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Hughes Family Genealogy

Compiled by: Babs Neidlinger



The Hughes Home 1892

William Alford( Alfred) Hughes was the only son born to Thomas Ridley (T.R.) and Mary Frances Montague. William’s father Thomas and his brother Frank established a mercantile business in Clifton in 1854 calling it- T.S Hughes & Co. They sold the finest staple dry goods, clothing, notions, shoes, furniture, as well as many other items. This was a very successful trade business in the town and the county. William grew up and married Lillian Taylor. They had nine children of their own: Beatrice, Harry, Ralph Montague, Clara and Lura ( twins) , Marguerite, Anna May, Francis, and Dorothy. William was the town banker and merchant in Clifton who built the stately home on Pillow Street. Because his family owned the finest store in the town, he had access to quality items to put into his own home.

It was S.B. Ricketts and his wife who sold the lot #94 to William on Sept. 29, 1892 to build his home. According to the deed, it consisted of about a half-acre of land. On the lot, William built a schoolhouse, a gazebo, a barn, and a beautiful Victorian home where he and his wife Lillian and their nine children lived. The building which is adjacent to the house was used by the family as their school. On one of the walls in the building you can see where the children have written their names and the dates. It also has the words “Be seated” written by the instructor.

On June 28, 1898 William bought the adjoining lot #95 from T S Hassell, his brother in law. His wife Clara Hughes Hassell was the sister of William Alford ( Alfred) Hughes. They had three children: Tom Frank, Pauline, and Frances. The #95 tract of land was used to grow many vegetables and had at least two or three fruit trees on it. The children played games of the season like croquet on the parcel of land close to the house. The Hassell cousins would come over to play games with them as well. Family members remember hearing Pauline and Frances talk about their cousins who lived across the street playing croquet on the lawn.

There had  been only three owners of this house in its 123 year old history – William / Lillian Hughes, J.B. /Marie Hughes Spurlock, and Charles Hughes/ Virginia Spurlock, until 2016. Michael and Kathy Dumont purchased the property in 2016 and transformed it to its original luster during a four-year restoration. It has reopened as the Commodore Inn at Clifton and now hosts many history loving guests.

One interesting piece of family history is the death of Frank Hughes, son of T S Hughes and Bettie Speer. Young Frank was fourteen when he was tragically killed as his gun discharged on a hunting accident on February 1, 1904. It is said his body was brought to Cousin William’s house because it was the closest. Supposedly it stayed in the parlor until it could be carried away. Due to the fact that Frank Hughes’s parents were so prominent in the community as was the entire Hughes family, the people of Clifton proposed calling the new school which was about to be built, Frank Hughes College. After the school was built, out-of-town students used to come to Clifton and board in some of the finer, larger homes. The Hughes’s home was one of those used to house the students.

The house itself is in the Victorian period style. Many of the fixtures in the house are original. The floors are original as is the stained glass in the front picture window in the parlor. One or two of the panels in the stained glass were replaced due to a tornado that came through and took out the entire window. Some of the windows are original to the house. Many of the lighting switches and the door knobs are original to the house. The front staircase is original as are the parlor doors. The dormer windows above the doors are all original to the house. The claw-footed tub is also original to the house. Many original details remain in the property as little has changed since William Hughes built this house.




W.A Hughes and his Family (Owned the Home from 1892-1950)


William Alfred Hughes was the son of Mary Frances Montague and Thomas Ridley Hughes. He was born September 22,1866 in Clifton, TN, and died August 22,1946 in Clifton. He married Lillian Frances Taylor on October 28, 1891 in Painesville, OH. She was the daughter of Melissa Jane Taylor and William Harry Taylor. She was born January 6, 1869 in Painesville, and died on July 12, 1949 in Clifton. They had 10 children, but only 9 lived. The following is the legacy that they left behind.


Notes for William Alfred and Lillian Frances Hughes:


Will and Lil Hughes had a very happy, fruitful and prosperous life. Will worked at Hassell Mercantile in Clifton before they moved to Ruskin TN, sometime in the early 1900's. This move was made to provide their children with a better education. Will was the Business Manager at Ruskin Cave College until they moved back to Clifton in 1913. Upon their return, Will worked at the Peoples Bank of Clifton until his retirement. Will was a very pious man, with very fundamental beliefs. He was called on frequently to preach at different churches and conduct funerals. He lived by his deep Christian faith in all of his activities at work and at home. Every morning, after breakfast, a time was set aside for everyone in the house was to ,.participate in family prayers. He loved working in his big vegetable garden, listening to the radio, reading religious material and supporting his beloved Democratic party. Lil was a devoted mother to their nine children. She was always busy making the children's clothes, doing lovely handwork, quilting and tending her beautiful flower garden. She was an excellent cook and visitors were always welcome at their bountiful table. She was also very active in the Willing Workers and Ladies Aide Society, and provided strength and support whenever and wherever she was needed in the community. Music played a big role in the Hughes family. Each child was taught to play at least two musical instrument and all the girls excelled at the piano. This enabled them to have a family orchestra. Will and Lil lived a life that continues to set an example for all the Hughes descendants.


