CAPTAIN BELA A. HUDGINS, a well known stock farmer at Hale Center, Hale county, was born in Pickens county, Alabama, in 1836. During his lifetime of nearly seventy years he has had a varied yet withal very successful career, and has been a gallant soldier, an enterprising business man and a thoroughly public spirited citizen. He has spent the last fifteen years of his life in Hale county, where he is known and esteemed for his high personal worth and integrity of character.
His parents were Austin and Nancy (Mangum) Hudgins. His father, a South Carolinian by birth, went to Pickens county, Alabama, when a young man, and became one of the successful and prominent planters and slaveowners of that county. He died there at the beginning of the Civil war. His wife, also born in South Carolina, died at the Pickens county home in 1878.
Reared on the Alabama plantation, of which be became superintendent in early manhood, Mr. Hudgins continued the peaceful course of his life until he was twenty-five years old. In the summer of 1861, however, he enlisted in Company D, Forty-first Alabama Infantry, and was made first lieutenant of his company. Within a few months he was promoted to captain, and as such he commanded his company until he was wounded in battle and disabled. His company was a part of the Army of the Tennessee, and for some time was attached to the first Kentucky, better known as the Orphan Brigade, so called on account of the early death of two of its first commanders, General Roger W. Hanson and General Hardin Helm. Captain Hudgins’ first battle was at Bridgeport, Alabama, and subsequent to that most of his active service was in Tennessee. At the battle of Murfreesboro he was wounded and disabled for six months, after which he rejoined his regiment. His last battle was at Chickamauga, following which his old wound began troubling him to the extent of disablement, so that he was placed in the enrolling service at post duty, being at different points in Alabama and Florida in that branch of the service until the close of the war.
After the war Captain Hudgins went back to his old home and was engaged in farming and other lines of business there until coming to Texas in 1879. In this state he went into the cattle business, his first location being in Young county, and then for a few years he was in Palo Pinto county, in both of which counties he was among the early settlers. In 1889, deciding to come still further west, he drove his cattle out to Hale county and located at his present home, four miles south of Hale Center. There he has a pasturage of five sections, and carries on a general stock farming business. He has a comfortable home, prettily situated, and noted as a hospitable place of meeting for his old friends and neighbors. Captain Hudgins is an interesting talker and most pleasant man to meet, and his rich fund of experiences in military and business affairs makes him a resourceful and ready man in all the emergencies of life.
Captain Hudgins was married in Pickens county in 1859 to Miss Laura V. Walker, and they have a fine and successful family of seven children, as follows: Mrs. Nancy E. Pearson, of Mineral Wells, Texas; Fitz G., who resides on his fine ranch in Hale county; Sallie Olivia Birdwell, of Portales, New Mexico; Mattie Eliza Norfleet, living on the Spade ranch in Lamb county; Katie Myrtle Payne, in Lamb county; Lewis Decatur, on his ranch in Hale county; and Ed B., who lives with his father on the home place.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 418.