Hudson William Nelson, farmer, businessman, Confederate soldier, state representative, and state senator, was born in 1813 in Charles County, Maryland, the son of Nathaniel W. and Anne Reeder (Wright) Nelson. Nelson was raised in Charles County and married Ellen Elizabeth Cobey here in 1837. This couple farmed and had three sons and three daughters. Nelson relocated with his family to Shelby County, Alabama, around 1840. Nelson resumed farming, and from 1852 through 1855 he served as county sheriff.
The family immigrated to Texas in 1861, settling in Hopkins County. Here Nelson engaged in the real estate business, initially investing in an 1150-acre homestead and later buying, selling, and leasing several hundred acres of land in the area of Hopkins County. Nelson served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, but it is not clear in what capacity he discharged his duties. Following the war, Nelson returned to Hopkins County, settling near Bright Star. In 1866 he won election as senator for District Nine—comprised of Hopkins and Lamar counties—to the Eleventh Texas Legislature. In the late 1860s Nelson and his family relocated to Sulphur Springs. He returned to public service in 1872, winning election as representative for District Ten—comprised of Hunt, Wood, and Hopkins counties—to the Thirteenth Texas Legislature. Around this time Nelson's wife may have died, as he married Mary Weaver in Hopkins County on January 24, 1875. Hudson Nelson died on December 30, 1878.