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John Hughes visits the Octagon House

Octagon House Director Heidi Rushmann, left, received a visit from Catherine and John Hughes. John grew up in the house and was the last child born in the building that was his childhood home. Submitted photo

The Octagon House Museum welcomed home one of its sons when John Hughes, and his wife Catherine, stopped Aug. 2 to visit John's childhood home.

John Ingram Hughes was the last child born in the Octagon House on May 8, 1919. John's two older sisters, Betty Swanson and Mary Hughes, passed away in recent years. At 91 years old John is the last, and only remaining child who grew up in the Octagon House. He graduated from Hudson High School in 1937 and then went on to attend the University of Minnesota.

It was there that he met his wife Catherine (Combacker) Hughes.

During John and Catherine's visit Octagon House Director Heidi Rushmann took them through the house as John shared family stories. He told her how one of the bedrooms was quarantined when his sister Margaret, Willis Miller and two other children had scarlet fever.

He also shared how as a young child he liked to run down the hall and slide on the polished hardwood floor until he accidentally slid too far and put his arm through a glass china cabinet. Doctor Livingstone had to sew him up and then he showed the scar on his right arm which still remains from that incident.

Rushmann showed John some of the treasures that his family has donated to the museum, including the brown dress that his grandmother, Mary (Moffat) Hughes, wore as a child in the 1850s and the lap desk that belonged to his Uncle Thomas.

Rushmann explained that local families have donated most of the items in the museum and recently when the McDiarmid family had a reunion they made arrangements to take a tour and see items that were donated by their ancestors.

"It was such a pleasure to welcome John and Catherine home and to hear a first-hand account of what it was like to live in the Octagon House," Rushmann said.

The St. Croix County Historical Society continually seeks new members and volunteers. Anyone interested in preserving local history, may want to consider volunteering or becoming a member. For more information call (715) 386-2654, go to or information on Facebook.