Will and Lillian's first child is Beatrice Geneva Hughes.

Beatrice Geneva Hughes was Will and Lil's first child. She was born August 12, Clifton, TN, and died March 5, 1986 in Evansville, Indiana. She married William Walter Simmons on June 29,1922 in Clifton. He was born April 21, 1889 in Evansville, IN, and died April 8,1962 in Evansville. They had two children,

Notes for Beatrice Geneva Hughes: A submitted by her son William Simmons

Being the oldest of the nine Hughes children, other apparently assumed a secondary role as surrogate mother, at ties, in helping  Mother and Daddy Hughes raise their brood. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit incomplete knowledge regarding Mothers academic training. I do know she attended Ruskin Cave College, where Daddy Hughes was treasurer, because that's where she met my father. There was a school in Alabama she attended too. In any event, after completing schooling she taught piano and voice. She tried her best to make musicians out of her two sons and grandchildren with little success.

Mother was active all her life in the choir and music program at Trinity Methodist Church in Evansville. During my teen years, my father was a traveling salesman, leaving home on Monday morning, returning on Friday evening. In essence, Beatrice Simmons was my guiding light, always loyal, faithful, concerned, counselor, a most appreciated mother.

Mother and Dad seemed to have a happy life together. They worked as a team. Dad would buy cars, Mother would sell the cars. Before they were married Dad studied for the ministry, studied at Garrett Theological School and was assigned several churches in the Evansville area. His family also had farmland near Evansville homesteaded by his great great grandparents in 1825. I So, Mother enjoyed saying "I'll never marry a preacher, traveling salesman or farmer" and she ended up marrying a man who was all three. After Dad retired, my parents traveled a lot, often to Florida, where Dad had an aunt in Miami.

Momma and Daddy Hughes and Clifton hold a precious place in my heart and memory. Morning prayers, eating the clock, ringing the noon siren at Daddy Hughes band, pennies for Bible verses memorized, Daddy Hughes at peace in his garden before work, cousins John and Bill and little tenderfoot me jumping from one shady spot to another, skinny dipping in the Tennessee River, medicine shows on Saturday nights, sows napping on cobblestone sidewalks. A growing boy could not dream up a better place to live. I thank God for my Hughes heritage!

Will and Lillian's second child is Harry Taylor Hughes. This is his story.

Harry Taylor Hughes was born December 23, 1893 in Clifton, and died on May 30, 1915 in Savannah.

Notes for Harry Taylor Hughes:

Harry ,Tom Frank Hassell, two girls and another young man that they picked up along the way, were on a boat trip to Pittsburg Landing. They did not know the river well and the boat struck a submerged log. The boat dipped water, turned sideways and began to sink. They only had 1 life preserver. Harry realized that all of them could not make it to shore. So he swam beside them with the one preserver. They got to within about 100 feet from shore before they realized that Harry was not with them. The young man that they picked up on the way, saw Harry with his mouth open, but he couldn't hear what he was saying. They were all picked up by a gasoline boat from Pittsburg Landing. One of the young ladies didn't realize that Harry was not with them until they were all on the boat. She said that she fully expected to see Harry on the shore. Apparently he was so tired that he cramped. He was a few feet from shore at the time. There was no doubt in the minds of the survivors that Harry drowned trying to save the others' lives.

This information is from the Wayne County News and his Obituary

Will and Lillian's third child was Ralph Montague Hughes. This is his story.

Ralph Montague Hughes was born November 16,1895 in Clifton, and died June 28, 1975 in Waynesboro. He married Josephine Parks on November 22, 1927 in Lawrenceburg. She was born September 4, 1905 in Lawrenceburg, and died October 20, 1984 in Waynesboro. They had 3 children.

Notes for Ralph Montague Hughes Submitted by his grandson, Robert Welch Hurst, Jr (Bob)

Writing this short piece about Ralph Hughes is a daunting task, but also a huge honor. Ralph Hughes was my maternal grandfather and without any doubts the most influential person in my life. This man was known by many names ... Big Ralph, Mr. Ralph, R.M., Mr. Hughes and Uncle Ralph ... but to me he was Big Daddy. As his varied names suggest, Ralph touched the lives of many people. Mr. Ralph enjoyed a long marriage to Josephine Parkes Hughes (who the grandchildren called 'Pene') and this marriage produced three children - Bettye (my mother), Ralph Jr. and Bill.

