Hughes' Views & News

En invitasjon for Brelands i Norge

Posted in Breland, Breland Stasjon, Marnardal, Breland, Vest-Agder, Norge, Genealogy, Norge by tahughesnc on March 11, 2016


Breland, Louisiana in 1900

Dette kartet fra 1900 viser hvor Breland, Louisiana, pleide å være. Den ble oppkalt etter min mors forfedre.


Tilgi min dårlig norsk. Jeg brukte Google Translate til å skrive denne meldingen.

Min mors etternavn før hun giftet seg var Breland. Vi er etterkommere av Abraham Breland, som bodde i South Carolina på slutten av 1700-tallet og begynnelsen av 1800-tallet.

Vi ønsker å finne ut om vi er knyttet til Brelands i Norge.

Jeg har startet Breland DNA-prosjektet for å få svar på det spørsmålet, og Brelands i Norge er invitert til å delta. Her er en link til prosjektets hjemmeside:

IJeg har også startet en Facebook-side for etterkommere av Abraham Breland, og du er invitert til å delta i vår Facebook-gruppe:

Vennligst vurdere dette din personlige invitasjon fra meg til å bli med Breland DNA-prosjektet og vår Breland Facebook-side! Hvis du har spørsmål, kan du gjerne email meg på:



Obituary of Robert M. Breland, 1889-1959

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on January 21, 2016
This photo was taken in 1936, when Robert M. Breland was 47 years old.

This photo was taken in 1936, when Robert M. Breland was 47 years old.

This obituary for my maternal grandfather was published in The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday, November 26, 1959. It contains two factual errors:  Robert M. Breland was born in Washington Parish, not Tangipahoa Parish, and he did not move to Mobile until after 1931. In 1930 he lived in New Orleans. By 1940, he had moved from Mobile to Northport, Alabama. By 1950 he lived in Hawai’i. He moved from Hawai’i to Mobile, where several of his children lived, in 1958 or 1959, not long before he died.


Rites Sunday for Former Memphian, 70

Services for Robert Milton Breland, former Memphian who died yesterday in Mobile, will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at National Funeral Home. Burial will be in Memorial Park.

Mr. Breland, who was 70, was born in Tangipahoa Parish, La., and moved to Memphis in 1918. He moved to Mobile in 1930. He was a bookkeeper.

He leaves six sons, Dr. Kenneth Breland of Boise, Idaho, Hunter Breland of Fort Worth, Texas, Robert Breland, Charles G. Breland, Douglas P. Breland and Leigh Breland, all of Mobile; three daughters, Mrs. Beryl B. Young of Corpus Christi, Texas, Mrs. Brooken Campbell of Ohio, and Mrs. Arley Hughes of Mobile, and 18 grandchildren.

He was the brother-in-law of Mrs. L.O. Peck of 2116 Linden, Mrs. Elbert E. Holley of 487 Josephine and Carl E. Pierce of 1879 Young.

88 years old, 66 years married

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on January 4, 2016

This story about my about my Hughes great-grandparents was published in The Tuscaloosa News in January 1956 — I’m not sure which day.

Pickens Natives, Wed 66 Years, Still Hearty And Independent

Pickens Natives, Wed 66 Years

News Staff Writer

When Mr. and Mrs. Jim Hughes both turned 88 and close partners for 66 short years, shake hands with St. Peter in another world they won’t have far to go. It’ll be like visiting kinfolks in an adjoining forty.

A Pickens County family most of their lives, Mr. and Mrs. Hughes moved on a better farm near Columbus, Miss., right after World War I.

Last Tuesday, Mrs. Hughes celebrated her 88th birthday. Mr. Jim turned 88 last summer.

It was during the early winter that Mr. and Mrs. Hughes called in their kinfolks to celebrate the 66th anniversary of their wedding.

They have eleven children living. There are 25 surviving grandchildren and 26 surviving great-grandchildren.

