GEORGE JUDD. - George Judd, a retired capitalist of Springfield, figured for many years in public affairs in Illinois, and while he was never an aspirant for office, few men have had more influence over public interests than has the subject of this review, a man remarkable for his breadth of wisdom, his indomitable energy and keen discrimination regarding matters affecting the public weal or woe.
Mr. Judd was born in the village of Fulton, Oswego county, New York, March 12, 1829, and is a representative of an old New England family. His paternal grandfather, Joel Judd, was a native of Connecticut and wedded Mary Stoddard. Among their children was Merritt R. Judd, the father of George Judd, and a native of New York, born in 1802. He was a farmer, and throughout his business career followed that pursuit in order to provide for his family. He married Sallie Rust, who was born in Syracuse, New York, May 8, 1808, and was married on Christmas day of 1824. Her father was Ebenezer Rust and her people were of English descent, the first American ancestors having landed in the new world in 1624, since which time representatives of the name have been loyal citizens of the republic, the grandfather and great-grandfather of Mrs. Judd having served as soldiers in the Continental army at the time of the Revolutionary war.
After obtaining his elementary education in the public schools, George Judd continued his studies in Fulton Academy, of his native town, and subsequently, with the intention of making the practice of law his life work, he became a student in the office and under the direction of James Crombie, a well known attorney. He was admitted to the bar in Oswego, New York, in 1850. In 1844 he came west to Illinois, settling in Springfield, but after a time he returned to Oswego. Later, however, he again came to this state and was employed as superintendent of construction of the railroad then known as the Alton & Sangamon, now a part of the Chicago & Alton system. Mr. Judd was the first to occupy that position and was the last employee in the care of their interests.
In 1861 Mr. Judd established an office in this city and soon became an active factor in public affairs. He was elected chief secretary of the board of army supplies, authorized to distribute various supplies for the government to the Illinois soldiers as the various regiments were organized. So satisfactory were his reports to the secretary of the treasury of the United States that he received a commendatory letter, stating that his report was free from error and was correct. Mr. Judd had charge of thirteen expert accountants engaged in making out the reports and every item was carefully scrutinized and examined before being sent to Washington. For a number of years Mr. Judd was engaged in contracting for the general government for supplies for the army and never was there cause for complaint concerning the way in which he handled the business. In 1867 he purchased an interest in the Illinois penitentiary at Joliet, contracting with the state in connection with Colonel S. A. Buckmaster and J. J. And W. H. Mitchell, of Chicago, and engaging in the manufacture of various articles through the labor of prisoners. Since that time he has lived a quiet life, free from business cares, save the supervision of his invested interests. From 1867 until 1900 hd had charge of the railroad legislation of the state for mutual trunk lines. It would be difficult to find a man outside of public office in the state of Illinois who has had a more direct influence on governmental affairs than has George Judd, whose work in lobbies and committee rooms has done not a little to mold legislation. Moreover, Mr. Judd has always studied thoroughly every question in which he has been interested and has supported his position by intelligent argument and by proven facts and conditions. He has a wide acquaintance among prominent men of the state and enjoys the friendship of many. He was for several years secretary of the Democratic central committee of the state of Illinois and a warm personal friend of Senator Douglas.
On the 12th of July, 1853, Mr. Judd was united in marriage to Miss Lucy E. Parker, of Vienna, Oneida county, New York, a daughter of Hon. John Parker, a prominent democrat of that county. After their marriage they took up their abode in Carlinville, Macoupin county, Illinois, and while there residing Mr. Judd was elected to the position of county judge in November, 1853, serving in that office for one term of four years. Benevolent and sympathetic, he has been a generous contributor to charity, giving liberally to the Home of the Friendless, the Young Men's Christian Association and to the Old Ladies' Home, while to other worthy objects he has been equally liberal. His disposition is kindly and genial, his manner cordial, his popularity unbounded and wherever he goes he wins friends. He has been a resident of Springfield since 1861.