- April 12, 1963 – Mrs. L. Prescott Hudson to Edward Clements (NY State Chapter of the Nature Conservancy – Troy, NY)
Dear Mr. Clements,
At the start of this letter my apologies for errors throughout. I have only a fifth grade education therefore I can lay no claims to being a typist. Added to that I have had a diabetic condition for 23 years which has effected my vision. (I am partially blind.) In order to type at all I use one finger on my right hand and in my left hand I hold a magnifying glass over the letters on the machine. It is a bit awkward and I make many mistakes but I never cease to thank GOD that by this method I am able to keep in correspondence with my friends. GOD is very good to me, and HE sends me friends all along the way whose thoughtfulness and kindness if a continual inspiration.
My husband (L. Prescott Hudson) who died 13 years ago to day was one of the old war-horses in conservation in the state. With Cronk Rogers who was at one time conservation commissioner of N.Y. State they went all over the state forming fish and game clubs and preaching the gospel of conservation and it’s needs.
I was married to Mr. Hudson in 1932, and conservation at that time was not as well known as it is today. In early December of 1932 this city “Gal” who did not know a duck from a robin attended the first conservation convention held at Lake Placid that year. Henry B. Morganthau was the then commissioner and at the banquet he sat across the table from us.
The following spring of 1933 Mr. Hudson and I were invited to the Mohawk Club in Schenectady to have supper with, and attend one of Mr. Apperson’s meetings. This was the first time I had met Mr. Apperson, and friendship was formed which lasted for 33 years. Mr. Hudson and I were, and I still am a charter member of the Forest Preserve Association of N.Y. State that Mr. Apperson founded. He always referred to the Hudsons as his friends ‘up the river.’
Thirteen years ago he and P.W. Ham of Schenectady attended Mr. Hudson’s funeral held in Fort Plain.
Mr. Hudson and I spent part of our honeymoon at Cronk Rogers’ summer home at Lake Bonaparte. When we left he exacted a promise from us that the following week we would return for a week where the men would fish out of the lake, and I would be the one to cook the catch. But instead of our pleasant meeting exactly one week from that day we stood beside the casket of one whom Mr. Hudson knew so well, and admired so greatly.
A lady in Schenectady wrote and told me of Mr. Apperson’s death, on January 30, I believe. I was deeply grieved and again grieved one week later to hear of the passing of Karl T. Frederick of N.Y. City. Like Mr. Apperson he was my friend from the very first time I met him. Each Christmas along with the greeting card I wrote Mr. Frederick a letter, and he looked forward to hearing from me. Mrs. Frederick wrote to me in answer to my card of sympathy that Karl used to say, ”It wouldn’t be like Christmas not to hear from her.”
A short time after the death of Cronk Rogers Mr. Apperson sponsored a movement to have a suitable memorial placed near Mr. Roger’s summer home and many conservation friends were invited to attend, among them my husband and myself. A bronze plaque on the face of a rock jutting out into Lake Bonaparte was where the memorial was placed. Mr. Apperson told my husband that because he and Mr. Rogers had worked as a team in the interest of conservation that it seemed fitting that Mr. Hudson should be the person to unveil the memorial plaque. So he got into a boat, and rowed down the lake to the place where the memorial rock was located, and he unveiled it in memory of his old friend.
After we had arrived back at home he told me of the inscription that was on the marker, and he liked it so much that he said he would like to live his life in a fashion that the same could be said about him.
Up in the little village of Fort Plain Mr. Hudson had been a boyhood friend of George Duffy. Mr. Duffy made much of his money in silk which was sold to the U.S. Government and which was widely used in zeppelins in World War I. Mr. Duffy was a millionaire but this never changed the devotion for each other that had been theirs since childhood days. All during Mr. Hudson’s last illness Mr. Duffy was at his side offering to do anything he could do for Mr. Hudson.
A few weeks after Mr. Hudson was lain to rest Mr. Duffy came to see me, and this is what he told me. He said that he had talked with Mr. Hudson on may occasions in an effort to find out what sort of monument he would like to have on his cemetery lot. This was brought about by the fact that Mr. Duffy has the largest private mausoleum in the United States erected in the cemetery at Fort Plain. It is made of Vermont marble at a cost of $250,000. Mr. Hudson used to care for this structure in keeping it clean and in repair if needed.
So Mr. Duffy asked Mr. Hudson is he would like to have a mausoleum to which the answer was no. He then asked if he would like to have a large monument, and the answer was still no. He then asked him what he would like and Mr. Hudson said that because he had lived close to Nature and loved it so well that he would like nothing better than to have a large rock placed upon his grave.
Remembering that Mr. Duffy asked to have a memorial boulder placed on the lot where Mr. Hudson rested, I gave my permission, and thought of what a lovely gesture it was on the part of Mr. Duffy. So several men were given the job to find a suitable stone, and it was found on the banks of the Otsquage creek that empties into the Mohawk River at Fort Plain, and the place where the rock was located fronted the farm home where Mr. Hudson was born in 1880. The boulder weighs six tons, and it was brought from the creek shore to the cemetery lot where it was cleaned and polished.
