Chief Justice Edward Wren Hudgins
1882 - 1958
Edward Wren Hudgins, the son of Robert Henry Hudgins and Lucy Wren Hudgins, was born in Buckingham County, Virginia on January 17, 1882. At the age of seventeen, he entered the University of Richmond where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1905 and a Bachelor of Law degree in 1908. While pursuing his education, Edward Wren Hudgins was an active member of Phi Beta Kappa; an organization that led to many connections throughout his and his son’s life. On March 16, 1910 he married Lucy Henry Morton who bore him two sons, Edward Morton Hudgins and William Henry Hudgins.
After graduation, he formed a partnership for the practice of law with classmates, Thomas W. Ozlin and Walter Scott McNeill and opened an office in Chase City, Virginia. In 1915, he was elected to represent Mecklenburg County in the Virginia House of Delegates where he served until 1920. In 1926, the 34th Judicial Circuit comprised of Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, and Halifax counties was created and Edward Wren Hudgins was elected as the first judge of this newly formed circuit. “During his tenure of office as Circuit
Judge, he was known at the Bar as an efficient, sympathetic, and just
administrator of the law.”
In 1928, Judge Hudgins was selected to serve on the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, and in 1947, he became the Chief Justice. President Truman personally requested that he judge the Nuremburg Trials after World War II but Edward Wren Hudgins respectfully declined. He was serving in this capacity at the time of his sudden and unexpected death on July 29, 1958 at his home in Chase City. “As chief justice since October, 1947, he had done much to simplify, modernize and speed up Virginia court procedure. His efforts in this direction had won him national recognition.”
Although his work took him to Richmond, he maintained a home in Chase City and was active in the community. He organized the first Boy Scout Troop in the town and was its first Scout Master. He was active in the First Baptist Church where he taught the Men’s Bible class for thirty-five years and was a Deacon. Gov. William Tuck described the judge’s community commitments saying “His activities in life were so varied that all of them cannot be adverted to within the confines of a short address”.
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