37 Year Railroad Career
Leading Citizen of Agnews, Santa Clara County



A retired railroad man with a most enviable record of nearly two score years of faithful, fruitful service in the employ of the Southern
Pacific Railroad, John Hughes, of Agnew, Santa Clara County, is a representative Irish-American citizen such as any community would be proud to number among its progressive citizens. As a matter of fact, he owns perhaps one-fourth of the town of Agnew, and so may easily be regarded as one of the leading residents in that flourishing part of the state.

He was born at Claremorris, County Mayo, Ireland, on June 24, 1856, the son of James Hughes, a well-known farmer and contractor, who built and kept in repair many of the important postroads in that country. He had married Miss Margaret  Gaynord, of County Mayo, and they became the parents of eight children, four boys and four girls. One of the sons, James Hughes, a brother of our subject, is maintenance of way foreman of the Northwestern Pacific Railway, and resides at San Rafael.

Educated in Ireland, John Hughes came to America in 1880; and after a residence of two years in New York State, he came west to California. Oakland seemed to appeal to him most; and there, engaging with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, in its construction work, he quickly showed such proficiency that he was made foreman. He continued with that company for thirty- seven years, or until he retired, and came to have as many as 150 men under him; and few if any construction bosses enjoyed a record for greater ability or dependability. During the building of the Pacific Coast Railway, he was construction foreman under L. Fillmore, the division superintendent at Santa Barbara.

Mr. Hughes came to Santa Clara when he was twenty-one years of age, and he remained there for thirteen years; and after that he removed to Agnew, where he became a foreman of a special gang, and then foreman of larger gangs. Only in 1917 was he persuaded to retire and enjoy the fruits of his hard work at Agnew. As such an honored employee of the company he has a life pass over the entire railway system, and is thus encouraged to see something of the outside world.

By a first marriage, Mr. Hughes had one child, now Miss Mary Hughes, a trained nurse of San Jose; and at his second marriage, in Santa Clara, he was united with Miss Alice Costello, a native of Ireland who grew up in California. They have had ten children; James is employed by the Southern Pacific Railway and resides at Agnew; Thomas, an exemplary young man, of wonderful physique, attained a height of six feet four inches, and was a Southern Pacific brakeman, and was killed in a railway accident when he was only twenty-one years of age; Jeannette is the wife of Anthony La Mar, and resides at Porta Costa; William died when he was three and a half years old; Catherine graduated from Santa Clara high school and is now attending the State Teachers' College at San Jose, and her sister, Anna, is a student in the San Jose high school, while Michael Francis is at the high school at Santa Clara, and Peter still enjoys the shelter of the paternal roof. The family attend the Roman Catholic Church at Santa Clara.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 563

[ * Information provided by John's granddaughter- Feb. 2005---Gaynor was Johns mother's maiden name per his death certificate.  Lamarra was my Aunt Jeanette's husbands name. Additional names would be Swanson, Anne's married name. Margaret and Kathryn never married.  His eldest daughter by his first wifes married name was Snedaker.  His wife Alice was born to Thomas Costelloe and Catherine Powers in Tinlough, Kilkenny, IRL.  Two of her sisters also came to the US and settled in Napa.  They are Mary Costello Ewing and Josephine Costello Risher.  Additionally, Ellen Costello Doyle married and had children in New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland, Bridget Costelloe Kinsella married and remained in Ireland.  I have not found her yet.  Anne Costello Hazard moved to London,  England. Catherine Costello and James Costello are also new siblings to Alice that I have recently located. Thank you, Peggy Hughes	]