Dr. Robert E. Hughes, engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery in St. Louis, was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, April 2, 1872. His father, the late James T. Hughes, was a native of Kentucky and belonged to one of the old families of that state of Scotch and Welsh descent. James T. Hughes conducted a tobacco plantation and was quite successful in his business affairs. During the Civil war he joined the Confederate army, serving under General John Morgan as a private, and was on active duty throughout the period of hostilities. He reached the advanced age of eighty-two years, passing away at Higginsville, Missouri, in December, 1917. He married Margaret McMahon, a native of Indiana and of Irish descent. They became the parents of two sons: Oliver P., of Pleasant Hill, Missouri; and Dr. Hughes. The mother departed this life at Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1906, at the age of forty-two years.
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Dr. Hughes was educated in the public schools of Sparta, Indiana, and the high school at Pleasant Hill, Missouri, and started out to earn his own livelihood when a lad o1 fifteen years. He was engaged with his father in tobacco raising to the age of eighteen, his first outside employment being that of bill clerk in the house of representatives under the administration of Governor Lon V. Stephens, in which position he continued for about four years. In 1905 he was married in Carthage, Missouri, and about that time entered the Barnes Medical College, in which he pursued the regular course, being graduated with the M. D. degree in 1910. Dr. Hughes then located for practice in St. Louis and following his graduation was elected to the chair of physiological therapeutics in the Barnes University, the department being created for him. He continued to act in that connection for two years, when he was put in charge of the department of neurology and has thus continued his connection with the college. He is the author of a work entitled “Mind versus Millions,” a work on psychology, and he has made various contributions of papers and pamphlets to the literature of the profession. He belongs to the Barnes Medical Alumni Association and to the Physicians and Surgeons Alumni. Dr. Hughes was one of the main factors in securing the present state medical law, striking out the word “reputable” from the old law and inserting the words “legally chartered,” which in March, 1921, passed the general assembly. This law provides for a four years’ course for medical students and was strongly opposed by physicians who insisted upon a six years’ course. Dr. Hughes, however, believed that this would make the study of medicine prohibitive to many in the state of Missouri and would have occasioned a lack of physicians in the state. He acted as chairman of the committee that appeared before the governor and his arguments and clear presentation of facts to the chief executive, notwithstanding that one hundred and fifty physicians were arrayed against him and his committee of nine, resulted in securing the governor’s signature and the bill thus became a law.
In May, 1905, in Carthage, Missouri, Dr. Hughes was married to Miss Sarah E. Routszong, a native of Jefferson City, Missouri, and a daughter of Adam Routszong, who belonged to one of the old Virginian families while representatives of the name settled in Missouri in early days.
Dr. Hughes belongs to the Royal Tribe of Ben Hur and is well known in Masonic circles, having membership in Aurora Lodge, No. 267, A. F. & A. M.; Bellefontaine Chapter, R. A. M.; and the Eastern Star. Dr. and Mrs. Hughes hold membership 1n the Presbyterian church and he is supporting the republican party. During the war period he was one of the Four-Minute speakers and active in all of the Liberty Loan drives. His unit, No. 2, traveled and spoke all over the state in behalf of the bond campaigns. The financial opportunities of his youth were few. He owes his success entirely to his own efforts and perseverance, having worked his way through college, and at all times he has held to the highest ideals in his profession. He is a man of broad views, deeply devoted to his chosen life work, most conscientious in his practice, and his ability has brought him prominently to the front.