Later Mr. Duffy came to see about a suitable epitaph for the marker which would be of bronze. The president of the Bank of Utica was with Mr. Duffy and he had several types of markers and I chose the one framed in leaves as it seemed to be in keeping with nature. Mr. Duffy asked me to write the inscription, and I told him the story of the Cronk Rogers memorial, and the appeal it had made to Mr. Hudson so the same wording that is on the rock at St. Bonaparte is what is on the boulder in the Fort Plain Cemetery. (While I think of it I want to tell you that when the project had been completed the cost exceeded $6,600.) Here is the wording on the inscription:
In memory of L. Preston Hudson
Jan. 9. 1880 April 12, 1950
A true friend of man and of the woods and waters and of all the inhabitants thereof… He loved these solitudes.
In 1934 when the second half of the century for conservation was started in this state the outstanding conservationists were invited by the Governor of the state to a banquet to be held in Albany. Here again we visited with our good friend “Appie.” In commemoration of this event Mr. Hudson supervised the planting of 150 trees just east of the Montgomery Co. Home on Highway Route 5 as a memorial to the beginning of the second half of the century for conservation in the state. Each tree was planted by a Boy Scout, and the “whips” were no taller than 2 feet. Now they rise to the majestic height of twenty and twenty five feet, and the deer that Mr. Hudson loved and protected while he was here go to his little forest to rest.
I gave a talk on conservation to the 7th graders in Knox Jr. high school here in town one day in last October. The children, I feel, are the ones we should impress as they are the generation that will follow us once our hands are folded and we are again a part of the earth that nurtured us. They asked me to recite some of my poems and after the talk was over the principal of the school asked me to type three of my poems. Here are the three that I gave them.
- – That’s Jonestown
- – The Mohawk Valley
- – The Empire State
They took them to the shop and made frames for them, and put them under glass and hung them on the library wall, and dedicated them to me. Wasn’t that nice?
Mr. Hudson built a clubhouse that was dedicated to conservation in 1930, and he was its president for 23 years. I worked side by side with him to give to that generation a clean place to go, and where the fundamentals of conservation were brought before them. I reared pheasants for the state, and taught the children that it was wrong to be a violator of game laws, and taught them the love of everything out-of-doors. After Mr. Hudson’s death in 1950, I came back to Johnstown the city of my birth. I did love and still do love Fort Plain and all its people.
Yesterday I received a letter from Dr. Kilmer, of Fort Plain – a dentist – telling me that Fort Plain is trying to get a medical center set up in Fort Plain, and if successful it will be dedicated to Mr. Hudson and myself.
My eyes are very tired and I am making too many mistakes in typing so I will stop for a while and pick it up later.
In the 1963 edition – Easter number – one of my poems entitled “Families” is included. The book is made up of poems sent in by different individuals, and is printed in the Ideals Publishing House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A recent letter from them tells me that my poem entitled – the Tree of Friendship – will be appearing in another of their books called – Reflection. I cannot accept remuneration for the verses as I have been forced through no fault of my own to becoming reduced to living on welfare. I turned my house over to them as it was the only avenue of escape from financial difficulties. I have been on the welfare rolls for 4 years, and never for one moment have I had cause to regret. I am a very honest person, and get along well with them, and am of the opinion that the folks who complain and find fault have not given the department anything, and in some instances are very good to me and always understanding.
So for financial reasons I am not able to donate anything to make the memorial for Mr. Apperson on Dome Island as my part of the worthy project but I hope that this letter of mine will tell of the endearing and enduring friendship that existed between Mr. Apperson, my husband and myself. I hope to live my life in a fashion that will be well pleasing in the sight of GOD and which will earn me a rightful place with the loved ones and friends who have preceded me into the wonderful summer land.
Good luck and GOD bless you in your project as a memorial to one of conservation’s greatest defenders.
Mrs. L. Prescott Hudson
GOD IN EVERYTHING
BY LILLIAN BURNS HUDSON
May I see GOD in everything
Through brooks that run and birds that sing
Through trees that lift their arms on high
Toward the cathedral of the sky.
My I see GOD through some one’s need
Forget his color and his creed
May I his burdens gladly share
May he be lifted through my prayer.
May I see God through shaded lane
Through days of health or nights of pain
And count all else as greatest loss
If I should e’re forget CHRIST’s cross.
May I see GOD through grasses sweet
That grow so lovely ‘round my feet
Let me give thanks for sun and storm
For beauteous things in nature’s form.
May I see GOD through rocks and rills
Through evergreens that grace the hills
Through multi-colored rainbows fair
Through sunsets and the balmy air.
May I see GOD when youth has fled
And all around seems dark and dead
Down through the lanes of memory
May I GOD’S image ever see.