Editor's note: This is the second part of a Reflections series covering the accomplishments of two of Sumter's well-known doctors born in the 1800s. Part one, which ran Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, focused on Dr. John J. Bossard. Information and photos used to produce these articles were taken from The Item archives and from the writings of Cassie Nicholes, whose recollections of Sumter are found in Historical Sketches of Sumter County: Volumes I and II.
According to Cassie Nicholes, "another of Sumter's well-beloved doctors of the past was Dr. John S. Hughson, born in Camden on Oct. 1, 1841, the son of Rev. William C. and Mary Daggett Hughson. His maternal ancestors came to this country from England circa 1620, settling on an estate still owned by the family in Worchestershire, Massachusetts. His paternal ancestors came from Virginia, settling in South Carolina before the Revolution."
He attended the public schools in Camden before entering Furman University. He served in the Civil War and then returned to complete his education. He left Furman and joined the famed Hampton Legion and "later became a part of the Second South Carolina Regiment, commanded by Gen. M. C. Butler. For four years he was in northern Virginia, taking part in some of the most strategic battles as well as in a number of lesser engagements."
Upon his return to Sumter, he studied medicine under the tutelage of Dr. E. C. Salmond in preparation for his entering the South Carolina Medical College in Charleston; he graduated with honors in March of 1867.
He began his practice in the Privateer section of the county, where his father was then pastor. He later moved to Sumter, where he began a successful medical career which lasted 35 years.
Dr. Hughson married Eliza Randolph Turner of Charleston, who was a descendant of the Carters and Turners, prominent residents of Virginia. Three children were born from this union, including Shirley Carter, who became a renowned Episcopal minister. Eliza died in 1876, and Hughson married Celeste E. Quattlebaum of Fairfield County in 1879, and five children came from this marriage.
Dr. Hughson was a faithful member of First Baptist Church of Sumter, assuming a leadership role there and acting as Sunday school superintendent, deacon and treasurer.
He later helped found Bartlette Street Baptist Church, which later became Grace Baptist.
Dr. Hughson would enter the political arena of Sumter, serving as an alderman and mayor. He would also serve as director of the Bank of Sumter for several years. "With all his other activities, he always remained the beloved 'Doctor Hughson' to his many patients as he ministered to them with skill, patience and kindness."
In addition to his medical practice, he also ran a drugstore at 11 S. Main St., "where he dispensed his prescription drugs and made available to the public many other items always in demand. One of his advertisements showed not only something of his stock, but also a humorous twist to his personality. "Why try to 'taffy' your girl so much with sweet talk, boys, when you can save so much by sending her a nice box of Lowney's candy?"
Dr. Hughson died on Dec. 29, 1903; his funeral filled Bartlette Baptist Church, and all drugstores closed during the hours of his service.
The city rang the bell at City Hall as was the custom for former mayors.