The history of Hudson actually begins in Connecticut. The colony of Connecticut had, from 1632, laid claim to a 120-mile stretch of Ohio territory, which came to be known as the Connecticut Western Reserve. After an Indian war was won in the region, the Reserve seemed ripe for settlement. On September 2, 1795, Connecticut sold the Reserve to a land syndicate comprised of 35 investors known as the Connecticut Land Company. The sale was concluded for $1,200,000 for the estimated 3 million acres, or roughly 40 cents per acre.
The Connecticut Land Company, eager to earn profits through sales to settlers, quickly organized a survey team to scout out the Reserve. In 1799, David Hudson, a shareholder in the Reserve, led a party of surveyors through the wilderness of the Eastern forests to the Reserve itself. After an arduous expedition, the party eventually reached the territory and conducted its work, and on June 26, 1799, David Hudson arrived on what was to become Hudson Township. Leaving a contingent of the party to begin settlement, Hudson returned home to gather his family and possessions, and arrived again for permanent settlement on May 28, 1800. David later built his own home in 1806, where he would live until his death in 1836. Located on 318 Main Street, this house is the oldest structure standing in Summit County. In honor of David Hudson, the tiny settlement was officially named "Hudson" in 1802.
Although the journey to Hudson was difficult and perilous, settlers began trickling in, and slowly the community went through growing pains. On October 28, 1800, the first child was born. A year later, the first wheeled vehicle arrived. In 1802, the first school, a log cabin in the central park, was built. In that same year, the Congregational Church was established, with David Bacon as Hudson’s first pastor.
In 1806, the first stores and frame houses were built. Hudson experienced a period of growth and prestige in 1826, when due to the efforts of David Hudson, a college was chartered in the town.
Named Western Reserve College, it was one of the only institutions of higher learning in the region, complete with the Loomis Observatory, the only observatory west of the Alleghenies at that time. The College soon became known as "The Yale of the West." The institution remained in Hudson until 1882, when it moved to Cleveland as Western Reserve University. The campus facilities in Hudson were reopened as the Western Reserve Academy, a preparatory school.
Only a year after the founding of the College, Hudson also witnessed the completion of the nearby Akron-Cleveland section of the Ohio-Erie Canal. This transportation hub helped the town continue its growth. In 1837, Hudson was officially incorporated as the "Town of Hudson, Township of Hudson, County of Portage."