The Hughes Surname and Homeopathy
February 24, 2008
The Hughes surname contributed some fine jobbing homeopaths. Alfred Hughes 1824 - 1880
Alfred went through a thorough collegiate course of education, studied medicine and graduated at the Homeopathic Medical College of Philadelphia.
On November 1, 1849, he married Mary Kirby Adrian, of Wheeling, a descendant of the Sedgwick family of Maryland, who settled in that state in the early part of the seventeenth century.
Alfred began the practice of homeopathy at Wheeling in 1851. Of those who had essayed the task of practicing the new school and failed, two practitioners were from Philadelphia and one from Baltimore.
Popular prejudice and the bitter opposition of the old school were too much for them, and their defeat rendered victory more difficult for their successor. Dr. Hughes, however, after a hard fight, and many newspaper controversies, conquered, vindicating the advantages of the homeopathic practice.
When the cholera made its appearance, in 1854, he labored constantly night and day, being the only homeopathic physician in the city, and meeting with almost unprecedented success in his treatment of the fearful scourge, then in epidemic form, homeopathy was then firmly established, he soon built up a large and lucrative practice, and now Wheeling, in place of one, has several new school practitioners.
On the outbreak of the war, and when the first gun was fired at Charleston, his sympathies were enlisted in behalf of the south. When Virginia seceded, he engaged in newspaper political controversies, and became correspondent for the Baltimore Exchange.
He was arrested for disloyalty in 1861, and was held a prisoner at Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio, for nearly eight months, when he was specially exchanged for a brother of Dr. Pancoast of Philadelphia, captured at Bloomery Gap, Va., and a prisoner at Salisbury, N. C.
(Alfred Hughes, Eliza’s brother, was imprisoned for eight months at Camp Chase, Ohio during the Civil War, with his release occurring 25 Dec 1862. He was considered a traitor to the Union and was held as a political prisoner. During that period, he received numerous letters, many of which were auctioned on eBay in 2004).
On his way to Richmond with his wife and three children he stayed in Baltimore, reporting to Gen. Schenck, to whom he had letters of introduction. He obtained from the secretary of war, Stanton, a permit to take his wife and children and extra baggage to Richmond.
On the steamer in which they sailed for Fortress Monroe were several distinguished federal generals, among them Gen. Thomas, who rendered them great service in getting through their extensive baggage, consisting of some thirteen trunks, at a time when scarcely a bundle was permitted to go by a flag of truce boat.
Having been landed at City Point, and the formalities of exchange gone through, he proceeded with his family to Richmond.
At Petersburg he was arrested on a general suspicion created by the amount of his baggage, and it was not until dispatches were received from two of his friends in Richmond, Judge Brokenbrough and Hon. Charles W. Russell, vouching for his loyalty to the south, that he and his baggage were permitted to proceed.
His arrival in Richmond accompanied by the unusual amount of baggage gave rise to a report that he was a commissioner of peace sent by the United States government clothed with power to end the war.
He at once settled down into practice, and again had to fight homeopathy’s battle against bitter prejudice and stubborn opposition. Once more he succeeded in establishing the system, and secured an excellent practice.
After a while he was elected to the legislature of Virginia, and remained a member thereof up to the fall of Richmond. He was a warm advocate of the enlistment of slaves in the southern ranks.
(On September 28, 1870, Lee returned home after an evening meeting, but when he attempted to say the mealtime prayer, he could not utter any words. General Lee had sustained a stroke…Many of the medications prescribed were probably homeopathic… Some of the medications on the list are striking, such as the administration of turpentine (a paint thinner) and strychnine (a poison). It is also notable that General Robert E. Lee was prescribed morphine, which, in large enough doses, can cause somnolence and respiratory depression. However, Robert E. Lee remained reasonably alert until the last 24 hours of his life, suggesting that the morphine preparation likely had minimal active ingredient.)
On December 18, 1865, Alfred removed from Richmond to Baltimore, where he soon established himself in a good and lucrative practice, such a one, indeed, as is obtained by few, even after long residence in a city. This he has done in spite of much competition. Thus he has established in his native city, and won respect for it in his own person, in two others.
