Hughes Family Stories

Local History Of Greene County and Southwestern Pennsylvania by Andrew J. Waychoff
Article #37, pp. 17.Thomas Hughes, and Greene County's First Emigrant Train. It was the special business of the wood rangers to give notice to all cabins of any special danger from Indians. At the time of the Spicer massacre, all the families in the eastern part of the county were warned to take to the forts. Thomas Hughes, who lived near Carmichaels, seldom heeded the warnings. Logan and Snake, two chiefs, soon after passing the Lanty bottom near Garards Fort and killing old man Keener, sent most of the Indians on westward with the plunder, and scouted farther eastward and northward, as I have told in the article ending with the Battle of the Ten Mile, one and one-half miles west of Waynesburg. Hughes worked on in his fields, taking with him a horse, his wife and two children, and placing two men as watchers. It seems that he did not leave until the Indians were actually seen. He then mounted the horse, took his wife on behind, and each carrying a child, galloped away to Fort Swan-VanMeter, a distance of two and one-half miles. Some of the men, thinking it too late to go to the fort, hid in the woods. The Indians went on to Fort Swan-VanMeter, killing Mr. Way nearby, and went on up Ten Mile. At a later time he was warned, but did not retire to the fort as others did. During the night strange owl hooting and other strange noises were heard. He would not go. He merely covered the fire so that it could not be seen and went again to bed. Mrs. Hughes being troubled in mind dreamed that their cabin was attacked by Indians, and so startled and frightened in mind was she that Mr. Hughes consented to leave the cabin for the remainder of the night. This was done, not so much from fear as to calm her feelings. They took quilts to a grain field and stayed during the remainder of the night. At early morning their cabin was in flames. They saw several Indians amusing themselves by tossing feathers of a feather bed into the air over the fire, the Indians showing delight to see them buffeted about by the wind. Hughes in Whiskey Insurrection Thomas Hughes moved later to Jefferson and he and his slaves built the massive old Stephens stone house which yet stands at the north edge of that town. Later will be mentioned much of the early history of Mr. Hughes and of the town of Jefferson. Mention should be added there to that Mr. Hughes, like many other good men at that day, ran a distillery; and that he also was a participant in the Whiskey Insurrection, which I will mention later. It is a matter of record that he and many other good men of this and adjacent counties were actually prominent in the lawless events forming a part of that insurrection. In a letter dated November 24, 1794, to Judge Alexander Addison by W. Rawle, a law officer of the federal government, he is instructed as follows: "To take the congnizance of Thomas Hughes, Esq. if he shall offer bail and good securities in no less sum in the whole than $3,000 for his appearance to answer." He was charged among other things as being one of those who blackened their faces and attacked the house of Captain Faulkner, an officer of the United States, and also with having signed a contemptuous and improper paper during September, 1794. During December of that year he was not included in a proclamation of pardon because as it says, he was "one of the men who with blackened faces attacked the home of Captain Faulkner. "First Emigrant Train Enters County Some say the first persons sent to spy out this goodly land about the lower Ten Mile and Muddy Creek valleys came previous to the summer of 1767. Be that as it may, the families and slaves, about fifty persons in all, forming a regular emigrant train, came in 1767. They had two or three wagons in which some rode, and some household goods were conveyed. The slaves walked and drove some stock and the pack animals, and aided generally in the progress of the train. They came from Virginia and Maryland over the old Braddock Road; the inmates of the wagons walking when more difficult mountain roads were reached. Most of the belongings were packed in and on paniers swung across the backs of patient pack animals. The smaller children often rode in the pantiers of the more trust-worthy animals. Long and tedious was the journey over the several ranges of mountains. About six miles east of the present location of Uniontown, they left the Braddock Road and came by was of the old Redstone branch of the Nemacolin Trail, the one widened by Colonel Burd during 1759. From Brownsville or Old Fort Redstone they came by a rudely cut road, and camped near the home of George Hupp, who then lived on Ten Mile, about one and one-half mile west of the mouth of that stream. They crossed at the first established crossing to our county--at the present location of Frederickstown, Washington county. From there they followed the paths and by-ways of animals and hunters to the new settlements which were soon to be made. During the long tedious journey Charles Swan, then twenty-one years of age, and Sarah, aged ten, daughter of Henry Van Meter, used the same horse, he walking at times, and she riding behind most of the time. Four years later they were married, and established a home of their own in this then wild wilderness. No. 