Octagon House Museum • Hudson Wisconsin

Hudson Historical Figure: Herman L. Humphrey

Herman Humphrey

The first Hudson resident to become a United States Congressman was Herman L. Humphrey (1830-1902). He came to Hudson in 1855 from upstate New York and opened his law office here. Herman and Jennie A. Cross (1830-1880) were married the same year in Dixon IL. They had five children, Herman Jr., Fannie, Mary, William, and Grace. In 1860 they built the first brick home in Hudson at 803 Orange Street. This sturdy brick building still stands and, after serving throughout the years in the capacity of numerous business establishments, such as a maternity hospital and various grocery stores, has been restored to its former historic beauty and original purpose as a family home. The home is currently owned by Wayne and Jean Haut.

An anecdote recalled by Humphrey is that Jesse Grant (father of General U. S. Grant) and a younger brother came to Hudson from Galena IL on a business trip before the “War of Rebellion”. The elder Grant was a leather merchant. Humphrey was instrumental in foreclosing a mortgage on the property where the Star Observer had been located for many years, in order to satisfy an overdue leather claim for the Grants.

During his long career Humphrey (often referred to as Judge Humphrey) was Mayor of Hudson, District Attorney, County Judge, Circuit Court Judge and State Senator. He was elected to the U.S. Congress representing the Seventh District in 1876 and again 1880. After the death of Jennie Humphrey, Herman married two more times, to Elvira Dove in 1881 and to Katherine Doty, who survived him. Herman L. Humphrey and two of his wives are buried in old Willow River Cemetery.

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