An American Family History

The Hughes Family of Sullivan County, Tennessee

  In 1779 Elizabeth Hughes was presented for having a bastard child in the Washington County, Virginia Court.  

In 1607 the London Company established Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony.

The Cherokeewere indigenous people who lived in the southern Appalachian mountains. European Americans called their towns in eastern Tennessee, the Overhill Towns. The towns included Chota, Tellico and Tanasi.

In 1776, the Cherokee planned to drive settlers out of the Washington District. The settlers were warned and stopped the first attack at Heaton's Station. The second attack was stopped at Fort Watauga. In response to these attacks, the militia burned Tuskegee and Citico.

In 1780, while the militia was away at the Battle of Kings Mountain, the Cherokee raided the setttlements. When the militia returned, Colonel John Sevier's men defeated the Cherokee at Boyd's Creek and destroyed most of the remaining towns.

Francis Hughes was born about 1759 in Shenandoah County, Virginia.

His first wife was named Rebecca. Their children included:

Ingobo Hughes (1778),
John Hughes (1779),
Rebecca Hughes (1789),
Margaret Hughes (1782).

His second wife was Elizabeth Long. Their daughter may have been:

Mary Ann Hughes.

In 1776, Francis was Captain William Clark's ensign at Fort Sevier on the Nolichucky.

In August, 1776 he participated in the Cherokee Expedition under Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford.

1778 Feb 25
Francis Hughes
300 acres on S. side of Nolichuckey river and on Camp Creek.

1779 Jan 2
Francis Hughes
100 acres on branch of Sinking Creek

In 1780 he participated in the Battle of King's Mountain under Colonel Sevier.

In the winter of 1780 he volunteered for a campaign under Colonel Sevier against the Cherokee.

1782 Oct 24
Francis Hughes
99 acres on Sinking Creek
50 shilling per 100 acresWatauga

1787 Aug 15
Deed Francis Hughes to Robert Wilson
paid £50 VA currency
99 acres .
On waters of Sinking Creek.

1790 Aug 3
Deed Francis Hughes to Daniel Kennedy
paid £530 VA currency,
300 acres on S. side of Nolachuckey [Nolichucky] river and on Camp Creek.

1790 Aug 3
Deed William Caldwell to Francis Hughes
paid £320 VA currency,
284 acres on S. side of Nolachuckey River and at mouth of Camp Creek.

1790 Aug 3
Deed Daniel Kennedy to Francis Hughes
paid £550 VA currency.
One 1/2 acre on Mill Fork of Big Limestone.
alsoThree 1/2 acres on same.
also120 acres on same.

1792 Feb 2
Francis Hughes to Thomas Hardwick
Paid £200 VA currency.
284 acres on S. side of Nolichuckey River and at mouth of Camp Creek.
old stagecoach stop property

1792 Apr 2
Deed Robert O'Neal to Francis Hughes
Paid £150 VA currency.
?? acres on S. side of Nolichuckey River

1792 Apr 2
Deed Robert O'Neal to Francis Hughes.
paid £583-6s-8pVA currency.
400 acres on Horse Creek.
Adj to Nolichuckey River Incl Plantation.

1792 Sept 5
Grant Francis Hughes

1794 Sept 24
Deed Francis Hughes to Martin Click
paid £10 VA currency
350 acres S. side of Nolichuckey River.

From Greene County Court of Common Pleas

Deed of gift from Francis Hughes to his daughter Margaret Hughes,
20th April 1806
for a Negro girl, named Luse

Deed of gift from Francis Hughes to William Hixson and Ingabow his wife,
30th July 1806
for a negro woman, named Jeane,

Deed of gift from Francis Hughes to his son-in-law, Timothy Hixson
17th February 1806,
for a negro girl named Sall

A Francis Hughes appeared on the 1809 Greene County tax list of Captain Tullis. He owned 750 acres on Horse Creek. He operated a Stagecoach Inn.

Only part of this Major Statecoach Inn is still standing.Originally there was another building connected to this one by a breezeway. Stagecoaches used the Jonesborough road until 1885 - the last to operate in Greene County. Francis Hughes, first Greene County ranger, was operator of this establishment. As the coach approached, the driver blew on a horn - a toot for every passenger to be served.There was also feed and water for the horses. Inside is a beautiful fireplace of hewed limestone rocks, walls are plastered over real horse hair. There is a narrow winding staircase inside.This is located where the Jonesborough Road crosses over Camp Creek. (from "The Southside" by Goldene Fillers Burgner)

Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.

The Nolichucky River flows through Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. It is a tributary of the French Broad River. During the 1770s, European Americans established the "Nolichucky settlements" in what is now Greene County, Tennessee.

The Nolichucky River flows through Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. It is a tributary of the French Broad River. During the 1770s, European Americans established the "Nolichucky settlements" in what is now Greene County, Tennessee.

