Centennial History of Mason County
By Joseph Cochrane
Springfield, Ill., 1876

 

JOHN W. PUGH
Page 121

It is with hesitancy that we approach the work of sketching the history of him whose name is at the head of this article. A man who delights in doing good to others in a quiet and unostentious way; that shrinks from publicity and notoriety; of deep religious character; that prefers that his right hand should not know what his left doeth; to give to the public our knowledge of his life is a pleasant and delicate task.

Mr. Pugh is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Luzerne county, August 5, 1824. He removed to Mason county, Illinois, in 1850; like many others, attracted by the fertility of the soil, healthful climate, though at the time not possessing the advantage of churches, schools, etc., afforded at the present day. He has been engaged in farming, practically and successfully.

He was married in 1854 to Miss Sarah Apple, daughter of Major Apple, of Lewistown, Fulton county, Illinois, hence for twenty-two years they have together traveled life’s pathway, on the borders of which few have found more flowers or become less wearied. His official career is alike creditable to his head and heart. Seldom has the time arrived since his residence in this county that he was not trustee of town or school or both, as every good citizen is expected to give his time freely to these non-paying but useful and indispensable positions. For nine years he has been a member of the county board of supervisors, and is the present incumbents and one whose influence and judgment has much to do in the legislation of the affairs of the county.

He was elected to the legislature and served the last session, and his term includes the years 1874 and 1876,. Here, as in the county board, his influence was felt, and his votes stand recorded creditably to himself and constituents.

The year following his marriage, (1855) he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he remained an honored and influential member till 1873, when he transferred his membership to the Presbyterian Church, in his immediate neighborhood, and for more convenient attendance. This transfer of Mr. Ugh of his church relations from one organization to another, is only an illustration of a very pleasant fact, which is this: That as education and intelligence increase, the partition walls between church organizations become lower, and the higher a man stands in education and intelligence the sooner he is able to look over these walls, and they finally lose their dividing power, and the upper strata of intelligence and piety find themselves Equally at home on either side of where the walls once stood, as they become invisible and crumble away. It is not true that “ignorance is the mother of devotion,” but it is true that ignorance is the mother of bigotry and superstition; and bigotry and superstition are the foundations on which rest the partition walls of religious organizations, which are fast disappearing. It is the pride and glory of this century that science and arts are moving forward to the annihilation of time and space; that educated intelligence is the helm of civil government (the people): that the revelation of God’s word and His works are in happy unison, and science and not ignorance is the handmaid of religion.

But we digress. We allude briefly to the usefulness of the subject of this sketch in the Sabbath-school work and the benevolent enterprises of his neighborhood; and to enlarge on this topic is unnecessary; we will say, however, that he takes a great interest and pleasure in these commendable enterprises, and his duty is his greatest pleasure.

“May never wicked fortune trouble him;
May never wicked men bamboozle him,
Until his head’s as old as old Mathusalem;
Then to the blessed new Jerusalem,
With fleet wings away.”

Contributed by: Jeanie Lowe

 

 


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