I feel that most people in our family have knowledge of Big Ralph's timeline: he was a World War I veteran, a farmer, a Ford Dealer and a lumberman at Hassell & Hughes Lumber Company. In 1973, Marty Rains wrote a vanity book documenting the life and accomplishments of Big Ralph. The title of the book is A Right Time. The title comes from the Bible selection Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, which basically says that there is a right time for everything on earth. This verse, along with the Hassel & Hughes mission poem, "For Those Who Come After", by John Ruskin, fairly define the way in which Big Ralph managed in business and lived his personal life. Using modem terminology, Bog Ralph was an environmentalist. He despised waste and was forever working to leave the forest of Wayne County healthier and richer than they were before he arrived.

As for fun, Big Ralph loved to quail hunt and play golf. This was a bonanza for a grandson whose interests lined up perfectly! So, we hunted and played golf together-what a wonderful way to spend time with a loving grandfather! I have so many stories in my memory, but will share one in particular which is very telling about Big Ralph. As a boy, I would spend August each simmer in Waynesboro with Pene and Big Ralph. We would start each weekday at the mill and end up either at the golf course in Lawrenceburg or at the farm. If we ever went close to a discount store (usually Dollar Store) Big Ralph would stop and buy several pair of children's shoes and boots. The trunk of his car was full of children's shoes and boots! During the day, as we would visit saw millers around the county, Big Ralph would always call the saw mill workers' children up to the car throw open his trunk and have the kids pick out a pair of shoes or boots. It was very obvious that many of these children were without any footwear and they were always delighted to see Big Ralph! This was just a very small example of Big Ralph's generosity as he helped so many people in his lifetime. Including me!

My grandchildren now call me "Big Daddy, though I fear that I will never measure up to the original. Ralph Hughes was a wonderful role model and a tough act to follow! !


Will and Lillian's fourth child is the first of twin girls. Her name is Lura Hughes and this is her story

Lura Hughes was born January 29, 1898 in Clifton. She died February 16,1996 in Sunnyvale, CA. She married (1)John Tom Smith, Jr. on September 6, 1920 in Clifton. He was born December 11, 1898 in Decaturville, TN, and died September 22, 1930 in Kerrville, Texas. They had 3 children.

Notes for Lura Hughes:

Lura was the fourth child and first born twin to Will and Lil Hughes on January 29, 1898 in Clifton, TN. As all the girls in the family had great musical talent, Lura played the piano and also the violin in the family orchestra. She graduated from the Ruskin College Conservatory of Music in Ruskin, TN.

She married John Tom Smith, Jr. on September 6,1920 and he died on September 22,1930, leaving Lura to raise 3 small children alone. Lura moved to Clifton to a home next to Will and Lil's house where, with the support of her parents, was a wonderful mother as she raised her family.

In the early 1940's Lura moved her family to Evansville, IN, where she worked as a riveter at the Republic Defense Plant. After World War II, this courageous and independent lady moved across country to California to seek a new life and adventure. She lived in Glendale, CA and became a professional musician playing the piano for a dance studio and a Moose Lodge in addition to teaching piano and organ in her home.

Lura married Stan Ward in 1951.

Despite the loss of her two sons and 3 husbands, she kept her love for life and upbeat attitude. She was blessed with a personality that made her a joy to be around. In later years she moved to Sunnyvale, CA to live with her daughter until her death in 1996 at the age of 98.

Will and Lillian's fifth child is the second of twin girls. Her name is Clara Hughes and this is her story.

Clara Hughes was the fifth child and the second twin born to Will and Lil, on January 29,1898 in Clifton, TN, and she died on August 26, 1980 in Knoxville. She married Harry Lancaster Stull November 22, 1923 in Clifton. He was born February 9, 1896 in Clifton, TN, and died December 21, 1968 in Nashville. They had one child.

Notes for Clara Hughes: Submitted by her daughter Martha Deller

Like all the Hughes children, music played a big part in Clara's life. She played the cello in the family orchestra. After graduating from Ruskin College Conservatory of Music, she taught piano in the schools in Tellico Plains and Copperhill TN. When she married Harry the lived in Clifton. Clara and Harry liven in Clifton until moving to Waynesboro in 1935 where they lived the remainder of their lives. Clara and Harry were very supportive of civic activities and especially the Eastern Star and American Legion Auxiliary. Clara taught piano in her home. She played the piano and organ every Sunday at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Waynesboro and was asked to provide music at most weddings and funerals in Waynesboro. Clara was fun-loving and loved life. She was blessed to be surrounded by so many friends who loved and respected her. She was an avid bridge player, a wonderful mother and grandmother. Most of all, she and Harry led a peaceful, loving and productive life in an uncomplicated way.


