Hudson/Fry Family Papers

ca. 1889-1991 [bulk 1926-1968]. 2 boxes (68 folders), ca. 350 items. MSS. COLL. #195

NOTE: The numbers cited in parentheses, e.g. 1:5, refer the researcher to the Series#:Folder# in which that name/topic will be found.


This collection consists of material related to the DeVane/Fry family, the Graham/Hudson family and the Greensboro Garden Club. The collection offers a glimpse into the daily lives of prominent Greensboro families through personal correspondence as well as photos and personal, legal and financial papers.

Arrangement: The Hudson/Fry Family Papers are arranged into four groups: DeVane/Fry Family, Graham/Hudson Family, Greensboro Garden Club, and Miscellaneous.

Provenance: This collection was donated by Gaile Welker in memory of her son, Lee Welker. It was given in two parts assigned accession numbers 2008.53.1 and 2009.23.1. The papers were purchased by the donor at a flea market along with the brown suitcase in which they were stored. The suitcase is monogrammed with the initials ‘D.D.H” for Dorothy Dean Hudson (2008.53.2).

Processing: This collection was processed by intern Alice Culclasure, and the finding aid completed was in June 2012.


Fielding Lewis Fry was born to Mollie Pepper and Howell Lewis Fry on March 12, 1892, in Greensboro. He was one of five children, including his brother Howell Lewis Fry Jr. and his sister Walker Fry. Fry attended the Greensboro public schools before going on to study at the University of North Carolina. After graduating, he began work as an insurance underwriter for Paul W. Schenck before starting his own business. Fry married Fanny Williams on December 15, 1915, and she gave birth to their only daughter, Martha Williams Fry, on October 27, 1916. Fry maintained a very close relationship with Martha and the rest of his family.

In addition to his business accomplishments, Fielding Fry was a civic leader, participating in several different clubs and organizations as well as holding elected office. He was a charter member and served as president of both the Greensboro Rotary Club and the Greensboro Historical Museum. He also helped to establish the Children’s Home Society and served as a board member until his death. Fry was elected to the Greensboro City Council in 1943 and served for three two-year terms before becoming Mayor of Greensboro in 1947. When the polio epidemic struck in 1948, Fry encouraged the city to assist agencies providing relief to victims of the disease. At the age of 69, Fry passed away on July 26, 1961, after several months of declining health.

The only child of Fanny and Fielding Fry, Martha Williams Fry had a very close relationship with her family, especially her father. Martha attended the Greensboro public schools before attending Hollins College in Virginia from 1933 through the spring of 1935. She returned to Greensboro to finish her education at Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina, later the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Martha married Richard Reed DeVane on April 4, 1940, and they had two children, Martha Alston and Mollie. Reed DeVane was the son of Cantey Venable Reed and John Murphy DeVane. After marrying Martha, Reed DeVane joined Fielding L. Fry & Co. as vice president. Martha Fry DeVane died on August 28, 2001.

Charles Crump “C.C.” Hudson was born to Annie Tyre and William A. Hudson on July 15, 1877, in Williamson County, Tennessee. In 1897, he and his brother Homer moved from their home on Spring Hill Farm in Williamson County to Greensboro, North Carolina. On January 2, 1902, C.C. Hudson married Daisy Dean Hunt in Wilson, North Carolina. The couple became parents to Dorothy Dean Hudson on July 11, 1907, and Charles Crump Hudson Jr. on January 25, 1916.

In Greensboro, C.C. Hudson began as an employee in an overall factory sewing on buttons for 25 cents a day and advanced to become superintendent of the plant. After the factory closed, he bought several of their sewing machines, and with his brother and other associates established Hudson Overall Company. Originally housed over Coe Brothers Grocery on South Elm Street, the company soon needed more space and moved to an unused church building on Arlington Street. By 1919, the Hudson brothers had bought out their partners, renamed the business Blue Bell Overall Company, and moved to a building on the northwest corner of South Elm and Lee streets. They constructed an expanded factory in the same block during the 1920s. (After being vacated by Blue Bell in the 1980s, the building was converted to offices and renamed the Old Greensborough Gateway Center.)

