From "A History of Baker, Grant, Malheur and Harney Counties"
Provided by The Grant County Museum
JOSEPH F. HODSON - is one of the earliest pioneers of Grant county and has been a
constant resident here since his advent in 1861, laboring steadily for its development and
for the welfare of all, having displayed in this long time a character of sterling worth
and principles that are sound, while his achievements have been praiseworthy and wisely wrought out
and to-day he enjoys the esteem and confidence of all who are acquainted with him, being
counted one of the wisest and most substantial citizens of the county.
In 1840, in Wayne county, Indiana, Joseph F. was born, and while still young, his parents
removed to Fairfield, Iowa, and later migrated to Emporia, Kansas. In 1859, with ox teams,
they crossed the plains and settled in Douglas county, this state, our subject accompanying
them on this arduous journey, and after he saw them well settled departed, in 1860, to Jackson
county and engaged in mining for one year. The following year, 1861, he came to
John Day, and operated in the mines and at packing for a number of years. Observing the
agricultural possibilities of the county, he selected a pre-emption where he now resides,
two miles east from Mount Vernon. In addition to the original amount taken he has added
much grazing land and is now engaged in the stock business. He is one of the substantial
men in that industry and skill and energy are manifested in all his endeavors.
It is of note that during the time when he was in Kansas there were in action the various forces
that contended for the supremacy in the state over the question of slavery, and some thrilling
adventures were experienced by him in his boyhood days. At one time he participated in a
pitched battle, called the battle of Blackjack, while it was his duty to carry dispatches to
the captain of Fort Scott. It is worthy of note that in those days the neighbors congregated in
companies of twenty or thirty and thus took their grists to the mills to be ground. On one
occasion they found three men gagged and bound to trees. Two of the unfortunate victims were
already dead, and the other nearly so.