Will and Lillian's sixth child Marguerite Hughes. This is her Story.

Marguerite Hughes was born November 13, 1900 in Clifton, TN, and died June 20, 2002 in Cary, NC. She married (1) Frank Clyde Liskey June 16, 1926 in Clifton. He was born July 11, 1902 in Hagerstown, MD, and died April 6, 1961 in Elizabeth City, NC. They had one child.

Memories of my Grandmother, Marguerite Hughes Liskey Gold By her grandson Paul Sawyer

I must say that truly all my memories of my Grandmother are fond. She was always overjoyed to see her grandkids and family. She was without a doubt a "character", in the best sense of the expression, with the spunk: and vigor that marks the Hughes clan. This lady never quit, even when she fell and broke her hip at 95. Hold her back-not! She was up the next day. Piano was her love and she taught until she was almost 80.


Stories about the Hughes clan and Clifton were legion, and I wish that I had written them all down. Daddy Hughes may have been the greatest "character" of them all! But maybe here I can give a brief account of some of those stories that will help her kin to know her better and to cherish her memory as much as I do.

She and my grandfather Franklin Clyde Liskey (1902-1961), lived in Elizabeth City, NC when I was born in 1953. Their house was at 209 N Road Street and sadly, it has been demolished. Now sure when it was built, but she stayed in it until about 1964 when she moved to Raleigh and bought a duplex on Wade Avenue to be near us. The house was very close to the Elizabeth City High School and my mother Ida could make it to classes when she heard the bell from there, so I would imagine they bought it in the late 30's to early 40's as my mother graduated from high school in 1944. There was a wire fence across the back separating her lot from a wooded area, where there were houses we could still see. These were houses of black families and we could see kids running around. From time to time we'd hear noise from these and Grandmother would casually mention about the "little negras carrying on over there". She was never ugly in this regard, fortunate for the time frame she grew up in. It was under this house that my mother found "Skippy", a dog she had from a young girl to after she married my father, who follower my Grandfather all around Elizabeth City and was even featured in the paper. My Grandfather was blind, and had been so since the late 30's, but through ambition and fortitude, went to New York City and learned the trade of piano tuning. He had come from Hagerstown, MD to stay with his older sister Stell Overman and met Grandmother in Elizabeth City, as she had come there to teach piano. Apparently he stayed busy and was well known throughout the area. Between his piano-tuning, Grandmother teaching piano and renting out apartments, they made it. He would take me and my brother my brother David downtown and I was always amazed at how he could recognize approaching people by their footsteps or some other signal of their presence. To say that he had an attuned ear was indeed an understatement! I never seemed to see these renters but I remember her talking of one fellow who rented upstairs--CPA and graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. Seems he had a drinking problem so my earliest understanding about UNC from my Grandmother was that it must be a wild place with lots of drinking and carousing (which I confirmed later to be generally true. However, her nephew Bobby Overman went there, was Phi Beta Kappa and a CPA, no less).

My brother David and I would take the Trailways bus from Raleigh in the summers to see them. Mind you, this was largely before my sisters were born but my Grandfather did live long enough to know Betsy as an infant. A big trip for us both, and Grandmother would pick us up and treat us to all the fun things that little Elizabeth City could offer. I think my first fast food was at the A&W and what a treat to go there with them and order a hamburger and root beer. It's no secret that David and I love to fish, so naturally, she would find some way for us to fish. She knew tons of people and one kind gentleman with a boat took us out on the Pasquotank River where I caught one fairly substantial fish. I was probably 6 or 7 at the time and David 8 or 9, so you know it was a big deal to us. She even let me cut the little front yard of the house with a push mower and I can still remember the sweet smell of the mint as I did so. The house had a big front porch with a swing, a big pecan tee in the back and those wonderful little 6-oz Coca-Colas in her refrigerator (Why did they always taste so good?). We'd put on these clip-on roller skates and explore the town. We would also go there for Christmas and she would have the tree in the front room. My Grandfather had an overstuffed green rocking chair with those duck heads carved into the arms-- just loved rocking in that chair. After my Grandfather died, it seems that I would always have to sleep in the bed with Grandmother while David got the highly prized couch. She would always complain that I had the heebie-jeebies as I had the tendency to shake my leg and just not be still enough for her. She was right.

