Two days ago on Facebook my friend and former Oklahoma University colleague Aaron Pope shared a post about his great-great grand-father who fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. Thank you for sharing about your family member, Aaron. Your post inspired me to write this post about my relative who also served in the Civil War.

Hudson Race Harder, my great-great grand-father, was born in Butler, New York. When he was fifteen years old, he decided to fight for the North. He lied to the recruiter and had to stand on his knapsack to have his picture taken with his group, the Third Illinois Cavalry.

His Army career was quite unspectacular. He developed dysentery and was taken to an Army hospital where he soon became very ill. More soldiers died of dysentery than of bullets and Hudson Race was headed to become one of those statistics when he was taken out of the hospital and put under a large tree to await his eminent death.

Hudson Race was a fighter and he wanted to live! After all he was too young to die! But what could he do to fight his inevitable fate? What did he have to help himself? He thought of the contents of the knapsack he had taken to war. The most promising thing in it was a large jar of homemade pickles his mother had sent with him to war. Well, it wasn’t much but it was all he had and he wanted desperately to live so he ate the whole jar of pickles and drank the brine!!!! Well, it worked and Hudson Race Harder survived!

After the War, Hudson became a minister of the Gospel and started a church in Wilburton, Oklahoma. He married a young lady named Mattie Bishop. They had 10 children. He died in 1932.

About fifteen years ago I attended a friend’s wedding. At the reception I sat with a couple who were from Wilburton, Oklahoma. I mentioned Hudson Race and their faces lit up. They said he had made quite a name for himself and the church he started in Wilburton was still going strong! People remembered him after such a long time! Good going, Great-great Grand-father!

Thank you, Aaron, for nudging one of my family memories. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for websites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information please visit our Privacy Policy at

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