Ridge Farm, one of the best known horse farms in LaSalle county, Illinois, is owned by the Hodgson estate and operated by Martin C. Hodgson, son of and successor to the original founder of the farm, Eli Hodgson. In this connection we take pleasure in referring personally to both gentlemen.
Eli Hodgson was born in the state of Ohio in 1819, son of Joel Hodgson, who emigrated to Illinois in the year 1831. In this state Eli was reared from his eleventh year, and was here married to Miss Phoebe Kincade, who bore him the following named children: Ellen and Mary, who died in childhood; Sarah, wife of F. W. Farnham, of Shell City, Missouri; Almeda, who died, unmarried; Martin C, whose name initiates this sketch; Emily, wife of L. B. Pickerill, of Clinton, Illinois; J. W., of Lexington, Nebraska; Martha J., of Clinton, Illinois; and Joel E., of Ottawa, Illinois. Eli Hodgson came to Farm Ridge township, LaSalle county, in 1853, when this part of the country was all wild land, and here purchased three hundred and twenty acres, comprising what is now known as Ridge Farm, and a few years later, in 1858, began dealing in horses. He was one of the first men in the state to give especial attention to fine horses. In 1874 he first imported Percheron stock direct from France, and made it a point to secure the best the market afforded. Mr. E. Dillon, another well-known importer of stock in this state, was a brother-in-law of Eli Hodgson. The latter built a fine house and barn on his farm and otherwise improved the same, and became well known as one of the leading men of the county, recognized as an authority on all questions pertaining to horses. He was noted for his fair dealing and his hospitality. The latch-string of his home was always out, and a cordial welcome was extended to all who came his way. He was politically a Republican, and religiously a member of the Christian church. In physique he was large and well proportioned, weighing about two hundred pounds, and in manner he was always genial and obliging. He died November ii, 1893, and his good wife passed away December 20, 1895; she was born November 6, 1822.
Martin C. Hodgson was born August 6, 1852, in Tazewell county, Illinois, and, was a babe when brought to the farm on which he has since resided. He received his education in the district schools, the academy at Eureka, Illinois, and in the broad school of experience. As soon as he arrived at adult years he became his father's partner and was associated with him in business up to the time of his father's death, when he succeeded him. Under his supervision Ridge Farm maintains the high standard of excellence which it had attained, and its horses, both black and gray Percherons, are second to none in the state.
Mr. Hodgson has been twice married. At the age of twenty-five he married Miss Elizabeth Wilson, daughter of James Wilson, of Iowa, and to them were given four children, - Edna F., Ethel Maud, Everett Eli and Ernest W. This wife and mother died in 1886, and in 1894 he wedded Miss Hattie M. Zibbell.
Like his father, Mr. Hodgson is a man of large physique and pleasing manner. Indeed, he possesses many of his father's sterling characteristics. Fraternally he is identified with the Masonic order, and has taken the Knight Templar degrees, having membership in Ottawa Commandery, No. 10.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 129-130.