Biography - Aurelius G. Hughes

AURELIUS GREEN HUGHES. The shadow of adversity hung darkly over this valued citizen and public official of Carbondale even before his birth. Its gloomy pall continued to droop around him in his childhood and youth, and was never lifted until by his own efforts he totally dispelled it by boldly challenging Fate to do her worst and making his own way in the world to consequence and standing among men by his own efforts and in spite of her displeasure. When she found out the mettle he was made of, and realized that he did not tremble under her frowns, she changed her demeanor toward him, as if weary of tormenting him, and became all smiles and generosity.

Mr. Hughes was born in Franklin county, Illinois, on April 8, 1862, and is the son of Granville and Adaville (Clark) Hughes, natives of Tennessee. The father was a farmer in that state, and prospering as such according to the standard of his time and locality. But he was not spared to continue his labors and put himself in a position to make any provision for his family after his death. This occurred sometime before his son Aurelius was born, and after the sad event the mother moved to Illinois. She died soon after giving birth to her son, and he was left in early infancy to the care of an uncle. This relative reared him to the age of twenty-one, and gave him such school facilities as his circumstances allowed. The uncle, E. L. Hughes, was a farmer in Jackson county, this state, but had a struggle for his own advancement, and the nephew was obliged to take his part in the work of the farm and make his schooling secondary to that. He did not repine at this, for he felt within him the stirring of a spirit of enterprise and self-reliance which kept him inspired with the hope of better things, and he has since realized them.

After attaining his majority Aurelius G. Hughes worked in mines four years, and then returned to farming. For three years he worked industriously and to good purpose on farms he rented, then bought a farm on credit. As he paid for one tract of land he puchased another, and kept on in this way until he owned 200 acres. He was living at that time in Williamson county, and there he bought and sold a great deal of land, becoming a considerable dealer in real estate of an agricultural character. All the while his fortunes were mending and he was forging ahead in the struggle for progress among men. He gave his own affairs close and careful attention, but did not neglect the public interests of the county in which he lived, and devoted to them a fair share of his time and energy. For many years he served his locality as school director, and for nine as road commissioner. That his services were faithful, intelligent and progressive, and that the community found them highly useful is proven by the universal appreciation in which they were held and the warm commendations passed upon them by all classes of the people.

In 1902 he moved to Carbondale and became the proprietor of a hotel, the Hundley House. He managed his business in this enterprise with his customary energy and close attention to every detail, and was making an extended reputation for the house, when a disastrous fire destroyed it and its contents a few months after he took charge of it, and he once more became a tiller of the soil, also engaging in the livery business. He was not dismayed by his misfortune, and lost no time in repining over it. He went at his farming operations and livery trade as if he meant to make them compensate him for what the fire had robbed him of, and he did it in the course of time.

In 1907 Mr. Hughes was elected county supervisor of Jackson county. He was re-elected in 1909 and again in 1911, and has been chairman of the board during the 1909 and 1911 terms. His services in this position have been well and wisely rendered, and are accounted as of great advantage to the county. They have been twice submitted to the judgment of the people, and in both cases have been handsomely approved by them. To those who know the facts the reason is patent enough. He is intelligent, progressive and knowing, and he applies all his powers to the work of his office, just as he does to his own affairs. He is prudent and careful, too, of the public funds at the command of the board, and as the county receives good work and secures excellent results from his official industry without any extravagant outlay, its people cannot but be well pleased, and they do not hesitate to say they are.

Mr. Hughes was married on September 30, 1884, to Miss Clara Clark of Carbondale. They have two children: Harmon A., who is associated with his father in conducting the operations of the farm; and Louis D., who is a physician in active practice at Delaware, Oklahoma. He was graduated from the medical department of the St. Louis University at the age of twenty-one.

The father is a Republican in politics and active in the service of his party, although he never allows partisan considerations to outweigh his sense of duty in the administration of his office. In connection with that his first concern is the welfare of the people, and he has no other. In fraternal circles he belongs to the Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Carbondale Lodge of Elks, and takes an earnest interest and an active part in the proceedings of all his lodges. He is one of the Jackson county's most reliable and useful citizens.

Extracted 15 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 737-739.

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