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
By BOB KYLE
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.
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.
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.
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.”