Category Archives: Life of Service

Unforgettable ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ Week #35

Gpa and Gma Hughes older fixedCharles “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 Charley Hughes Headstone“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 Gpa & Gmawaited 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 foodGpa & horses 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 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.


Filed under #52ancestors, 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, Ancestry, Charley Hughes, Facebook Groups, Lafayette County Courthouse, Lexington MO, Life of Service, Missouri, My Stories, Personal Stories, Uncategorized, Virginia Belle Hayes

Extraordinary Service ~ Rosa Lucille Hayes ~ 52 Ancestors #19

Aunt Rosie HayesRosa Lucille Hayes is my paternal Great Aunt. She was born March 23, 1901, in Pleasant Hill, Cass County, Missouri, to Hamilton and Elvira (Register) Hayes. She was the youngest of 9 children. From a very young age, she loved taking care of things, from the family pets to the farm animals and the others in her household. This desire began when she was 5 years old and she helped nurse her ailing father who died later that year.

In 1920, at the age of 19, Rosie enrolled in Nursing School. This had been a lifelongRosie on a horse dream. After graduation, she began her career at Lexington Memorial Hospital in Lexington, Missouri. Rosie was what was referred to as a “Modern” woman. She wasn’t interested in getting married and she never did. She enjoyed dating and courting but she just wanted to live her life her way. She loved the outdoors and animals.

She dedicated her life to helping others. She took care of any relative that was ill and she sat by the bedside of her dying kin often being the last one to speak with them. She volunteered many hours taking care of children in the hospitals and rescuing cats and dogs. She was a woman of great love and strength.

MO RiverThere is a family story that tells of a time when Rosie was about 30 years old. She was attending a family reunion that was held on the banks of the Missouri River in Lexington, Missouri. The Hayes family was very large and included tons of children. As the adults were sitting on their blankets talking and enjoying their day, they suddenly heard some of the children screaming. Without a moment thought Aunt Rosie jumped up and took off in the direction of the noise. One of the teenage boys was in the river flailing around trying to get out. The current was too strong for him to remain standing long enough to get to shore. Rosie ran straight into the river and swam out to the boy. The boy hung on to her neck and she started trying to swim to the edge of the water but the water was too strong. My Uncle Wilburn had run to his truck and grabbed a rope throwing it out to Rosie. After a few attempts, she finally grabbed it and the men pulled them to shore. During the struggle in the river, the boy had swallowed a lot of water. Once they got out Rosie began CPR, saving the boys’ life. When the boy began to breathe well enough to get up Rosie stood up and said: “There is no way you will ever convince me that a man is better than a woman!” With that, she walked to her car and drove herself home to change into something dry.

Aunt Rosie outlived all of her sisters and brothers except one, dying on May 9, 1988, at the age of 87. Her Tombstone inscription says it all!

aunt rosies headstone



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.


Filed under #52ancestors, 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Lexington MO, Life of Service, Missouri, Missouri River, Rosa Lucille Hayes, Uncategorized