Another time after my grandfather had died, David and I went to see her and she got the notion to take us to Nags Head, on the Outer Banks. Sure, let's go. She had what I thought to be the ideal car, a 1958 Chevrolet Bel-Air blue/white two tone with a 283 V-8, air conditioning and power steering. Amazing what little guys remember, but I remember being confused about power steering as I thought that this meant that the car could steer itself! Anyway, we're off to Nags Head and Grandmother's next adventure. At some point we started crossing the sound on one of those old, long, rickety wooden bridges and Grandmother started passing a slower car in front of us. Kinda scary, as these bridges are narrow. She's moving up in the left lane, but just not really gaining much ground. David and I almost together said "Grandmother, give it some gas!" but she stays almost even with the car we're passing. You know what's coming next, an on-coming car that senses the inevitable head-on and starts slowing down. Grandmother sees this car, and she, too, slows down. So does the car we're passing. We must have all slowed down to 20 mph or so and then she eases back into the right lane. This happened fairly quickly, and she quickly shrugged it off. Travels with Grandmother! (I know of one accident of hers and this was when she was backing out on busy Wade Avenue in Raleigh) Probably also on this trip we wanted to go bowling and she of course, wanted to participate as well. This was at the time on Nags Head where someone would place the pins for you. I'm sure we did the Putt-Putt golf as well.

The first big Hughes reunion that I went to was the one at Natural Bridge in 1959 when I was five. Grandmother drove that 1958 Chevy to Raleigh with my Grandfather and picked us up for the long trip, and happily, my father drove the rest of the way and back. At some point I got carsick, and she and my mother debated on the best cure and harkening back to an earlier era, they settled on castor oil. No kidding. I remember being scared to death climbing the stairs up the dam at Natural Bridge, which is still there, and that there was apparently a hatch of toads as little toads were everywhere. I remember an older boy, whom I suppose was Harry but not too much about anyone else. We did fish and I caught a fairly nice bass which just infuriated David. Being the older brother, you know what that means. Every time I saw Uncle Emory Shearouse until he passed away he just had to recount the story and chuckle (and I did too )--David challenged me to a fight as he had been upstaged. I don't think we did, but sibling rivalry was certainly out in the open I want to say that all of the surviving sisters were there as well as Uncle Ralph, and I remember a big Civil War revolver in his wall at his house.

Another trip I took with her was to Washington, DC and Maryland in 1965 to see my Grandfather's oldest sister, Aunt Tracy, who lived in Hagerstown MD. Grandmother had always been fond of her, and I'm not sure why David didn't go, too. I would have been 11 and my sisters only 4 (Betsy) and 11'2 (Amy). It was just after school was out, and off we went. We stayed the first night in Washington, DC, notably remembered by Grandmother driving down a one way street the wrong way. I immediately told her what was happening but she just kept going, saying that she would turn around as soon as she could. Well, it didn't seem like she was making any progress in that regard and my stomach was in knots. Next came the blue lights and finally she stopped. My father would say that she couldn't see very well and that she was too vain to wear her glasses and he's probably be right. Anyway, she explained to the very friendly DC policeman that we were from North Carolina and rapidly this sweet little grandmother had us out of any hot water and escorted to the next turn. We made it to Aunt Tracy's without further ado, had a great visit and learned a little about the Liskeys. My great-uncle Brownie (my Grandfather's brother) had recently died and for some reason we went to his house. He was quite the firearms collector and I recall a room containing his collection with a table piled high with pistols--quite a few and some very interesting with even two cylinders. Again, isn't it interesting what a little guy remembers?

Grandmother was somewhat headstrong, but to me, always in a sweet way. The 30s and the Depression were tough on them and the money given to her through the WPA to teach piano lessons made her a true life-long yellow-dog democrat. Roosevelt gave her money when times were tough, so that's the end of her politics. We saw letters from Daddy Hughes to her quite touching and showing a true love for his daughter, that she must honor her husband even when times are tough. It seems that she gave my Grandfather an ultimatum on finding work and then took off with mother to Clifton to stay with Mama and Daddy Hughes. That's why she and my mother were there in Clifton when Robert Mount was, too, as he had recently lost his mother Frances and his father was looking for work, I believe. My mother and Robert were walking together when sighting the notorious "pig eating the man" event which will live in infamy as we Hughes' tell our stories. Grandmother would sneak off to go visit the riverboats with her sisters, at least some of them, I suppose. And we heard many times of when Uncle Harry drowned in 1915 in the Tennessee River going to the anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh. They know someone had drowned in the river, that it was either Uncle Harry or his cousin Tom Frank Hassel. Of course both sides of the family were wailing, but they didn't want it to their brother, but they didn't want it to be their cousin either. And Daddy Hughes said that he lost not only a son, but his best friend. No wonder he didn't want Uncle Ralph to go to WWl. Daddy Hughes' daily devotions have been mentioned by so many Hughes' including Grandmother and my Mother and I am so thankful for this legacy in the family.

