Frommes, etc. . .

Jesse Oliver and Sarah Elsie McArthy Hudgens

Jesse Oliver Hudgens was born March 6, 1887, in Johnston City, Williamson County, Illinois.  He was the second child of William Henry and Harriet Claire Jones Hudgens


Jesse’s father William died in 1897.  In 1900, Jesse continued to live with his mother, sister, and brother in Southern Precinct of Williamson County.  By 1910, they had moved to Park Avenue in Herrin.  In 1917, he was a miner working for the Big Muddy Coal Company, and lived on South 15th Street in Herrin.


Sarah Elsie McArthy was born August 4, 1891, in White County, Illinois, the third child of Andrew Ralph and Luella Fields McArthy.  She received her teaching certificate from the White County Superintendent of Schools in  1914, and taught school in White County until 1919. 


Jesse married Elsie McArthy June 4, 1919, in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.  After her marriage, Elsie moved to Herrin, Illinois, and began teaching in Williamson County. 


With all that was happening in the county which came to be known as Bloody Williamson, we are lucky to be here.  In 1920, Jesse still was a coal miner.  In June of  1922, the Herrin Massacre occurred.  In 1930, he was a farmer. 


Jesse  and Elsie had two children, Jesse Ray (known as Ray) (1923-1955), and Edith Claire (known as Claire) (1926-2010).


Several photographs tell us about Jesse’s life.  He was a farmer who built his barn.  He was a bee keeper with an apple orchard, and he made apple butter.  He had a wheat field.  He enjoyed hunting with his beautiful dog Chief.  He also liked to read. 


Elsie was a school teacher for more than 40 years, and she would tell you she loved every moment of the job. 


Like most Hudgens families in Williamson County, Jesse and Elsie were members of the Fountain Church.  There are more than 70 Hudgens family members buried in the Fountain Church Cemetery.


Jesse died May 30, 1948.  Claire graduated from Southern Illinois University that same year and moved to Springfield.  Ray died in 1955.  After that, Elsie secured a teaching position in Virden, and moved north to Macoupin County to be closer to Claire, who lived in Morgan County.  Elsie moved to Jacksonville in the late 50s or early 60s.


Elsie died October 19, 1980, in Jacksonville.  Elsie and Jesse are buried in Fountain Church Cemetery south of Marion, Illinois. 


I have been reading the book “Bloody Williamson,” and would be glad to pass it along when I’m finished.  In the mean time, you can read about the fighting between the union and the miners, the Charlie Birger gang, the KKK, tornados, and other phenomena on a couple of sites which provide interesting accounts of the ‘20s in Williamson county: and

Elsie McArthy and Jesse Oliver Hudgens

Sarah Elsie and Edythe Isabell McArthy, along with an unknown girl

Jesse Hudgens with his brother-in-law George Henne

Jesse O. and Sarah Elsie McArthy Hudgens

June 4, 1919

Sarah Elsie McArthy Hudgens

Jesse O. Hudgens

Jesse O. Hudgens

Sarah Elsie McArthy Hudgens

Sarah Elsie McArthy Hudgens, 1979


Claire's Ancestry Chart for Jesse

Elsie's Teaching Certificate and Registration Stamps 1916 thru 1922

1919 Marriage Certificate of Jesse O. and Sarah Elsie McArthy Hudgens

1930 Census of Southern Township, Williamson County, Illinois

Pictures of Chief