Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

JUDD, ALBERT NORTH (1843-1927)

History of the State of California and Biographical Record of Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties; James Miller Guinn

Photograph of Albert N Judd
Albert N. Judd

Out of his early experiences as a painter Mr. Judd gleaned much that has since helped him in the management of his business affairs and the shaping of his financial policy. Though now practically retired and enjoying the fruits of his labors in former years, he still maintains a general supervision of his apple orchard, which ranks among the finest in the Pajaro valley. In his home at Watsonville are all the comforts that enhance the pleasure of existence, added to which he has the esteem and confidence of associates.

At North Lee, Berkshire County, Mass., A. N. Judd was born April 26, 1843, being a son of George B. Judd and a descendant of a colonial family of New England. His mother died when he was thirteen years old and his father shortly afterward, and he was then taken into the home of a farmer in New Hampshire. Early in life he migrated to Wisconsin, and at Rubicon, Dodge County learned the trade of wagon making and painting. Being small in stature he was unable to stand the work which required a man's strength and muscle. Finding that he was losing his health, he abandoned wagon-making and devoted himself to painting. About this time he met Mr. Folk, who was planning a trip to Central America and offered him a position as an assistant of the expedition. Accepting the proposition, he went south and while in Honduras learned of the breaking out of the Civil War. To one of loyal, patriotic spirit, his country's need appealed with greatest force, and Mr. Judd hastened back to the north.

August 9, 1861, he enlisted in Company H, Fourteenth Iowa Infantry, and was sent to the front under Grant. February 15, 1862, he was wounded by a bullet in the right side of the neck, while fighting at Donelson. At Shiloh he was taken prisoner, but with others succeeded in effecting an escape. Later he was transferred to Company A, Sixth Iowa Cavalry, and in this regiment continued until he was honorably discharged November 27, 1865, with a record of which he may well be proud.

Going to Chicago Mr. Judd opened a paint shop at No. 152 North Clark Street. There he continued a few years. When the first excursion was started across the continent on the first railroad built to span the continent, he took passage July 22, 1868, and arrived in Sacramento August 2 of that year. There he secured work on the state capitol. In the fall of the same year he came to Watsonville and rented a building formerly used by Cooper Bros. for a store, and occupying the present site of the Bank of Watsonville. Here he embarked in business, having as partners Peleg Peckham and Mr. Austin. Two years later Mr. Peckham retired from the firm and the following year Mr. Austin sold his interest to Mr. Judd, who continued alone. In 1873 he discontinued the painting business and engaged in farming on the old John Conway ranch of fifty-seven and one-half acres, west of the city. A few apple trees constituted the only improvements that had been made on the place. At once he planted more, but, as soon as he found the Bellefleur the most prolific, he replaced his trees with this variety and has continued to raise them ever since. Today the orchard is one of the best in the valley. All but fifteen acres of river bottomland are bearing fruit, and the returns from each year's crops are exceedingly gratifying to the owner. He is also interested in ranch property in Fresno County.

One of the finest residences in the valley is owned and was erected by Mr. Judd and is of stone, modern in architecture and convenient in appointments. It stands on the corner of Fourth and Lincoln streets, in the James Waters addition, where five years ago Mr. Waters had his nursery. Since then almost the entire tract has been covered with modern houses.

In the progress of the valley Mr. Judd has borne a deep interest and active part, and his contribution to public-spirited projects has been important, notably his service as president of the Pajaro Valley Fair Association, which owed much to his fostering oversight. He has held the office of deputy assessor, but as a rule has declined official positions. In the board of trade he has served as a member of the committee of public improvement. Fraternally he is connected with the lodge and encampment of Odd Fellows and holds rank as past grand. The Grand Army of the Republic numbers him as a member and he is its past commander.

July 21, 1872, Mr. Judd married Caroline, the only daughter of William Williamson. She is the only survivor among three children, her brother, Robert Samuel, having died in 1899 at fifty-three years of age; and James Edgar died in childhood. Mr. Williamson was a native of county Armagh, Ireland, and while in his teens was apprenticed to a merchant. When twenty-one years of age he came to America and settled in Boone county, Ill., where he married Artemesia Sands. In 1850 he crossed the plains to California, where for two years he followed placer mining. On his return to Illinois he disposed of his effects and, with his family, started west again, coming to Watsonville, where for a year he engaged in raising potatoes. A later enterprise was with his brother James in operating a gristmill on Pescadero [sic] creek [Santa Cruz County]. Next he conducted a freighting mercantile establishment at Gilroy for two years, after which he built a mill at Green valley above Eagers, in Williamson gulch, having as partners Messrs. Hinckley, Shelby and May. The business, however, proved a difficult one to successfully conduct, as the supply of lumber in those days was greater than the demand. It is said that in 1859 he came to Watsonville, with a four-ox team loaded with lumber, and tried to sell the lumber or trade it for groceries, but the most liberal offer he could get was only $7. Soon, fortunately, the demand increased. The firm became Brown & Williamson, then the Charles Ford Company, and he retained an interest in it until 1874, when he sold out. He then purchased the property where Matthew McGowen [sic] now lives and later bought one hundred and seventy-five acres devoted to agricultural purposes, continuing, however, to make his home in Watsonville, where he died in 1884, aged sixty-one years, beloved and remembered by all for his great generosity and inimitable wit.