A son, Arlie E. Hughes, Tuscaloosa, just recently retired at 65 from employment at Alabama Power Company here. He had worked for the company 16 years.

Another son, E. T. Hughes, is employed by Allen and Jemison Co., in Tuscaloosa. A daughter, Mrs. Ingram Ashcraft, is a nurse’s aid at Druid City Hospital.

The elderly couple has lived through periods of prosperity and the other, were past grownup in the days of Roosevelt’s WPA, but didn’t take any money for plowing under every third heifer or for not planting cotton.

To this day, Mr. and Mrs. Hughes have been self reliant, self-supporting and never the object of any charity from the government, any individual, not even the kinfolks.

Both are still in apparent good health.

Who wears the britches in the family?

“Ours is not an absolute petticoat government,” chuckled the husband, Jim, “but it’s under pretty good control.”

What did his missus think along those lines?

Like most womenfolks, she was smart enough not to say.

Descendant of Abraham Breler/Breland starts Breland DNA Project

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on September 3, 2015
This is the headstone of my maternal great grandfather, Cicero M. Breland, in Mount Hermon, Louisiana.

This is me standing next to the headstone for my maternal great grandfather, Cicero M. Breland, in Mount Hermon, Louisiana.

Many of the Breland and Breeland families in the United States — especially in South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana  — are descended from a man named Abraham Breler/Breland, who lived near Beaufort, South Carolina, in the late 1700s and died there in the early 1800s.

I, too, am a descendant of Abraham Breler/Breland. He was my 5th great grandfather on my mother’s side. In particular I am descended from Abraham’s grandson, John Robertson Breland (1794-1875) who migrated from South Carolina to Louisiana about 1810. He served in de Clouet’s Regiment in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 and then lived the rest of his life in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, and Pike County, Mississippi.

My maternal grandfather, Robert Milton Breland (1889-1959), was born and raised near Sunny Hill, Louisiana. Robert’s father, my great grandfather, was Cicero Malachi Breland (1857-1917), who lived his entire life in Washington Parish, Louisiana, and is buried in Mount Hermon. Cicero’s father, my great great grandather, was Elisha Elliott Breland (1832-1862) who died in Louisiana while serving as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War.

Where Abraham Breler/Breland was born is a subject of much speculation and dispute. Some say he was born in Pitt County, North Carolina, while others say he was born in Germany. To date, no one has been able to answer that question definitively.

I recently started the Breland Surname DNA Project with the hope of answering the question of where in Europe my Breland ancestors came from. This followed my involvement in the Hughes DNA Project, as both a member and administrator. Through my involvement in the Hughes Project, the Clan Colla 425 Null Project, and the McMahon DNA Project, I learned that my paternal ancestors lived in the vicinity of County Monaghan, Ireland, before they settled near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the 1700s and then migrated from there to North Carolina and South Carolina. My experience with these DNA projects gives me great hope that the Breland DNA Project will help solve the historical mystery of where the Brelands came from.

At the time of this writing, the Breland DNA Project has just six members. The project needs to recruit many more members – especially men with the Breland surname – if it is to be successful. Anyone with the Breland surname, or who has Breland ancestors, is welcome to join. Here is the link where you can do so:

In order to join the project, you will need to buy a DNA test kit from Family Tree DNA. Men named Breland who join the project should order the Y-DNA37 test, which is a test of paternal ancestry only and costs $149 if you order it through the Breland Project (it costs $169 if you order it outside of a project). All women who join the project, and men without the Breland surname, should order the Family Finder test, which costs $99. The Family Finder tests both maternal and paternal ancestry and helps find matches within about five generations.

