Friday, July 01, 2005

Famous Quakers from Southwest Ohio ~ Achilles Pugh, Publisher of "The Philanthropist" and Anti-Slavery Activist (1805-1876)

Achilles Pugh was born in Chester County, Pa., March 10th, 1805. His family settled in Cadiz, Ohio in 1809. When he was 17 he began working in the Cadiz Informant to learn how to be a printer. In 1827 he went to Philadelphia to learn more about the printing trade. In 1830 he settled in Cincinnati and was the manager of the Evangelist periodical. Achilles Pugh and his wife Anna Maria Davis Pugh (1806-1877), who married in 1832, settled near Waynesville, Ohio. They were members of Miami Monthly Meeting (Orthodox) in Waynesville. A few years later he formed a partnership with Morgan & Sanxay in Cincinnati. In 1835 the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society was formed. Achilles Pugh was an ardent abolitionist and he took over the publication of its newspaper “The Philanthropist” in his print shop in Cincinnati. His business partners refused to deal with the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society so their partnership was dissolved. On July 12th, 1836, a pro-slavery crowd destroyed his office and equipment located at 400 Pike Street. After further frustrating attempts to print “The Philanthropist” in Cincinnati, he moved his press and paper to Springboro, Ohio where he could publish it in relative peace up into the 1850s. He would ship the newspaper to Cincinnati on the Miami-Erie Canal. Achilles continued in the printing business up until 1875. After the Civil War he became more active in Temperance work. He had been hired in 1837 to manage The Cincinnati Daily Chronicle but because he refused to allow ads for alcohol, the paper was discontinued in 1846. He also became highly involved in the Orthodox Quaker ministry to Native Americans and traveled out west beyond the Mississippi to visit and inspect Quaker missions to the Indians.
For example, it was reported in the Miami-Gazette newspaper of Waynesville on July 28, 1869 that "Our friend Achilles Pugh is at present out among the Indians, fulfilling his duties as Inspector of the Indian agencies. He reports vegetation in that latitude of very rank growth, the prophecies a sickly season there."
He was also very active in the First Day School (Sunday School) movement. His daughter, Esther, also became a noted Quaker minister (see article, Famous Quakers from Southwest Ohio ~ Esther Pugh, Quaker Minister & Tireless Worker in the WCTU ). The same paper reported on October 20th, 1869 that "the Corwin Sabbath school (an Orthodox Quaker First Day School) was reopened last Sunday week, under the charge of our zealot friend Achilles Pugh. Success to it." On November 24th, 1869 it published that "Our friend Achilles Pugh and his daughter, Miss Esther Pugh, left here for Philadelphia last week, to attend a Sabbath-school convention there." We also know that Achilles was the president of the Wayne Township Bible Study (Miami-Gazette, September 9th, 1874).
The Pugh's 42nd Wedding Anniversary was celebrated in Waynesville: The Miami-Gazette on August 26th, 1874 noted that "Friends Achilles and Anna Pugh celebrated the forth-second anniversary of their wedding day last Seventh-day. All their children and grandchildren and a number of relatives were present to participate in the festivities of the occasion and to assist in making a most happy reunion, which they all hope to see repeated manytimes. May our venerable freinds live to celebrate their golden wedding, at least."
Sadly Waynesville lost a loved resident in 1875: "Friend Achilles Pugh and his family left yesterday for their new home in Cincinnati; their furniture having preceded them. Mr. Pugh and his family will be much missed in this community. They were ever ready to work in a good cause, and zealous in their labors, sparing neither means nor pains, when once convinced that the cause was just, to carry it through. They leave many appreciative friends here to remember their benevolence and general good citizenship; while in the sense of a public benefaction, Mr. Pugh's unexampled liberality to the Episcopal Church (St. Mary's Episcopal Church which is still meeting in Waynesville) will never be forgotten by the members of that communion. Before they had a roof over ther heads to call their own, and when there was no place in the village where their services could be held, Friend Pugh nobly came forward and supplied a place all ready furnished, and refused material compensation therefore. ~ This act alone of his will embalm him forever in our memory. May happiness, peace and comfort abide with him alway."
The Achilles Pugh Papers (FMS 55) can be found in the Quaker Archive at Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana: see,
Achilles Pugh and his wife Anna Maria and one of his daughters, Esther Pugh, are buried in Miami Cemetery in Corwin, Ohio in Section H. Miami Cemetery is located directly east of Waynesville, Ohio across the Little Miami River. The dates on the tombstone (see above) are:
  • Achilles Pugh 1805-1876
  • Anna Maria Pugh 1806-1877
  • Esther Pugh 1834-1908
Achilles and Anna Maria Pugh had four children:
  • Esther Pugh (never married)
  • John Davis Pugh (m. Laura Fay)
  • Mary Taylor Pugh (m. John Wildman)
  • Achilles Henry Pugh (m. Mary Lavina Darr). Achilles H. Pugh continued his father's printing business in Cincinnati. It became known as the A. H. Pugh Printing Company. It lasted until the 1980s and was in the hands of the Pugh descendants until its close.
A good biography of Achilles Pugh by Dallas Bogan can be found on the Warren County Genealogy Society website:
A longer and more complete biography about Achilles Pugh can be found on The Mary L. Cook Public Library ~ Ohioana Room ~ website:


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Blogger Sabrina said...

Karen, I was wondering what your source was that Achilles discontinued his work with the Cincinnati Daily Chronicle because he refused to take ads for alcohol. It makes sense, I'm just interested in where you got that info. His diary at Earlham?

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