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 page 2 of The Tuscaloosa News on Wednesday, March 12, 1969.
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.
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.
I was quite surprised to learn this story while tracing the ancestry of my grandmother, Virginia Doughty Hughes (1896-1978).
In 1804, my grandmother’s direct line Doughty ancestors lived in the western part of the Pendleton District in South Carolina. The eldest was Joseph Doughty (1755-1815), who was my 4th great grandfather. His children included my 3rd great grandfather, Jeremiah Doughty Sr. (1777-1838) and Jeremiah’s older brother, Daniel.
Towards the end of November 1804, Daniel filed a will saying that he was “sick and weak in body but of sound & disposing mind memory and understanding.” In the will he bequeathed “unto my dearly beloved wife Rachel Doughty one feather Bed with the furniture belonging to the same and her wearing clothes and no other part of my Estates.” He left the rest of his estate to his sons, Joseph and Laban.
By the following February, Daniel was dead and his “dearly beloved wife” was in jail, accused of murdering him. A second suspect named John Andrews was also in jail but the alleged mastermind of the crime — Rachel’s father, Laban Oakley — had escaped from jail and was on the run.
South Carolina Gov. Paul Hamilton issued the following proclamation on Feb. 19, 1805:
State of So. Carolina. By His Excellency
Paul Hamilton Governor & Commander
in Chief in & over the State aforesaid.
A Proclamation. Whereas I have received
information that Daniel Doughty late
of the District of Pendleton has been
most barberously and wickedly destroyed
by his wife Rachel, his step-father Laban
Oakley, a certain John Andrews who dis
regarding all social, moral, & religious ties
did most treacherously & cruelly combine
and conspire together and did infuse
into the drink, food and medicine of the
said Daniel Doughty repeated doses
of ratsbane or arsenic of the effects of
which after the most excruting tortures
& lamentable suffering the said Daniel
Doughty did at last die. And whereas the
said Rachel the wife of the said Daniel
Doughty and the said John Andrews
have both been committed to Gaol
under strong evidence of their guilt
but Laban Oakley the step-father as above
said who is believed to have been the first
mover of this wicked conspiracy has
fled & eludes the pursuit of justice. There
fore I deem it proper to issue this my
Proclamation hereby offering a re
ward of $400 to any person or persons
who will apprehend & deliver to the cus
tody of the Sheriff of the District in
this State the said Laban Oakley to be paid
on his being convicted of the said offence.
And I hereby most earnestly call upon
& require all officers civil & military and
all other friends to the peace safety and
happiness of the Community to the
aiding & assisting to the utmost of their
power in apprehending & bringing to
answer with his accomplices to the
Laws the said Laban Oakley to the end
that this dreadful & wicked outrage on humanity
may be followed by the punishment
which is due to it and an example
made which may deter others from
the perpetration of crimes of a nature
so flagritious & detestable. Given under
my hand and with the seal of the State this
19th day of February A.D. 1805 and of
American Independence the 29th.
Paul (L.M.S.) Hamilton. By
the Governor Daniel Huges Secretary
of State. Recorded 19th February 1805.
A document from Gov. Hamilton dated Dec. 13, 1805, indicates that $400 had been paid “for apprehending Laban Oakley, a murderer under Proclamation who broke Gaol and fled in Tennessee.”
After the death of Daniel Doughty, his sons went to live with their grandfather, and Laban Doughty’s first name was changed to Daniel. By 1820 this Doughty family had moved from the Pendleton District to the area around Tuscaloosa, Ala. Several of them are buried at Big Creek Cemetery. (My grandparents would meet, almost a century later, when Virgie Doughty wrote a letter to Arley Hughes, on behalf of her father, James Harvey Doughty, inviting him to apply for a job as a school teacher in Pickens County, Ala.)
According to sources I found online, Daniel Doughty the younger (the murdered Daniel’s son) later changed the spelling of his last name to “Doty.” Why he did this, I don’t know, but it may have been an attempt on his part to stake a claim of descent from the Mayflower passenger Edward Doty.
He ultimately settled in Mississippi, where some say the community of Doty Springs was named after him.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.