After his marriage to Miss Adrian, he, in 1851, began the practice of homoeopathy in Wheeling. In December, 1865, Alfred removed to Baltimore, where he soon established himself in a lucrative practice.
He died in Baltimore, February 25, 1880, highly respected and esteemed by a large circle of friends.
He has had ten children, five sons and three daughters of whom are living.
of Wheeling, W. Va., was born in that city. Her ancestors were among the first who settled the northern portions of Virginia, bordering on the line of the Blue Ridge mountains. Her father, the late Thomas Hughes, of Wheeling, was held in high esteem, and her brother, Dr. Alfred Hughes, is an eminent physician of Baltimore, Md.
She received a thorough English education, and graduated with the highest honors at a collegiate institution. Her desire for the study of medicine was first awakened by the reading of the medical works in Dr. Hughes’ library.
Although always most eager and earnest in her perusal of such matter, it was long before she entertained the idea of entering upon a regular course of professional study ; and even after having formed the resolution, it was with no definite intention of practicing.
When the thought was first suggested to her mind she did not give it expression. Knowing the prejudice widely entertained against women adopting such an occupation in life, she shrank from the remarks the decision would give rise to ; but her purpose once acknowledged, her determination did not falter, notwithstanding the pressure of opposition.
Having resolved to adopt the medical profession, she commenced her study of medicine in 1855. Attended a course of lectures at the Medical College of Cleveland, O., and later a second course at the Pennsylvania Medical College at Philadelphia, where she graduated in 1860.
After graduating she returned to Wheeling and established herself as a medical practitioner. She is the… pioneer of her sex in the practice of medicine in the State of Virginia. Although devoted to her profession, in which an extended practice gives many duties, she nevertheless contributes much literary matter to the press, being known both as an authoress and poetess.
Wheeling Register, May 29, 1882 — Sudden Death — Doctress Eliza Hughes of this city, died suddenly at Portland, Ohio, late Saturday evening. Doctress Hughes left this city in apparently good health at 5 O’clock on a professional visit and at 6:30 PM she was stricken with apoplexy and died almost immediately.
Miss Hughes has been a homeopathic physician here for a number of years, and was widely and well known. She was rather advanced in years. She was a sister of Thomas Hughes, Esq. of Baltimore, who has been notified of her death.
Wheeling Intelligencer, May 30, 1882 — Death of Miss Eliza Hughes, M. D. — Miss Eliza Hughes, M. D., the well-known lady homeopathist, left the city Saturday afternoon to visit one of her patients who lived near Portland, Ohio.
Shortly after six o’clock, intelligence reached her friends here that she had suddenly died, at about six o’clock, not far from Portland station. The cause was at first supposed to be apoplexy, but yesterday it was stated that an electrical shock received during the heavy thunder storm was the inducing cause.
Miss Hughes was a sister of Mr. Thomas Hughes, and had attained quite an eminent position in the practice of homeopathy, being particularly successful in treating children.
Her services were in great demand for miles around Wheeling, and she had won the confidence and esteem of a wide and numerous circle of acquaintances, all of whom will be shocked to hear of her sudden demise.
Her body was brought to the city yesterday afternoon and the funeral will take place from the residence of a relative on Main street tomorrow afternoon.
Wheeling Register, May 30, 1882 A lady who lives at Portland, O., came in yesterday to give us the full particulars of the death of Miss Eliza Hughes, M. D., at that place on Saturday evening last. She arrived at Portland at 5.25 in apparently the best of health. She was met at the station by Mrs. Thos. and Miss Ella Moore.
A rain coming up, Doctress Hughes told the ladies to run ahead up the lane and avoid it, while she would come on with Mr. Wm. Klievis who had an umbrella. Arriving at the barn Miss Hughes stopped for a moment and taking some medicine from her sachel she took it. This attracted the attention of Mr. Klievis, who asked her if she was sick. She replied, “I am very sick.”
