Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Tragic Lives of Walter and Marie Hudson

Walter Duvall Hudson was born 29 February 1904 in Amherst County, Virginia, to Benjamin Shelton and Emma Littleton (Dawson) Hudson. He was the fifth of nine known children and my second cousin once removed. He was the grandson of my great grand aunt, Willie Ann Jennings. By 1930 he had moved to Covington, Virginia, and married Marie Iva Layne. They lived at 304 Hazle Street, a home they rented for $7 a month. Walter worked in a paper mill and Marie worked as a bookkeeper in a newspaper office.

On 17 April 1931 Marie died at the C&O Hospital in Clifton Forge of eclampsia, Eclampsia is a disorder which occurs when women are pregnant and includes sometimes violent seizures. Today, many women survive eclampsia, but when Marie was pregnant it was nearly always fatal. If you are a fan of the PBS hit miniseries, Downton Abbey, you will remember this is how the youngest daughter of the Earl of Grantham died. In addition to his wife, Walter lost the twin sons she had been carrying. The two unnamed boys and Marie were interred at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Covington.

Walter married again on 15 February 1937. His second wife was Hattie Mae Morris, daughter of John Andrew and Le Anna Morris. Walter continued to live at the Hazle Street address and work in the paper mill. Their marriage was destined to a short one.

Walter died the day after Christmas in 1938 at the C&O Hospital in Clifton Forge. He died of a carbuncle on his lip which had become infected. Penicillin had been discovered in 1928 but a way to mass produce it and make the antibiotic readily available for use in treating infections did not occur until 1940. In Walter's lifetime infection was a dreaded event. Walter was interred with his first wife and twin sons.

Headstone of Walter Hudson, his first wife Marie Iva (Layne) and unnamed
stillborn twin sons. Photograph courtesy of Find a Grave volunteer
j stockwell

Hattie Mae (Morris) Hudson died in 1994 at the age of 91. I can find no evidence that she ever married again.

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