Hughes, H.W.

Source: West Liberty Index, Jan. 19,1905, p. 12.

Hugh W. Hughes, President

Hugh W. Hughes was appointed to the Library Board of Trustees by the mayor in 1900 after citizens of West Liberty approved financing a free public library. He had been a member of the People’s Library Association board for several years prior to 1900. He was president of the Trustees from 1900-1902, after which he served on the book committee. He was again elected president in 1904 while the Carnegie Library was being constructed. Mr. Hughes was promoted in his work with the Railway Mail Service which required a move to Burlington. He resigned from the Board in April 1905. Josephine Hollingsworth was appointed to fill the vacancy on the board and Professor Schall was elected the president.[1]

Hugh W. Hughes was born in Fillmore County, MN Nov.16,1870, the son of Welsh parents, Robert and Jane Hughes. His father was a Congregational minister whose later years were spent serving a church in Oskaloosa.[2]  He received his early education at Lime Springs, IA and was an 1892 graduate of Iowa College in Grinnell.  In addition, he carried some studies at the University of Chicago.[3]  He married Clare Wiley in Grinnell July 25, 1893 [4] and moved to West Liberty where he had entered the Railway Mail Service on the Chicago-West Liberty run. While living in West Liberty, Mr. Hughes was a member of the education board, the library board and was a prominent member of the Royal Arch Masons. In March,1905 he was promoted to Chief Clerk of the Railway Mail Service from Burlington, having charge of clerks in a wide area of railway post offices.[5]  He gained a reputation as a skilled orator and in addition to speaking at the West Liberty Library dedication, he also addressed the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons [6] and a Postal Convention [7]. He was in line to be chosen the Grand Master of the Royal Arch Masons.[8]  Unfortunately during this time, he was battling pulmonary tuberculosis. He went to Arizona for improvement of his health in early 1913 and returned in May. [9]  He passed away at his home in Burlington June 7,1913 at 43 years of age. He was survived by his wife, two daughters, Helen and Gladys, and a son, Roland.[10]  Burial was at the Hazelwood Cemetery in Grinnell.[11]

– Pam Schnittjer


[1]  Library Board of Trustees Minutes, West Liberty, IA, Vol. One, p. 1, 28, 58, 73.

[2], 1900 Federal Census, Oskaloosa, Mahaska Co., Iowa, sheet 15.

[3]  Evening Times Republican, Marshalltown, IA, Feb. 10., 1905. p. 3.

[4] Iowa, U.S., Marriage Records, 1880-1951 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

[5]  West Liberty Index, West Liberty, IA, March 30, 1905, p. 1.

[6]  The Daily Times, Davenport, IA, Oct 7, 1912, p. 9.

[7]  Ottumwa Tri-Weekly Courier, Ottumwa, IA, May 4, 1912, p. 4.

[8]   The Muscatine Journal, Muscatine, IA, June 10, 1913, p. 1.

[9]   The Daily Gate City, Keokuk, IA, Feb. 21, 1913, p. 10.

[10]  West Liberty Index, June 12, 1913,  p. 3