Rodney Hudson (1875-1877), the son of
California pioneers, was the first native Californian to become
district attorney. Born in St. Helena in Napa County, he studied
literature at the University of Michigan and attended law school in
Tennessee. Hudson was in private practice in Los Angeles for two
years as the partner of Anson Brunson, described by one legal
historian as "the leading lawyer in Southern California."
Hudson was elected district attorney in 1875, the year before the
Southern Pacific Railroad linked Los Angeles to the rest of the
nation. After his term, poor health took him to Lake County,
California, where he served as a superior court judge.