Justice Henry P. HughesWisconsin Supreme Court Justice: 1948–1951
"As a trial judge, he was quick to come to the point. He could intersperse his official judicial language with what he really wanted to say." – Charles F. Nolan, Hughes' portrait hanging (1973)
Henry P. Hughes was born August 13, 1904, in Fountain Prairie, Wisconsin. He graduated from St. Peter's High School and continued his education at Marquette University. In 1927, Hughes graduated from Georgetown University Law School, passed the Wisconsin Bar and joined a law firm in Oshkosh.
In the early 1930s, Hughes was appointed and later elected Oshkosh city attorney and municipal judge. In 1937, Governor Phillip F. La Follette appointed him circuit judge for Winnebago County, where he served for 10 years.
In 1946, Hughes ran unsuccessfully for the Wisconsin Supreme Court against Edward T. Fairchild. A year later, he ran again and won by more than 135,000 votes.
After three years on the bench, Hughes resigned and resumed his law practice in Oshkosh. He said that the justice's salary of $10,000 a year was insufficient to educate his children. His only departure from the law was in 1957, when he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. Former Governor Walter J. Kohler, Jr. won the nomination, but was defeated in the election by William Proxmire.
On December 12, 1968, on his way home from the memorial service for former Chief Justice John E. Martin, Hughes was killed when his car collided into the back of a school bus.
Hughes and his wife Dorothy had four sons: Patrick, James, Thomas and Robert.