James Edward Gudgel, physician and surgeon of Cynthiana, Ind., belongs to a family which figures prominently
in the history of Indiana. His great grandfather was named Andrew Gudgel, his grandfather, William Gudgel, and
his father, Andrew Gudgel. We quote from the history of Gibson county, Indiana, published by James T. Terlt &
Company, concerning the Gudgel family: Andrew Gudgel, the grandfather of the present Andrew Gudgel, of Columbia
township, was a man whose memory is worthy of record in this work. He was of German origin, and settled in Pennsylvania.
He was married three times, and the father of seventeen children. The maiden name of the last wife was Elizabeth,
and she was the grandmother of Andrew Gudgel, of Columbia township. After the Revolutionary war was over and peace
declared, Mr. Gudgel, like many of that day, concluded to emigrate to the then far West, beyond the Alleghany mountains.
In the year 1785 he set out with his family for Kentucky, a region then being wrested from the savages by Boone
and his heroic companions. After a tedious and toilsome journey they arrived at their destination, and located
on Silver creek, a strip of country which lies between the present cities of Lexington and Frankford, where he
erected a cabin and subsequently built a grist mill on the creek. He operated this water mill for a number of years,
to the great advantage of the settlers. Mills at that time were not numerous in the then wild West. Gudgel's mill
was considered the best one in Kentucky. Owing to a defect in the title of his land, a farm of 6oo acres, on which
the mill was located, and which involved him in three law suits, he concluded in order to avoid further annoyance
to leave that locality. He disposed of some of his property and removed to the Territory of Indiana, arriving here
early in i8ii. He settled in the timber on a tract of land about two miles east of where Owensville is now situated.
Here, with the energy characteristic of the old settler, he cleared a small patch of ground, erected a log cabin,
and subsequently made a farm, upon which he continued to reside until his death. Prior to his coming to Indiana,
in consequence of exposure, he had practically lost the use of his legs; but he was a man of determined energy,
and he would chop and clear up brush around his cabin for hours while sitting in a chair. The following incident
will show the pluck of the old veteran. During the Indian troubles, which occurred about this time, his family
all went to Fort Branch, which was a strong block house, erected as a rendezvous for the settlers of that locality.
This plucky old pioneer would not go to the fort, but insisted on remaining at home in his cabin to take care of
things. The Indians frequently come to his place, and while the old man was sitting in his chair, fearless of danger,
the wily savages walked around him, frequently patting him on the head, and in their rude fashion complimented
him on his bravery. It is one of the peculiarities of Indian character to admire bravery in those they regard as
their foes. His third and last wife survived him a few years. By his last marriage he had a family of three children:
Nancy, who married William Teel, and Hettie, who became the wife of Harrison McGary, a relative of whom was the
first settler of what is now Evansville. Both Teel and McGary were old and prominent settlers in that part of the
country and many of their descendants still live in and around the neighborhood of Owensville, The only son by
the last marriage was William Gudgel, who was the father of Andrew Gudgel, of Columbia township, and he was the
father of James Edward, our subject. The history continues about William Gudgel, the grandparent of our subject.
He was born in the State of Kentucky in the year 1802, and came here with his parents in 1911. As will be observed,
he was then a lad of ten years of age, and he, like most of the boys of the pioneers, was handy in assisting to
clear away the bush and timber around the cabin home. As he grew to manhood he became quite a noted hunter, and
by his skill he succeeded in killing a great deal of game. It is related of him by his son, Andrew, that it was
no uncommon thing for him to sally out and on a single trip kill three or four deer and several turkeys, which
were then very plentiful in the densely timbered districts of that neighborhood. The pecularity of his fire arms
is worthy of description. His rifle was what was then known as a sixty-bullet gun to the pound. It was a hammered
barrel made by hand, flint lock, horn trigger, and very effective in doing its work. In the year 1824 William Gudgel
married Lucy Thurman. They had born to them a family of twelve children, who grew to man and womanhood. Eleven
are yet living (1884) and ten are residents of Gibson county and one of the State of Illinois. Five of the gallant
sons of this old pioneer did service in the Union army during the late Rebellion. The names of the children of
William and Lucy Gudgel in the order of their birth were: Andrew, the father of our subject; Henry T., who was
a soldier in an Illinois regiment during the late war, died at Pine Bluff, Ark.; Martha, who became the wife of
Henderson Pritchett; Nancy, wife of Lorenzo S. Douglas; Jacob; Edward; Sarah, wife of Rice Redman, now residing
in White county, Illinois; Nicholas; John; Caroline, the wife of Leroy Martin. and they reside in Fort Branch;
Abraham, and Harriett, the wife of Henry Yeager. The last named are living on a farm a short distance from Owensville.