43, pp 20. Upper Muddy Creek, Greene County, Pa. In 1767 a company of fifty-two persons was formed in Maryland and Virginia to come over the mountains and select homes west of the Monongahela River, which was then classed as the extreme western frontier. They consisted mostly of families and not roaming individuals. The heads of the families were mostly of middle age. The family names were Hughes, Swan, Van Meter, and Heller. They came by way of Nemacolin's Path, the same that Washington came over to visit the French up the Allegheny river in 1753. The same was later called the Cresap Road and yet later was widened by General Braddock in 1755 in bringing his army against Fort Duquesne, where Pittsburgh now stands. Six miles east of the present location of Uniontown they left the Braddock Road and came by Nemacolin's Path to Old Fort Redstone, where Brownsville now stands. From there they came ten miles to the mouth of a creek later called Ten Mile because of its distance from that fort. They crossed the Monongahela River where Fredericktown now is located and to George Hupp's cabin, about one-half mile up Ten Mile to a place now in Washington county. There they left their families while they scouted the nearby country and selected each a location for a future home. They all selected places south of Hupp's. John Swan and some of the Van Meters settled on Pumpkin Run, others became the first settlers of Muddy Creek. Felix Hughes built his cabin on the Biddle farm, east of Carmichaels; Thomas Hughes located his cabin in Old Town, Carmichaels, near where the Pennington greenhouse now stands; Charles Swan on the Charley Hathaway farm, just north of the Baily farm, about one mile west of what is now Carmichaels; Van Meter located near Baily's school house. Thus in the summer of 1767 lower Muddy Creek was settled. The home of George and Margaret Hupp became the general stopping point (probably Everhart and Mr. Waychoff was in error) for nearly all settlers coming to this region. Margaret Hupp was the first white woman mentioned in history west of the Monongahela River. How Muddy Creek Got Its Name. The name of Muddy Creek originated later. As to theselection of this name I quote directly from the writings of L.K. Evans, historian of fifty years ago: "Once when Swan and Hughes" (meaning Charles Swan and Thomas Hughes) "were crossing Muddy Creek in company, Swan's horse stumbled and fell with him. Incensed at his horse and chagrined at his plight he shook the mud and water from his clothing spluttering out 'It's a muddy little stream anyhow.'" Hughes was much amused by his friend's manner of expression, and related the joke so freqyently that the name Muddy, though at first applied in anger and derision, became attached to the stream so permanently that all succeeding floods have been unable wash the stigma out." In 1768 their families came to their cabins. Slaves were brought with them. Swan had several slaves. The slave huts were back toward the creek from his cabin. Thus was settled the lower part of the Muddy Creek valley. Article # 96 pp 45. Under the article: Naming of Jefferson. Thomas Hughes laid out Jefferson and so named it because of his political tendency. This was the eastern part of the present Jefferson. The western part was laid out by Col. John Heaton and was named likewise by him--Hamilton. There was political agitation and rivalry between these towns, especially atpolitical times, pole raisings, political meetings, and many fisticuffs were had among the residents and their friends. Even small boys entered such brawls. There was a vacant space between these villlages, reaching from College street eastward. The first houses built in this open space belonged to neither village, and their inhabitants, men women and boys took no sides in the neighborhood bickerings. This part was named Harmony. These three names continued until a postoffice was established for this and surrounding communities. Jefferson got the name and the location of the postoffice and the names Hamilton and Harmony fell into disuse. Article #103. pp, 49 The Hughes Family The Hughes family first settled in Loudon county, Virginia before the year 1739. Thomas, a younger member of this family became a great hunter, and became a pioneer to this seciton of Pennsylvania. A later Thomas Hughes, a descendant of the great hunter, has written a book, entitled, "My Family Memoirs." He lives in Baltimore, Maryland. From this book I quote as follows: Speaking of Thomas Hughes, the hunter, he says: "One of his hunting expeditions he extended beyond the mountains, and beheld for the first time the beautiful country of what is now Greene county, Pennsylvania, but at the time a part of Virginia. On his return home he gave such glowing accounts of the land of flowers as created an anxiety among his young friends that was only to be satisfied by inspecting for themselves the beautiful country. He persuaded his brother James to go out with him on his second expedition, and who returned with like accounts. They finally determined on locating their future homes there. This, Thomas did in 1771, and he was one of the very first settlers in that country. He located where Carmichaelstown now stands but several years afterwards exchanged farms with a party named Carmichael, and called his new place Jefferson, after his old