Biography of Hudson Samson
Allegheny County, PA Biographies





HUDSON SAMSON (deceased), for many years one of the leading funeral directors of Pittsburg, was born in Pulaski, Oswego Co., N. Y., April 29, 1840. His parents were Jonathan M. and Elizabeth (Draper) Samson, of an old New England Quaker family. There were four children in the family, two daughters, who died when young; Hudson Samson (deceased), and Dexter M. Samson, who is still living in Los Angeles, Cal. The father died in Pittsburg, Jan. 3, 1894, at an advanced age. Mr. Samson was educated in the common schools of Pulaski, and prepared for college at the old Pulaski academy. On account of ill health he did not attend college, but came to Pittsburg in December, 1859, when nineteen years old. On Feb. 14, 1862, Mr. Samson married Miss Susan Gilmore, of Utica, N. Y. They had six children, four of whom died in infancy, while one daughter. Miss Cora L., died Feb. i, 1898. In 1859 Mr. Samson entered the undertaking business in Pittsburg, and was probably the oldest undertaker in the city, in point of service, at the time of his death. In 1861 he took Robert Fairman as a partner, and the business was successfully conducted under the firm^ name of Fairman & Samson, until 1875. During the last fifteen years of his life he was ably assisted by his son, Harry G. Samson, who now succeeds his father in the business. In 1884 Mr. Samson erected a beautiful funeral chapel at No. 433 Sixth Ave., which was considered at the time it was built to be the finest and most complete in the United States. He early considered the idea of erecting a crematory, and, in 1885, built a model establishment. It was the second of its kind in the United States, and soon became famous. It first came into prominence in 1891, when the body of Emma Abbott, the famous opera singer, was cremated there. Mr. Samson was perhaps the most conspicuous layman of the Methodist Episcopal church in western Pennsylvania, and was one of the bulwarks of the Pittsburg church union, being its president for many years. He was deeply interested in city evangelization, and was an officer, for a long time, of the National union. It was his custom for a number of years past to build a church each year. This he accomplished through the Church Extension society of the Methodist Episcopal church, and, as a result, many frontier town congregations are happy in their modest and comfortable little buildings, not knowing where the money came from that made them possible. Mr. Samson guaided this pet way of doing good very jealously, and few, even of his most intimate friends, knew that he had followed it for nearly a score of years. Mr. Samson was president of the National city evangelization union of the Methodist Episcopal church. He was also a trustee of the Young Men's Christian association, a member of the advisory board of the Young Women's Christian association, a member of the board of the Methodist Episcopal deaconesses home, and a member of the board of the Pittsburg free dispensary. He was a member of the board of trustees of Allegheny college, Meadville, Pa., and of Beaver college, Beaver, Pa. He was treasurer of the Anti saloon league of Allegheny county, and for the past ten years had been one of the most consistent members of the Oakland Methodist Episcopal church. He was a delegate to the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, held in Chicago, 111., in 1900. For several terms he was president of the National and State funeral directors' associations, and was one of the most progressive and widely known men in his profession. Mr. Samson was a thirty second degree Mason, and a member of Franklin lodge, No. 221, also of Tancred commandery, Knights Templars. During Mr. Samson's business career, in Pittsburg he had been fortunate in his investments, and thereby had amassed a considerable fortune. After a long and useful career he died, July 14, 1903. Thus, we have briefly incorporated in this sketch of the life of one of Pittsburg's leading citizens, a summary worthy the emulation of all who aspire to the nobler aims of true and beneficent citizenship.


From:
Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
personal and genealogical with portraits.
Publishers: Northwestern Historical Association
Madison, Wis. 1904.


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