Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

George Hudson Again

I recently had an article in Wild West about George Hudson, the notorious villain from Granby, Missouri. I also think I may have posted an entry about Hudson on this blog a year or more ago, but I'd like to add a brief update.
As I mention in the article, one of the several murders that Hudson committed during his infamous "career" was the cold-blooded killing in 1886 of Dr. L. G. Houard, a Joplin dentist. Hudson was finally arrested for the murder in 1891, and his case came to trial the following year at Rolla, Missouri, on a change of venue from Jasper County. At the trial, evidence was a presented by the prosecution that the motive for the murder was that Houard, a known womanizer, had been having an affair with the wife of wealthy Granby mine owner Peter Blow and that Blow had hired Hudson to do the job. Despite this and considerable other evidence against Hudson, he was acquitted.
Recently I read a piece online about Peter Blow that appeared in a Tennessee newspaper a year and a half ago. (Blow spent much of his later life in Tennessee.) In discussing the Hudson murder case, the author of the newspaper piece suggests that the trial amounted to an attempt to slander Blow's good name and that Hudson was indeed innocent. He says that although a few observers made the accusation that the outcome of the trial was a travesty of justice, few people believed this assertion.
To the contrary, Hudson was widely considered to be guilty by the people who knew him and his notorious record best--the citizens of the area where he lived. In southwest Missouri, most people considered the result of the trial at Rolla to be a "bought verdict." Hudson had used intimidation, bribery, and any other means at his disposal to escape prosecution in other cases, and the overwhelming opinion around Joplin and Granby was that he had done so again in the Houard case.
I can't say with any certainty that Peter Blow hired Hudson to kill Houard, as the prosecution claimed, but I do feel quite sure that Hudson did, in fact, commit the murder.

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