Herbert Horatio “Hub” Dudley was born in Cordele, Georgia in 1897. “Hub” came to Dublin with his parents, Clayton D. Dudley and Katie Ford Dudley. The Dudleys came here for a new beginning, a beginning which led to a dream which still lives on today almost twelve decades later.
Clayton Dudley set out to build a business empire to meet the needs of African-Americans, who were not being completely served. “Hub” adopted that same philosophy.
“Hub's philosophy on life was to build businesses and offer what was needed by the black community," his niece, Thomaseanor Pearson, remarked. "Whatever we had, we had because it was needed," Mrs. Pearson told Theresa Harvard of the Courier Herald in a 1996 interview.
Herbert Dudley married Mayme Ford, a Washington, D.C. school teacher. Her sister, Jenny Ford, was the mother of Thomaseanor Pearson. He and Mayme virtually adopted Jenny’s daughter, Mayme Thomaseanor, who would marry Alfred Pearson, Sr. to become the matriarch and patriarch of the Pearson family in Dublin.
The Dudleys opened a meat market and grocery store in 1922 in the building now occupied by Dudley Funeral Home. Over the next two decades, the father and son team built an empire along East Jackson Street and the Five Points area of downtown.
There was a savings and loan, a restaurant, The Dudley Motel (modernized in 1958,) the Laborers-Mechanics Realty and Investment Company (a savings and loan association), a shoe shop, a saw mill, a roller skating rink, a drug store, a poolroom, a barbershop, a guest house, The Laurens Casket Company, Dudley's Funeral Home, and in September 1936, the Amoco # 2 service station. Dudley established a beauty shop and named it for his foster daughter, Thomaseanor, who was never a beautician. The Dudleys also developed “Dudley’s Retreat” in the rear of the service station as a gathering place for the community. During World War II, Dudley worked to establish a USO for black servicemen on South Lawrence Street.