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Born in Athens in 1923 into a farming family, Hudson grew up in the burgeoning Kansas oil field. He and his brothers formed the Hudson Oil Company, later sold to Koch Oil. In 1958 he founded Workingman’s Friend and Highway Oil, companies which at their peak employed more than 700 people. Ultimately, he had one of the biggest land holdings and large independent cattle operations in Kansas and Texas. He prided himself in progressive land stewardship, returning thousands of acres to native grassland.
In North Texas, Hudson became known for the herd of camels he established, groups of which can still be seen from area highways. After having read an article about using camels for chemical-free brush control in the 1980s, he soon brought 20 from Australia. He became the largest camel breeder in the United States at the time, with 100 head distributed across his nine ranches.
Throughout his professional life, Hudson anonymously supported Shriners Hospitals projects, donated money to rebuild churches and help museums. He also created a foundation to rebuild homes for 2007 tornado victims in Greensburg, Kansas.
A.B. Hudson’s legacy of hard work and philanthropy took its final giant step recently with the donation of his $60 million estate to the Shriners Hospitals for Children system, specifically the facility in St. Louis. It will now bear his name. Hudson, an oilman, rancher and longtime member of the Shriners, died in his Wichita Falls home in 2008. A special ceremony honoring the hospital contribution took place in late October 2011 with family and friends present.
“Dad was proud to be a Shriner and the accomplishments they made assisting children requiring medical care,” said daughter, Michele Rothe, at the plaque dedication. “I am proud that my dad’s life desire was to leave his gift to Shriners Hospital for Children, and I know his friends and I are so very happy to be part of his legacy and the ability to contribute to pediatric specialty care.” Hudson’s gift is the largest in the hospital system’s history, according to Doug Maxwell, board chairman of the international Shriners Hospital system. The hospitals provide free treatment to children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lips and palates. “It humbles us to know someone of Mr. Hudson’s accomplishments had a lifelong wish to leave his estate to the Shriners Hospitals,” Maxwell said. “He was a most honorable man.”
Judith McGinnis, “Shriners hospital benefit from Hudson bequest” Wichita Falls – Times Record News. November 7, 2011.
Electra is on U.S. Highway 287 and State Highway 477 fifteen miles northwest of Wichita Falls in northwestern Wichita County. Daniel Waggoner began ranching in the area in 1852. In the mid-1880s the tracts of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway reached the area. Shortly thereafter Waggoner and his son William T. Waggoner built loading pens and persuaded railroad officials to establish a switch at the site in 1885. The location was briefly called Waggoner, but with the construction of a depot and the opening of a post office in 1889, it was renamed Beaver, probably for Beaver Creek, beside which most of the original Waggoner ranchland was located. Within 10 years Beaver provided businesses and a school for Waggoner employees.
In 1902 residents selected the name Electra, in honor of W.T. Waggoner’s daughter. In 1905 Waggoner sold the land to Fort Worth developer Solomon Williams. He and his partners formed the Electra Land and Colonization Company, which extended the city limits, subdivided the town lots, and advertised in national publications to attract residents. The company was successful, and in 1907 the community incorporated with a commission form of government and 500 residents. The town grew to an estimated 1,000 people by 1910, when Electra had a newspaper, a bank and a number of churches. The Electra Independent School District was established in 1911.
W.T. Waggoner had drilled unsuccessfully for water. But oil was a different matter. On April 1, 1911, Clayco No. 1 blew in a mile north of Electra. News of the gusher spread rapidly and a boom resulted. The town’s population reached 5,000 within months. Because Electra was an established community and the oil land was already leased, the plague of tent cities and the chaos that accompanied the discovery of oil in other areas never materialized. Many who rushed to Electra seeking quick profits, however, just as quickly departed.
The Electra oilfield produced approximately 10 million barrels between 1911 and the mid-1920s. In 1917 the population of Electra was 5,400; in 1926 it was 4,744, and the town had a high school, numerous churches, two newspapers, two banks and over 100 businesses. In 1936 Electra had 6,712 residents and 170 businesses. Drilling operations declined, though, and the growing Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis attracted residents. In the mid-1960s the population in Electra decreased to just over 5,000. In 1990 it had a population of 3,113 and 48 businesses. In 2000 it had a population of 3,168 and 139 businesses.
Drilling operations declined, though, and the growing Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis attracted residents. In the mid-1960s the population in Electra decreased to just over 5,000. In 1990 it had a population of 3,113 and 48 businesses. In 2000 it had a population of 3,168 and 139 businesses.