Hughes' Views & News

Obituary of my grandfather, Arley E. Hughes (1891-1969)

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on April 16, 2014

This obituary was published on page 2 of The Tuscaloosa News on Wednesday, March 12, 1969.

A.E. Hughes

This photo of my grandparents, Virgie Doughty Hughes and Arley Hughes, was taken at their 50th anniversary celebration in 1967.

This photo of my grandparents, Virginia “Virgie” Doughty Hughes and Arley Hughes, was taken at their 50th anniversary celebration in 1967.

Arley Ezra Hughes, 78, of 1519 Fifth Ave., died this morning at Druid City Hospital.

A native of Pickens County, he had lived in Tuscaloosa for 50 years. Mr. Hughes was a graduate of the University Law School in 1916 and worked for many years with the Alabama Power Co. here.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Strickland-Hayes Chapel with the Rev. Allan Watson officiating. Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery.

The body will lie in state in the funeral home until servicetime.

Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. C.C. Davis Jr. of Marietta, Ga.; two sons, H.L. and A.E. Hughes Jr. of Mobile; seven sisters, Mrs. Naoma Ashcraft of Tuscaloosa, Mrs. Floy Patterson of Columbus, Miss., Mrs. Pluma Franks of Columbus, Mrs. Dorothy Hill of Philadelphia, Miss., and Mrs. Annie Mae Sanders of St. Petersburg, Fla.; three brothers, Eli Hughes of Tuscaloosa, Charles Hughes of Columbus and Auvin Hughes of Marietta, and nine grandchildren.

Active pallbearers are Lee Hughes, Charles Davis, Larry, Mark, Lowell and Howard Hughes, Robert and Johnny Doughty.

Honorary pallbearers are Roscoe Gibson, Wilburn Christian, Ed Mathews, Glenn Partrich, Joe Brown, Alton S. Shamblee, and the adult men’s Sunday School classes of Calvary Baptist Church.

Obituary of my great-grandfather, James Harvey Hughes (1867-1957)

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on April 10, 2014

 

My father tells me this photo of James Harvey Hughes and family was taken about 1899.

My father tells me this photo of James Harvey Hughes and family was taken about 1899. (There was no photo published with the obituary.)

This obituary was published on the front page of The Commercial Dispatch newspaper in Columbus, Mississippi, on March 21, 1957.

RITES SET FRIDAY FOR J.H. HUGHES

Well-Known Farmer Of New Hope Community Dies At Age Of 89

Services for James Harvey Hughes, 89, well-known farmer of the New Hope community who died about 9:30 p.m. yesterday at Doster Hospital, will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, New Hope.

The Rev. J.F. Sansing will officiate. Burial will be in the Mt. Zion Cemetery. Memorial Funeral Home, in charge of arrangements, announced that the body will lie in state at the church from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., tomorrow preceding the funeral.

Mr. Hughes, a native of Pickens County, Ala., had lived in Lowndes County for 36 years and was a member of the Mt. Zion Church.

He leaves his wife; four sons, A.E. Hughes and E.T. Hughes of Tuscaloosa, Ala., C.G. Hughes of Columbus and A.J. Hughes of New Orleans, La.; seven daughters, Mrs. William Stinson, Mrs. Belton Patterson, Mrs. Titus Patterson and Mrs. Jack Franks, all of Columbus, Mrs. Ingram Ashcraft of Tuscaloosa, Mrs. Ozie Sanders of Gainesville, Fla., and Mrs. Breland Hill of Philadelphia; three brothers, A.E. Hughes of Tuscaloosa, M.E. Hughes of Fayette, Ala., and A.W. Hughes of Kennedy, Ala.; a sister, Mrs. Clersie Livingston, Jacksonville, Fla.; 24 grandchildren and 31 great-granchildren.

Active pallbearers will be James Arvin Jr., Herbert Lee Hughes, Billy Hughes, Lowell Hughes, Howard Hughes, J.C. Patterson, all grandsons. 

Honorary pallbearers will be Birney Imes Jr., Audie Pennington, Franklin Brown, Dr. D.D. Griffin, Henry Daves, V.A. Deason, Grover Sprouse, Dr. A.E. Brown, Dr. Bernard Ellis, Robert A. Ivy, Willis Pope Sr., Willis Pope Jr., Clarence Waldon, Sidney Camp, Ben Christopher.

Serving on the flower committee will be Mrs. Clarence Walden and Mrs. Eubanks McCrary; and the granddaughters. 

What in the world happened to Elisha Hughes?

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on March 13, 2013
This petition, filed June 9th, 1848, asks for guardianship of the orphans of Elisha and Margaret Hughes to Margaret's brother, William M. Willson.

This petition, dated June 9th, 1848, seeks guardianship of the orphans of Elisha and Margaret Hughes for Margaret’s brother, William M. Willson.

Nation, I need your help to solve a mystery that’s more than 174 years old.

By now, readers of this blog (yes, both of you!) know that I am very keen on researching my Hughes family history. (I also plan to write about my mother’s line, the Brelands, but that will come later.)

