YOUR SILENT NEIGHBORS, Emerson A. Hough, Druggist
by David K. Leff
Town Poet Laureate and Deputy Town Historian
One of the most beloved figures ever to have lived in Collinsville, Emerson A. Hough (1842-1915) was the village pharmacist for over fifty years. He lived a relatively quiet, but rich life. “Not many men have seen so much of the real good things in life, by that is meant not wealth and great distinction, but the things that count a happy family growing up to do honor to the name after one has gone,” wrote one obituary writer.
Born in a house on Main Street, Hough was educated in local schools. He enlisted in the Civil War in 1861 and served in the Twelfth Connecticut regiment as a hospital steward. He went with his outfit to Washington and New Orleans. On returning from military service, Hough went to work in George Polk’s Main Street drug store, later beginning his own pharmacy which ultimately was located on Main Street where Rootz salon is today.
Hough was Collinsville postmaster from 1869 to 1885 and again from 1889 to 1893. He served as state representative for the 1902-1903 term, and was an organizer of the Farmington Valley Agricultural Association which held a fair at Cherry Park until it dissolved in 1913. He was a member of the Village Lodge of Masons and had other Masonic affiliations. A lifelong member of the Collinsville Congregational Church, he was in the choir for more than twenty-five years.
Married to Sarah Bidwell who died in 1904, the couple had two sons and a daughter. Son Frederick J. Hough would become superintendent of the Collins Company. His grandson, Leonard B. Hough, would become a Collins vice president.
Described as quiet, dignified, and reserved, Hough nevertheless always welcomed young people into his shop. He was also well known for singing at funerals. A person of strong character, he was considered “an upright business man, one who would have been richer than he was, had he been as hard in business as modern ideas seem to demand, but he would have been weaker in friends. All who ever had dealings with Mr. Hough knew him for a strictly honest man who would rather take the bad end of a bargain than to be sharp in practice.”
In good health until little more than a week before his death, he got a severe cold, began to feel better, and was then laid low with pneumonia and experienced kidney failure. He died at 2 The Green, home of his daughter Florence and her husband, village doctor Ralph Cox.
Hough’s funeral was held at the Collinsville Congregational Church with music by the Tempo Quartet of Hartford. Businesses in Collinsville closed during the service in his honor.
Emerson A. Hough is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.