Robert W. Baker, president of competitor Jellico Clothing Manufacturing Company and friend of C.C. Hudson, learned in 1923 that Hudson was ill and was interested in selling his company. On January 1, 1926, Jellico, now named Big Ben Manufacturing Company, bought Blue Bell. Newspapers likened the purchase to a wedding, stating that “Bonnie Blue Bell married Big Ben of Middlesboro, Kentucky.” The company went on to become a part of the Wrangler Corporation.

In addition to his success with Blue Bell, Hudson was president and director of many other businesses. He owned and operated the real estate businesses Hudson Inc. and Hudson Realty Co. Inc. At the former, he held the position of president and treasurer, Daisy the position of vice-president and Dorothy the position of secretary. After C.C.’s death, C.C. Jr. took over as president. C.C. also served as president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of America, Central Industrial Bank, the Chamber of Commerce, and Kirkwood Inc. and as vice-president of Southern Silk Mills Inc. He was the director of the Security Life and Trust Company, the King Cotton Hotel, several banks, and the YMCA. Along with his roles in the business community, he was also a member of a number of clubs, including the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Club, Greensboro Country Club, Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro Lodge No. 602, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. After a long decline in health, C.C. Hudson died on December 30, 1937.

Dorothy Hudson attended Greensboro College beginning in the fall of 1924 and graduated in the spring of 1928. On November 17, 1934, she and Thomas Settle Graham Jr. were married. By 1936 Dorothy was working as a secretary for Hudson Inc. In 1942 she gave birth to their only child, Thomas Hudson Graham. Dorothy was a member of the Greensboro Junior League. She died April 1, 1993.

T. Settle Graham Jr. was the son of Margaret Burchfield and Thomas Settle Graham and was born July 11, 1897. While a Williamston native, Graham was a resident of Greensboro from his beginning as a lawyer until his death. He attended Wake Forest College for both undergraduate and law school before working as a lawyer, with offices in the Jefferson Standard Building, for more than 25 years. Graham was a member of the American Bar Association, the 12th Judicial District Bar Association and the Greensboro Bar Association. He was also a member of the Greensboro Country Club and the Greensboro Board of Adjustments and president of the Greensboro Civitan Club and the Greensboro YMCA. Graham died August 24, 1955.

Biographical Sources: The biographical information was gathered from, Greensboro city directories, the Greensboro Daily News, and the News & Record. Other information was obtained from materials in the collection. Copies of the obituaries of Fielding Fry and C.C. Hudson, as well as family trees, can be found at beginning of the collection.


The types of materials in this collection include letters, photographs, legal documents such as wills, and printed materials such as newspapers and booklets. Materials pertain to the DeVane/Fry family, the Graham/Hudson family and the Greensboro Garden Club. Much of the correspondence is personal in nature and gives insight to the personalities of significant Greensboro citizens including Mayor Fielding Fry and Blue Bell owner C.C. Hudson.

The Graham/Hudson Family group includes a large amount of financial and legal documentation relating to Daisy and C.C. Hudson and Dorothy and Thomas Settle Graham Jr. Financial documents include bank checks, taxes, receipts, and reports, and legal items include the will and estate of Thomas Settle Graham Jr.

Collection Weaknesses: While this collection gives great personal insight into these families, it contains little material relating to their business interests. It also lacks concrete and substantial genealogical information about the two family groups.


I. DeVane/Fry Family

1. Correspondence. 15 folders (61 items). 1927-1961.

This series encompasses correspondence to and from members of the DeVane/Fry family. The earliest letters were written by Rie(?) to Martha Fry when she was a young girl (1:15). Other early letters Martha Fry received were also from family friends. Martha was very close to her parents and during college received many letters from them (1:7-8). In one, her father sent her math solutions to business problems she appears to have sent him (1:8). Martha also corresponded with her future brother (1:4) and mother-in-law (1:3), and letters from Martha Fry and Reed DeVane to John and Cantey DeVane expound on the happiness they found early in their marriage (1:6, 1:10).

Martha Fry DeVane’s daughter, Martha DeVane, was a regular correspondent with her grandparents, Fanny and Fielding Fry, during her time at Stratford College in Danville, Virginia (1:5). Fielding Fry received a letter in 1960 from his brother Howell Lewis Fry Jr. who was living in São Paulo, Brazil (1:9). Howell Fry wrote about investing and shares as well as Fielding Fry’s travels to the Caribbean and future trip to South America.

