Biography - Benjamin McHugh

Benjamin McHUGH, merchant, Litchfield, was born in the town of Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, on March 1, 1833, and came to the United States in 1845, settling forty miles west of Milwaukee, Wis. His father, James McHUGH, died just before the son's emigration, in which he was accompanied by his mother and grandfather. After living four years on the farm on which they first settled, our subject returned to Nova Scotia on a visit; he then sailed on a schooner from Cornwallis to St. John, New Brunswick, with his brother-in-law, continuing one season. The following season, he worked his brother-in-law's farm on shares, and went to New York as supercargo to sell his farm products, returning to Wisconsin. In the spring of 1853, he started across the plains to Oregon, with Dr. Knight, of Dogtown, Mo., traveling seven months by ox team. His destination was Chahalam Valley, Ore., where lived a cousin, with whom he stopped about two months, and then, via steamer, went to California, landing at San Francisco, from which point he went north to Port Orford and entered the Rogue River Mines at Gold Beach, where he entered the diggings and worked about two months, when his employer was killed. He had located about fifty claims, and sold over $700 worth in the next two months. He next became the proprietor of the Elk River Ferry, north of Port Orford a distance of five miles, by agreement with the Indians, and conducted it with an eating house and provision trade, for three months, with good success. During this time, the Coquel Indians had an outbreak, and Mr. McHUGH was cook for the garrison two weeks, when they subsided. Mr. McHUGH then left the ferry and returned to Portland, Ore., where he took up a land claim and improved it to some extent, then removed to Jacksonville, Ore., and worked in the mines for a short time. He went thence to Yreka, Cal., and mined during the winter of 1854-55. Then he joined his brother at Kelsey's Diggings, in El Dorado County, Cal., remaining about a year, after which he worked six months in a tunnel at Goodyear's Bar, which place he left, next locating at Cold Springs, in El Dorado County, until the fall of 1857, working in the diggings. He returned via steamer Central America, Panama route, reaching New York City and going thence, via Niagara Falls, to Walworth County, Wis., where he worked at farming one year, and then came to Pike County, Ill., where he took a contract to chop 500 cords of wood, for the accomplishing of which he employed men during the winter of 1858-59. In the spring, he took a trip through Kansas, and, on his return, came, via St. Louis, Mo., to Bond County, Ill. Here he taught a four-months' summer school at Millersburg, and, during the winter of 1859-60, taught near Ripley. In the spring of 1860, he married Miss Emily C. BILYEW of Pocahontas, Ill. For ten years after his marriage, he farmed in the summers and taught school in the winters, in Bond County. After the war, he bought a farm of 173 acres near Pocahontas, and conducted it about ten years, when he traded it for town property in a stock of goods in Millersburg, where he merchandized about one year, and then traded it for land near Irving, Montgomery County. This farm he conducted for about two years, and then traded it for a stock of goods at East Fork, where he conducted a store and post office for two years. He then returned to Irving with his stock of goods, and continued merchandising one and a half years. He moved to Litchfield in September, 1881, and has been engaged since in merchandising on Jackson street, carrying on a good trade. In April, 1882, Mr. McHUGH was elected Town Clerk of South Litchfield Township. The names of his children are as follows: Frank M., Mary F., Annie E., Cresada A., Charles W., Thomas N., Nellie B., Lewis A., Daisy M. and Cora E.

Extracted 19 Nov 2016 by Norma Hass from 1882 History of Bond and Montgomery Counties, Illinois, Part 2 Biographical Department, pages 160-161.

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