Biography of Earl B. Hughes
Oregon Biographies





Earl B. Hughes, coroner of Clatsop county, is numbered among Astoria's representative citizens, taking an active interest not only along the line of his profession but in the social and civic affairs of the city as well.

Like many other prominent men of Oregon, he is a native of another state, born in Marshall, Michigan, in the year 1872. His father, James M. Hughes, was a native of Lodi, New York, where his father as one of the early pioneers had settled in the Seneca Lake region. In 1839 the grandfather of Earl B. Hughes, John Hughes, removed with his family to Michigan and became a pioneer of Calhoun county. James M. Hughes was but four years of age when the family built the log home and cleared the land in Michigan and there he grew to manhood, becoming one of the most respected and influential farmers of that state. His probity and general character was such as to command the attention of the court and almost without exception in the handling of estates the Judges would call upon him to act as guardian or administrator, feeling assured that he would in every way safeguard the interests of the minor and see that the estate was wisely and honestly looked after. His fellow citizens frequently called upon him to fill county offices, especially in educational matters. In 1854 James M. Hughes was married to Miss Laura A. Francisco, who was also a native of New York state. She was a daughter of Thomas Francisco, whose ancestry runs back to the Franciscos of Massachusetts in the days of the Revolution. Thomas Francisco, like John Hughes, had gone as a pioneer to Michigan in 1839 and was a prosperous and prominent farmer. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Hughes were born a number of children, among them being Earl B. Hughes whose name initiates this review.

To the common schools of Calhoun county, Michigan, Earl B. Hughes is indebted for his early education and in due time he was graduated from the Michigan Agricultural College. He then took up the undertaking business in his home town and remained there for three years, when he removed to Joliet, Illinois, and established himself in that line of business on his own account. Success attended his efforts for two and one half years, when a flood, the result of a broken dam, destroyed his plant and left him financially crippled. He was not discouraged by this misfortune, however, and he took a position as instructor in the Barnes College of Anatomy, Sanitary Science and Embalming, remaining with that institution for twelve years. Part of this time he spent on the road as lecturer for the state organization of embalmers and his lecturing tours covered all of the country west of the Rockies. It was upon one of these trips that he visited the Pacific coast, and contracting the "far west fever," he resigned his position and came to Astoria in 1914, purchasing an undertaking business, which he has since conducted.

On the 2nd of December, 1907, Mr. Hughes was united in marriage at Puyallup, Washington, to Miss Bessie C. Higley, the daughter of O. G. Higley. Mrs. Hughes is a direct descendant of Captain John Higley, who came to America in 1664 and was the founder of the American branch of the Higley family. The Higleys are of English origin. Upon the maternal side Mrs. Hughes traces her descent from Josiah Simpson, who came to America in 1620 and founded the family that numbers among its members President U. S. Grant, Alice Freeman Palmer, who was the first head of Wellesley College, and many other noted men and women of America. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Hughes one child, James Othello, has been born. He is of school age and is attending the Astoria schools.

Mr. Hughes is an enthusiastic member of the Masonic order, is past master of the Blue lodge and has traveled to the Mystic Shrine by the York Rite. He is also connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the Knights of Pythias, Woodmen of the World, Modern Woodmen, Rebekahs, Eastern Star and Moose, in which latter order he is treasurer. He is active in the civic affairs of Astoria as a director of the Chamber of Commerce and director of the Young Men's Christian Association. In the line of his business he is chairman of the State Board of Embalming Examiners, a member of the Civic Center Commission, of the City Cemetery Commission, and the National Funeral Directors' Association. The success he has made in his profession was made manifest in 1917, when he was elected coroner of Clatsop county and he was so efficient in this capacity that he was reelected in 1919. The religious faith of Mr. and Mrs. Hughes is that of the Presbyterian church and they are prominent in the affairs of that organization. Mrs. Hughes is widely recognized as a social leader and charming hostess and their home is a center of attraction for the prominent and cultured people of Astoria.

From:
History of Oregon Illistrated
Vol. 3
BY: Charles H. Carney
The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company
Chicago - Portland 1922


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