2. Genealogy. 1 folder (1 item). 1781-1873.

This series contains a section from the DeVane family Bible. The removed section includes the last page of Revelation, the family records for marriages, births and deaths, and the Bible index.

3. Printed Material. 3 folders (12 items). 1936-1973.

This series includes academic papers pertaining to Martha Fry, including a season ticket for lectures at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1935-1936 (3:1). This series also contains The Parish Post (1973), a newsletter from Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Greensboro (3:2).

II. Graham/Hudson Family

1. Correspondence. 11 folders (19 items). 1922-1956.

This series encompasses correspondence to members of the Graham/Hudson family. The fifth folder contains correspondence from C.C. Hudson to Daisy Hudson from 1922 to 1938. One letter Hudson wrote speaks of giving Daisy a “Cadalack 16,” adding that no one in Greensboro has this car to date. The letter was written in May of 1930, four months after the Cadillac V-16 was released (1:5). The last folder contains a personal letter to C.C. Hudson about his daughter Dorothy from Chicagoan Volney Whiting (1:11). Letters to Daisy Hudson from the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina (1:1), Greensboro College (1:2), and the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce (1:4) express condolences on the death of C.C. Hudson.

This series also includes two telegrams and several letters that were sent to Dorothy Dean Hudson Graham. One telegram was from T. Settle Graham Jr. before they married (1:3) and the other was sent by her father shortly after her marriage (1:5). The remaining letters all date to after her husband died. A letter from the Greensboro Country Club, where the couple held membership, expresses sympathy and gives suggestions about her stock and future membership in the club (1:10). Dorothy Hudson also received letters from Brownell Travel Bureau (1:8) and her brother C.C. Hudson Jr. (1:6) after the death of her husband.

2. Financial. 5 folders. 1936-1956.

The materials in this series include checks and statements from the Security National Bank for Mr. and Mrs. T. Settle Graham (2:1) and for Daisy Dean Hudson (2:2), and tax receipts (2:3) and business receipts (2:4) for Daisy Dean Hudson. The business receipts include several from the Gate City Motor Company of Greensboro (2:4). Folder 2:5 contains reports C.C. Hudson Jr. sent to Dorothy Hudson Graham about their real estate business, Hudson Inc.

3. Legal. 4 folders (36 items). 1926-1956.

This series contains estate documents for T. Settle Graham Jr. (3:1-2), Charles Crump Hudson (3:3) and T. P. Hunt, the brother of Daisy Dean Hudson (3:4). The T. Settle Graham Jr. documents include a copy of his will along with statements from his attorney sent or copied to Dorothy Hudson Graham (3:1-2). They also include several letters concerning stock from Cone Mills Corporation, Carolina Power & Light Company and McLeod Leather & Belting Company (3:1).

The C.C. Hudson documents include a letter Hudson wrote to Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company explaining the reason behind a standing loan of $37.58. He states that the loan “gave me a start to a happy and prosperous life,” and that he wants to keep the loan until his death because he has “held it as a bit of history which I did not care to erase.” This letter is paired with his estate papers as well as a list of assets and liabilities from 1926 (3:3).

4. Miscellaneous. 1 folder (2 items).

The materials in this folder include a drug prescription note for Daisy Dean Hudson (1933) and a R.J. Reynolds High School graduation program (1991).

5. Photographs. 2 folders (9 items).

This series contains eight photographs of T. Settle Graham Jr. (5:1) and a photograph of C.C. Hudson (5:2).

6. Printed Material. 3 folders (23 items).

This series contains three report cards for Dorothy Dean Hudson from Greensboro High School in 1921 and 1922 (6:1). It also includes numerous articles about the death of T. Settle Graham Jr. (6:2) and articles pertaining to C.C. Hudson and Blue Bell (6:3).

7. Scrapbook. 1 folder (1 item).

This scrapbook contains newspaper clippings about the deaths of Clarence E. Hudson, Prof. William Hughes, and C.C. Hudson, and the appointment of T. Settle Graham to chairman of Christmas Cheer. It also contains photographs of Clarence E. Hudson and two women from the Graham family.

III. Greensboro Garden Club

1. Correspondence. 5 folders (11 items). 1931-1989.

This series includes letters to and from various members of the Garden Club about events occurring locally as well as official letters from the Garden Club of North Carolina (1:1).

