Old Families of Athens

The Athensí Banner
Sunday, March 9, 1913
By Hugh J. Rowe

The Hodgsons

The Banner is privileged this morning to present a photograph of one of Athensí most interesting families.hodgson.jpg (48571 bytes)

The photograph was taken by Clifford Hodgson during Christmas week when the older branch of the Hodgson family was holding a reunion in this city.

The group is made up of eight Hodgson brothers and one sister, Mrs. Robert Dowie Mure.

The life history of this family is most interesting. The father of this group was Edward Reginald Hodgson and the mother was Anne Bishop. The father was a native of Newcastle-on-Tyne in the north of England. The family has been residing in that section of England since the time of Edward I. Richard Hodgson was mayor of that city in 1555 and in 1566.

Edward Reginald Hodgson came to America with his two brothers, William V.P., and Robert Hodgson, in 1837 [editorís note: actually it was May 1836 according to the shipís log]. They first resided in Troy, N.Y., and a few years later came to Athens. In 1842, just seventy-one years ago, Edward R. Hodgson and brothers purchased a carriage factor in Athens from John Reynolds & Company and from that good day to this the Hodgson Brothers have been actively in business in Athens and have lent their best efforts to the upbuilding of this city, and this section of Georgia.

In the offices of Empire State Chemical Company, of which Edward R. Hodgson Sr. is president, is framed one of the original circulars announcing the purchase of this carriage factory by E.R. Hodgson & Bros., and the circular is dated Feb. 16, 1842. It was printed at the Southern Banner office, Athens, and is done in the quaint Old-fashioned type of that era. The circular is headed "New Carriage Factory, Athens, Ga." and announces the purchase in the following language: "The subscribers respectfully announce to the public that they have taken the establishment lately occupied by John Reynolds & Co., where they intend carrying on the above business in all its various branches. They will manufacture to order and generally keep on hand for sale family carriages, barouches, buggies, sulkies, jersey wagons, etc. etc., which they will warrant to be of superior quality and made in a most neat workman-like and substantial manner."

This circular now over 71 years of age is the proud heirloom of the Hodgson brothers, who are operating some of Athensí most important industrial corporations of the present day.

Five years after the purchase of this factory, two of the brothers, namely Edward R. And William V.P., established a line of United States Mail Coaches running between Athens and Gainesville, Georgia. It was customary in that time to take out a way-bill for a passenger who rode in the stage coach in a similar manner to a bill of lading for a package of freight in the present method of transportation. In the offices of the Empire State Chemical Company will be found one of the original way-bills for a trip by stage coach from Athens to Gainesville on May 1, 1847 showing transportation of a Mr. Lowry, who occupied one seat from Athens to Witts, Ga., and paid therefor the sum of $1.40; while on the same way-bill another passenger is recorded as Mr. Stark, who occupied a seat from Athens to Jefferson and paid for his transportation the sum of $1.50. The money was paid to and is receipted for by William V.P. Hodgson, uncle of those shown in the accompanying picture.

Nearly everyone shown in the photograph is now a grand-parent. They represent the third generation of Athens Hodgsons and there are two younger generations living here who are thriving [obliterated] older crowd.

The oldest in the group photograph is Mrs. Mure, the only daughter of Edward Reginald and Anne Bishop Hodgson. There were three other sons who died before this picture was taken. One was the oldest son, William Hodgson, who was a soldier in the confederate Army, being 1st Sergeant in Lumpkin Artillery, which was assigned to Palmerís Battalion, Cobbís Brigade and Cheathamís Division, of the Confederate Service.

Two daughters survive William Hodgson. One is Mrs. W.P. Mears, of Brooklyn, N.Y. Her husband is art editor of Harperís Magazine. The other is Mrs. Arthur C. Cox, of this City.

Another, whose face is missing from this group, is Robert B. Hodgson, who enlisted as a full fledged cavalryman, at the tender age of 14 years. He saw much active service during the war and was captured and imprisoned. The result of his imprisonment injured his health so that he never fully recovered and he died in a few years after the war. He is survived in Athens by his widow, Mrs. Annie A. Hodgson and his daughter, Miss Roberta Hodgson, who is a teacher at the State Normal School.

The third son, whose face is not shown, was Charles, who died in childhood. The family that grew to full maturity consisted of ten sons and one daughter.

