity of Harrison. Her union with Dr. Hudgins resulted in the birth of three children: Brice B.; Martha A., who is a teacher in the schools of Harrison, and Mary M., who is the wife of Samuel Bradley. Mrs. Hudgins has long been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, reared her children with good judgment after the death of her husband, and is still keeping house.

Judge B. B. Hudgins was reared in what is now Boone County, first attended the common schools but later entered the high school of Valley Spring. He engaged in school teaching after the war, the family having lost all they had during that time, and as the Judge was the eldest, he became the mainstay of the family. When he could afford to do so and could find the time he attended school also, and during the four years that he was engaged in teaching he became well and favorably known as a pedagogue. He took up the study of law in 1877, and two years later was admitted to the bar and immediately thereafter he opened an office in Harrison and at once started on a lucrative practice. He was first elected to the General Assembly of 1885, was reelected in 1887 and again in 1889, serving the last term as speaker of the house. He became well known in the session of 1889 from his efforts to secure what was considered a fair election law. He was elected to the office of circuit judge of the Fourteenth Judicial District in 1890 and is still discharging the duties of this important office with distinguished ability. This district covers seven counties, and is one of the largest in Arkansas, and has not a mile of railroad in it. As a juror Judge Hudgins is well liked and has tried many important civil and criminal cases. At an early age he was elected to the office of county examiner of schools, and almost from the commencement of his independent career he has held some office or other. He has been successful in all branches of his law practice and has followed his profession in all parts of his district and is widely and favorably known. He has always been a Democrat in politics, is active in public matters and has canvassed the district for his party. He has been successful financially, and, in addition to pursuing his calling, he has given considerable attention to farming, being the owner of the land which was entered by his grandfather. He was married in Harrison to Miss Josephine Bailey, a daughter of Capt. W. W. Bailey of Harrison. Mrs. Hudgins was born in Boone County, in 1859 (March 21) and was reared in the town of Harrison. To them six children have been born: Oscar W., Ora M., Ben Hill, Jellie M., Joie and Lucy. The family attend the Methodist Episcopal Church of Harrison, of which Judge and Mrs. Hudgins are members. They are highly respected people of the county, and have a sufficiency of this world’s goods to make life enjoyable and easy.



A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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