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Hudgel brothers, Reason and William (1839-1938)


Posted By: Barry Mateer (email)
Date: 1/19/2024 at 09:53:46

December 1, 1927
The Osceola Sentinel

One day recently two brothers, evidently far advanced in years dropped into The Sentinel office for a chat with the newspaper man. The senior of the twins, Reason T. Hudgel, the reporter knew quite well, but to his brother, William J., the writer was presented for the first time. They were on a lark, - these old soldiers were, - we knew they were veterans by the bronze button on the lapels of their coats – we think we should have known this for any rate for Old Soldiers are unlike anybody else. Characteristic of members of the G.A.R., these pals joked about the most serious incident of life, even speaking lightly of the end that is sure to come to us one and all. In the conversation that followed we learned something of their pioneer history.

Their parents, Thomas and Ellen Hudgel were native of Virginia, but came to Clarke county from Ohio in the fall of 1856* and purchased a farm in Liberty township upon which they made their home the remainder of their lives. There were eight children in the family, four girls and four boys.

*(The 1860 census had the family living in Fremont Township in June.
March of 1855 Thomas and Ellen Hudgel bought SE SW ¼ of section 5 Liberty but it was not recorded until March of 1861.
In March 1861, Thomas and Ellen Hudgel bought an additional 64 acres in sec. 5 of Liberty Township)

Reason T. and John W. were 16 and 17 years of age when they came west with their parents. They have been pals all their lives In the spring of 1860 they fitted out a wagon with ox teams and joined in the Pike’s Peak gold-rush.

They arrived there in June of that year and at once staked a claim on Clear Creek and became real gold diggers. On washing up at the end of six weeks work, it was found that each man’s share was only about $2.50 worth of gold, and feeling disgusted they quit, and selling their interest in the claim for a yoke of oxen, the brothers commenced hauling logs to the saw mill. Here the same luck befell them for the mill company failing, they lost about $600, getting for their work only a yoke of cattle and about $40. Being discouraged, William immediately started for home with two yoke of cattle and one wagon. When half way home one of the four wheels of the wagon breaking down he rigged up a sort of cart on hind wheels and in his made his way to his home. The brother returned later.

As mentioned in the individual sketches, each of the brothers answered their country’s call in 1862 and served till the close of the war.

Certainly, they have had a world of experience, comrades ever since they were boys and each in good health and in possession of all his faculties, walking without canes, hearing distinct and eye-sight scarcely impaired by years. A beautiful old age. Who among us would dread the weight of years in the event that we might, in the sunset of life, be blessed with the health and happiness that has been bestowed upon Reason and William Hudgel.

Reason T. Hudgel
Reason T is the eldest of the Hudgel boys whose pictures appear in connection with this sketch.

He was born in October in 1839 and his brother in September, 1840. He grew to manhood in Clarke county. In September, 1861, he enlisted in Company M. First Colorado Cavalry and after serving his time in that unit, he re-enlisted in Company H of the same regiment. In all he served 4 years, 2 months and 14 days in the Civil War. Though the service of the unit of which he was a member is not so distinguished in history as that of the 39th Iowa in which his brother served, it was just as strenuous in many particulars. Reason was with the Colorado regiment in its campaign against the invading Confederates in New Mexico and Texas. Besides the continued border warfare in which they were engaged for more than four years, they had one engagement with Indians in which 500 redskins were killed. At the close of the Civil War he returned to Clarke county. In 1866 he was united in marriage with Martishey Williamson and they are enjoying a happy old age together in their home in the good town of New Virginia, where they moved eight years ago, each of them prior to that time had continued to live in Liberty township where their parents had been pioneer neighbors. For one of his years, Reason Hudgel is enjoying remarkable health. He is as active as many a man of 60, hears well and reads without glasses.

William J. Hudgel
William J. Hudgel was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, September 25, 1840 and is the son of Thomas and Ellen Hudgel. When he was about 10 years of age, the family moved to Auglaize county, in the same state, where William helped upon the farm and attended the district school. Late in the fall of 1856 he came to Iowa with his parents and settled in Clarke county.

William followed farming at home until April 20, 1860, when, in company with his brother, Reason, he crossed the plains with ox teams in the rush for gold at Pikes Peak.

In the spring of 1861 Mr. Hudgel entered the employ of his father and toiled that summer upon the farm. August 22, 1861, he married Miss Priscilla V. Polly, only daughter of Dr. Samuel Polly, and in the following spring he rented the farm upon which he took up his home.

August 13, 1862, he enlisted in Company D, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry, at Osceola, Iowa, and started for Des Moines on the 25th of September, following his twenty-second birthday. Soon the regiment was forwarded to the front, going to Jackson, Tenn. In the race after General Forrest, Mr. Hudgel was taken sick and left at camp with one hundred and four comrades, with orders to return at once to Trenton, but stopping for dinner when within seven miles of that place, they were surrounded and captured by the confederates. The next day they were paroled and sent into the Union lines at Trenton, where he remained for two weeks on extremely short rations. Stealing away, he and a comrade, Jacob Smith, went to Columbus, Ky., to the Soldiers Home and two weeks later to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, and then home. After remaining home two months he returned to the Barracks and after the exchange, on October 23, was forwarded to his regiment, then with Sherman.

He participated in several of the minor engagements near Buzzard’s Roost, being chiefly detailed with foraging parties and employed in tearing up track and bridges. After the evacuation of Atlanta, the regiment was ordered to Rome, Ga., and put on guard at a railroad bridge and mill, some eight miles distant from that city. While here William and twenty-four others were surprised, while foraging, by two hundred and fifty “johnnies,” and were compelled to swim the river. On Sherman’s famous march to the sea, this regiment followed that matchless leader and participated in all its battles and skirmishes.

After completing the march to the sea, and the army had started toward Washington, they captured the city of Columbia and while near Camden, S.C., on a foraging expedition, he was surrounded by a force of the enemy, to whom he was fore- ( … )
At this place he was put on a mule and directed to the road leading to the Union camp, where he reached to surrender. They shot him through the neck with a revolver ball, and after robbing him of $40 in money and a gold watch they left him on the field for dead. The southern soldiers hastened on that they might capture other soldiers of this company. Mr. Hudgel rallied from this blow and asked permission to rest in a negro cabin nearby. As he entered he noticed a window at the rear of the cabin, through which he jumped and running faster than is usual for “dead men” to run, he made his escape into a swamp.

Lake that night, being weakened by the loss of blood and want of food, he sought aid from a farm house.
(…) ed his regiment about 8 o’clock the following evening. The balance of the march he made in an ambulance and on recovery from his wound was forwarded to Davenport, Iowa, where he was discharged May 25, 1865.
Following the war, he returned to continue to his home in Iowa.

The Osceola Sentinel article of 1927

Clarke Biographies maintained by Brenda White.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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