Friday, October 13, 2017

Two Hudson Hughes

   Numerous online family trees have included a Hudson Hughes. Most say he was born in North Carolina, abandoned his wife and moved to Virginia and then, ultimately, moved to Indiana where he died.
   This interpretation is nice for assumed descendants because his North Carolina wife was Margaret Balfour, daughter of the Revolutionary War patriot Col. Andrew Balfour.
   Unfortunately this interpretation is not correct. It would be nice to have Col. Balfour as my ancestor, but he isn't.
   There were, in fact, two men named Hudson Hughes. Here is a link to a timeline that lists events for the two Hudsons -- the North Carolina Hudson and the Virginia/Indiana Hudson. I don't see how they could have been the same man.

   North Carolina Hudson: The 1800 census of Rowan County, North Carolina, lists a Hudson Hughes twice (pages 277 and 287). They appear to be duplicates. In both, the oldest male is age 26 to 44 (born 1756-1774).
   A Hudson Hughes was witness to a deed in Rowan County in 1786. If the law required a witness to be 21, then Hudson was born in 1765 or before. If the law required age 18, then 1768 or before.
   Joseph Hughes, father of Hudson, died intestate in 1793 and Mary Hughes, his mother, died intestate in 1794. (see Rowan County wills and estate papers for details and names of other children).
   Hudson Hughes married Margaret Balfour in 1796 in Rowan County. They had two children: (1) Mary Ann born 1798, married 1817 Samuel Reeves and died 1852; (2) Eliz, born after 1800 and died young.
   The North Carolina Hudson is not listed in the 1810 census. Margaret and her two children may be part of the family of Eliz Balfour in Salisbury.
   The last record that has been found pertaining to Hudson Hughes is dated 25 October 1812 when he sold two lots in Salisbury to George Fisher. H. Hughs acknowledged the sale at the November court term.

   What happened to the North Carolina Hudson Hughes?
   He would have been about 45 years old when he sold the lots in Salisbury.
   Rev. Eli W. Caruthers in his book Revolutionary Incidents and Sketches of Characters, Chiefly  in the Old North State (1854) had a lengthy section on Col. Balfour in which he said, "This daughter also, now the widow Margaret, having lost her husband by a mysterious Providence, . . . "
   What would qualify as a "mysterious Providence?"
   Robert G. Hughes wrote an excellent research paper (undated, perhaps 1970s or 1980s) Hugh/Hughs/Hughes in which he traced his ancestry through Hudson to Owen Hugh of Pennsylvania. In it he states, "The only interpertation (sic) of Caruthers' statement that . . . I can think of, is that Hudson Hughes abandoned her, since he later is living in Virginia." Unfortunately, we have the common pitfall of "the name's the same and the age is about right." The Hudson Hughes living in Virginia is not the Hudson Hughes from North Carolina.

   Adding to the puzzle of the fate of the North Carolina Hudson Hughes is the will of Margaret Balfour Hughes. The will is recorded in Randolph County Will Book 4, page 541, under the name of Margaret Balfour, not Margaret Hughes.
   Why? The only reason I can think of is divorce.
   Another puzzling thing about the will is that Margaret leaves everything to the children of her half sister. Her daughter, Mary Ann (Hughes) Reeves, is not mentioned.

   Tomorrow -- my ancestor -- the Virginia/Indiana Hudson Hughes.

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