Robert Wood Pugh, ex mayor of Williamsburg and a prominent member of the local bar, was born in Muscatine county,
Iowa. upon a farm six miles from the city of Muscatine, on the 29th of August, 1858. His parents, Jonathan G. and
Harriet V. (Baker) Pugh, were natives respectively of Mansfield, Ohio, and Bainbridge, that state. In 1854, when
a young man, the father removed to Muscatine county, Iowa, and the mother accompanied her mother and stepfather
on their removal to that county. She was a public school teacher for a number of years. While living in Muscatine
county she met and married Mr. Pugh, who was a man of wide experience and was a forty niner, going to California
by water and the Isthmus of Panama. He acquired a large tract of land in California and engaged in ranching for
some time. At length he returned 'to the states by way of the Isthmus but in the '50s organized a wagon train at
St. Joseph, Missouri, and crossed the plains to California. There were ninety men in the party and a large number
of wagons which were drawn by oxen and mules. Mr. Pugh remained in the west for two years, at the end of 'which
time he sold his holdings and returned to Ashland, Ohio, where he engaged in the livery business. Subsequently,
however, he bought a bunch of cattle and drove them to Iowa, locating upon a farm in Muscatine county. He had previously
entered and bought some eight hundred acres of land in Poweshiek and Mahaska counties and in 1876 he removed with
his family to his land in Poweshiek county, where he remained until 1890. He then took up his abode in Des Moines
and both he and his wife passed away in that city. His father, John Pugh, was one of the founders of Mansfield,
Ohio, removing to that place from Virginia. At the time of his arrival there was nothing at Mansfield but a fort
and a trading post and he experienced all of the privations and hardships incident to pioneer life. He conducted
a tanyard and a hotel and was one of the leaders of his community.
Robert W. Pugh was educated in the public 'schools, the Bloomfield Academy, the Iowa City Academy and the State
University of Iowa, from which he was graduated in law in 1886. After being admitted to the bar he located in Williamsburg,
where he has since practiced continuously. He is the second oldest attorney in the county in point of years of
active practice and is recognized as an able and successful lawyer. He has built up a 'splendid practice and his
knowledge of the principles underlying the law and his skill in applying them to the exigencies of a case have
won him the respect of his colleagues. In 1887 he was mayor of Williamsburg and from 1898 to 1900 he served as
On the 24th of December, 1888, Mr. Pugh married Miss Mary H. Long, of this city, and they are the parents of four
children: Helen, a junior in the State University of Iowa; Robert E., who is a graduate of the Bliss Electrical
College of Washington, D. C.; John, a professional ball player who is now in training at New Orleans for the work
of the coming season; and Mary L., a junior in the high school.
Mr. and Mrs. Pugh are both members of the Presbyterian church and cooperate heartily in the work of that organization.
Mr. Pugh gives his political allegiance to the 'republican party. He has always taken a deep interest in everything
pertaining to the public schools and since 1888 has served as secretary of the school board. Since that time the
school system has been made 'second to none in the state and a modern high school building has been erected at
a cost of twenty five thousand dollars. The payroll totals nine hundred dollars per month and the teachers are
all fitted both by natural ability and by thorough training for their work. Williamsburg is justly proud of its
public schools and feels that the money spent in their development and maintenance is well spent, as the training
of its future citizens is a work whose importance cannot be overestimated.
Mr. Pugh is well known fraternally, belonging to Stellapolis Lodge, No. 391, A. F. & A. M.; Troy Chapter, No.
117, R. A. M.; Williamsburg Chapter, No. 151, O. E. S.; Williamsburg Camp, No 5869, M. W. A.; and Charity Homestead,
No. 930, B. A. Y. He also belongs to the Williamsburg Boosters Club and both as a member of that organization and
as a private individual is always seeking some new way in which he may work for the growth and development of his
city. Men such as he, able, energetic and public spirited, are the best assets of any community and he is justly
held in the highest esteem and respect.
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Iowa County, IA
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