Hodson, Devoe Pell - Erie County

DEVOE PELL HODSON, one of the two judges of the Municipal Court of Buffalo, has won high legal and civic honors, and prior to his elevation to the bench was known throughout Western New York as an able practitioner of the law, an effective forensic and platform speaker, and a man of great popularity, political and social.

Judge Hodson is of English and French descent. His grandfather, Joseph Hodson, was a gentleman of Upwell, England, who married Mary Wiseman. Early in the last century Joseph Hodson, with his wife and six sons, came to the United States, and about 1820 settled in Chenango County, N. Y., later removing to Ithaca. Horatio Hodson, father of Devoe P. Hodson, was born May 12, 1818. He still survives and resides in Ithaca, where he was for many years a prominent landscape gardener. He married Harriet Ward Pell, daughter of Frederick Devoe Pell, who was of French ancestry. They had seven sons and two daughters, of whom the survivors are: Dr. J. P. Pell Hodson of New York City, Mary Hodson Berry, widow of James W. Berry, late of Ithaca, and Devoe P. Hodson.

Devoe Pell Hodson was born at Ithaca, N. Y., March 23, 1856.

He was educated in the public schools of Ithaca, in the academy at the same place, and in Cornell University. He began reading law in the office of Samuel D. Halliday and that of Judge Marcus Lyon, both of Ithaca, and in September, 1879, at Saratoga Springs, was admitted to the bar. He began the practice of law in Ithaca, where he successfully followed his profession for the next eight years. In 1887 Mr. Hodson bought a half interest in the Ithaca Republican, a paper then published by Walter G. Smith. The partners decided to engage in a publishing enterprise in Southern California, and in San Diego they established a large printing office, and also published the Morning Telegram. After some months Mr. Hodson sold his share in the business, and returning to Ithaca, resumed the practice of law. In February, 1889, Mr. Hodson left Ithaca and opened a law office in Buffalo, where he practiced alone four years. In 1893, with George B. Webster, he formed the law partnership of Hodson & Webster. Mr. Hodson made his special work the contested cases of the firm, and was very successful as a trial lawyer.

Judge Hodson has held several official positions. In 1882-83 he was Clerk of the Tompkins County Board of Supervisors. In 1885-86 he was Corporation Counsel of Ithaca. Soon after coming to Buffalo the authorities of Niagara Falls elected him non-resident Corporation Counsel of that municipality, which office he held two terms. Some years after he was tendered the place of City Attorney of Buffalo, but declined. In 1893 the State Comptroller appointed him a commissioner to report on the accounts of New York State surrogates in matters relative to the collateral inheritance law, and in the same year was nominated by the Democrats for delegate to the Constitutional Convention. May 16, 1900, Mayor Diehl appointed Mr. Hodson a member of the Buffalo Board of School Examiners for the term of three years. He declined a further appointment at the hands of the Republican Mayor Erastus C. Knight. In the fall of 1905 Mr. Hodson received the Democratic nomination for Judge of the Municipal Court, and was elected. At the time he took his seat on the bench he was the only Democratic Judge of a civil court in Western New York.

Judge Hodson is a member of Ancient Landmarks Lodge, No. 441, F. & A. M., and several other fraternal societies.

December 23, 1888, Judge Hodson married Mariette Wood, daughter of Barry C. Wood of Painted Post, Steuben County. Mrs. Hodson is very much interested in everything pertaining to the American Revolution, and looks back with justifiable pride to the fact that her great-great-grandfather, Jedediah Wood fought at the battles of Lexington and Concord.

SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I