William Gudgel was a farmer and was an industrious and enterprising man. He reared a large family, who are among
the best citizens of the county. For many years he was an invalid. In politics he was identified with the Whig
and Republican parties. His death took place in February, 1877. His widow survived him until i888, and resided
at the old homestead with her sons, John and Abraham. Andrew Gudgel, the father of our subject, was born in Gibson
county, Indiana,. February 19, 1825, the son of William and Lucy (Thurman) Gudgel, the grandson of Andrew and Elizabeth
(Pane) Gudgel. His early education was such as could be obtained in the district schools of that period. He remained
with his parents, working on the farm until September 3, 1846, when he was married to Elvira Wallace, the daughter
of John Wallace. He held the office of justice of the peace for several years, and was a strong Republican, although
never a man of political aspirations. When the Civil war broke out he enlisted in Company A, Fifty-eighth regiment,
Indiana volunteers, and participated in many battles, was severely wounded at the battle of Stone River, but he
would not go to the hospital, and never was absent a day during his service of three years and three months. He
had eight children, four boys and four girls. The four boys were all professional men, two lawyers and two doctors.
James Edward Gudgel, our subject, was born in Gibson county, on the farm of his parents, on the tenth of March,
1858. His parents are of German descent, while his grandmother, Lucy (Thurman) Gudgel, was of ScotchIrish extraction.
A relic of the voyage they made across the ocean is still in Cynthiana. It is a pot, in which they cooked potatoes
on the vessel during the voyage. The name was originally spelled Goodgell, but the Kentucky family spelled it Gudgell,
and the Indiana family Gudgel. Parents on both sides were farmers and stick raisers, and his forefathers made their
livelihood out of the wilderness of Indiana. Dr. Gudgel attended the district schools until he was about fifteen
years old, when he entered the high school at Oakland City, Ind., and graduated with the class of 1879. At this
time there was a normal school at Oakland City, which he attended, making about nine years in school at that place.
He afterwards taught school four years in rural districts, and one year in the grammar grade at Booneville, Ind.
After teaching school he attended Evansville Medical College, graduating with the degree of Doctor of Medicine
as a member of the class of 1883, and during his last year was interne in the Evansville City Hospital. In 1883
he located at Cynthiana, Ind., where he has since remained in the practice of his profession, and is one of the
three oldest men, in point of continuous service, in Posey county. He is a student, possesses a comprehensive library,
and keeps in touch with the advancement in medicine and surgery. In 1888 he spent three months in post-graduate
work in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at St. Louis. Dr. Gudgel has always taken an active part in the
political life of his township, and is a consistent advocate of the principals and policies of the Republican party.
He served one term as a trustee of the city of Cynthiana, and as health officer for two years. He is a director
of the Cynthiana Banking Company. He is a member of the Posey County Medical Association, of which he was president
in 1910. He is also a member of the Indiana State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. He is a
member of the Modern Woodmen of America. He was married September 3, 1886, to Lizzie T. Smith, a daughter of George
W. and Mary J. (Calvert) Smith. natives of Smith township, Posey county. The grandfather of Dr. Gudgel's wife,
Daniel Smith, was also a pioneer resident of Posey county, and lived near Poseyyule. The family came to Indiana
from Kentucky, but originally from North Carolina, coming to Posey county during the early days of the Eighteenth
century. Dr. Gudgel's wife is the daughter of a farmer and stock raiser, and she was born and educated in Posey
county, graduating from the Cynthiana High School in 1880. After her graduation she taught school one term in Owensville,
two terms in Gibson county, and one term in Posey county. The family are members of the Presbyterian church. Four
children have been born to Dr. and Mrs. Gudgel: Harold Owen, born July 12, 1887, who completed a three-years course
in the Indiana State University in 1908, subsequently was a teacher in the Cynthiana schools, and is now superintendent
of the Maxwell Garage, Lawrenceville, Ill.; Helen, born December 28, 1897. Eva and Marjorie died in infancy.
History of Posey County, Indiana
John C. Leffel, Editor
Standard Publishing Company
Also see [ Railway Officials in America 1906
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