She was certainly thrifty but always generous to us kids. Whenever one of us had a birthday, both boys would get a present. When she lived on Wade Avenue, I would go and cut her grass, clean gutters and do general handyman things for her. One day I went to get water from her refrigerator and saw a bottle of wine. Thunderbird wine or something like it no less. I asked her what she was doing with this cheap wine and she said that she rot it for one of her friends from Elizabeth City who was coming to visit (Mrs. Midgett who lived, a couple of doors down from her) who liked a glass of wine now and then. When I told her that it was really wino wine, she was nonplussed about it and more or less hinted that Mrs. Midgett wouldn't know the difference anyway. Yes, she was practical.

Betsy took care of her affairs when she got way up in years and did many of her chores. I would go see her and one of her small requests was that Fe take her to McDonald's where she would just get a small hamburger and fries. I would chip in on her meals and other expenses at the retirement center where she stayed before she went into the nursing home and I always wondered if she was really eating enough when the bills seemed somewhat paltry. But she apparently didn't, and poo-pooed some groceries I got her one time as "she didn't eat that". Betsy and I took her to Elizabeth City in 1989 to see the "old home-place" and had a blast staying in the same room with her at a B&B along the way. The old house in Elizabeth City and had a blast staying in the same room with her at a B&B along the way. We took her to the old Colonial Restaurant there which probably hadn't changed since the 50s and when the saw a little couple there she recognized, who must have been way up in their 90s, she exclaimed, "I thought you were dead". They responded, "We're not dead yet" and needless to say, we both had to hold back the chuckles. It was early spring and on the way back to Raleigh we got the after seeing one of those U-pick signs to stop and pick strawberries. Naturally, Grandmother had t6 pick, too, and Betsy and I really got into it. We kind of forgot about Grandmother down another row and she just kept picking and picking, too. Then we realized that it's time to stop and our 88 year old Grandmother is red in the face but still eager to continue. More Hughes gumption! ! She played the piano at her 100th birthday party. She did have some dementia and had a notion that someone had "taken her white shoes" and somehow my father got the blame. I don't know if I was accused of anything. A few years before her 1oo" birthday, Denise got to spend time with her and she told me "You'd better marry that girl" 'I' We got her playing the piano and talking to us on video, fortunately. Many years before, Grand other had a diamond ring that she wanted me to take, and I had more than a few times said no and that it should go to one of my sisters. Well, eventually I said OK and put it in a safe deposit box and pretty much forgot about it. You all know that I eventually married Denise and I started looking for a ring, not even considering that one. I had casually mentioned Grandmother's ring to Denise at some point, but was looking for something larger to give her but this was somewhat frustrating given that I'm not much of a shopper. She didn't come out and say it, but something said to me that she would appreciate Grandmother's ring because it came from family. I was surprised, but pleased in the sense that Denise would really want it. So Denise wears this ring and through a stroke of good fortune, we found a matching band from the 20s which is a perfect complement to go with it.

I saw Grandmother 3 weeks before she died in 2001. I'm not sure she really knew who I was but I sat there looking at the grand woman, so small I could have easily picked her up in my arms like a baby, knowing that this would be our last visit. She looked at me and with a very faint voice said "I love you". Yes, Grandmother, I know you do. And you always have. I love you, too, Grandmother. I always will.

Will and Lillian's seventh child is Anna Mae Hughes. This is her Story.

Anna Mae Hughes was born October 21; 1902 in Clifton, TN, and died October 23, 1982 in Bowling Green, KY. She married Smith Ezekiel Holland November 15, 1926 in Clifton. He was born July 4,1902 in Birmingham, KY, and died February 24, 1964 in Nashville. They had 2 children. Smith Ezekiel Holland, Jr (S.E.). Was Anna Mae's first child and Sara Ann Holland (Ann) is Anna Mae's second child.

Notes for Anna Mae Hughes: From her daughter Ann McCarthy

Anna Mae was the fifth daughter, between Marguerite and Frances. She was the only girl who never taught piano. She did play piano and she played the tuba in the Hughes Family Orchestra... She excelled in the dramatic arts and taught elocution. In later life she appeared in several Theatre Nashville productions. She played "Big Momma" in Cat on A Hot Tin Roof. (I played "Maggie". It ran for 3 months and broke all records in Nashville at that time.

She took 6 years of Latin at Frank Hughes School in Clifton and was the class valedictorian. She went to Maryville College. She was the only daughter to ever work in the bank with Daddy Hughes. She met my father while working at the bank. He was from Birmingham, Ky. (now under Kentucky Lake) He sold cross ties on the TN River and would stay at the old Russ Hotel in Clifton. After they were married they lived in Little Rock, Ark, Waynesboro, TN, Bowling Green, Ky. Louisville, KY and Nashville.

