Ethel Hudgins Forgason

July 1, 2018

In the BRC family tree, there are three very important women who have pioneered women in ranching, and really blazed a trail for women in the Brahman business. We treasure these bold and confident women for their courage, bravery, business entrepreneurship, and holding a family together.

These women are: Rachel Northington Hudgins, Ethel Hudgins Forgason, and Mollie Forgason Williams.

In this blog, we like to share a little information about Ethel Forgason, and how simply amazing she was, especially for her involvement in agriculture at that time.

Our Family Tree:

Rachel Northington Hudgins

–> J.D. Hudgins

–> Ethel Hudgins Forgason

–> Lanier Hudgins Forgason

–> Mollie Forgason Williams

–> Jim Williams

–> Rachel Williams Cutrer

–>> Mollie Cutrer and Annie Cutrer

According to visits with Mollie Williams, and Frances Cullers, both who knew Ethel very well, she was a trailblazer in ranching. She was the daughter of J.D. Hudgins, and brother of Walter Hudgins. Though a woman, she shared the same passion for the cattle business as her father and brother, and was one of those women who could get anything done and do any job that was expected of her.

My grandma, Mollie Williams, reflects that as a child, her grandmother Ethel was responsible for feeding and caring for the herd bulls at JD Hudgins while they weren’t in use. Mollie “Nana” proudly reflected that she helped her grandma Ethel feed the great Manso, and many other famous bulls of that time.

Nana had this photo proudly posted on her bulletin board for as long as I could remember. This is Ethel, out there feeding a Brahman bull. Notice she’s carrying a sorting stick out there in a dress in the pens.

ethel hudgins forgason

My Nana also remembered how Ethel gave her the wise advice “Mollie, never trust a bull…” which probably explains why she was carrying this sorting stick with her, even while feeding her gentle Brahman bull.

Ethel was the cattlewoman of the family. Her husband, James Forgason, wasn’t a cattleman by trade, and let Ethel run the cattle business.

During that time, the Hudgins family really operated as a family commune, reflected Frances Cullers. Ethel was responsible for raising all the produce and vegetables to feed not just her family – but the entire Hudgins family.

She also maintained her own dairy, to produce milk for the family, and also had her own smokehouse for preparing pork from the hogs she also raised on her farm.

Photo credit: Heritage Cattle

This photo shows the original partnership of the JD Hudgins family in 1908. Ethel Hudgins is pictured standing at the far left, right next to her father J.D. Hudgins. Their mother, Mollie Hudgins is identified by the yellow arrow. And Ethel’s brother, Walter J. Hudgins, is on the far right.

Ethel Hudgins Forgason was a legendary pioneer in the cattle business, and it’s no surprise that she instilled these traits into her own granddaughter, Mollie Forgason Williams. And, Mollie Williams instilled these traits into me, her granddaughter, and Annie and Mollie Cutrer, her great-granddaughters.

These women exemplified the values and traits we hold dear. They believed in hard work. They worked to provide for their family. They didn’t let being a “woman” hold them back in the pursuit of their passions in land and cattle. And, they left things better for the future generations.

That’s why “tradition” means so much to us at BRC, and why we believe in working hard, and focusing on our family. Some days, when I’m out there feeding Noble, I close my eyes and think about Ethel doing the same thing. I think about all those days my Nana (Mollie) was out there caring for the bulls at her ranch (V8 Ranch), and I look down at the brush I hold in my hand (I always take the brush with me) and hear my Nana saying “Never trust a bull…”). While life is certainly different now than it was back then, some things never change. And, that’s a good thing.

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