Mrs. Robert Dowie Mure, the oldest sister, with these brothers to watch over and care for her has always been the queen of this interesting family. "Zeke", as she has always been affectionately called by them has enjoyed much influence and authority over them as did her sainted mother. She has one living son, Mr. Robert Dowie Mure, of the General Electric Company, Schenectady, N.Y. Mrs. Mure is one of Athensí most beloved women and has always had a leading part in all good work fostered by the ladies of this city. She is a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy and other benevolent associations of like character. At present she makes her home with Mr. Joseph M. Hodgson.


The oldest, of the eight brothers, shown seated in this picture is Edward Reginald, Sr. He is now in the 66th year of his age and is president of Empire State Chemical Company, a member of the firm of Hodgson Cotton Company, King-Hodgson Company and of Georgia Phosphate Company. He has always been one of Athensí most progressive citizens and has ever taken a leading a leading part in everything that looked towards the best interests of this city and state. About thirty years ago he was appointed by Honorable Henry D. McDaniel, the Governor of Georgia, as one of five original commissioners, charged with the duty of organizing and establishing the Georgia School of Technology, now located in Atlanta. The other four commissioners of that commission were N.E. Harris, of Macon, Chairman; S.M. Inman, of Atlanta, Treasurer; O.S. Porter, of Potterdale, and Columbus Heard. These five men journeyed to Boston and studied the plans of the Boston School of Technology and spent several days at the Stephens Institute of Technology and then patterned the present school of Technology in Atlanta after these excellent institutions. The result has been that you men of Georgia have had technological training since that [obliterated] good as could be obtained in any other state of the American Union.

Recently, Edward Reginald, Sr., on account of failing eye-sight resigned his membership on the Board of Trustees of the Technological School after a service of nearly 30 years. His son, Edward Hodgson, Jr., vice president of the Empire State Chemical Company, has been elected as his successor on that board.

Edward R. Hodgson, Sr., was another boy soldier in the Confederate Army. He became a member of Lumpkinís Artillery at the age of 16 years. The three Hodgson brothers who served throughout the Civil War were William, age 18, Edward R., age 16, and Robert B., age 14. The others shown in the group were all children during that bitter period from 1860 to 1865.

Edward Hodgson is the father of five sons and four daughters. Edward R. Hodgson, Jr., Harry Hodgson, Mrs. Frank A, Lipscomb, Dr. F.G. Hodgson, Mrs. H.H.Gordon, Jr., Water B. Hodgson, Morton S. Hodgson, Mrs. Robert W. Woodruff, of Atlanta, Miss Dorothy Hodgson.

His second son, Harry Hodgson, is a trustee of the University of Georgia and a member of the Prudential Committee of that Board. He is also the Georgia member of the Conference for Education in the South and like his father takes an active interest in all educational matters.

Mr. Edward Reginald Hodgson married Miss Mary Virginia Strahan, of Baltimore, Md., whose younger sister became the wife of Robert B. Hodgson....(more)


Asbury Hull Hodgson is the second oldest brother shown in this photograph. He has always been one of the most active men in the business and civic life of Athens. For several terms he served the city of Athens as mayor. In every forward movement of our city life, he has always taken a leading part. He is president of the Southern Manufacturing Company, a director and large stockholder in the Athens Railway and Electric Company, and a member of the firm of King-Hodgson Company. His first wife was Miss Julia Neal, of Bairdstown, Ga. His children by his first marriage are Charles N. Hodgson head of the firm of C.N. Hodgson & Company, Mrs. David H. McNeill, Frank B. Hodgson and Henry G. Hodgson, of King-Hodgson Company. His present wife was Miss Sarah Payne, of Whitehall, Ga., and there are two children, Miss Lil Hodgson and Asbury H. Hodgson, Jr.


The next oldest in the group comes Thomas A. Hodgson, of Washington, D.C., who is connected to the Civil Service of the United States government. He is in the office of the auditor of the State and other departments, and has served in positions of trust and responsibility in the Treasury Department for more than thirty years. He married Miss Lilly Johnston, of Washington, D.C. Their children are Emory R. Hodgson, Agronomist, Virginia Experiment Station, at Stauton, Va., Reginald M. Hodgson, and Thomas M. Hodgson.

