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James Hough, a resident of Guelph since the first of June, 1836, and holding the offices of clerk of the County Court and deputy clerk of the Crown and Pleas, is a Derbyshire man, born July 4, 1804. His father was James Hough, senior, and his mother, before her marriage, was Mary Brooks. When he was about twelve years old the family moved to Nottingham, his father being a lace manufacturer. The son received a good English education; was apprenticed to the joiner and builder’s trade; worked at it in the old country until 1835, when he sailed for the new world; halted in New Jersey from September of that year until April 1836, and two months later “pitched his tent,” evidently for life in the little town of Guelph then containing, perhaps, 500 or 600 inhabitants. He has seen it grow into a city of between 10,000 and 11,000.
Here Mr. Hough worked at his trade a short time; subsequently taught a public school ten years; and in 1855 was appointed to the offices already mentioned. He is a hale old gentlemen, an Englishman of the best type of character, high minded, industrious, faithful, and though seventy-five years old at the time of the writing of this sketch, is quite regular at his post, and prompt in discharging his official duties. He was town clerk and treasurer of Guelph for eighteen years, and resigned that office on account of the death of his second son, George (1869), who attended to the duties of that double office. He has been magistrate since 1858; was on the first board of trustees under the new Common School Act, and at the time of the great flood of immigration in the year 1847, he was appointed one of the commissioners to look after their wants and interests. Mr. Hough was first married in 1829, to Miss Anne Kemp, of Farmsfield, near Newstead Abbey, England. She had six children, all yet living but the son just mentioned, she dying in 1848. John, the eldest son is a Methodist Clergyman; Henry, the third son, a graduate of Victoria College, is editor and proprietor of The World newspaper, Cobourg; James, who went through the civil war in the United States, coming out as a Lieutenant, was in both battles of Bull Run, and badly wounded at the second battle; was for a long time connected with the Freedmen’s Bureau, and is now residing in Detroit, being very low with paralysis; Elizabeth, the eldest daughter is the wife of Charles Adsett, of Guelph, and Mary lives at home. Mr. Hough has no children by his second wife, who was Mary Amelia Collis, from Norfolk, England.
Mr. Hough has been a member of the Methodist church nearly fifty years; has held every lay office in the gift of his fellow members; has shown himself steadfast in the christian faith and is a well preserved specimen of the working disciple. He organized the first Sabbath school in Guelph, and has been either president or secretary of the Guelph Bible Society constantly since 1840.
Note. Another early settler in Guelph is Samuel Wright, a native of Suffolk, England, born in 1800. He worked at milling until about twenty-seven years of age; then, on account of poor health, learned the baker’s trade; came to Guelph in 1832; set up the first bakery here, and followed that business until 1869, when he retired. He never held but one or two civil offices, but attended carefully to his own concerns. He joined a Baptist church in 1830, and for fifty years has lived a consistent christian life. He has been treasurer of the church in Guelph for twenty years, and is also serving as deacon. Probably no man in Guelph is more highly respected. In 1830 he married Harriet Garrard, who is still living, together with three of the nine children of whom she is the mother, the three being all daughters. Two of them are married, the other lives with her parents.