Member Biography

Francis Wade Hughes 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1844       8 Democrat


08/20/1817 - 10/22/1885

Francis Wade Hughes (D8) Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Schuylkill Counties 1844

Early Life:

Francis Wade Hughes, born August 20th, 1817, Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; son of John and Hannah Bartholomew Hughes; studied law, admitted, Schuylkill County bar, 1837; appointed, Deputy Attorney General, Schuylkill County, 1839-1850; married Sarah Silliman, 1839, children, Eva Caroline Hughes, Thomas Silliman Hughes; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania Senate, 1844; appointed, Secretary of the Commonwealth, 1851-1853; Attorney General of Pennsylvania, 1853–1856; Chairman, Democratic State Committee, 1862; Chief prosecutor, Molly Maguires cases, 1876; died, October 22, 1885 (aged 68); interment, Charles Baber Cemetery, Pottsville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. 

Early Career:

Studied law, Pottsville, Schuylkill County and Philadelphia; admitted, Schuylkill County bar, 1837.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Appointed, Deputy Attorney-General, Schuylkill County, by Attorney-General, Ovid F. Johnson, would resign three times and be reappointed over the next eleven years, 1839-1850. 

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania Senate, 8th district, 1844; resigned his position, and returned to the practice of law.

Appointed, Governor William Bigler, Secretary of the Commonwealth, 1851-resigned, 1853. As Commonwealth Secretary, superintendent of common schools, author of the Common School Act of 1854. 

Attorney General of Pennsylvania, 1853–1856.

Chairman, Democratic State Committee, 1862. 

Chief prosecutor, Molly Maguires cases, 1876.


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members H"Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.

Francis Wade Hughes (1817-1885) - Find a Grave Memorial