county in Virginia. The old stone mansion which he build on his place still stands in the center of the town of Jefferson and is still the home of a branch of the family, the Lindsays. James' first step in furtherance of his intention was toselect a location, erect improvements for present purposes, and raise a crop before bringing out his wife and child. For this purpose he carried with him two of his colored servants, his faithful Butler and Sally, a sister of the latter, and also an Irishman, a laborer. He settled near his brother's place where Carmichaels now is, on a location vacated by a man who had gone to another portion of the country. He left his servants there in a rude cabin built by the former occupant, where they remained for several months, until the death of Sally, who was supposed to have been gored to death while milking a cow. The Irishman disappeared and Butler was afraid to remain by himself, and so this hastened the arrival of James with his little family, and which occurred in the year 1773. there accompained him, his father, Felix, and also three families, the Swans, Kings and Hellers, and these were among the first white settlers of that country "Flint's Mirror of Border Life" stated that the Hughes, Swans, and Hellers were the first white settlers in that part of Pennsylvania. Blockhouse Erected Immediately on their arrival they erected a for or blockhouse, as protection against the Indians and wild animals, and which house, when completer, was to belong to James Hughes tobe used by the others at nights until they could build cabins for themselves, and after that when they apprehended an attack from the Indians." This fort is preserved, and as seen by me a discription ofit is as follows: On leaving Carmichaelstown, the public road where it crosses Muddy Creek divided, one branch leading past Thomas Crago's, who married a grand- daughter of James Hughes, and the other past I. Biddle's. Where the latter lives was the place once owned by James Hughes, and wherre the brick dwelling stands once stood the old log fort, the material of which has been transferred to another part of the premises and now does duty as a tenant house. In front of the fort was a large glade alive with game of all kinds, and from that fact the place was given the name of Bear Harbor, and so called by Felix Hughes in a patent obtained by him April 18, 1785, and likewise in a conveyance to his son, James on January 15, 1787. The fort was one story and one-half, the first story being of hewed logs and the half-story of boards and a shingle roof; a style of house far different from those usual in that day, when round logs and clapboard roofs made a good home. In that time Mr. Crago says that that old log structure was considered an elegant house. In length it was forty feet and in width eighteen; containing two rooms each twenty feet by eighteen, and an upper half story or loft. In front there were two doors, one opening into each room, and also at their sides next to the two front corners of the fort a window. The chimney ran up in the center. A porch in front extended the whole length, about nine feet wide, I suppose, and sloping. When the danger from hostile Indians was past and it was therefore discontinued as a resort in times of danger, which was perhaps about the year 1791, James Hughes enlarged his house and greatly improved the premises surrounding it. He built another house, and which he afterwards occupied as a store, to the right and southeast of his dwelling and nearer the road, and a house for Butler, besides, the ordinary cabins and out buildings on his farm. First Greene County Commissioner James Hughes when a young man taught school before his marriage and for several years after. He was the first commissioner of Greene county ever had. Shortly after Felix had patented Bear's Harbor, there came from South Carolina a man named Flanigan, whose father is seemed was the party who had abandoned the location settled by James Hughes, who had found as an evidence of any previous occupation but a rude hut which from its character might have been constructed as well by savage as white man. The statement of Flanigan not being doubted, however, and Felix Hughes acquiescing in the terms by him for an amicable arrangement, the matter was readily adjusted. Previous to James receiving a deed for Bear Harbor from his father, the latter had built a house on other land belonging to him, which house stood on the same spot where Mr. A. Griggs' house now stands and on the road leading by Mr.Thomas Crago's. By the year 1783, they had large bodies of land cleared; and the last attack made on the fort by the Indians was in 1779, when Elizabeth was but three days old. Remarks: I have quoted much at length and will continue to quote in the next article from the same author. For the younger people it will doubtless be best to make some notice of some places mentioned in the above article. The first cabin of Thomas Hughes was in what is now known as Old Town at Carmichaels, and not far north from the Pennington greenhouse. He exchanged land with James Carmichael at what is now Jefferson. The old stone house is in a field to the north of that village. James and Felix Hughes settled the Biddle farm about one mile east of Carmichaels. Continued in part 2.

Hughes Link Page and Picture of the Hughes house