Anna Mae was an avid bridge player. She was a life master and taught hundreds of people to play bridge. When she died, the entire staff of the nursing home were at her funeral. They all said the same thing. My mother had taught them all to play bridge.


Will and Lillian's eighth child is Frances Hughes. This is her story

Frances Hughes was born December 28,1906 in Ruskin, TN and died January 16,1936 in Shelbyville. She married Logan McKnight Mount December 24, 1930 in Clifton. He was born May 26, 1907 in Stillwell, OK, and died 1972 in Albany, GA. They had one child.

Notes for Frances Hughes: Submitted by her son Robert Hughes Mount

My mother Frances died when I was four. She was a graduate of Maryville College, in Maryville, TN. She lived in Shelbyville at the time of her death. She and her family had been home to Clifton for the Christmas holidays and returned home to find that the basement had flooded. She was pregnant at the time and caught phenomena and died. Dr. Robert Hughes Mount is Frances' child He was born December 25, 1931 in Lewisburg, TN. He married (1) Rena Williams August 24, 1961 in Birmingham, AL. She was born April 6, 1940 in Birmingham, AL. They had 2 children.

Notes from Dr. Robert Hughes Mount: RECOLLECTIONS OF MY CHILDHOOD Robert Hughes Mount

I was four years old when my mother, Frances, died. I recall her taking me to the drug store, where I drank a glass of chocolate milk and ate a scoopful of ice cream in a glass. Afterward, a guardian angel must have been assigned to watch over me during my childhood. All I can remember were happy times and being cared for by devoted, loving relatives. For a year or two following Frances' death, I lived with Flora, a great-aunt on my father's side. Following her death in 1938; I was "adopted" by Aunt Clara and Uncle Harry Stull, who lived in Waynesboro. Daddy kept tabs on me and visited regularly. Waynesboro was a little boys paradise. He'd take me to Green River which was a crystal clear stream flowing through the neighborhood. We would swim there, bathe there in warm weather and we'd catch crawfish, water snakes, and turtles. When Daddy would come, he would teach me a lot about creek dwelling critters.

My "big sister," Martha Lillian, daughter of Aunt Clara and Uncle Harry, watched over me like a mother hen watches over her biddies. She let me sleep in the bed with her and share the hot-water bottle on cold winter nights. Not many teen-aged girls these days would share their bed with a wiggle-some 6-year-old boy! But then, there aren't as many angels around now as there were back then. Uncle Ralph and Aunt Josephine and their children Ralph Jr., Bettye Jo, and Bill lived a block or so away. Uncle Ralph hired a teen-aged black boy, "Tee," to ride herd over the neighborhood children. Tee occasionally took us fishing and did other neat things like building a "flying jenny." I lived for a short time in Clifton with Mamma and Daddy Hughes.

We frequently visited Daddy and Mamma Hughes in Clifton. Junior, Billy and Niny were usually there. Junior and Billy did chores for Daddy Hughes like milking the cow. The cow would occasionally eat bitter week which made the milk taste terrible. Daddy Hughes would say "Drink the milk, it's good for you no matter how it taste." Daddy Hughes had a thickened fingernail, and if you disobeyed him he would thump you on the noggin.

Daddy Hughes was convinced that alcoholic beverages were the devil's own brew. At family get-togethers, one of my uncles enjoyed an occasional drink and would invite my father to go to the outhouse with him where he could take a drink. That uncle was one of my favorites.

Mamma and Daddy Hughes' house was one of the few houses in Clifton that had indoor plumbing. But when the family would get together, it was an unwritten rule that only the women and children would us the inside toilet.

When I was nine, Daddy married a loving wonderful person, Ann, and I went to live with them. But throughout the remainder of my childhood, I visited Waynesboro and Clifton regularly and continued to enjoy the hills, hollows, and beautiful streams of Wayne County, and to be with the relatives whom I'd come to love so much.

Will and Lillian's ninth child is Dorothy Hughes. This is her story.

Dorothy Loraine Hughes was born September 4, 1909 in Ruskin. She married Emory A. Shearouse August 10, 1935 in Clifton. He died April 10, 1989 in Guyton, GA. Dorothy died in May of 200'1. They had 2 children.

Notes for Dorothy Loraine Hughes: Submitted by her children Harry Shearouse and Babs Neidlinger

Our mother, Dorothy Lorraine Hughes, was born on September 4, 1909 into the growing family of Lillian T. and William A. Hughes. She was the last child born to the Hughes'. The family was living in Ruskin, TN at the time, but soon moved to the big house in Clifton which most of us remember as the Hughes Family Home.

