Early Chicago: Joseph Henry Hudlun

Joseph Henry Hudlun

Joseph Henry Hudlun (Source: Chicago History Museum)

Joseph Henry Hudlun was born a slave in Virginia in 1839. By the time of his death, he had purchased considerable property and held the distinction of being the first African American to both build and own a home in Chicago. On the night of the Great Fire, Hudlun helped his wife tend to the needy and then rushed to the Chicago Board of Trade where he worked throughout his life. At great risk to himself, Hudlun saved many of the institution's valuable documents and was hailed as a hero by the institution.