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Sunday, August 30, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 # 36: Mabel Jane Hudson, my father's Aunt Mabel

     Mabel Jane Hudson was the second of four daughters born to Benjamin Melvin Hudson and Agnes Georgiana Cookson.  She was born on 24 April 1892 near Fayetteville, Arkansas.  In 1907 the family moved to Ft. Worth, Texas where Mabel started High School.  Ft. Worth became home base for the family.  Mabel was an excellent student, In 1910 there is an article in the local paper about how she and her sister, Edna, were the top students in their respective classrooms.  Mabel graduated in 1911 ranked the top girl student in her class.  She had scholarship offers from Colleges but her mother wouldn't let her go. So she went to Texas Christian University and got a teaching certificate. She then taught at Post Oak, Lewisville and Ft. Worth, Texas while going to the University of Chicago in the summers, spending two years there in 1915-1917. She also did a YWCA course in cafeteria work at Columbia University in New York City in 1921.  Eventually she finished her Bachelor's degree at Texas Christian U. She continued to teach and in 1929 received her Master's of Science at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Her degree was in Home Economics and Education.  She was a well educated woman for her time or any time.

     In August 1929, she married Wyatt Nolan Hunt in Benton, Arkansas.  In my father's notes he calls him "an uneducated farm boy".  In 1930 we find Mabel the US Census in Clarksville, Arkansas, listed as married but living alone.  I have yet to find Wyatt in the 1930 or 1940 Census.  They were divorced in April 1932, "quarreled over drinking" per Dad's notes. According to these notes, after Wyatt's death she married his friend, Owen.  I found a marriage record for Mabel and Edward Owens in Beech Grove, Arkansas, dated 24 Oct 1942.  Wyatt died in 1961.  I haven't been able to find anything else on Edward.  Mabel told my Dad that she remarried in 1937 in Oklahoma.  The record I found is a marriage bond so they could have had the actual wedding in Oklahoma. Or perhaps this marriage record is for a different couple because on Wyatt's death certificate in Mar 1961, she is given as the informant.  He is listed as married and she is listed as "Mrs. Mabel H. Hunt".  More research is needed here.  Meanwhile it seems clear that he was the man she loved. My grandfather's address book lists his brother and sister and some other of his family under her name and one Owen family name as well!

    In 1937 she bought a farm in Burleson, Texas, near Ft. Worth. Several members of Wyatt's family live in that area and he apparently lived there at times.  I believe that this is the farm we visited her at when I was a child.  I think it was 1956 or 57.  We visited Mabel's sister Alma in Ft.Worth and one day we drove out into the country and visited Mabel. My impression was of being in a vast empty area.  It was flat and seems to me to have been mostly dirt.  There was a house and a windmill next to it.  That was her house.  I thought she must get lonely.  I remember we visited into the evening and after dinner we all gathered around the piano where my mother played and we sang. The two songs I particularly remember, maybe this was the first time I heard them, were "Listen to the Mocking Bird" and "Down in the Valley".

     In 1961, Mabel came to stay with her sister in Tacoma for a year.  Looking at it now I think it was to recover from Wyatt's death (he died in March 1961).  At any rate, my sister saw her several times during that year.  I always enjoyed being with Mabel.  She was fun! I remember her playing dress up with us, for instance.

     Mabel was always interested in the family history.  When President Kennedy was assassinated she sent an article to the local paper about her grandfather's experience being on guard in Washington when Lincoln was assassinated.  She lived for a time with her nephew, Jack (my Dad) and they spent time finding the houses that her Grandfather had lived in. She told him much about the family and gave him some family heirlooms.  Unfortunately, in the early 70's her house burned down and she lost many other family photos and mementos.  So, that is Aunt Mabel.  I am beholden to her for her love of the family and its history and passing it on to me.

1 comment:

  1. I remember Aunt Mabel most from the time when she lived with our Grandma and Grandpa Peterson in Tacoma. Aunt Mabel had a huge (to me) collection of earrings and necklaces that she let me try on. She also had more interest in fashion than our grandmother. Perhaps she wanted to set a good example for her home economic students. She also was writing some short stories and, I think, her recollections. She had some guides from Writer's Digest that I thought were interesting.

    I remember her as being fun. Perhaps it was just that, as a longtime teacher, she was interested in children!