The Battle of Kings Mountain was a decisive battle of the American Revoluton. It took place on October 7, 1780, nine miles south of the present-day town of Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The Patriot militia defeated the Loyalist militia commanded by British Major Patrick Ferguson.

David Hughes was born about 1758.

He married Anna Wallis.

David and Anna's children included:

James Hughes (1790, married Susannah Hines),
Robert Hughes (1792, married Elizabeth Devault),
Thomas Hughes (1798) and
Elizabeth Hughes Kitzmiller.

In 1776 a David Hughes was one of the original purchasers of lots laid off to
establish the town of Jonesborough.

In 1776 he signed the petition of Watauga settlers asking to become part of North Carolina.

David and Samuel Hughes signed the 1777 petition of men living on the north Holston River complaining about the division of Fincastle County. They felt the line was not equitable and the court house was too far away.

David Hughes appeared on the Washington County, Virginia tax list in 1782. He had 600 acres on both sides of Little Limestone Creek.

In 1778, David Hughes was on the grand jury in Washington County.

In 1780 David, Robert, Thomas, Francis, and John Hughes participted in the Battle of Kings Mountain. David was a private in Lieutenant George Hart and Colonel Chirstie's Regiment at the Battle of Kings Mountain, with his brothers, Thomas and Francis.

He also served three months in Captain James Shelby's company under Major Bledsoe in a company of Rangers. He enlisted the following year and served three months in Captain Valentine Sevier's company and was in an engagement near the Enozee River in South Carolina. He served three months in Captain McNabb's company, and three months under Colonel McCaw.

In 1780:

Agnes Woods have leave of administration on the estate of John Woods. David Hughes and Peter McName her security.

Ord. that James Stuart have leave to build a grist mill on his entry land on Little Limestone, adjoining the entry land of David Hughes, and the same to be a public mill.

In 1787, he received a warrant for 150 acres on White Top Creek in Sullivan County, Tennessee

In 1814, during the War of 1812, James and Robert were on Captain William King's muster.

In 1835, he appeared on the pension list in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Anna, died in 1838.

In 1841 Robert was ordained by the Reverend Philip Wood. He was an original member of the New Bethel Presbyterian Church in Piney Flats, Sullivan County, Tennessee.

David died in 1849 in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Fincastle County, Virginia was created in 1772 from Botetourt County and abolished in 1776. It was divided into Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky Counties.

The Great Wagon Road was the most important Colonial American route for settlers of the mountainous backcountry. It went from Philadelphia to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. One fork went to the Tennessee Valley and Knoxville and the other to the Piedmont Region of North Carolina.



William Hughes was born about 1745.

Elizabeth Hughes (about 1775, married John Woods),
David Hughes, and
Agnes Hughes (married Alexander Torbett).

They lived in the forks of the Watauga and Holston rivers. The Washington County Surveyors Record, page 13

William McMillian assignee of Will Hughes assignee of John Funkhouser...
400 ac on the waters of Beaver Creek
220 ac surveyed for Will Hughes February 18, 1774
also 93 ac surveyed for James Roark on February 20, 1774

William Hughes was on the 1782 Washington County, Virginia tax list.

William Hughes signed the 1786 petition.

Captain William Hughes district 1787 taxable property of inhabitants in Washington County.

In 1799 william William Hughes [father of Agnes Hughes Torbett] deposed in Agnes Torbett vs. Alexander Torbett, Sullivan County, Tennessee, 1799.

In 1804

Robert Alison obtained a judgment against William Hughes and Jon Boiden... at the September term in 1804, directed ...Thomas Rockhold, Sheriff, ... levy upon the property of William Hughes a certain piece or parcel of land ... on the North side of the Watauga river ... bounded by land of Finley Alison ...and lands of Peter Harrington. The same tract of land where John Alison lived, supposed to contain 100 acres.

Deed records in 1817 show David Hughes of Blount County, son of William Hughes was in Sullivan County in a dispute with John Woods and Elizabeth Hughes wife of John Woods.





East Tennessee is part of Appalachia. At the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began drifting into the area. In 1769, they first settled along the Watauga River. During the Revolution, the Overmountain Men defeated British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The State of Franklin was formed in the 1780s, but never admitted to the Union.

Carter County, Tennessee was organized from Washington County on April 9, 1796. Elizabethton is the county seat.

from Families and History of Sullivan County Tennessee, Vol. I, 1779-1992 by the Holston Territory Genealogical Society.

David Hughes, one of the earliest settlers in Piney Flats, Tennesse, was a Revolutionary War soldier. According to records given in the New Bethel Sesquicentennial, three of his brothers, Robert, Thomas, and Francis, fought with him at the Battle of King's Mountian.