CAPTAIN ALBON C. HODGSON, U.S.N.albon1.jpg (296765 bytes)

Next comes Captain Albon C. Hodgson, of the United States Navy. Captain Hodgson entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis three or four years after the close of the Civil War and graduated at the head of his class in 1875. He was one of the first boys from the South who entered the naval academy after the war and at that time the war [obliterated] was still bitter. However, Albon Hodgson was one of the tallest in his cadet corps and so well able to take care of himself that he made a record that has seldom been equaled and he was always held in high esteem. For four years he led his classes and on graduation day received the much coveted honor at Annapolis of having marked on his diploma "No. 1". Every third year of his service he went to sea and has cruised at various times in almost all the harbors of the world. His alternate three years of land service were invariably occupied as professor of mathematics in the Naval Academy for he was a born teacher and hundreds of the naval officers, now high in naval service were instructed by him. When the war broke out with Spain in 1898 he was sent from the naval academy to act as navigating officer of the fastest cruiser in the navy at that time, "Brooklyn" which was the flagship of Commodore Schleyís squadron. He navigated the "Brooklyn" in the famous battle of Santiago when the Spanish fleet, under Admiral Cervera was entirely annihilated. It will be remembered that the Spaniards thought their ship swifter than all the American ships that blockaded the harbor of Santiago except the swift cruiser Brooklyn. So Admiral Cervera order his ship to center their fire on the Brooklyn as they came out of the harbor on that hot Sunday morning. The story of that interesting battle was told by Captain Hodgson to the people of Athens in one of the most interesting lectures ever given in this city at the Seney Stovall Chapel in the fall of 1898. Captain Hodgson married Miss Julie Von Schroeder and has one daughter, Mrs. Thomas Cover, of Philadelphia.


Next to Albon, in point of age, is Joseph M. Hodgson, head of the firm of King-Hodgson Company. He is also a director of the Athens Railway and Electric Company, member of the firm of Georgia Phosphate Company, and also of the firm of Hodgson Cotton Company. The same year Albon graduated at Annapolis, Joseph M. graduated at the University of Georgia. He has always been a progressive and constructive citizen. For six years he served this county as Chairman of its Commission of Roads and Revenues and the beautiful roads of Clarke county, which are largely the result of his work and interest. In church affairs he has always been active and for many years has been an elder in the Presbyterian Church of this city. He married Miss Isabella Turner, of Taccoa, Ga. His children have obtained considerable reputation for their musical talents. His son, Hugh, being a pianist of the first rank and is now studying in Berlin, Germany, to make this art his profession. The other children are: Mrs. John B. Gamble, Miss Edith Hodgson, Ralph R. Hodgson, Mrs. Merkle Jacobs, of Philadelphia, and Clifford Hodgson.


Mr. George T,. Hodgson, of Atlanta, is shown on the extreme left of the photograph. His business interest has been confined chiefly to the writing of life insurance. He is now a dealer in stocks, bonds and other commercial securities. His office is in the Chandler Building, Atlanta. He was married to Miss India F. Coker, of Atlanta, and is the father of the following children: Joe Hodgson, of Thompson Meter Co., Brooklyn, N.Y., Mrs. Harrison Heidler, Misses Ruth and Marion Hodgson, and George Hodgson of this city.

COLONEL FRED G. HODGSON, U.S.A.fred2.jpg (163149 bytes)

Colonel Fred G. Hodgson, U.S. Army, entered the Academy at West Point, New York, in 1877 and graduated there in 1881, being assigned on graduation to the 6th Cavalry U.S. Army s 2nd Lieutenant. At that time there was a serious outbreak among the Indians in the far western states and in a few months after he received his officerís commission from Uncle Sam he was getting his first test of real warfare in the campaign against the Apache Indians, which extended over several months and finally resulted in the pacification of these savages. He has served with valor and distinction for 37 years and is now one of the high ranking officers of the army stationed at Washington as assistant to the Quarter-master General. Colonel Hodgson has recently returned from the Philippine Islands where he was quarter-master of the Philippines Division. He was then made quarter-master of the Division of the East, with headquarters at Governorís Island, New York, but was soon transferred to the general headquarters of the Army at Washington, D.C. He married Miss Ida C. Cottrell, of Owensboro, Ky.

FRANCIS M. HODGSONguy.jpg (670269 bytes)

Francis M. Hodgson is the youngest son. For nineteen years he served in the municipal government of Washington, D.C. having a position of trust and responsibility. His work was with the engineering department of that city. He is now connected with the King-Hodgson Company. He married in 1894 Miss Mary A. Allen, of Falls Church, Va. They have the following children: William Albon, Harold B., Prince A., Frederic C., Roy D., Russell C., and Mary A. Hodgson... (more)


Nine of the ten Hodgson brothers were students in the University of Georgia. The ideals of University life were absorbed in their young manhood. Service to the state and nation, as well as to the community and to their own families has marked their career.

In conclusion, it can be truly said that Athens has never counted among its people a nobler family than this well known group of Hodgsons and it is the writerís fervent wish that they may continue to live long and prosper.


March 18, 2002