In addition, if you have already done an autosomal DNA test through AncestryDNA or 23andme, you will need to transfer your results to Family Tree DNA first before joining the Breland Project. Here is the link where you can do that:

Feel free to email me at if you have any questions about the Breland DNA Project. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tom Hughes was born and raised in Mobile, Ala., and now lives in Durham, N.C. He is the son of Gloria Breland Hughes, whose parents were Robert Milton Breland (1889-1959) and Cora Peirce Breland (1891-1936). Robert and Cora met in the early 1900s when they were both high school students at Sunny Hill School in Washington Parish, Louisiana. Tom’s uncles, Charles Gregory Breland and Hunter M. Breland, wrote, “The Breland Families of the Southern States, 1794-1875.”

Obituary of John Grogan (ca. 1847-1903)

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on August 12, 2015

This obituary of my wife’s great great grandfather was published on the front page of the Streator Daily Free Press in Streator, Illinois, on Saturday, January 10, 1903.


The front page of the Streator Daily Free Press from Saturday, January 10, 1903.



Was Working in a Shaft at Kenmare, N.D.—Father of Knox College Football player.

Mrs. John Grogan received a telegram last night about 6 o’clock from her son, Anthony, at Kenmare, N.D., stating that her husband was dead and saying that he and his uncle, also named Anthony Grogan would leave for Streator tonight with the remains.

Although no particulars of the death of Mr. Grogan have yet been obtained it is thought likely that he was killed in a mine. Last September he and his son Anthony went to Kenmare to take up a land claim, Mr. Grogan’s brother following a month later. The man now dead had been a miner in Streator and he received work in that capacity as a miner at Kenmare, the son being employed as a “top-man” at the same place.

Mr. Grogan was about 56 years of age. He was born in the County Mayo, Ireland, and in early manhood was married to Sabina Brennan. In 1872, or thereabouts, the husband came to the United States and found employment on a farm in Eagle township, he being joined about a year later by his wife and their son Martin, the only child of the couple who was born in the Emerald Isle.

Mr. Grogan and family made their residence in Eagle township until 1887, when they moved to Streator to give the children the advantages which the city afforded in an educational way, the husband and father finding employment in the mines.

There were born to Mr. & Mrs. Grogan thirteen children, of whom are surviving ten—Anthony, of Kenmare of N.D.; Thomas and Patrick, of Streator; John, who is a student at Knox College, Galesburg; Delia, of Chicago, and Nellie, Joseph, James, Edward and Hugh of this city.

The first born of the children Martin died in 1896 in Sioux City, Iowa, through which locality he was then traveling. A daughter, Mary, passed away in Eagle township at the age of 9 years and a third child died in the same locality at birth.

Mrs. Bridget Grogan, mother of the children and now well up in the seventies, has made her home for a number of years with her son at 310 West Stanton street. Her husband, John Grogan, father of the subject of this sketch, died in this city about 7 years ago.

Besides the brother Anthony, of Kenmare, Mr. Grogan is survived by two other brothers, Martin and Thomas, in Ireland, and a sister, Mrs. John Forkin of West Stanton street.

The deceased at the time of his death was a member of Division No. 12, Ancient Order of Hibernians, and when he left Streator he also belonged to Local No. 800, U.M.W.of A., but it is not known whether or not he continued as a member of that organization. He carried $1,500 insurance in the Toilers’ Fraternity, but since some of the executive officers of that society merged—or attempted to merge—it with the Western Union Life Insurance Co., his family has paid his assessments to the latter corporation.

Of the surviving children of the decedent, the most widely known is John, the student at Knox college, who is an all-round athlete and is one of the best football players in the United States.

Ambush in Bloody Tangipahoa: The Buzzy Breland Bushwhacking

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on February 17, 2015

This chilling story was reported in The St. Landry Clarion newspaper on January 30, 1909. Other versions of this story were reported in newspapers nationwide at the time. The man identified here as “Buzzy Breeland” is not a direct-line ancestor of mine, but I think he may have been a distant cousin of my Breland great grandfather, Cicero M. Breland, who at the time of this incident lived about 45 miles away from where it happened. This type of violence happened often enough in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana in the late 1800s and early 1900s that newspapers coined the phrase “Bloody Tangipahoa” as a shorthand reference to it. Buzzy Breland’s father, John Paul Breland, was killed in an earlier “Bloody Tangipahoa” incident, in 1897.



