John Paul Hurdle was born in Marshall County, Mississippi, on April 3, 1916. He was the son of Jesse Franklin Hurdle (January 15, 1891—October 13, 1973) and Lucy Karr Hurdle (January 3, 1890—January 22, 1979). The couple had eight children:
Jesse Karr Hurdle (October 4, 1914—October 2, 1994) John Paul Hurdle (April 3, 1916—May 25, 1944) Joseph Henry Hurdle (February 3, 1918—December 15, 1993) Thomas Daniel Hurdle (March 31,1920—September 18, 1982) Philip Hargis Hurdle (August 14, 1921—October 30, 1977) Sidney Lanier Hurdle (September 27, 1923—March 9, 2013) Lanita Hurdle (January 20, 1925—October 27, 2003) Carrie Mae Hurdle (September 22, 1930—September 24, 1984)
According to the 1920 census, John’s father was married to Lucy Karr and his recorded occupation was a cattle dealer. In the 1930 census, Jesse’s occupation was labeled as “general farmer.” In the 1940 census, Jesse Franklin’s occupation was labeled an operator in the farming industry. From all three censuses, it is clear that the Hurdle family was in the agriculture business.
Also, in the 1930 census, at the age of only 13, John, who was named as Paul Hurdle in the census, was considered a laborer. He was unpaid and worked as a general farmer alongside his father.
John did complete all four years of high school. The estimated year of his completion is 1934, as he was 18 years old that year. He attended Holly Springs High School, where all of his siblings went to school. John did not pursue a college degree after his completion of high school.
John married Martha Woodward Hurdle and the couple had one son, James Cooper Hurdle in 1938. He was a semiskilled mechanic and repairman and he operated on motor vehicles.
In the 1940 census, when John was living with his brother, Jesse Karr, both he and his brother were listed as truck drivers. In the 1940 census, John’s street address was 612 Fairview Street in Greenville, Mississippi, in Washington County. He was no longer a resident on a farm. He lived here with his older brother, Jesse K. Hurdle and his sister-in-law, Dorothy Hurdle. His wife, Martha “Munner” Woodward Hurdle, and two-year-old son, James Cooper Hurdle, also lived in this residence. At this time, Hurdle was 23 years of age.