Who is Sam Hughes?

Who is Sam Hughes - Samuel C. Hughes

Samuel C. Hughes
August 28, 1829 – June 20, 1917

People occasionally ask about our Inn’s name, wondering: “Who is Sam Hughes?”

Well, Sam Hughes immigrated to the US from Wales in 1837, at the tender age of 8 years old, with his parents and 8 brothers and sisters.

Not long after settling in Pennsylvania, illness struck the family and rendered the nine Hughes children orphans. Sam Hughes was instrumental in caring for and seeing to the education of his siblings, even though he was still but a child and never attended a single day of formal school, himself.

Sam made his way to California for the Gold Rush in 1850 to seek his fortune – but fortune had a different idea and Sam Hughes contracted tuberculosis, a diagnosis that forced him to leave for drier, warmer country: the Arizona Territory.

The stagecoach trip almost killed him (this was 22 years before the arrival of the railroad!) and he arrived in Tucson more dead than alive – but not for long. After a few months recovery, Sam Hughes opened a butcher shop whose success was only checked by the Civil War.

The Confederates offered Union supporting Arizona residents the option of leaving town or being shot – Sam Hughes, ever practical, chose the former as the best option and returned to California until the close of the war.

Returning to Tucson after the war, Sam Hughes continued his butcher business, taking a partner, a wife, and numerous government contracts. He expanded his business into general merchandise, cattle ranching, and mining, forming Hughes, Stevens and Company.

Sam Hughes helped to incorporate the City of Tucson but refused the post of mayor, serving the city council as an alderman, instead. He later served as Pima County sheriff and county treasurer, and was appointed Arizona Territory’s adjutant-general.

One of Tucson’s wealthiest residents and an organizer for Tucson’s first bank, Sam Hughes was known as “Uncle Sam” for his philanthropy, donating land and money for churches and schools as well as to the poor. More famously, Sam Hughes was instrumental in establishing public education in the Territory, calling its success “the pride of my life.”

Sam Hughes died June 20, 1917 in Tucson. 11 years later, a new elementary school in one of Tucson’s first subdivisions was named after him and now you can find his name here and there all around the area, including our inn!

And now you know!

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