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!

An 1812 land sale in Caswell County, North Carolina

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on May 31, 2013
This deed was recorded in Caswell County July Court 1812.

This deed was recorded in Caswell County July Court 1812.

My 4th great grandfather, Andrew Hughes (1755-1843) lived in Orange County, North Carolina, at the time the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. He lived in this part of North Carolina until 1787, when he settled in the old Pendleton District of South Carolina, on land about 5 miles outside of where the city of Easley is now. He then lived most of the rest of his life in that area.

Some genealogists who have researched this Hughes line believe that a man named John Hughes, who died in Caswell County, North Carolina, circa 1799, was the eldest son of “my” Andrew Hughes, and that he stayed in North Carolina when his father moved to South Carolina.

I am researching that question now.  At this point I don’t have enough evidence in hand to say for sure whether or not the John Hughes who died in Caswell County circa 1799 was Andrew’s son. But this much I can say with great certainty:  When John Hughes died, he left behind a will and an estate file, which showed that he owned 200 acres of land on Stony Creek. He also left behind a widow named Mary and five children:  Andrew (“Andy”), John, Obedience (“Bidzy” or “Biddy”), Mary (“Polly”) and Gilson (a son whose name is sometimes reported as “Gibson”).

Some think that Andrew, the son of John, was also the grandson of “my” Andrew Hughes. At this point I can’t prove that. But I can prove that in 1812, Andrew (son of John) was living in Pendleton, South Carolina (where “my” Andrew Hughes lived), and in that year he sold 36 acres of land in Caswell County, North Carolina, that was his portion of the 200 acres left by his father (John).

That fact is recorded in this deed, which I obtained from the State Archives of North Carolina. Click on the image above to see a scan of the original. My transcription of it is below:

This Indenture made and entered into this day of June in the year of
our lord one thousand eight hundred and twelve between Andrew Hughs of the
County of Pendleton & State of South Carolina & Elizabeth
Hornbuckle of the County of Caswell & State of North Carolina of the other
part witnesseth that the said Andy Hughs for and in consideration of the sum
of sixty five dollars to him in kind paid & made safe before the signing
& sealing of these presents by the sd. Elizabeth Hornbuckle then might
whereof he the said Andy Hughs doth acknowledge himself fully
and amply Satisfied & paid for a certain Lot of land being the fifth
part of a certain tract of land left by his Father John Hughs Decd.
to the Sd. Andy Hughs being the fourth lot containing by estima-
tion thirty six acres lying and bounding as following ___________
Beginning at a black (stake?) Bidzy Hughs line running South with
her line twenty four chains to her corner stake (adjoining?) then
With the old line fifteen chains and fifty four links to a Stake
Thence North twenty four chains to a Stake Polly Hughs Corner
Thence East fifteen chains and fifty four links to the first
Station Containing the above mentioned thirty six acres
which tract of land with every advantage thereunto belonging
whith the sd. Andy Hughs do Warrant and forever defend from
the right Title Claim or Claims of all and every other person
or persons Whatsoever claiming the same I bind myself my
Heirs Executors Administrators or assigns to the sd. Elizabeth
Hornbuckle her Heirs Executors Administrators firmly by
these presents as witness thereof & the sd. Andy Hughs
have hereunto set my hand and fixed my seal this day
& date within written ___________________________

Signed Seal’d & acknowledged
In presence of us                                            Andrew Hughs (Seal)
Simpson Hornbuckle
James Adams
State of North Carolina
Caswell County | July Court 1812

The Execution of this deed was duly
presented in Open Court by the oath of Simpson Hornbuckle
one of the Subscribing witnesses thereunto and on motion
Ordered to be registered. ______
Archibald Murphey (signature)