His wife died within a few days of his own demise and was fifty-six at the time of her death. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Judd there are three living children, namely: Carrie Belle, wife of Jesse Wood; Hugh William, a clerk in the post office; and Oswald Bissell, at home. Two children have been taken by death, Elbert Hayes when eleven and Ida May when twenty years of age.

Watsonville Pajaronian (June 2, 1927)

A.N. Judd Passed Away This Afternoon after Long Illness

The death of Albert North Judd, always as affectionately known in this community as "Major" Judd, whilst not unexpected, owing to his failing health, for a long time past caused keen regret to all who knew this worthy man in his prime and admired him for his many sterling qualities.

Mr. Judd died at his residence, East Lake Avenue, at 2:40 o'clock this afternoon; the culmination of a stroke he suffered several days ago and for which there seemed to be no cure or help. He sank into his last sleep, surrounded by his dear ones, seemingly without pain.

"Major" Judd was a character. The writer of this feeble tribute to his passing has known him for the past twenty-four years, and until failing eyesight o'ertook him was very close and intimate with him, and we consider him one of the most original characters we have ever met. He was a man once you got close to him, and commenced to understand him, that you could not help to admire for his forthright honesty, his nimble Yankee wit, and his homely honesty and directness of purpose. An undersized man, he was a brave man, and knew no fear. He had a sovereign contempt for hypocrisy and double-dealing, and always attempted to smash them when he could. Of slight education no one could present more striking and original views in a communication to a newspaper than he; and it was impossible to get away with him in an argument-arguing was one of his prized amusement.

Mr. Judd's visits and talks to us in the old Pajaronian office, on Main Street, are some of our pleasant memories. He often met the late W.R. Radcliff at this office, and then it was a joy to hear them go to it. Radcliff greatly admired and enjoyed Judd. He said Judd was a vital force in this community as he was always stirring things up by his communications to the press.

Out of this long acquaintance we grew to admire and like A.N. Judd and we deeply deplore his passing away. He was indeed, our friend at critical times in the Daily Pajaronian's history, and we owe him much for the kind interest he took in us. He was loyal and true.

We could relate a column or two of incidents- humorous and otherwise concerning Mr. Judd. Perhaps we will, some day, When this shock at his passing is over.

At North Lee, Berkshire county Mass., A.N. Judd was born, April 26, 1843, being a son of George B. Judd and a descendent of a colonial family of New England. His mother died when he was thirteen years old and his father shortly afterward, and he was then taken into the home of a farmer in New Hampshire. Early in life he migrated to Wisconsin, and at Rubicon, Dodge County learned the trade of wagon making and painting [Where he worked for a stipend of $7.00 per month]. Being small in stature he was unable to stand the work, which required a man's strength and muscle. Finding that he was losing his health, he abandoned wagon making and devoted himself to painting. About this time he met Mr. Folk, who was planning a trip to Central America and offered him a position as an assistant of the expedition. Accepting the proposition he went south and while in Honduras at the Oro Find river learned of the breaking out of the Civil War.

To one of loyal, patriotic spirit, his country's need appealed with greatest force, and Mr. Judd hastened back to the north. August 9, 1861, he enlisted in Company M of the Fourteenth Ohio Infantry. On the 6th of April 1862, he had his first experience of serious fighting, at the first battle of Donelson, and now carries a relic of that engagement in the form of an ugly scar from a severe bullet wound in the neck. He was in the front during the first day's engagement at Shiloh, in the "Hornets nest," where to use his own expression, "it seemed like one could reach up any time and grab a handful of bullets flying through the air." His regiment was part of Prentice's Division and was in the front during the entire day of that desperately fought battle. General Sidney Johnson, that brave leader of the Confederate forces fell within one hundred yards of Mr. Judd's regiment, while leading in person the Rebel forces in a last vain endeavor to drive back the column which had so stubbornly resisted them. When the battle began, at half past five in the morning, the field was covered with underbrush and blackberry briers; by ten o'clock it had been swept by the leaden hail as clean as a croquet ground. The desperation of this fight is best told by the three thousand, seven hundred Confederates found dead and wounded in a fifty three-acre field in front of Prentice's Division. As evening approached, his regiment was still fighting, oblivious of the fact that the right and left wings had fallen back and before they were aware of it they were practically surrounded by the enemy and captured; but in the darkness of the rainy night that followed, he, with two others, succeeded in making their escape. He was afterwards transferred to Company A. Sixth Iowa Cavalry, serving until the 17th of November 1865.

