Born in Unionville, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Pugh attended the common schools and the Friends' School, Westtown, Pennsylvania. He taught school in Marietta, Pennsylvania, in 1847. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1852, and began the practice of his profession in Bristol, Pennsylvania, that year. He moved to Burlington, New Jersey, in 1854 and continued the practice of medicine. During the Civil War, he served as a physician without compensation at the United States general hospital in Beverly, New Jersey. He served as president of the Mechanics' National Bank of Burlington for thirty-six years.
After leaving Congress, he resumed the practice of medicine, and served as member of the State board of education. He died in Burlington, New Jersey, April 30, 1905, and was interred in Saint Mary's Episcopal Churchyard in Burlington.