Legislation Quick Search
09/24/2021 12:29 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate

Francis Wade Hughes


Session Position District Party
1843 8 Democrat
 Counties   Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill


1817 - 1885

Francis Wade Hughes, attorney at law, was born August 20th, 1817, in Upper Merion township, Montgomery county, Pa. His father, John Hughes, was one of the principal men of his neighborhood, regarded in his day as a man of wealth; was a gentleman farmer, leasing the greater portion of his estate to tenants. The family had settled upon the same estate before the time of William Penn, and in colonial and revolutionary days had held prominent positions of honor and trust. His mother, Hannah (Bartholomew) Hughes, was the eldest child of Benjamin Bartholomew, who was of French Huguenot stock, and had served through the entire revolutionary war as captain of a cavalry company.  Mr. Hughes in his early childhood gave evidence of the remarkable ability which has rendered him so successful; the bar. He combined great industry with great mental activity and physical strength. With the natural fondness of a boy for outdoor sports and exercise he manifested an aptitude for study which an intelligent father observed and encouraged. Rev. David Kirkpatrick, of Milton Academy, at that time deservedly enjoyed the reputation of being one of the best teachers in the State. To his instruction young Hughes was confided. Among his school-fellows were many who have since risen to eminence. At this Academy he acquired a good classical as well as mathematical education.  As a law student he laid broadly and substantially the foundation for future success. In the fall of 1834 he commenced the study of the law with the late George W. Farquhar, in Pottsville. The following winter he entered the office of John B. Wallace of Philadelphia, and had there as fellow law students John W. and Horace B. Wallace, sons of his preceptor, together with the late William Parker Foulke, Esq. It is very seldom that four as able young men are found in one office, and it is still more seldom that as able, earnest and untiring a teacher could be enlisted. All being possessed of ambition, industry and ability, under able guidance a broad practical knowledge of the law was acquired. After the death of Mr. Wallace, which occurred in the latter part of 1836, he entered the law school at Carlisle, then under the direction of Hon. John Reed, the president judge of that judicial district. Joined the Schuylkill bar in August, 1837, practiced law in Pottsville; deputy attorney-general, 1839, under Ovid F. Johnson; resigned and returned to the position three times (11 years); In 1843, he was elected to the State Senate as a Democrat; resigned in 1844; and returned to his law practice.  Appointed Secretary of the Commonwealth, 1851; attorney general, 1853-1855; organization of an enlightened common school system, He was one of the Presidential electors in 1856, and has been a delegate to many county, State and national conventions.   In February, 1861, he was a member of the State convention at Harrisburg, known as the Peace Convention.   He aided in fitting out one of the first five companies that reached Washington. He maintained, with voice and pen, the legal right of the government to put down rebellion with force of arms; was chairman of the Democratic State Committee in 1862,   Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, then Secretary of War, was his personal friend. Died, October 22, 1885.  Married Elizabeth Silliman, 1839.  Chief prosecutor for the Reading Railroad against the Molly Maguires.
Coal, iron, and mine business  Making Sense of the Molly Maguires, Kevin Kenny
H of Schuylkill County