He was with General Sully's expedition for three years fighting Indians in Dakota and Montana. He was in Fisk's Corral. This historical encounter with overwhelming odds of Indians was on the occasion of a train of one hundred and twenty six emigrants, under the escort of forty soldiers passing through the territory of the Sioux in 1864. A wagon broke down, and a detachment of twelve soldiers was left to fix it. They were suddenly attacked and eleven of them killed. Sergeant Ballard made his escape to the main forces, which had taken advantage of the time consumed in the massacre, and dropping the inside wheels of the wagons, thrown up a temporary breastwork. The Indians, estimated at nine thousand surrounded them, and as they were armed principally with bows and arrows, and did not desire to risk their heads, they were successfully held at bay for twenty-one days. On the seventeenth day, Sergeant Ballard succeeded in getting through the line and obtaining relief. It arrived as above stated, consisting of six companies of the Eight-Minnesota Mounted Infantry. With this little band of beleaguered fighters, eternal vigilance was more than the price of life. Fortunately for them, water was obtained by digging a depth of twenty feet. Aside from the eleven soldiers who were killed at the first charge there were no fatal casualties, although one soldier was so seriously wounded that he drew the highest pension, $105 per month, of any veteran in the United States. In a foolish endeavor to get the scalp of a chief whose temerity had cost him his life, he got outside the fortifications and was literally riddled. After nightfall, the soldiers guided by the groans crept out and brought him in. Both of his legs were amputated at the hip, both arms were cut off, one above and one below the elbow, his nose and one ear had been shot away and yet he survived all the mutilation. This man's name was Benjamin Franklin.

At the battle of White Stone Hill Mr. Judd was wounded in the knee by an arrow, which pinned his knee to the saddle. When he was wounded in the battle of Donelson, he was in the successful charge under General Lew Wallace, since the famous author of "Ben Hur".

Going to Chicago, Mr. Judd opened a paint shop at No. 152 North Clark Street, with Charles Johnson as a partner. There he continued a few years.

When the first excursion was started across the continent on the first railroad built to span the continent, he took passage July 22 1868, and arrived in Sacramento August 2 of that year. There he secured work on the state capitol. In the fall of the same year he came to Watsonville and rented a building formerly used by Cooper Bros. for a store, and occupying the present site of the Bank of Watsonville. [With the exception of five years in Fresno County he has remained in Watsonville] He embarked in business, having as a partner "Peleg" Peckham and Mr. Austin. Two years later Mr. Peckham retired from the firm and the following year Mr. Austin sold his interest in the store to Mr. Judd, who continued alone. In 1873 he discontinued the painting business and engaged in farming on the old John Conway ranch of fifty-seven and one half acres, near Watsonville. A few apple trees constituted the only improvements that had been made on the place. At once he planted more, but, as soon as he found the Bellefleur most prolific he replaced his trees with this variety and after several years experimenting, finding that apple growing was not profitable pulled up the trees and leased out the land for intensive farming.

[He was one of the first directors in the Fowler Switch Canal Company, which owned a canal thirty feet long, forty feet wide on the bottom, and five feet deep, and cost $100,000. Apropos of this Mr. Judd owned two small farms, aggregating sixty two acres, and three hundred and twenty acres in Fresno County. He also had fifty-two acres of orchard near Watsonville.]

In the progress of the Pajaro Valley, Mr. Judd always took deep interest and an active part, and his contributions to public spirited projects were important, notably his service as president of the Pajaro Valley Fair Association, which owed much to his fostering oversight. He held the office of deputy assessor at one time, but as a rule, always declined official positions. In the former Board of Trade, he has served as a member of the committee of improvement. Fraternally, he was connected with the lodge and Encampment of Odd Fellows, and held rank as past grand. The Grand Army of the Republic numbered him as a member and he was past commander of the local Post.

July 21 1872 Mr. Judd married Caroline, the only daughter of William Williamson, a pioneer resident of the valley. Of this union five children were born of which but three are living, namely: Carrie Belle, Hugh William, postmaster of Watsonville, and Oswald B Judd.


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