One of the most beloved Middlebury professors of the 19th century, John Hough (1783-1861) taught at the College from 1812 to 1839. Born in Canterbury, Connecticut in 1783, he received his A.B. from Yale in 1802 and an A.M. from Yale in 1805, Williams in 1806, and Middlebury in 1807. A student of Timothy Dwight, Hough was appointed missionary to Vermont in 1805. He was ordained in 1807, and was pastor in Vergennes, Vermont. In 1812 he accepted the appointment of Professor of Greek and Latin Languages at Middlebury and immediately earned universal popularity at the College. From 1817-1825 he assumed the responsibilities of Professor of Theology. In 1825 he resumed his former position as Professor of Greek and Latin Languages, 1825-1838. In 1838 he was appointed the first Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature. Hough resented this Trustee decision and refused to lecture on English literature. As a result, he was dismissed in 1839.
Hough went to work with the American Colonization Society and accepted a Presbyterian ministry in Windhan, Ohio. In 1850 Hough returned to Middlebury to deliver a speech for alumni at the College’s Sesquicentennial celebration. President Benjamin Labaree remembered, “No other college officer was ever more sincerely beloved by his pupils.”
In his final years Hough lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he died in 1861.