Cape Blanco Lighthouse
First Lit: December 20, 1870
Oregon’s Highest and Most Westerly
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
The Hughes Family
Patrick Hughes was born in County Tyrone, Ireland in 1830. He came to America about 1850. In Boston, Massachusetts, he met and married Jane O’Neill, also from County Tyrone. It isn’t exactly clear when they came west. There are two major stories, one has them coming west by the Isthmus of Panama and another has them coming by land. From that point: some say Patrick came west first, looking for gold and Jane followed later. Some say Patrick left Jane in San Francisco while he traveled north as far as the Frazier River in Canada looking for gold. There’s no doubt that they eventually arrived in Deady, Oregon (north of Roseburg), where they are recorded in the 1860 Federal Census with the first-born son John age 3 months. Patrick’s next move was to begin purchasing land in Curry County along the Sixes River, establishing what was to become a large ranch encompassing hundreds of acres on both sides of the river.
Patrick was a progressive and prosperous dairyman. He built his ranch from the original 80+ acres to over 2,000 acres, employing many ranch hands. He produced high quality butter for sale to the San Francisco market, as well as for sale and trade locally. Progressive rancher that he was, he was diversified selling and trading other ranch commodities, such as smoked and cured meats, milk, and fish to local markets as well. Of the original acreage, a little over 1,800 acres remained when Oregon State Parks purchased the land in 1971, marking the end of the Hughes Ranch.
Edward (1861-1945) was educated at St. Joseph’s Academy in Vancouver, Washington. On his return home he educated his siblings. Edward took charge of the ranch on the death of his father in 1901.
>James (1863-1929) married Laura McMullen of Langlois. James was a keeper at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse for 38 years. He built his own home around 1909, on land he had previously acquired.
Alice (1864-1929) married Patrick Masterson, a storekeeper in Port Orford. At the time of her death, Alice owned the Seaside Hotel in Port Orford.
John (1869-1944) became the second native Oregonian to become a Roman Catholic priest. He was associated with St. Lawrence Parish in Portland, Oregon.
Mary (1871-1956) married Frank McMullen (brother of Laura) of Langlois. Frank and Mary raised six children before retiring to the Eugene area.
Thomas (1874-1944) a bachelor, assisted Edward in the operation of the dairy and ranch. Ranch life was not easy; Thomas suffered serious injury on the ranch. While clearing land he was struck in the back by a tree limb and was hospitalized for several weeks, followed by additional weeks of recovery at home.
Francis (1876-1946) was 21 years old when his parents moved into the new home. He worked on the ranch with his brothers and in 1905, he brought his bride, Rose Anna (Annie) Doyle (1875-1959) home to live with his family. Annie was the last of the Hughes family to occupy this Victorian home.
An Irish Catholic, Patrick built a small church “MARY, STAR OF THE SEA” on an acre of land in 1893, which he deeded to the church. Beside the church was a small CEMETERY where Patrick was laid to rest following his fatal accident. Patrick’s son Joseph and his wife Jane were also buried in the little cemetery. Several headstones remain: Patrick’s of course, along with William O’Sullivan a neighboring rancher and miner, Michael Duffy also a neighbor with a ranch and a gold mine. Little is known about Denis McCarthy and how he fits into life on the cape. Frank and Catherine McMullen were buried on the cape as family; their children Laura and Frank married Hughes siblings James and Mary, respectively. Interested in education of children, Patrick also built a small school on the ranch. The little school was affectionately referred to it as “Cape Blanco University.”