JOHN W. HUGHES, M. D. Among those whose lives and labors conferred distinction and honor on the history of Westmoreland county was Dr. John W. Hughes, who was one of the able members of the medical profession in this section of the state, and who was one of the most popular and influential citizens of Latrobe, where he was actively engaged in practice for many years and where he was also prominently identified with business and civic affairs, having been president of the Citizens' National Bank of this place at the time of his death which occurred September 11, 1902.
Dr. Hughes was born near Corsica, Jefferson county. Pennsylvania, March, 1838, and was the fourth in order of birth of the children of Samuel B. and Mary (Wilson) Hughes. The Hughes family is of Scotch-Irish lineage, and that branch of which Dr. Hughes was a representative was early founded in Pennsylvania, members of the family having been among the first pioneers to settle west of the Allegheny mountains in this state. William Hughes, grandfather of Dr. Hughes, was a farmer by vocation, and in early life married a Miss Barnett, a representative of the well known family of that name which early settled near New Derry, Westmoreland county, being prominent in the Presbyterian church for many generations. Samuel B. Hughes, lather of Dr. Hughes, was born near Latrobe, this county, and died in 1874, at the age of sixty-five years. He was prominently identified with lumbering and merchandising in Punxsutawney and Brookville, Jefferson county, and continued resident of that county until his demise, where he was held in the highest esteem as a citizen and as a successful and influential business man. He espoused the cause of the Republican party at the time of its organization, and both he and his wife were zealous and devoted members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. Their marriage was solemnized about the year 1828, and of their five children only two are living at the time of this writing.
Dr. John W. Hughes passed his youth in his native county, in whose common schools he secured his preliminary education, which he supplemented by a course of study in the academy at Gladerun. Pennsylvania, while he took up the study of medicine under an able preceptor, Dr. Andrew J. Johnson, of Jefferson county, and finally entered the Ohio College of Medicine and Surgery, in Cincinnati, where he was graduated as a member of the class of 1863. Very soon after securing from this institution the degree of Doctor of Medicine he entered the service of his country, which was at that time involved in the great civil war. He enlisted in a Pennsylvania regiment as assistant surgeon, but was soon promoted to the responsible position of surgeon of the Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry, serving in this capacity until the close of the war. In 1866 Dr. Hughes located in Leechburg, Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in the practice of his profession about one year, at the expiration of which time he removed to Blairsville, Indiana county, where he continued in successful practice for more than fifteen years, during the greater portion of which he was also surgeon for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. In 1884 he came to Latrobe, where he continued to devote his attention to the practical work of his noble profession until there came to him inexorable summons of death, and his loss was one which was deeply felt in the community and in the profession which he had dignified and honored by his able services. Besides controlling a large and representative general practice Dr. Hughes gave special attention to the treatment of the diseases of the eve, ear, nose and throat, and in this department of his work he gained a very high repute. He was a man of the highest professional attainments and ever kept in close touch with the advances made in the sciences of medicine and surgery, having recourse to the best standard and periodical literature pertaining thereto, holding membership in various medical societies and being a close student and careful investigator. In 1865 he took a complimentary and special post-graduate course in the Jefferson Medical College, in Philadelphia, while he also did post-graduate work in the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, in the same city. He was an appreciative member of Loyalhanna Lodge, No. 275, A. F. and A. M.; P. A. Williams Post, No. 4, G. A. R.; and the I. O. O. F. In his political adherency he was a stalwart Republican, and ever took a lively interest in the cause of the "grand old party." He was public-spirited as a citizen, and his influence was exerted in the promotion of worthy objects for the general good. He was the founder of the Citizens' National Bank of Latrobe and was president of the institution at the time of his death. He was one of the influential and valued members of the Presbyterian church in his home town, and was a member of its board of trustees for a number of years prior to his demise.
Dr. Hughes was twice married. He married. July 5, 1865. Anna Torrence, daughter of the late Hon. James Torrence, of Punxsutawney, Jefferson county, and she passed away in 1870, leaving two sons: James, born May 18, 1866, and who is now successfully engaged in the real estate business in the city of Latrobe; and Samuel B., born January 13, 1868, died in 1896. Dr. Hughes married (second), January 4, 1877, Jennie E. Zimmers, who survives him and who still resides in the attractive family homestead in Latrobe. She was born and reared in Blairsville, Indiana county, where her father, Jacob Zimmers, was a prominent business man, and of this second union were born three children: Elizabeth Z., born January 28, 1879; John Jacob, born January 10, 1889; and Jean Lucille, born January 17, 1890. All of the children remain at the parental home, and are popular in the social life of the community.
Source: History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Volume II, by John N. Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906, Page 288-90.
Transcribed by Carol C. Eddleman for the Westmoreland County History Project.
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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