2. Printed Material. 10 folders (31 items). 1929-1990.

In this series are documents pertaining to the Greensboro Garden Club and the Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs. The club wrote a short history of the Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs mentioning notable accomplishments, Greensboro citizens, and streets (2:3). Also of note in this series are the Garden Club ‘yearbooks’ dating from 1929 to 1946. They contain lists of members and officers, schedules for the year, the names of committee members, and the Garden Club’s constitution and bylaws (2:9-10).

IV. Miscellaneous

1. Correspondence and Notes. 1 folder (20 items).

This series contains letters and notes that cannot be attributed to anyone.

2. Legal. 2 folders (9 items).

Folder 2:1 contains documents relating to the estate of S.E. Bostick and family. This series also contains an 1898 Southern Stock-Mutual Insurance Company contract for Walker’s Mill in Randolph County (2:2).

3. Photographs. 1 folder (3 items).

The photographs in this series are unidentified. They include images of a baby, a woman with a young girl and a young couple.

4. Printed Material. 3 folders (16 items).

Within this series are miscellaneous materials that cannot be identified as belonging to any other group. The series includes a 1962 issue of the bi-weekly newsletter The Link for Rucker Enterprises (4:2).


11Correspondence-- Anderson, John H. Jr. -- Terpsichorean Club (1935)
2-- DeVane, Anna (1936)
3-- DeVane, Cantey Reed
4-- DeVane, John Murphy Jr. “"Johnny”" (1934-1936)
5Correspondence-- DeVane, Martha Alston (1959-1960)
6-- DeVane, Richard Reed (1938, 1940)
7-- Fry, Fanny Williams (1933-1934, n.d.)
8-- Fry, Fielding Lewis (1933-1935)
9Correspondence-- Fry, Howell Lewis Jr. (1960)
10-- Fry, Martha Williams (1940, 1961)
11-- Fry, Walker (1932)
12-- Kuykendall, E.D. Jr. -- Re Sandy Graham (1936)
13Correspondence-- Miscellaneous Envelopes
14-- Miscellaneous Letters
15-- ___, Rie (?)
21Genealogy-- DeVane Family Bible and Records
31Printed Material-- Academic Papers -- Fry, Martha Williams (1936)
2-- Newsletter -- “The Parish Post” -- Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (1973)
3-- Miscellaneous
11Correspondence-- Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, Inc. (1938)
2-- Curtis, W.M. -- Greensboro College (1938)
3-- Graham, Thomas Settle Jr. (1933)
4-- Greensboro Chamber of Commerce (1937)
5Correspondence-- Hudson, Charles Crump “C.C.” (1922-1934)
6-- Hudson, Charles Crump Jr. (1956)
7-- Kellenberger, J.A. -- J.E. Latham Company (1930)
8-- Lucas, Mabel S. -- Brownell Travel Bureau, Inc. (1956)
9Correspondence-- Miscellaneous
10-- Sandford, Richard R. -- Greensboro Country Club (1955)
11-- Whiting, Volney (1931)
21Financial-- Security National Bank -- Graham, Thomas Settle Jr. (1955-1956)
2-- Security National Bank -- Hudson, Daisy Dean (1937-1941)
3-- Taxes -- Hudson, Daisy Dean (1941)
4-- Receipts -- Hudson, Daisy Dean (1936-1940)
5-- Reports -- Graham, Dorothy Dean Hudson (1956)
31Legal-- Estate -- Graham, Thomas Settle Jr. (1955)
2-- Estate -- Graham, Thomas Settle Jr. (1955-1956)
3-- Hudson, Charles Crump (1926, 1938)
4Legal-- Hunt, Theodore P. (1936)
51Photographs-- Graham, Thomas Settle Jr.
2-- Hudson, Charles Crump “C.C.”
61Printed Material-- Academic Records -- Hudson, Dorothy Dean (1921-1922)
2-- Newspaper clippings -- Graham, Thomas Settle Jr. Death (1955)
3-- Newspaper clippings -- Hudson, Charles Crump “C.C.”/Blue Bell
11Correspondence-- Garden Club of North Carolina (1938)
2-- Greensboro Beautiful (1989)
3-- Knollwood Gardens (1931)
4Correspondence-- Lowthorpe School (1938, 1941)
5-- Miscellaneous (1938-1939, 1941)
21Printed Material-- Booklet -- Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs Awards Luncheon (1990)
2-- Certificate -- Recognition of Greensboro Garden Club (1989)
3-- History -- “A Brief History of the Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs”
4-- Minutes and Notes (1929-1936, n.d.)
5Printed Material-- Miscellaneous
6-- Newspaper clippings (1949, 1967-1968, n.d.)
7-- Pamphlet -- Hagan-Stone Park
8-- Reports (1959, 1968)
9Printed Material-- Yearbooks (1929-1933)
10-- Yearbooks (1934-1946)
11Correspondence-- Miscellaneous (n.d)
21Legal-- Estate -- Bostick
2-- Insurance, Walker Mill Company (1899)
31Photographs-- Miscellaneous
41Printed Material-- Miscellaneous
2-- Newsletter -- The Link (Rucker Enterprises, Nov. 16, 1962)
3-- Newspaper clippings (1954, 1967, n.d.)

