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Hill Rudd

Obituary of Jonathan Davenport Rudd, Marshall, Texas.

Maj. Jonathan Davenport Rudd, of Marshall, Tex., passed to the great beyond on April 26, 1920. He was among the last of that splendid manhood which makes every Southerner hold his head erect and be proud of his nativity; one of those who not only offered his life for his Southland, but who, with no less bravery and ability, builded anew our civilization on the ruins of war.

Major Rudd was born in Newberry District, S. C., on February 17, 1840. In 1857 he went to Texas and settled in Harrison County, about three miles south of Waskom. He was known as "Major Rudd," although he was a colonel on the staffs of both Governors Hogg and Culbertson. As a soldier of the Confederacy he attained the rank of lieutenant of Company G, 14th Texas Cavalry, Ector's Brigade, and served under Generals Johnston, Bragg, and Hood in the Army of Tennessee. He was severely wounded in the face by a bullet in the battle of Allatoona, Ga. He made a splendid record as a fearless and efficient soldier and officer. Of the one hundred and forty-one in his company who went into the war from Panola County, he was one of thirteen who came back.

Perhaps the most useful, as it certainly was the most eventful and stirring, period of Major Rudd's life was that following the war, the time of reconstruction, which was particularly bitter and tragic for the good citizens of Harrison County. No man in the county did more than Major Rudd to overthrow the infamous rule the burdened the people with debt and inflicted upon them in the most humiliating form the curses of misgovernment, official graft, and corruption. And no man since the overthrow of that infamous regime has done more toward securing for the people the blessings assured by that victory. His efforts in this direction began in 1873 and did not end until 1880, in which year the citizens' party, representing the repectable white votes of the county, came into complete control of all local affairs. The incident of the fall election of 1873, when Gen. Walter P. Lane, General Hawthorne, and Major Rudd were appointed as a committee and cleared the way to the polls for the white voters, is well remembered. Major Rudd was a member of the organization of the citizens party, the first meeting of which was called at Marshall, the county seat, and was attended by twenty-nine citizens besides himself. For the brave and determined stand he took in the defense and protection of the better element of his race he was more than once threatened, and was frequently in danger of hislife. He led a busy, useful life and served his country in many capactities. He was tax assessor from 1880 to 1882 and from that year until elected to the legislature in 1890 he served his people almost continuously as a member of the commissioners' court, and did his share toward putting the county in a healthy financial condition. When first elected to the commissioners' court, county script was worth only fifteen cents on the dollar; when he retired from that court, it was one hundred cents on the dollar. In 1890 he was elected a member of the twenty-second legislature of Texas to represent his district in the House, and he was re-elected three times. In this position he continued to render useful to the public throughout his four terms and acquitted himself well and honorably as a State legislature. In waging his battles Major Rudd never occupied an equivocal position or sacrificed principles to expediency.

Major Rudd was a member of the First Baptist Church of Marshall. He was also a Mason, a Knight Templar, and a Shriner. In 1865 he married Miss Leonora T. Hill, who was born in South Carolina, but has resided in Harrison County, Tex., since 1854. She was a brave and noble helpmeet for her husband during the troublous Reconstruction days, and during the following years of peace and happiness, whe has been the typical matron of the old fashioned Southern home. She survives him.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, September, 1920.

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