General Alexander Hughes

General Alexander Hughes, of whom a portrait will be found on another page, is one of the ablest lawyers practicing in the state, is a recognized leader in tine Republican Party, and is an honored veteran of the Civil war. A native of Canada, he was born in Brandford, September 30, 1846, and is a son of Christopher and Frances (Pike) Hughes, who were born in the north of Ireland and emigrated to Canada about 1801 or 1802. In 1846 they removed to Columbia County, Wisconsin, where the father entered a government tract of land. He was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and was a civil engineer, which profession he followed to some extent throughout his entire life. He died in Wisconsin in 1867, and his wife in 1871. To them were born thirteen children, six sons and seven daughters, of whom only our subject and four sisters are now living. Two of the sons died from wounds received in the Civil war.

General Hughes was reared and educated in Wisconsin, attending first the common schools of that state, which at that time were much inferior to those of the present day. Feeling his country needed his services during the dark days of the Rebellion, he enlisted in Company B, Seventh Wisconsin Infantry, which was assigned to the First Division, First Corps, Army of the Potomac. With this command he participated in the battles of Gainesville, the second Bull Run, the first and second battles of Fredericksburg, and the engagements at Chancellorsville and Brady Station. He was slightly wounded at Gainesville; was shot through the right arm at South Mountain, and in the last day of the battle of Gettysburg was wounded in the left side. Subsequently he took part in the seven days' battle of the Wilderness, where he was wounded in the right leg, and received a heavy blow from a musket at Spottsylvania Court House, but did not go to the hospital. During the battle of North Anne River he was seriously wounded, a shot entering his left side and coining out on the right. He lay in a helpless condition for nearly two years.

On leaving the service, General Hughes realized the necessity for a good education, and entered. Wayland Academy, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and later took a course at Bryant & Stratton's Business: College, Milwaukee. He was married in 1869 to Miss Mary E. Higinbotham, a native of Indiana, and a granddaughter of Judge Eckles, of Indiana, who was later chief justice of Utah territory. Her father, Samuel Higinbotham, was a surgeon in the Eighty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil war, and died in the service in Tennessee. To our subject and his wife were born five sons and one daughter, namely: George A. and Edmund A., both residents of Fargo, North Dakota; Harry A., who died in 1883; William V., Frank C. and Helen A., all at home.

General Hughes located at Monticello, Iowa, in 1868, and commenced the practice of law. The following year he was elected superintendent of schools for the county of Jones. In April, 1871, he removed, with his family, to Elk Point, in the territory of Dakota, now the state of South Dakota, and soon gained high rank in his professions. In 1872 he was elected a member of the upper house of the territorial legislature, and upon its organization was elected presiding officer of said body. In I880 he was appointed, by the President, superintendent of the census for the territory of Dakota. In 1881 he was appointed receiver for tine United States land office at Yankton, which office he resigned in 1883 to accept the office of attorney-general. In the year 1883 he was appointed, by the legislative assembly, a member of the committee to select the site for the seat of government and to erect a capitol building upon such site. When the commission was organized he was elected as president. The capitol building at Bismarck was constructed under his immediate direction and supervisions. He removed to Bismarck in 1883 with the other territorial officers and continued to reside at said place until 1899 when he removed to Fargo. He represented the Bismarck district in the higher branch of the legislative assembly for two terms, and was chairman of the committee on judiciary. Many of the most important laws enacted during the past thirty years in the territory of Dakota and in the state of North Dakota were prepared by him. For sixteen years he filled the position of assistant counsel of the Northern Pacific Railway Company to the entire satisfaction of the company. He was also the first adjutant-general of the territory of Dakota. During the last few years he has given considerable time to business affairs, and is president of the Fargo-Edison Company and of the Hughes Electric Company, whose plants at Fargo, Bismarck and Dickinson furnish light, power and heat for those cities.

The General is now one of the most active and best-known Republicans in the northwest. He has been a member of the territorial and state central and executive committees almost continuously; for the past twenty-seven years. He was a delegate to the national Republican conventions in 1872, 1876, 1880 and in 1896. He is recognized as an able lawyer, a graceful, logical and forcible speaker, and is considered especially able in the discussion of legal questions before the courts.

Source: Compendium and History of North Dakota 1900 Page 192

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