One of the great unsolved mysteries in my Hughes line is this:  What in the world happened to my 3rd great grandather, Elisha Hughes?

The facts of his life, as I currently know them, are fairly sparse. He was born about 1800 (exact date unknown) in the old Pendleton District of South Carolina. His parents were Andrew Hughes (1755-1843) and Obedience Sumner (1765-1829).

Sometimes I have seen his name written as Elisha “Lish” Hughes, and sometimes his middle name is given as “Mattison” or “Madison.” But I have not seen any evidence myself that proves beyond doubt he had any names other than Elisha Hughes.

By 1820, Elisha had married Margaret “Peggy” Willson and his household of two was listed in the 1820 U.S. Census for Pendleton, S.C. But by 1830, Elisha and Peggy were living in Habersham County, Ga. They had eight children together, including my great-great grandfather, James Thompson “Thomps” Hughes (1831-1919).

But by 1839, Elisha had disappeared, and no one seems to know for sure what happened to him. Some have speculated that he may have abandoned his family and traveled west. Others have speculated that he may have died while participating in “Indian removal” from Georgia. The one thing that no one has offered, in what I have read about him so far, is an explanation for his disappearance that’s backed up by evidence.

We know what happened to Peggy — she died sometime before June 1848. We know what happened to the children who were left orphaned when Peggy died — custody of the orphans was awarded to Peggy’s brother in Anderson, S.C. in June 1848, and by 1850 they were living in Pickens County, Ala. We know where both Thomps Hughes and his younger brother, William McMurray Hughes, are buried.

But we still don’t know what happened to Elisha. However, I’m willing to bet that someone out there has evidence in hand that may help me answer that question.

With that in mind, it’s time to put crowdsourcing to work for me. Do you know what happened to “my” Elisha Hughes? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Email me at tahughesnc@gmail.com.

My great-grandfather, James Harvey Hughes (1867-1957)

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on March 5, 2013

It seems odd, but I know far less about my great-grandfather, James Harvey “Jim” Hughes (1867-1957), than I know about his father, James Thompson “Thomps” Hughes (1831-1919) or his great-grandfather, Andrew Hughes (1755-1843).

Jim Hughes and family in 1913.

Jim Hughes and family in 1913.

That may be because Jim, as far as I know, never served in the military whereas Thomps served in the Civil War and Andrew served in the Revolutionary War. I learned much of what I know about Thomps and Andrew from records related to their military service.

Here’s what I do know about Jim Hughes. He was born on August 10, 1867, in Pickens County, Ala. He was the first child born to Thomps and his second wife, Jane Mitchell Hughes. Jim married Louisa Thornton in 1889 and they had 12 children. Their first child, born in 1891, was my grandfather, Arley Hughes Sr.

Jim lived the first 50 plus years of his life in the vicinity of Ashcraft Corner, which is in Fayette County but very close to where the boundaries of present-day Fayette, Pickens and Lamar counties meet. But by 1930, when he was 63 years old, he had relocated to Lowndes County, Mississippi, near the town of Columbus.  According to family legend, Jim said that he moved to Mississippi “so my daughters wouldn’t have to marry their cousins.” (Two of his aunts, Hulda Hughes Wilson and Adline Hughes Wilson, had both married first cousins of theirs.)

He died on March 20, 1957, at the age of 89. He is buried at Mount Zion Baptist Church Cemetery in Columbus.

The only other information I have about him comes from a one-page bio that was written by my cousin Carol (Hughes) Olive and given to me in the late 1980s. Here is an excerpt from that:

“He was a small man weighing only about 115-120 pounds. To overcome his lack of physical strength he learned to improvise to make his farm work easier. He had a very active imagination and used it to design and build such things as a dry kiln to cure sweet potatoes. He did this before the Department of Agriculture or anyone else that we know of in the state of Alabama did. He was known as a superior farmer that produced not only cotton and corn but also sweet potatoes, vegetables, peaches, apples, strawberries, dew berries, scuppernongs, grapes and any new product that he thought would be profitable.”

Discovering my rural Alabama heritage

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on November 27, 2012

During Thanksgiving week, I traveled from my home in Durham, N.C., to Birmingham, Ala., to spend Thanksgiving with my parents, my girlfriend, Kelley Grogan, and the family of my brother, Brian.

Left to right: Dylan Hughes, Gloria Hughes, Arley Hughes Jr., Tom Hughes, Mary Bess Paluzzi (Associate Dean for Special Collections at the UA Libraries), and Brian Hughes.

Our agenda for Tuesday, Nov. 20 included a trip to the Hoole Library at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where we donated a collection of 64 letters that my grandfather, Arley Hughes Sr. (1891-1969), wrote to his parents, brothers and sisters in Kennedy, Ala., while he served in the U.S. Army in France during World War I. The library plans to make the letters available on their website later.

