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Samuel Hughes, probably the oldest pioneer Arizonan now living, was born in Wales, British Isles, August 28th, 1829. In 1837 his father settled in Pennsylvania, where Mr. Hughes lived up to 1848, when he became a cabin boy on the Mississippi River, which vocation he followed until 1850, at which time he came to California overland from St. Louis. His first mining was done in Hangtown, California. In 1851 he went to Yreka, California. In 1852 he crossed the mountains to Rogue River Valley in Oregon, where he was one of the first to discover Rich Gulch at Jacksonville.
In 1853 he kept Cole station at the foot of the Siskiyou Mountains, and remained there until 1856, when he returned to the Shasta Valley, and soon afterwards became interested in the stock business. In 1857 he was compelled to leave California for the milder climate of Arizona, being, at that time, in the last stages of tuberculosis. He started with a party from Yreka in that year. At Yuma it seemed that his lease of life had apparently expired, with no hope of renewal, but after a few days’ rest, the sick man determined to make one more effort to reach his destination, and started again with the party. At Maricopa Wells, about four miles east of the present station at Maricopa, he was seized with a hemorrhage and so greatly weakened, that he was left behind with a few men of the party to care for him, but really to bury him. By force of will power he rallied again and by slow stages was enabled to reach Tucson March 12th, 1858.
At that time Tucson was not a very inviting place for invalids. It was a collection of monotonous adobe houses, without wood floors or glass windows, enclosed by high adobe walls with lookout parapets on the corners for protection against the Indians. Mr. Hughes had another hemorrhage which so weakened him that for many months he was in danger of death, after which came the final rally, and he began to recover rapidly. As soon as his strength permitted, he opened a butcher shop, and thereafter engaged in the mercantile business and became an extensive contractor with the Government. He organized the first bank in the city of Tucson, and is now known as one of its wealthiest citizens.
He was married in Tucson to Atanacia Santa Cruz. The fruits of this union are ten children, all of whom are married and well settled in life. Mr. Hughes is a thirty-second degree Mason, and connected with other benevolent and fraternal associations. He was one of the organizers of the Arizona Pioneers’ Society, and has always been classed as one of the most enterprising and industrious citizens of the Old Pueblo.