James Edmund Hughes is my wife’s second great grandfather and therefore a third great grandfather of our children. He was born May 28, 1824 in Franklin County, Georgia. Franklin County, named for Benjamin Franklin, was created in 1784 out of Creek and Cherokee lands acquired during the cession of 1783 and became Georgia’s eighth county and the first one established in the state after the Revolutionary War.
In 1844, when he was twenty-years-old, James Hughes was converted at the Lumpkin Campground in Dawson County, Georgia. Eleven years later, in 1855, he was licensed to preach by the North Georgia Methodist Conference. Per my father-in-law’s research, Hughes is listed in Harold Lawrence’s book “Methodist Preachers in Georgia 1783 – 1900.” However, as with many Methodist preachers of the day in rural Georgia, his primary occupation was farming.
James married Isabella Bennett on January 4, 1848 in Forsyth County, Georgia. Isabella was a native of Hall County, where my wife was born. Together they had seven children. During the Civil War, Hughes served in Company I of the Georgia Infantry 43rd Regiment called the “Zillicoffer Guards” made up of men from Forsyth County. After the war he returned to Forsyth County and spent the remainder of his life farming there and serving as a pastor.
James Edmund Hughes died on August 15, 1882 at the age of fifty-eight. Isabella survived him by sixteen years, dying on December 27, 1898. Both are buried less than ten miles from our house in the cemetery of Hopewell United Methodist Church.