A chair was at once sent from the house and the lady was carried inside as quickly as possible, and medical aid summoned from Portland, four doctors responding. Nothing, however, could be done for her and death resulted shortly afterwards.
The story to the effect that Miss Hughes was frightened by the storm is not true, as she was always delighted with the awfulness of a thunderstorm and preferred to see the full force of the elements.
Letter to Alfred 29.12.1862
My Dear Brother:
Yours of the 29, ult(?) came in due time but I was in the Country. Aunt Cynthia sent for me again on Saturday morning and I left home at 1.PM remained until next day at 1.PM got home.
When I left her she could breath with more ease and seemed better but how long it will last it is impossible to tell, the family thought on Friday before I went there that she would die before morning they had all gathered around her expecting every breath to be her last.
They told me her constant prayer during her critical state was that she might be spared to see her husband then she would go without a murmur.
When I was about to leave her she said very earnestly, “Come back when I send for you as it is my last request that you be with me when I die.” I do all I can to encourage her to hope and look forward to a recovery.
She had gone through so much sickness that I still hope for the best. She told me to send her love to you and that she would be so glad to see you and hear your opinion of her hope that she might live to see Mr Martin she clings so tenaciously to that one object.
I have tried a number of remedies for those smothing and sinking spells but Nux(?) seems to be the best in her case - if it fails what shall I resort to?
She is so anxious for me to write to Mr Martin to tell him how ill she has been, without mentioning how ill she is now, and to tell him you are a prisoner and that I am attending to her. I expect it is too late for a letter to reach him in time for him to get it.
Jack’s wife seems to have caused a good deal of disturbance in the family. Aunt Cynthia desires to remain with her daughter, Lizzie, although she is deprived of all her home comforts.
Jack is very anxious to have her at home but she is not able and has no desire to go. I wish she was at home it would be more convenient for me to see her.
Mr Marshall(?) child has such a offensive diareah(?) and the remedies appear to have no effect, I will try ----(?) to drugs, what had I better give. Mary wants me to turn the child over to Dr. Kiger for if it dies a certificate would be required and she is afraid for me to be in the Office - as I am so closely watched since being arrested.
I don’t want to bring any one into trouble. If I could do only Office practice then I would take out license? as I would not have to risk expenses I could not meet, but you know persons would expect me to come when sent for. All I want to do is to do right.
If I could only see what was best for me to do.
Mr. G--- has Dr. Bates attending him twice a day yet he sits up all most all the time. I had not been to see him yet as the girls and Mrs. Robertson have quit forsaken me not one of them has been to see me since the 16 of August.
I don’t feel that the course I have persued has disgraced me in the least. So much for friendship these times, I can do without them and have the more time to devote to my books. It shall not cost me another thought and I will not care. I feel that I have done right as far as I knew how and have no reflections to cast upon myself.
Mother sends her love and says she only hopes you may be successful in getting a release. I have attended to hunting up those remedies for Mary and she will take them as you directed. All well, and send their love.
Affectionately E. C. Hughes
Aunt Cynthia” was Cynthia (Burley) Martin, the wife of State Legislator, Jefferson T. Martin, of Marshall County, (W) Virginia. They were married in Ohio County on 23 Apr 1825 (Marshall County was part of Ohio County until 1835). Cynthia, the daughter of Jacob Burley and Mary Hughes, and was actually the cousin of Drs. Eliza and Alfred Hughes, rather than their aunt. Cynthia’s mother, Mary Hughes, was the sister of their father, Thomas Hughes. Perhaps they referred to her as “aunt” because she was somewhat older. Both Jefferson and Cynthia are buried in the Martin Family Cemetery in Marshall County. Cynthia died in January 1863, apparently not long after Dr. Eliza Hughes wrote this letter. Mr. Jefferson T. Martin lived until 1877.
He studied medicine at the Hahnemann Medical College, graduating from that institution in 1898 with the degree of M. D. He took up the practice of medicine in Philadelphia and has made a specialty of gynecological cases, and is junior gynecologist to St. Luke’s Hospital.
Dr. Hughes is a member of the Germantown Medical Club, and also holds the office of county medical inspector.