Judson and his wife Anna and their sons Steven and Paul, and Judson's orphaned niece Gertrude Meller were members of a wagon train from the Midwest led by James Longmire. The 171-member party crossed the Cascades by way of Naches Pass in 1853. Judson bought a cabin from millhand Jacob Burnhardt for $30. Under the Donation Land Law, Judson along with his wife was entitled to 320 acres of land. He staked his claim along Commencement Bay between what would become 7th and 20th streets in Tacoma.
The following year, the Judson family brought in a harvest of oats and wheat. They also cut logs for Delin's mill. Judson abandoned the claim during the Indian War of 1855-56 and did not return.