After we concluded our business at the Hoole Library, we visited Arley Sr.’s grave, which is in Evergreen Cemetery, across the street from Bryant-Denny Stadium. He graduated from the UA School of Law in 1917, and then got married, before he was drafted into Army service. After returning home from WWI in 1919, he lived the rest of his life in Tuscaloosa.

My grandfather’s headstone.

My father lived the first several years of his life in this house at 828 11th Ave.

While in Tusaloosa, we also visited two home sites where my father, Arley “Bill” Hughes Jr., had lived while he was growing up, and a third home site where my mother, Gloria Breland Hughes, had lived. Only one of these homes was still standing. The other two survived a massive tornado that struck Tuscaloosa in April 2011 but have been demolished since then.

On Wednesday, Nov. 21, we went on a self-guided tour of several cemeteries where ancestors of ours are buried. First we visited four cemeteries in the rural area where my grandfather grew up, in the countryside outside Kennedy, a small town of a few hundred residents. Then we visited two cemeteries in Reform, Ala., a larger rural town where my grandfather’s wife, Virginia Ellen “Virgie” Doughty (1896-1978), grew up.

Shown here are me (at left), my father, and my brother, Brian, standing behind the headstone of my 2nd great grandfather, Thomps Hughes.

Our first stop was at Ashcraft Corner Memorial Cemetery, next to Ashcraft Corner Baptist Church. For me the highlight of this cemetery was seeing the grave of our first direct line Hughes ancestor to settle in Alabama, James Thompson “Thomps” Hughes (1831-1919). Thomps was the grandson of our earliest known Hughes ancestor, Andrew Hughes (1755-1843), who was born near Lancaster, Penn. but lived most of his adult life in the old Pendleton District in South Carolina.

Next we visited the Wesley Chapel Cemetery, which is on a dirt road (Wesley Chapel Road) and deep in the woods, about 2.5 miles from Ashcraft Corner Memorial. Here we found several graves of ancestors of ours named Wilson, a family that our Hughes line has been associated with since the 1700s. One example of this association: Thomps Hughes’ mother was Margaret “Peggy” Wilson (1801-1848), who married Thomps’ father, Elisha Hughes, in South Carolina in 1819.

Hulda Hughes Wilson (1833-1865) was a sister of Thomps Hughes. She married John Wilson (1828-1862), who was her first cousin.

We found additional examples of the Hughes-Wilson association at the next cemetery we visited, the Old Wesley Chapel Cemetery (aka, Wilson Cemetery) on Junkins Road, outside Kennedy. There we found the graves of two of Thomps’ sisters, Hulda Hughes Wilson, and Adline Hughes Wilson. Hulda, Adline, Thomps and their younger brother, William M. Hughes, were orphaned after their mother died in 1848 (their father, Elisha Hughes, had disappeared several years before). Custody of the orphans was awarded to their uncle, William M. Wilson, in Anderson, S.C. in June 1848. But by 1850 Thomps, Adline and William were living in Pickens County, Ala., in the home of their older sister, Harriet Hughes (1825-1906), and her first husband, John W. Hamby (1822-1862).

Here are a few more examples of the Hughes-Wilson connection.  James A. Wilson (1805-1876) is also buried in the cemetery on Junkins Road. James A. Wilson’s son, John Wilson (1828-1862), was the first cousin and husband of Hulda Hughes Wilson. James A. Wilson also had a daughter named Elizabeth “Eliza” Wilson (1829-1904), who was the grandmother of a fellow named Arley Hughes Sr., who was, you may recall, my grandfather. Another son of James A. Wilson, named James Harvey Wilson (1837-1900), was the first cousin and husband of Adline Hughes Wilson.

Our next stop was the Kennedy Express, a gas station and convenience store with a little restaurant inside. While we had lunch there, the clerk told us about a another Wilson Cemetery nearby, which we set off to see after lunch. This cemetery, like the one at New Wesley Chapel, was on a dirt road deep in the woods.

The headstone of James Harvey Doughty, one of my great grandfathers.

Then we drove to Reform (pronounced “REE-form”). First we visited Arbor Springs Cemetery, and then we visited Graham Memorial Cemetery,  which is close to Pickens County High School. Many of my grandmother’s Doughty relatives are buried at Graham Memorial. Arley Hughes Jr. was a school teacher in Pickens County before he went to law school in Tuscaloosa. In fact, he met his wife, Virgie Doughty (my grandmother) when she sent him a letter inviting him to apply for a teaching job. She wrote the letter on behalf of her father, James Harvey Doughty, who was highly active in the civic life of Pickens County.

What did I learn from this trip? It gave me a better understanding than I have ever had before about what life must have been like for my earliest Hughes ancestors in Alabama. They lived on a small farm in an area that even now seems to me very remote, rural and sparsely populated, although it’s only about an hour’s drive from Tuscaloosa. According to my father, the same trip took my grandfather two days by horse and wagon in the early 1900s.

The city I grew up in, Mobile, is in the same state, but the world of my childhood there in the 1960s and 70s was in many ways an entirely different planet from the world my grandfather grew up in. This trip taught me, in a very visceral way, that I am not that far removed from my rural Alabama heritage.