James S. Pugh was born around 1849 in Knox County, Ohio, the son of Ananias "Peugh" (1825-1886) and Zerilda (b. 1827).
Both Ohio natives James’ parents were married in 1848 in Knox County, Ohio. Sometime after 1849 the family left Ohio and by 1850 had settled on a farm in Chester, Ottawa County, Michigan. They were still living in Chester in 1859 and in 1860 James was attending school with two of his younger siblings and living with his family in Chester. The family eventually moved to Wexford County where Ananias died in Colfax in 1886.
James stood 5’5” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Six Corners, Chester Township, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company H on December 30, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Alpine, Kent County, and was mustered January 5, 1864. (His sister Mary married Perry Crandall, who would also serve in Company H.)
James joined the Regiment on February 17, and was shot in the right buttock on May 5, 1864 at the Wilderness, Virginia. He was admitted on May 12 to Mt. Pleasant hospital in Washington, DC, and transferred on May 18 to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was admitted to Summit House hospital. He was still absent wounded when he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was remained absent wounded until he was mustered out on May 31, 1865 at Detroit.
James eventually returned to Michigan.
In February of 1866 he applied for and received a pension (no. 147755).
By 1870 he was working as a farm laborer and living with his parents in Lisbon, Chester Township, Ottawa County. He may have been living in Muskegon County when he married Canadian native Eliza E. McWilliams (b. 1856) on October 31, 1875 in Muskegon County. (Eliza’s family had been neighbors in Chester, Ottawa County in 1860.) By 1880 James was working as a laborer and living with his wife in Haring, Wexford County.
James died on October 31, 1912, in Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, and is presumably buried there.