Hughes' Views & News

Rowland Hughes and James Fruit: Missing links in my family tree?

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on July 25, 2013
The entry at the top of this record is for the land shown on Mark Chilton's map.

The top two items on this document are land claims of Rowland Hughes.

One of the things I have learned during my genealogical research over the last 12 months is that I am distantly related to several Hughes families alive today who claim as their earliest known ancestor a man named David Hughes.

This particular David Hughes was born in Kentucky in 1812. His first wife was named Matilda Fruit, and he died in Missouri in 1875.

What I don’t know is exactly how these Hughes families and mine are connected. In other words, I don’t know who our common ancestor was, the proverbial missing link.

However, recently I learned that Matilda Fruit was the granddaughter of a man named James Samuel Fruit, who was born in Orange County, N.C. in 1762 but lived most of his adult life in Christian County, Kentucky. This attracted my interest because my earliest known Hughes ancestor — Andrew Hughes (1755-1843) — lived in Orange County in the 1770s.

In addition, I also learned — thanks to an excellent map posted on a blog by Mark Chilton (the current mayor of Carrboro, N.C.) — that two men named James Fruit and Rowland Hughes owned land close to each other in Orange County during the 1770s. I have since obtained a copy of the land records for this Rowland Hughes from the State Archives of North Carolina, and from that document I know that he filed a claim for and obtained title to this land in 1778. (In 1778 the land was on Haw Creek in Orange County. Now it is in Alamance County, near the city of Mebane, just south of I-40.)

For me, this raises the obvious question of whether or not this Rowland Hughes and my Andrew Hughes were related. It also raises the question of whether or not the James Fruit who owned land near Rowland Hughes is the same James Samuel Fruit that was the grandfather of Matilda Fruit, or if not, was he perhaps a close relative? At this point I simply don’t have enough evidence in hand to say.

In Kentucky, there was a man named Rowland Hughes, who was born in 1756 and died in 1809, who is buried at Hughes Cemetery near the town of Auburn in Logan County. Logan County is just to the east of Christian County.  Is this man the same Rowland Hughes as the one who owned land in Orange County, North Carolina? If not, could he be a close relative of the one in Orange County? Is there any connection between the Rowland Hughes in Logan County, Kentucky, and the David Hughes who married Matilda Fruit?

Again, my answers to all of these questions is that at this point I simply don’t have enough evidence in hand to say. But I hope to one day find out.

If you, dear reader, have any evidence that will help me answer these questions, then I’d love to hear from you!

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