David Hughes was born in Ireland in 1757, but it is uncertain when the family came to America or where they first settled. According to his pension claim filed in 1832, more than fifty years later,

about the year 1777 he removed from the state of Pennsylvania to the frontier country of N. Carolina (now Tennessee).

However, attached to the claim is a sworn statement filed by his son Robert in 1850 that

...the said David Hughes had resided in Sullivan County at the day of his death upwards of fifty years past and previously he resided in Frederick County, Maryland...

The exact date he settled is also debatable. On the original pension claim the fourth number given in the date "about 1777" is smudged with the number "7" obviously written over the smudge. Williams in Dawn Of Tennessee Valley and Tennessee History reports finding in the Land Office Records in the Archives of Tennessee at Nashville that David Hughes from Fincastle (at that time most of southwestern Virginia) settled in 1774-1775 "on the banks of the Watauga then near the village of Piney Flats, Sullivan County." These facts indicate that in the mid 1770's David Hughes, having lived for an indefinite period in Maryland and having gone at some time to Pennsylvania, traveled through western Virginia to Tennessee.

It is possible that David and his brothers were accompanied by their father. An older man also named David Hughes was a Sullivan County taxpayer in 1796, but there is no real evidence that he was related to David Hughes of Piney Flats.

Evidentally the family, upon arriving in the area, immediately became involved with the problems of the settlement. Both David Hughes and his brother Thomas signed the petition drawn up in 1776 by the settlers in Washington District to be annexed to North Carolina.

Also David Hughes was one of the twenty-five members of the first grand jury in Washington County. During the Revolution he served twenty-one months fighting the Indians or the British under various commanders: Hart, Shelby, Christie, Valentine, Sevier, and McNabb.

After the Revolution he bought land, married, and built a home. In one of the front rooms of his house he kept a store where, according to his records, such supplies as buttons, bar iron, overalls, bacon, flour, cotter-molds, peach brandy, and salt were sold or traded. Often he accepted feathers in trading. To this day there is a bin under the floor where he kept the feathers until he had enough to ship back to Ireland.

Other settlers came to his store to have him write legal agreements, a few of which still exist. In them can be found names that have been common in the area for two centures.....

His profits enabled him to buy more land, most of it in Sullivan County; however his records refer also to his "plantation near Boones Creek."

He died on June 18, 1849, and is buried beside his wife Anna (1763-1838) at New Bethel Church where he is believed to have been one of the original members and where his sons and some of ths grandchildren and great-grandchildren are also buried. His pension claim lists three children: Robert Hughes, Thomas Hughes and Elizabeth Kitzmiller.

Goodspeed in his History of East Tennessee reported that James Hughes who moved from Sullivan County to Carter County was the son of David Hughes who fought in the Revolutionary War; however, he is not mentioned in the pension claim....Submitted by Nelle Wolfe Starnes, Box 56, Piney Flats, Tennessee 37686

Washington County, Virginia was formed from Fincastle County in 1777. It originally contained Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Boones Creek is a tributary of the Watauga River.


    from Tennessee Heroes of the Revolution

    Francis Hughes applied for revolutionary pension while living in Bledsoe County, Tenn., July 21, 1833. He was born in Augusta County. Va., in 1759 and was the son of Francis Hughes. He resided in Burke County, N. C. in June, 1776 when he enlisted in the 3rd North Carolina Regiment. He moved to the Tennessee Country and volunteered in 1777 under Cot. John Sevier. He volunteered again in the fall of 1780 and was in Capt. Samuel Williams' company in the Battle of King's Mountain. He volunteered again under Col. John Sevier for the Cherokee Expedition. Nathan Gann swears in the pension application, that Francis Hughes was a soldier of the Revolution and Felix Earnest also testifies to his revolutionary record. Francis Hughes states that he has children but does not give their names. In 1840 he was living with Margaret Hughes, possibly a daughter. Note:--Francis Hughes had a brother John Hughes, whose record is given below. Descendants of Francis Hughes live on Walden's Ridge near Chattanooga.



from Tennessee Heroes of the Revolution

John Hughes applied for revolutionary pension while living in McMinn County, Tennessee, Sept. 5, 1832. He was born in 1752. He served in the Revolution enlisting first in Burke County, N.C. Later he enlisted again in Capt. Sevier's North Carolina Company and was in a battle on the Watauga River. Later he served in Capt. Jacob Tipton's Company under St. Clair and was in the battle of St. Clair's Defeat. He moved from Burke County, N.C. to what is now East Tennessee and settled in Blount County. From Blount County he moved to McMinn County where he died.

Note:--John Hughes was a brother of Francis Hughes whose record is given above. He was the son of Francis Hughes of Augusta County, Virginia, the family moving to that point from Lancaster County, Pa. John Hughes had a son Francis Hughes. The well known East Tennessee family of Hughes comes from this line.

Colonial Maryland
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Watauga Settlement
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©Roberta Tuller 2019
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