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John Hughes Elizabeth Hughes 1780s-1800s

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Re: John Hughes Elizabeth Hughes 1780s-1800s

Posted: 1370886494000
Classification: Query
I am a Hughes descendant whose mother was a Yancey-Mitchell County Hughes. I descend from John Hughes, Esquire (abt 1745-abt 1807 Burke, NC), and Molly Short, my 5th great grandparents. From them, I am uncertain as to which of John and Molly’s sons or grandsons that I descend. At one point, I thought that I descended from Jeremiah Hughes, Sr. (abt 1785 VA-1859 Yancey, NC) and Two Horses. Sometime later, I thought that John Hughes, Jr. (1765-aft 1814) and Keziah Ward (b abt 1770) were my 4th great grandparents. Recent information indicates that my 4th great grandfather may have been Joseph Hughes (b abt 1770) and an unknown spouse.

My 3rd great grandparents were Sanders Hughes, Sr. (1805 Burke-1860 Yancey)/Christina Higgins (abt 1805-1870), my 2nd were Sidney Ervin Hughes (1836 Benmmett, NC-1920 Mitchell, NC)/Nancy Miller (abt 1833-bet 1910-1920 Mitchell, NC), my great grandparents were John Wesley Hughes (1865 Mitchell, NC-1950 Johnson City, TN)/Martha Honeycutt (1876 NC-1960 OH), and my grandparents were Robert Avery Hughes, Sr. (1897 Tipton Hill, Mitchell, NC-1971 Johnson City, TN)/Lillie Mae Hoilman (1893 Toecane, Mitchell, NC- 1987 Kingsport, TN).

The stories abound about John Hughes, Jr. and Keziah Ward. However, I believe that those stories about Keziah being an Indian princess that circulate among genealogists searching for their ancestors are fictitious. Everyone would like to have an Indian princess or English royalty among their ancestors.

Other than what I have read in trees, I have never found anything that indicates that the Cherokee Indian Chieftainess, known to the Indians as Wild Rose and known to us as Nancy Ward, had a daughter named, Keziah. She had a son, “Little Fellow,” and a daughter, Catherine, by her Indian husband, Kingfisher, who was killed in battle. Afterwards, she married, either in civil union or by common law, an English trader, Bryant Ward. At this time Nancy assumed her English name of Nancy Ward. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, also known as Betsy, who married Joseph Martin.* Supposedly, Bryant Ward later returned to his wife and their children, but Nancy and her daughter Elizabeth “were well received” by the Ward family when they visited with them in their South Carolina home.*
(*Alderman, Pat. Nancy Ward, Cherokee Chieftainess, Dragging Canoe, Cherokee-Chickamauga War Chief. Johnson City, Tennessee: Overmountain Press, 1978.)

I have a photocopy of a document which supports the fact that a John Hughes transported goods and supplies. The following is my transcription of this document:

“John Hughs has permission to descend the Tennessee River with a Keelbottomed Boat laden with whiskey Brandy and Cider Royal on his passage to P_________ [illegible: Pancore or Pancose] on the westside of the Mississippi. Return passage [or passages] _____ [illegible: also or allowed]. Jo. ___________ [illegible surname], January 10th 1803”

Jeremiah Hughes, whose spouse was Two Horses, was known as a wagoner. Family lore relates that he transported Indians to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears and traded two horses for his “wife” whom he named Two Horses. However, another of my contacts indicates that Two Horses was actually from a nearby North Carolina Sioux settlement. Whatever the truth may be, in reality, Jeremiah Hughes and Two Horses are buried in a cemetery at Upper Pig Pen in the Green Mountain area of Yancey, North Carolina.

Furthermore, in my family tree I do have Elizabeth “Betsy” Hughes (1797-1860), the daughter of John Hughes, Jr. and Keziah Ward. She married Wilson Young on 8 Feb 1815 in Burke, NC. According to my information, their children were Patterson Young, Matilda Young, Merritt Burgon Young, Beersheba Young, Elizabeth “Betsy” Young (abt 1833-1860), John Wesley Young, Naomi Young, Strawbridge W. Young, Jemima Young, and Cathem Young.

I am interested in the knowledge and opinions of others regarding Keziah Ward and hope that they will respond. Thank you for your post.

Charlotte West Dade (

Follow me on my blog, The Wests of Wilkes,
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