John Francis Hughs. During the past five years Prof. John Francis Hughs had been superintendent of the city schools of Chanute, and in this time had gained a strong and lasting place in the confidence of the people of the community. His interest in his work had been deep, sincere and unabating, and the splendid school system of the city at the present time may be largely accredited to his efforts. His labors have been progressive and practical in character and have proved of the greatest benefit to Chanute.
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Professor Hughs was born at Fort Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas, August 16, 1881, and is a son of William and Elizabeth (Hopkin) Hughs, natives of South Wales, England. His father was born in 1838 and received an ordinary education in his native land, where, as a young man he engaged in farming in a small way. He was married in his native land and there continued to be engaged in agricultural pursuits for some years, but did not advance as rapidly as he desired and felt that his fortunes might be bettered in America. He accordingly came to this country in 1873, and after a brief stop at Paola, Kansas, located among the pioneers of Bourbon County, where he had a homestead in the vicinity of Fort Scott. There Mr. Hughs passed the remainder of his life, his death occurring at Fort Scott in 1898, when he was sixty years of age. He was an industrious and practical farmer and desired no further honors, for he never sought office nor took any more than a good citizen’s interest in public affairs. He voted the republican ticket in national affairs, while in local matters he was inclined to favor the man whom he deemed best fitted for the office, although, all else being equal, he gave his ballot to the representative of the Grand Old Party. A lifelong member of the Congregational Church, he lived his religion and took an active part in the work of the church, in which he acted as deacon for a number of years. Mr. Hughs was married in his native land to Elizabeth Hopkin, who was born in 1846, in South Wales, and who survives him and resided at Fort Scott. Mrs. Hughs is a member of the Congregational Church, and a woman of strong character and kindly heart. They became the parents of seven children, as follows: Mary, who is the wife of N. W. Bass and resided at Eldorado, Kansas, where Mr. Bass is a mail clerk; G. R., ex-postmaster of Fort Scott, where he is the proprietor of a successful mercantile business; Lizzie, unmarried, one of the well known educators of Bourbon County, and now principal of the Main Street School, Fort Scott; W. G., who is a farmer in Bourbon County, conducting operations on the old homestead place south of Fort Scott; Dollie, who is the wife of R. H. Hubbard, chief despatcher for the Frisco Railroad, at Fort Scott; John Francis, of this review; and Reese, who is a teacher in the Fort Scott High School.
John Francis Hughs was brought up in an agricultural atmosphere and trained to the duties of the home farm, but his inclinations and talents lay in another direction and he early evidenced a desire to enter the educator’s profession. During the winter terms he attended the district schools of Bourbon County, and subsequently pursued a course at the old Kansas Normal School, at Fort Scott, from which he was graduated. His studies were further prosecuted at Washburn College, where he was graduated with the class of 1909, and given the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and in the summer of 1916 he attended Kansas University for post-graduate work. During the summers of 1907 and 1908 he also attended the University of Chicago.
In the meantime Professor Hughs had been teaching since his eighteenth year. In 1899 and 1900 he had his initiation in his profession in the country schools of Bourbon County, and again in 1902 and 1903 he taught there. With this preparation, he went to Fort Scott, in the spring of 1906 and began teaching in the schools of that city, where he was principal of the Fort Scott High School for two years, then principal of the Central School for two years, and again principal of the high school for a like period. His reputation as an educator was by this time established, and in the fall of 1911 he was induced to come to Chanute, where he had since been superintendent of city schools. Under his supervision are six schools, sixty teachers and 2,200 scholars. The cause of education had indeed found in Professor Hughs a true friend. With a just appreciation of its value as a preparation for life’s responsibilities, he had made it his constant aim to so improve the schools that the instruction will be of the greatest possible benefit to the young. He had continually promoted the standard of the schools until Chanute had every reason to be proud of its system, which is most thorough, practical and beneficial. Professor Hughs is a member of the Kansas State Teachers’ Association and of the Southeastern Kansas Teachers’ Association, and the high esteem in which he is held by his fellow-educators is shown in the fact that he is chairman of the executive committee of the latter organization. He maintains offices in the Senior High School Building, and resided at No. 503 South Stsuben Street. In politics he is a republican, but had not desired to shine in the public light. His religious connection is with the Presbyterion Church, in which be is an elder and superintendent of the Sunday school, and fraternally he is affiliated with Cedar Lodge No. 103, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Chanute Camp No. 852, Modern Woodmen of America, in both of which orders he had numerous friends.
Professor Hughs was married in 1909, at Topeka, Kansas, to Miss Ione Hill White, daughter of O. H. and Carrie (Hill) White, residents of Topeka, where Mr. White is president of the Topeka Transfer and Storage Company, one of that city’s large business houses. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Hughs, namely: Carroll, born May 23, 1910, and now attending school; Helen, born January 25, 1914; and Jeannette, born May 26, 1916.