Charles “Charley” Hughes was the first person I thought of when I saw the prompt for this week’s 52 Ancestors. I spent time trying to come up with another ancestor I could write about, but I always came back to my paternal Grandfather. This is why I feel he is unforgettable.
I never got to meet my Grandfather as he died 11 years before I was born. However, I have heard so many great things about him. Every person who ever met my Dad loved him. They only had good things to say about him. Over the last 23 years, I have discovered that he got that trait from his Dad. Every person I have talked to only had good things to say about Charley, and they say “Everyone loved him”.
Charley Hughes has left me with 2 unsolved mysteries. The first, is “when was he born”? I have not found a birth certificate for him, even though I have spent years searching. I know he was born in Benton County, Missouri in the 1860s. His Headstone says he was born in 1868, his death certificate says 1865, my Aunt’s written genealogy says 1864, a page from the Hughes Family Bible says 1861 and my Baby Book family tree says he was born in 1867. The second mystery is, “was he married more than twice”? He first married Clara Hester Braden on March 25, 1900, at the age of 31. It seems odd to me that he would have waited so long to get married and begin a family. When Clara died during childbirth in 1903, he married my Grandmother, Virginia Belle Hayes within months of her death. Granted, he had two young children under the age of 3 to take care of, but that was still fairly soon. I think the thought of him having another wife and possibly having other children out there is just too intriguing.
Charley loved farming and raising horses, and he excelled at both. He helped his mother with his much older brother, Benjamin Douglas, who became blind because of Scarlet Fever when he was 5 years old. He took over complete care of him after his mother died in 1913. Benjamin died on August 18, 1915, the same day that my Dad was born. Charley named my Dad after his brother.
Grandpa raised prize-winning horses. He also raised enough food during the great depression to not only feed his family of 11 children, but he also made sure his neighbors had enough to eat. In 1930 when one of his daughters’ husband was murdered on his way into Lexington, Missouri, he stormed the courthouse to try to administer his own kind of justice to the man who killed his son-in-law. When he couldn’t get inside, he tried to break through the wall of the building to get in. He was so well thought of in the county that the sheriff just loaded him in the squad car and drove him home.
He did so much in his long life that there is no way I could write it all in one blog. I have been writing the stories I have heard about him, and I am putting them in a book I am writing. I want to make sure that those who come after me will discover how unforgettable their ancestor was.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.