Rudd, Jonathon Davenport (1840–1920)

By: Seymour V. Connor

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 19, 2021

Jonathon Davenport Rudd, planter, soldier, and public servant, was born in Newberry, South Carolina, on February 17, 1840, the son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Davenport) Rudd. He was left an orphan at age 16. He subsequently moved to Texas with the twenty-five to thirty slaves he had inherited and established his Bermuda Farm Plantation about three miles south of Waskom in Harrison County. He served as a lieutenant in Company G of Col. Mathew D. Ector's Fourteenth Texas Cavalry, C.S.A., and was wounded in the battle of Allatoona Mountain, Georgia. He returned to his plantation at the end of the war. In 1865 Rudd married his cousin, Leonora T. Hill. In the postwar period, he was an innovator in stock breeding in East Texas. Rudd served as vice president of the Jersey Association of Texas for a time, and according to one source he brought the second herd of registered Jerseys to Texas. In September 1878 Rudd took an active role in county politics by helping to organize the Citizen's party of Harrison County, a party that sought to return the county to conservative White control. He served as Democratic party county chairman that year and was chosen county commissioner in an election marked by fraudulent returns and the intimidation of Black voters. Rudd served as county tax assessor from 1880 to 1890, and from 1891 to 1897 he represented his district in the Twenty-second through Twenty-fifth legislatures. He was Texas delegate to the National Cotton Planters Association in 1883 and delegate to the Gulf Transportation Convention in Chicago in 1893. Rudd was a Mason and a Shriner. He died on April 26, 1920, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Marshall.

Randolph B. Campbell, A Southern Community in Crisis: Harrison County, Texas, 1850–1880 (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1983). Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Seymour V. Connor, “Rudd, Jonathon Davenport,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 19, 2021