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