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Silverleaf got it's start in 1899... with a Wedding Gift, a few cows, awesome inventions and a farm called the “Silverleaf Dairy Farm.”
In 1899, Mr. T. Manly Hudson married Ola Vaughn, and as was the custom of the day, Ola’s father gave them thousands of acres of land for a wedding gift. The original Hudson farm included the land where Silverleaf now stands as well as the land for Devenger, Foxcroft, and Del Norte subdivisions. In fact, they owned all of the land between Silverleaf and Pelham Rd., this side of Hudson Rd.
Manly and Ola Hudson built their farm house in 1917 around the time they began their family. They had four children: Lucille, Harold, Lorene and Sara. Manly’s first business, besides farming cotton, wheat and corn, was processing cotton for himself and other area farmers with his cotton gin. This cotton gin was located approximately where Shefford Lane is today.
In 1928, Manly started the Silverleaf Dairy Farm. It was named after the tall trees with white bark and silvery leaves that grew in front of their home.
In 1936, Manly and his son, Harold, designed the first refrigerated delivery truck to be used in the US, which brought national recognition to Silverleaf Dairy. Built according to specifications furnished by Manly Hudson and his son, Harold, this was the first refrigerated retail delivery truck ever used in the United States.
The Silverleaf Dairy received national recognition when an article about the truck appeared in a national dairy magazine. Requests for information and building plans were received from dairies across the U.S., and even one from Puerto Rico.
The truck’s body was insulated with 4″ of cork. “Cold Hold” coils were housed in two (4′ x 2′) plates which fit into the roof of the truck. These plates could be removed, and if frozen overnight, could “hold the cold” for 10-12 hours. This was Silverleaf Dairy’s only refrigerated delivery truck, and was in continuous use until the dairy’s equipment and route were sold in 1944 to Pet Dairy of Greenville.
The Hudsons proudly chose to use only Jersey cows because they believed they gave the very best milk. At one time, Silverleaf Dairy had 150 head of cattle. Besides cattle and horses, the farm had mules and sold live chickens for 25 cents each. They also owned a much loved German Shepherd named “Bob” who was trained to round up the cows from the back pastures at milking time.
The four Hudson children, who grew up so far from other neighbors and the “big city” of Greenville, found their entertainment through organized children’s activities at the Brushy Creek Baptist Church. Back then it was just a small white chapel where everyone listened to the sermons huddled around a stove to keep warm in the cold winter months. The Hudson children attended a small, three room schoolhouse which was located across the street from where Brushy Creek Elementary School is today.
Manly Hudson decided to retire from the dairy business in 1944 and sold his dairy equipment and route to Pet Dairy of Greenville but retained the land and buildings. He went on to serve six terms in South Carolina’s House of Representatives where his pet cause was education. He was also responsible for getting Old Spartanburg Road paved. Mr. Hudson called Old Spartanburg Road the “farm to market” road. He lobbied that if paved, it would help all the area famers get their goods to market much faster. T. Manly Hudson served in the House of Representatives until his death in 1952.
With the children grown, Ola lived in the farmhouse by herself. Tragedy struck in 1956 when brisk winds swept up a huge fire while Ola was burning a small pile of leaves. The fire spread quickly from one barn to the next and destroyed all of the old Silverleaf Dairy’s buildings except for the farmhouse and the original barn. Everyone in the community worked to put out the fire while it raged. These friends and neighbors most likely saved the farmhouse by dousing it continuously with water. No one was hurt, but Ola was devastated. In 1987, Ola Hudson died at the age of 97.
In 1983, the estate of T. Manly Hudson was sold to three builders: Bob Maxwell (Bob Maxwell Builders), Loyd Boyer (Vista Company), and the Smith brothers (Smith Company).
Silverleaf Subdivision was born in 1985 when construction began.
* This information was compiled from interviews with these special people who lived on the Hudson/Silverleaf property: Sara (Hudson) Turner, age 76, daughter of Manly Hudson; Maude Hudson, age 92, daughter-in-law of Manly Hudson, married to the late Harold Hudson, Sr.; and Harold Hudson, Jr., age 83, grandson of Manly Hudson, owner of Hudson Studios. Also, one of Silverleaf’s swimmers, Erin Blanchard, age 11 at the time, interviewed Lorene (Hudson) Robertson, age 83, daughter of Manly Hudson, for a class project, and she shared her information.