Horrible Assassination, In Which Man and Two Women Are Murdered–Mother’s Pleading Saves Young Baby.

Independence, La., Jan. 23.–The most horrible and most diabolical crime that was ever perpetrated in this parish transpired last night about 8 o’clock between Tickfaw and Genesee. Buzzy Breeland, his wife and stepdaughter were foully shot to death by persons in ambush. Breeland lived near Natalbany, and was on his way home from moving his wife and stepdaughter, who was the wife of Joe Everett, who was killed at Little Zion Church Jan. 19.

Breeland gave his dying declaration to Wibur Nesom and E.B. Ellzy, of Tickfaw, and others, to the following effect:

He and his wife had gone out to Little Zion Church to move his stepdaughter, Mrs. Joe Everette, to their home, and just as he was nearing Genesee, his wife and stepdaughter behind and he ahead of the wagon, driving a cow, two persons fired on him from ambush. Thinking he was dead, they halted the wagon and were about to shoot the women when they begged them not to kill the baby. Then one of the assassins took the baby from its mother’s arms and put it on the ground and deliberately took aim at the poor defenseless women and shot the brains out of one and filled the body of the other full of buck shot. Both women were instantly killed. Breeland gave the names of Avery Blount and Garfield Kinchen as being the parties who committed the awful crime.

Breeland said that Blount came back before leaving and looked into his face to make sure that he was dead, but that he succeeded in affecting to be dead and lay there until about 8:30, when he heard someone coming. A party of young people from Independence had been to a party at Hammond, and were on their way back when suddenly their horses came to a stop, seeing an obstacle in the road and smelling the blood. Marian Baham and Alponse Faust, two of the young men in the party, got out of their buggy to ascertain what was in the road, when they discovered it was a buggy, and when they made a further examination, they were horrified when they saw Mrs. Breeland was lying back in the wagon with her head blown to pieces and brains scattered all over the buggy, and Mrs. Everett was lying over on one wheel, with her body perforated with buckshot.  They then heard the cry of the little baby, about three months old. Then they heard the groans of Breeland and discovered that he was in a dying condition, but was able to talk. Breeland told them his story. They then immediately went to Tickfaw (and) persons came back with them to give assistance.

Among the rest were Mr. Nesom and Mr. Kelly, before whom Breeland made his dying declaration. Breeland was then taken to Natalbany to give him medical aid, but just as they were taking him out of the wagon he breathed his last. He lived about two hours after he was shot, being rational up to the moment he died.

Sheriff Saal was immediately notified and was on the scene this morning with several deputies.

Coroner George Sanders proceeded at once to hold an inquest and the following were sworn in as jurors:  John Wascom, Captain Reed, P.D. Kemp, F.A. Albey and Dr. W.H. Brent, who rendered their verdict, but would not disclose publicly who committed the crime. The Jury gave their verdict in full to Sheriff Saal. The latter immediately placed Avery Blount under arrest. The other party is supposed to be Garfield Kinchen, who has not been apprehended. Sheriff Saal sent out a large posse, who are now in search of the other party to the crime. Garfield Kinchen is a brother to Ben Kinchen, who was mixed up in the killing of the Everetts, and Mrs. Joe Everett being the wife of Joe Everett and Mrs. Breeland and Mrs. Joe Everett being the main eyewitnesses to the Everett killing, is supposed to form a basis to the motive for this bloody and most inhuman slaughter.

Obituary of Fannie Powell Carter Breland (1850-1917)

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on December 29, 2014

Frances Powell Carter Breland

Frances “Fannie” Powell Carter Breland (1850-1917) was my maternal great grandmother. My great grandfather Cicero Breland was her second husband. She had seven children with her first husband, Labron Carter (1837-1881). After his death, she married Cicero Breland and had four children with him. Their first child, Spurgeon Breland (1884-1886), died shortly before what would have been his second birthday.

