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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Hudson, George

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HUDSON, George, English railway speculator: b. York, March 1800: d. London, 14 Dec. 1871. He began as a linendraper's apprentice, and soon acquired a considerable fortune in that business. At the age of 27, he fell heir to £30,000. He immediately began to invest in railroads, especially in the North Midland line, and his energy and zeal soon elevated him to the position of director. In 1833 he organized the York Banking Company, and in 1837 became mayor of York. The projection of new railroads now occupied his attention, until, by 1844, he was the owner of more than 1,000 miles of railway and was known as the ‘railway king.’ His fortune accumulated rapidly and honors were heaped upon him. Re-election to the mayoralty came twice; and finally, in 1845, he was sent to Parliament. Two years later the crash came; railway property experienced a sudden decline, and Hudson was involved in overwhelming difficulties. Investigations revealed the fact that the money invested had been unscrupulously handled; Hudson spent his last years on the Continent, living on an annuity supplied by his friends.