James W. Ellsworth – Part I

Over the weekend I had a chance to do some research on James W. Ellsworth, a man whom I believe is hands down the most important figure in Hudson’s history – Yes, even more important than founder David Hudson, and the town’s rebellious son John Brown.

Born and raised in Hudson, James spent many years of his childhood years working at his father’s store on the town green. It was in that hot and cramped general store where he developed not only a strong business mind and work ethic, but a love and dedication to his hometown – one that would later save it from near ruin. Born on October 13, 1849, James William Ellsworth attended Western Reserve College and Prep during the latter parts of the Civil War, including the assassination of Abe Lincoln, and the beginnings of Reconstruction.

In his later years, James liked to recall the story of a suggestion from a teacher to pursue the ministry. Appalled by the suggestion, James’ affirmed his strong commitment to the business world. He left Hudson for Chicago at age 20 and turned himself into one of the most successful American businessmen of his generation. Oh, and might I add, his generation included the likes of John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie.

There is much more to come on this interesting figure, including the massive mansion and estate he built right in Hudson…