This obituary was published on March 1, 1917, in The Era-Leader newspaper in Franklinton, Louisiana. I have not changed any of the spellings or punctuations; I have reproduced them here exactly as they appeared in the original.

Mt. Hermon, La., Feb. 25. —

Mrs. Fannie Breeland died at her home hear here last Wednesday morning, and was buried in the cemetery at the home of her son, Iseral Carter, Thursday, Rev. Early Corkern conducted the funeral rits assisted by Rev. C.T. Corkern. Mrs. Breeland was Miss Fannie Powell and a member of one of the most prominent families of Mississippi. She was born in Amite Co., on Feb. 5, 1850, was married to Mr. Lolan Carter in 1866. She has seven children by this marriage: Mr. John Carter, a prominent farmer of Mt. Hermon, Elija Carter of Franklinton, Iseral Carter, of Mt. Hermon, Felden Carter, of Sunny Hill, and Mrs. Vol Simmons of Selma, Ala. two having preceeded her to the grave. After the death of her first husband she was married on May 31st, 1883 to Mr. Cicero Breeland. Three children were born to this union, Robert, bookkeeper for a firm in Hammond, Murry, a farmer of Mt. Hermon and Alvan, formerly of Selma, Ala., but now at home with his father where he will make his home, Soon after her first marriage she moved from Mississippi to Louisiana and settled near Mt. Hermon where she lived until after her second marriage when she moved with her husband near Pleasant Hill Church where they lived until her death. She leaves one sister, Mrs. D.J. Ott, of Mt. Hermon, and a brother, Mr. Warren Powell of Mississippi. She was a consecrated christian, a member of the Pleasant Hill Baptist church. Her children grew up to call her blessed and are known as our best citizens.

A friend.

Obituary of Cicero M. Breland (1857-1917)

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on December 24, 2014

Cicero Malachi Breland was my maternal great grandfather. This obituary was published on Oct. 4, 1917, in The Era-Leader newspaper in Franklinton, Louisiana. I have not changed any of the spellings; I have reproduced them here exactly as they appeared in the original.

Cicero Breland obituary

Click to enlarge

Mt. Hermon, La., Sept. 30 — Era-Leader: Mr. Cicero Breeland was found dead in the woods near his home last Monday evening. He had gone to his mailbox in the afternoon and when he did not return the family becoming anxious began to search and found him. He had been dead about an hour. Dr. L.W. Brock was immediately summoned. He hurried to the scene and pronounced his death caused by heart failure. Mr. Breeland was born in Washington Parish in the first ward near the Parish line on the 29th day of January, 1857, was married to Mrs. Fannie Carter, May 30, 1883. He joined the Baptist church when quite young and lived a consistent christian life and was a member of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. He had three sons, Robert, Murry and Alvin, who survive him. He was buried last Tuesday in the cemetery by the side of his wife near the home of Mr. I.W. Carter. The funeral rites were conducted by Rev. Early Corkern, and a large crowd of sorrowing relatives and friends were present to pay their last tribute of respect to the departed one. A Friend.

A place called Breland, Louisiana

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on December 17, 2014
This map is from 1900.

This map is from 1900. Click to enlarge.

Recently I learned that my mother’s mother, whose maiden name was Cora Esther Peirce, was born in a place called Breland, Louisiana.  In fact, when Cora was born in May 1891, the U.S. post office for Breland was located on the property of her grandfather, John Ticknor Peirce, and her grandfather’s second wife, Salissa E. “Dora” Peirce, was the U.S. postmaster for Breland.

Cora’s father, Adolphus Elliot Peirce, was later appointed U.S. postmaster for Breland, in August 1904. According to family lore, Cora worked in that post office before her family moved to the nearby community of Sunny Hill in 1905, when she was 14 years old. When she began attending school in Sunny Hill, Cora was assigned to the same class as Robert Milton Breland, my grandfather, whom she married in Baton Rouge five years later.

