For more than thirty years a resident of Utica and one of its most valued and useful citizens, John F. Hughes
made an impression for good upon the lives of those with whom he associated which will continue to bear fruit for
many years to come. He died March 15, 1903, being then fifty six years of age, and in the midst of an unusually
active career which resulted in the accumulation of a fortune and contributed materially to the growth of the city.
He was a contractor and builder, but his energies also found expression in other lines and his success in his various
undertakings indicated rare ability in planning and carrying to a conclusion large enterprises.
He was a native of Denbighshire, Wales, and was born September 21, 1847. He was educated and reared in Wales and
then went to Liverpool, England, where he learned the plasterer's trade, subsequently working in Liverpool and
Manchester. In 1872, having arrived at the age of twenty five years, he crossed the ocean to America and settled
at Utica, New York, which was thereafter his home. He worked at his trade for five or six years under William Brady,
at the end of which time he associated with David T. Jones in the contracting business under the title of Hughes
& Jones. The firm became very prominent and erected many of the most important structures in Utiea and other
cities. Among the buildings erected under the supervision of Mr. Hughes and his associate may be named: the Church
of the Redeemer, the Memorial Presbyterian church, the parish house and chancel of Grace church, the Second National
Bank building, the Carlisle building, the Oneida National Bank building, the Masonic Temple, the Martin building,
the Hoyt Butler building at the corner of Catharine street, the Rowlands, now known as the Winston building, and
the residence of Frederick Gilbert and Thomas F. and William T Baker, all of this city; also the fine residence
of Benjamin Brewster at Cazenovia; the large mills of Robert Macknaon at Little Falls; the bath house and silo
of the Utica State Hospital; and many other buildings. Mr. Hughes served as vice president and director of the
Utica Sunday Tribune Company and as director of the Second National Bank He was also the founder of the American
Hard Wall Plaster Company, which, under his skilful management, became well known among plasterers and is now one
of the prosperous business concerns of Utica.
On the 21st of March, 1873, Mr. Hughes was married, at New York city to Miss Anna Robb, a native of Scotland, and
to this union seven children were born, namely; Malcolm G.; Catharine M.; William R.; J. Lindsay; James R.; Amie
V., now deceased; and Richard C.
Politically Mr. Hughes was a stanch advocate of the principles of the republican party. In 1896 he was elected
a member of the school board and served until January 1, 1903, effecting many important changes to the great advantage
of the city's educational system. He was a life member of the Welsh Benevolent Society and no worthy applicant
for assistance was ever turned away from him empty handed. He was a man of large public spirit and at the time
of the organization of the Builders Exchange in 1889 was elected president of that body, serving continuously until
1895. He was also a valued member for many years and served as a director of the Utica Chamber of Commerce, and
also assisted in drafting a building ordinance for the city. Fraternally he was connected with the Masonic order,
being a member of Utica lodge, No. 47, A. F. & A. M.; Oneida Chapter, R. A. M.; Utica Commaudery, No. 3, K.
T.; and Ziyara Temple of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He also belonged to the Masonic Club.
Few men have contributed more ably to the general advancement of Utica and none has stood higher in the respect
of his associates. Of him it may truly be said that he builded wisely and he left an enduring monument in the hearts
of many who are now living in the city of his adoption. Mrs. Hughes makes her home in Utica. A sister of Mr. Hughes,
Jane, now the wife of Thomas Hooson, lives at Llandudno, Wales.
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Oneida County, NY
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