Hughes family papers, 1790-1910 (bulk 1820-1898).

Creator: Hughes family.
Collection number: 2779
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Abstract: Principal member of the Hughes family of Edgefield, S.C., are Dr. John Hughes (d. 1835) and his son, John H. Hughes (d. 1871), who were both cotton planters; John Hughes’s sister, Sophia Hughes Hunt (fl. 1825- 1864); his daughter, Jennie H. Hughes (fl. 1858-1879); his father-in-law, James Bones (fl. 1819-1836); his cousin, Lucy T. Butler Moore (d. 1857); his son-in-law, Cicero Adams (d. 1868); and wagon maker John Christie (fl. 1851). The collection includes family correspondence, legal, and financial papers, and miscellaneous items, dated chiefly between 1820 and 1898, and relating to Hughes family members and their Bones, Hunt, Christie, and Nicholson relatives. Papers relate primarily to plantation life, especially the daily routines and social and religious lives of plantation women. Other topics include army life during the Civil War and postwar antagonisms. South Carolina politics are also discussed in the early papers. Locations besides Edgefield for which considerable information appears are Augusta, Ga.; Grande Cane, La.; Woodville, Miss.; and various locations in Ireland. Financial and legal items of interest include wills, deeds, personal accounts, estate papers, and slave bills of sale. A few miscellaneous items include sermons, clippings, advertisements, and recipes.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Folder 1 contains a letter,  dated 6 January 1818, is from James Blocker to Col. Sampson Butler, and contains Butler’s reply of 17 January on the back page of the original. The letter concerns the legal status of a free black man named Joe, who had once belonged to Samuel Butler’s brother.

A receipt signed 22 September 1828 by Joel Spencer acknowledged his purchasing  of an enslaved individual named Nace, whom he promised to sell in Louisiana for John Hughes. A bill appears from Hughes to Spencer for Nace on 23 May 1831 (See Folders 3 and 6).

Folder 10 contains a a copy of a slave bill of sale (originally dated 18 December 1827; copy dated 21 January 1847) for a young girl named Pricilla.

Folder 14a contains undated letters discussing a cholera epidemic among slaves in South Carolina and Louisiana.

Folder 16 contains a letter from Emma Lenice, dated 3 May 1860, which discusses the travel of her brother and sister to Africa as missionaries with 80 freed slaves, who had been educated and manumitted by a Mr. Cuthbert of Savannah.

Folder 17 contains a letter from Sophia Hughes Hunt on 15 October 1861, discussing the 27 enslaved individuals near Natchez for suspected involvement in inciting an insurrection.

Folder 22 contains a letter dated 26 November 1867 from Robert Hughes discussed being “forced” by the Freedman’s Bureau to pay higher wages to African American laborers. There is also a letter from 14 October 1867 from Cicero Adams concerning a black woman named Edith, who had died in childbirth. Adams had arranged for her burial and described the kind treatment she received in her last hours from friends.