This railroad map is from 1914. Click to enlarge.

This railroad map is from 1914. Click to enlarge.

This story is interesting to me for several reasons. First, Cora was born in a place called Breland. Then she moved away from there to Sunny Hill — where she met a boy named Breland, who later became her husband.

It also raises these questions for me:  Where was Breland? Why was it called Breland? And, does the community of Breland still exist?

My brother, Brian Hughes, answered the first question by finding maps from 1900, 1906 and 1914 showing Breland located roughly half way between Franklinton and Kentwood. These maps also show Breland’s proximity to Sunny Hill.

As for why the place was called Breland, the earliest record I can find shows that William G. Breland (1839-1890), who was a 2nd great grand uncle to me, was appointed U.S. postmaster for Breland in September 1890. He died just a few months later, in December 1890. (The next person to be appointed postmaster for Breland after him was Salissa E. Peirce, in March 1891.)

Sibila it later came to be called Breland. Click to enlarge.

Sibila, shown on this map from the 1840s, later came to be called Breland. Click to enlarge.

The place was called “Sibila” before it was called “Breland.” My guess, and this is purely a guess, is that it came to be called “Breland” simply because the first person appointed to be postmaster for the place happened to be named Breland.

Does Breland, Louisiana still exist? To the best of my knowledge, it does not. Records indicate that the post office at Breland was discontinued, i.e., closed for good, in 1906. And, although the location of Sunny Hill can still be found via Google Maps, I have not been able to find any mention of Breland, Louisiana, on any current maps of the area.

Do you know any additional details about Breland, Louisiana? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

An 1891 letter from J.T. Peirce in Breland, Louisiana

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on December 5, 2014
John Tichnor Peirce

John Ticknor Peirce

This letter was written by my maternal great-great grandfather, John Ticknor Peirce (1846-1912), and includes a mention of my maternal great grandparents, Adolphus Elliot Peirce (1868-1910) and Etta Bailey Peirce (1873-1952). It is part of a Peirce family scrapbook now held by my mother, Gloria Breland Hughes. Her mother, Cora Peirce Breland, was the first child of Adolphus and Etta.

Breland La 4/25/1891

Mrs. Mary E. Holly

Dear Niece it has been a long time since I have heard from any of you. I think it has been about a year since I received your last letter I would be glad you would write again, and let us know how you are all getting on. I wrote to Anna soon after I came home from Florida, but have never heard a word from her. I do not know whether she received it or not. Have you heard from our friend Dr. Alford. I suppose you heard he has married, as he was returning home from Fla he met her on board the cars, and before three days were engaged to be married. I have never seen her but they say She is young beautiful and very intelligent, but I fear he has made a bad choice, as she is always gone, her home was in Kansas City and she stays most of her time there.

My oldest Son Adolphus was married last August he married a Miss Bailey. Bedford’s son’s wife died last Jany.

Mary I want to hear something more about that visit of yours, don’t you think you can come this year, we would all be so glad to see you all

How was the orange crop last year, and is there a prospect for a good crop this year. My wife says to ask you how your Turkeys are doing this Spring. She has about thirty young ones.

I am through planting my crop we have had a very late Spring and every thing looks bad, Cotton is selling very low here, it is not at all encouraging, there was a poor cotton crop made in this section last year, people expected to get more than they did, but it is still going down.

Mary tell Ann, and, Laura to write. I know some of you can write oftener than you do. The girls send their love to you all. I hope you are all well, our children are, some of them complaining, but I think they will be better in a few days. With kindest regards to you and Mr. Holly I remain your affectionate Uncle.

Send your letters to Breland, Tangipahoa Par, La as that office is at my house.

J T Peirce

(Editor’s note:  John’s second wife, Salissa E. Peirce, was appointed U.S. postmaster for Breland, Louisiana, on March 28, 1891 — about a month before this letter was written. )