While pursuing his interest in the early history of civil rights in the United States, Rick Hudak made a curious discovery. John Brown, the revolutionary abolitionist considered by many historians to be “the most controversial 19th-Century American”, had lived for four years in Richfield, Ohio – where Hudak has lived most of his life – and where four of Brown’s children are buried in a cemetery located just across the street from Hudak’s home.
A University of Akron earth science major (with a minor in biology), born just outside Cleveland in 1954, Hudak is deeply rooted in his wife’s, Kevan’s, native Richfield community. A sitting councilman for many years, dedicated to numerous civic organizations, Hudak owns an established state-of-the-art collision repair facility and thrives on being involved in his community on many levels.
Hudak learned that Brown’s raid on the Harpers Ferry federal armory in 1859 was the climax of his antislavery actions and played a major role in the start of the Civil War. However, it was Brown’s occupation of the arsenal that exposed Hudak, a Civil War era gun collector, to the quality and historical significance of firearms made at Harpers Ferry. Passionately collecting them ever since, Hudak has forged friendships with some of the most avid collectors and knowledgeable experts of Harpers Ferry firearms.
Compiling a simple and methodical listing of information for his own pleasure and reference led Hudak to an exciting discovery, which became the inspiration for “Harpers Ferry Arsenal and Joseph Perkin”.