November 24, 1898




In His Ninetieth Year.


Leaving Mr. Grady's, as mentioned last week, we went to the home of Matthew Woods Hughes better known as "Uncle Mack."

We found him sitting in company with his daughter-in-law in the shade of a tree in the front yard of his quiet home, hale and lively, and with the ruddy glow of a man of sixty five, although he is now in his ninetieth year, and certainly one of the oldest men in Crittenden county.

He is a native of the present site of Mt. Zion Church, and within a half mile of his present home, on August 4th, 1809.

His father was William Hughes; his mother's maiden name was Nancy Roe.  She was twice married, her first husband being Thomas Hughes, a first cousin to William, her second husband.

By her first marriage, she was the mother of the following children:  Thomas, Richard, Joseph, Andrew, James, Ancil and William, and a daughter, whose name I have not learned.  She first married a man named Flynn and after his death, married a Mr. Jones.  By this second marriage, she was the mother of James C. Jones, who was county clerk of this county at the time of is death, more than twenty years ago, and of a daughter Mary, now Mrs. Presley Ford who lives near Crayneville.

So far as I have learned, all the sons of this marriage except Thomas, spent their lives in this county.  Thomas married Miss Jane Wheeler, and settled down on a farm southeast of Fredonia, and became one of Caldwell county's most prosperous farmers.  He died nearly forty years ago.  His only surviving children are James and Frank Hughes who live upon the old homestead, and Mrs. Bell Tinsley, widow of William Tinsley, of Louisville.  Jim and Frank, both substantial citizens and most excellent men, live on the old homestead.

Dr. King, now of Princeton, married their sister, Melville, and after her death married a younger sister, Nannie, who died several years ago.  The only remaining sister married Thomas Tinsley.  An older brother Thomas, married, and his widow now lives in Fredonia.

So far we have spoken only of the children of Nancy Roe by her first marriage with Thomas Hughes.  Her children by her second marriage, with William Hughes, were Matthew W. the subject of this sketch, and Benjamin, and a daughter named Nancy who married Alexander Dean, and was the mother of Dr. T. L. Dean, and of those two jolly, bustling boys Job and Al Dean.

Matthew married Clara Hill, a sister of the late Jackson Hill, in 1827, in his eighteen year.  That was seventy-one years ago.  We would like to hear from all the men and women now living in the county that married so long ago.  The nuptial ceremony was performed by Rev. Joseph Kilpatrick a Methodist minister, then well known in this county.

His children have been eight sons and three daughters as follows:  William and Andrew J., now living in Illinois; J. Harvey living near Weston; Thomas in Livingston county, this state; Columbus in Missouri, Marion and Sidney who died in infancy, and Joseph E, who lives upon the old homestead, and, together with his good and dutiful wife, cares for his father in his old age.

His daughters were Araminta, who married William H. Crow, now of Marion, Caroline who married James Duvall, and Ann who married Ben Roach.

How interesting, how thrilling are the venerable people whose memory extends back almost a century; that have seen an unbroken wilderness transformed into a thriving and prosperous country.

The first school he ever attended was at Suck Spring, now Baker's school house.  He has a live recollection of those jolly, rolicking [sic] gatherings of the olden time, the militia musters.  He attended company muster at the old Alfred Moore place, near Repton, and battalion and regimental muster at Cross Keys, where Pierce Butler now lives.

In answer to a question by Brother Price, he said that he remembers a Methodist minister in his early days named John Johnson.  Was this the Rev. John Johnson, who was the father of Dr. Adam Clark Johnson, who lived in Marion and taught school from twenty five to thirty years ago, and was at one time a member of the county school board?  That John Johnson was a very eminent divine in his day, and a colaborer of the celebrated Peter Cartwright.

Mr. Hughes parents came from Chester county, South Carolina, in 1801, and settled near Mt. Zion church.  That was forty years before Crittenden county was organized or the ground where Marion now stands was cleared.

Here in this quiet secluded spot, in the midst of interminable forests and pastures of pea-vines, the boy sported and frolicked at a time when the steamboat whistle had never been heard in all the length of the beautiful Ohio; when the flatboatman and keelboatman were in their glory, and the sublime solitudes of that noble river resounded with their merry boat songs; when the hardy pioneer could go out with his old flintlock with a greater certainty of killing a deer in one hour than the Marion sportsman can now feel that he will bring in one poor little squirrel after a half days hunt.

Here he passed his youthful days, and grew to man's estate; here he loved and wooed and won a companion that fought life's battle by his side, that cheered him in his success with her noble womanly gratulations, and gave him her sympathy in his hours of misfortune and affliction.

Here in this sylvan retreat, that some [illegible] rural deities, he has lived that serene, ideal life about which poets sing.  Far removed from Mammon's storm centers, the greatest financial tempests have rolled and thundered and lashed the shores of the commercial world, and spent their fury long ere they reached the high and dry ground upon which he stood.

"Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
His sober wishes never learned to stray
Along the cool, sequestered vale of life,
He kept the noiseless tenor of his way."

Shaking hands with him and his kind hearted son and daughter, invoking Heaven's blessings upon them all, with a long extension of this gray haired patriarch's lease of life, we started on a pleasant ride homeward.



Source:  Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, November 24, 1898, Image 1 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.


[My comments are in brackets.]