He was the son of Jesse Rose Allison and Pheobe Johnston. He had three siblings: Margaret born on 9 April 1876, George born on 16 October, 1879 and William "percy" born on 21 March 1887.
Slender and saturnine, with a good head for figures he was imbued with the Protestant work ethic. Nicknamed "Hud", he worked for a time as a clerk in Chester Casselman's General Store in Chesterville, but at the age of 19, his uncle, George "Frank" Johnston, hired him to head the junior division of the brokerage firm in Montreal he had started with John Wilson McConnell, who would later buy the Montreal Star newspaper. The three men were members of Montreal's so called "Methodist Mafia", upstarts in Canadian financial circles. Allison was sent to Buffalo to learn shorthand, worked as an insurance agent for his uncle at the New York Life Insurance company, then was sent to Winnipeg where he opened an office.
During his two years in Winnipeg he lived in a house at the corner of Westminster Avenue. and Sherbrook Street. where he got to know Mark Fortune and Thomson Beattie .
During one of his frequent train trips back to Montreal he met Bess Waldo Daniels, the young but matronly daughter of an Irish American factory clerk, originally from Massachusetts. They were married in Milwaukee on his 26th birthday (9 December 1907); Bess had just turned 21.
The Allisons were devout Methodists - they taught Sunday school, Bible Classes, and Hudson often served as a lay preacher. Their daughter, Helen Loraine was born 5 June 1909, and their son, Hudson Trevor on 7 May 1911. The same year they began the Allison Stock Farm near Winchester, Ontario, and built a new house in Westmount, Quebec.
Mr. Allison was on the board of the British Lumber Corporation, and sailed to England for a directors' meeting. While there, they had Trevor baptized at Epworth in the church where Methodist Founder John Wesley had preached. They took a side trip to the Scottish Highlands where Hudson bought two dozen Clydesdales and Hackney Stallions and mares for the stock farm. At the same time, they picked up furniture and recruited household staff for their two residences - George Swane was hired as a chauffeur, Amelia Mary Brown as a cook, Alice Cleaver as a nursemaid for Trevor and Sarah Daniels as a Lady's maid for Bess.
Like many others, the Allisons had altered travel plans to sail back with old friends on Titanic. They paid £151 16s for three cabins on the Upper Deck C-22/24/26. (ticket number 113781). Mr and Mrs Allison were in one suite, Sarah Daniels and Loraine in another and Alice Cleaver and Trevor in the third. The other household servants travelled second class .
On the last night of their lives, Hudson and Bess Allison sat down to dinner with Major Peuchen and Harry Molson, and Bess brought Loraine briefly into the Jacobean dining room so she could see how pretty it was.
After the ship struck the iceberg, Hudson left to find out what was going on. While he was gone, Alice took Trevor and went to get the rest of the servants in second class. Hudson returned to find them gone. He delivered Bess and Loraine to Lifeboat 6 and apparently left before it was launched. Major Peuchen recalled how they were almost rescued:
|“||"Mrs. Allison could have gotten away in perfect safety, but somebody told her Mr. Allison was in a boat being lowered on the opposite side of the deck, and with her little daughter she rushed away from the boat. Apparently she reached the other side to find that Mr. Allison was not there. Meanwhile our boat had put off.||”|
Hudson, Bess, and Loraine, as well as George, were lost in the sinking. Whether or not George found his employers and informed them that Trevor was safely off the ship is unknown, but if he did, it is likely the information came too late for any of them to leave the ship. Hudson, Bess, and Loraine were last seen on deck smiling. Hudson's body was the 135th recovered by the CS Mackay-Bennett. Hudson's was brought to be buried in the family plot in Maple Ridge Cemetery near Winchester, Ontario.
NO. 135. - MALE.
CLOTHING - Leather coat; blue suit; grey silk muffler.
EFFECTS - Keys; letters; photos; stock book; three pocket diaries; one C. P. Railway ticket book; two pocket books; card case; $143.00 in notes; chain with insurance medals; £15 in gold; $100.00 Thomas Cook & Sons travellers' cheque; £35 in notes; gold cuff links; diamond solitaire ring; gold stud; knife; silver tie clip; $4.40 in odd coins; traveller's ticket.
FIRST CLASS. NAME - H. J. ALLISON.
- Main article: Allison family in popular culture