Index to the Hudson/Fry Family Papers
(ca. 1889-1991)

Note: The numbers following the name/subject entry — e.g. I 1:1 — indicate in which Group Series:Folder that name/topic can be found.

Allen, Pamela A.: III 2:2

Blue Bell (Greensboro): II 3:3, 6:3
Bostick: IV 2:1

Children’s Home Society (Greensboro): II 1:1
Cone Mills Corporation (Greensboro): II 3:1
Curtis, W.M.: II 1:2

DeVane, Anna: I 1.2
DeVane, Cantey Reed: I 1:3
DeVane, John Murphy: I 1:6
DeVane, John Murphy Jr.: I 1:4
DeVane, Martha Alston: I 1:5
DeVane, Richard Reed: I 1:6, 3:3
DeVane Family Bible: I 2:1

Fry, Fanny Williams: I 1:7
Fry, Fielding Lewis: I 1:8
Fry, Howell Lewis Jr.: I 1:9
Fry, Martha Williams: I 1:10, 3:1
Fry, Walker: I 1:11

Gabel, Kathryn Vinson: III 1:2
Garden Club (Greensboro): III 2:2, 2:4, 2:6, 2:8, 2:9, 2:10
Garden Club of North Carolina: III 1:1
Graham, Dorothy Dean Hudson: II 2:1, 2:5, 3:1, 3:2, 5:1, 6:1
Graham, Thomas Settle Jr.: II 1:3, 2:1, 3:1, 3:2, 5:1, 6:2, 7:1
Graham, Sandy: I 1:12
Greensboro Beautiful: III 1:2, 2:2
Greensboro Chamber of Commerce: II 1:4
Greensboro College: II 1:2
Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs, Inc.: III 2:1, 2:3, 2:8
Greensboro Country Club: II 1:10; IV 1:1

Hagan, Anne: III 2:6
Hagan-Stone Park: 2:7
Hall, Mrs. Will A.: III 1:5
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church: I 3:2
Hudson, Charles Crump: II 1:5, 3:3, 5:2, 6:3, 7:1
Hudson, Charles Crump Jr.: II 1:6, 2:5, 7:1
Hudson, Clarence E.: II 7:1
Hudson, Daisy Dean Hunt: II 2:2, 2:3, 2:4
Hudson, Inc. (Greensboro): II 2:5
Hughes, William: II 7:1
Hunt, Theodore P.: II 3:4

J.E. Latham Company (Greensboro): II 1:7

Kellenberger, J.A.: II 1:7
Knollwood Gardens: III 1:3

Link, The: IV 4:2
Lowthorpe School: III 1:4
Lucas, Mabel S.: II 1:8
Lyday, Irma F.: III 2:2

McCormick, Estella: III 1:5
McLeod Leather & Belting Company: II 3:1

Parish Post, The: I 3:2

R.J. Reynolds High School: II 4:1
Rucker Enterprises

Sandford, R.R.: II 1:10
Security National Bank: II 2:1, 2:2

Terpsichorean Club: I 1:1

Walker Mill Company: IV 2:2
Wheeler, Beulah: III 1:5
Whiting, Volney: II 1:11

York & Boyd (Greensboro): II 3:1, 3:2