Mother recounted many happy experiences of growing up in the Hughes household. There was always something going on with two older brothers and six sisters. Many of the activities revolved around music as all of the children were encouraged to play a musical instrument and many were taught by Daddy Hughes; sister, Aunt Molly Ricketts. The girls had to schedule their practice time on the piano, and Mother said there was rarely a time when the instrument wasn't being played.

Mama and Daddy Hughes saw that their children were taught Christian principles from their early days, and Mother often recited Bible verses that had been taught to her as a child. She learned strong moral values in her in her home and carried these high standards throughout her life. She was a devout Christian. One of the most treasured recollections of her is seeing her kneeling beside her bed every night in prayer.

Mother, graduated from Frank Hughes High School in Clifton and went away to Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky to pursue her education in music. She roomed there the first year with her sister, Frances. She received an associate's degree in music from Asbury and returned to Clifton. Times were hard and jobs for music teachers were difficult to fine, but one day, Daddy Hughes called her down to the bank where he worked and told her he'd found an opportunity open for a music teacher in Springfield, Georgia. No one had ever heard of the place, and daddy Hughes told her this would mean a 600 mile distance from her home and family, and the inability to return for perhaps a year. Mother took the challenge, applied for the job, and was s hired.

We've often imagined what that train trip must have been like for her-a young woman going to an unknown place where she would be a complete stranger. When the train reached middle Georgia, another young woman carne aboard and sat near Mother. As they introduced themselves, they discovered that they had the same last name-this girl was Mildred Hughes and she, also, was going to Springfield to teach. She didn't know anyone there either. They couldn't find any family connections, but were glad to have the company of each other. When they arrived, it was arranged for them to reside at the same boarding house.

As the teachers were assimilated into the community and began their teaching careers, the townspeople welcomed them warmly. Many people thought Mother and Mildred were sisters, since they came at the same time and both were Hughes's. Interestingly enough, they did begin to date brothers who they eventually married and became sisters-in-law!

Mother never dated anyone seriously in Springfield except Daddy, Emory Austin Shearouse. He was working at the Chevrolet Motor Company at the time. They fell head over heels in love, and continued to date throughout the 2 years that Mother taught music to the local school system. The years of the Great Depression were upon them and Daddy wasn't financially able to take on marriage. Mother moved back to Clifton and they continued a long-distance romance through letters for 5 long years. Daddy saved every way possible. Finally, a wedding date was set for August 10,1935. They had survived the depression. Daddy had gotten a position as Cashier at the Springfield Bank. The wedding was held in the big house in Clifton, with many of the Hughes Clan in attendance. Only one of Daddy's brothers could afford to come and stand as his best man. They honeymooned in Memphis before settling in Springfield.

Mother lost a baby at birth in 1940, and this was a real heartache for both of them then in 1942, Barbara Jane was born and in 1946, Harry Hughes Shearouse came. He was named for Mother's brother who drowned in the Tennessee River when he was just 21 years old.

As Daddy continued to build his career as a banker in the county, Mother was a stay-at-home mom. However, she taught some music pupils at home: and later, when we children were older, she returned to teaching in the school. The biggest part of her music career, however, revolved around her church, where she was pianist and then, when the church got an organ, she taught herself to play it. Daddy bought her a small organ for the home so she could practice, and she became a very accomplished organist. She was organist and also the choir director at the Springfield Methodist Church for 25 years. In addition, she was often called on to accompany soloists, and play for weddings, funerals and other community events. Daddy likewise was active in the church, serving as treasurer for 50 years. Needless to say, when the church doors were open, we were there. Mother conveyed her appreciation of music to both of us, Babs taking piano lessons throughout high school and Harry playing trombone in the high school marching and dance bands.

Mother loved flowers and was a charter member of the town garden club. Daddy also was an excellent gardener generously sharing produce from his labors with family and friends. He also became interested in propagating camellias and during their season of profusion, Mother adorned her suit or dress with a gorgeous bloom he had grown. Mother was also active in church women's activities and a great supporter of our school events. She was a wonderful cook, always providing a hot breakfast for us-whether we wanted it or not! She loved to bake cookies or brownies and take them to new people in town, welcoming them and inviting them to come to church or get involved in some community activity. This was probably reminiscent of her experience of being a newcomer herself when she first carne to Springfield.

Daddy continued his interest in camellias until the 'golf bug' bit him and thereafter flowers took second place in his life. He played golf every Wednesday and Saturday and dearly loved the game. Daddy was a very kind and gentle man and taught us the meaning of compassion and generosity. He was a great storyteller and would entertain us for hours telling stories and imitating unique individuals. He loved to laugh and enjoyed a good joke immensely.

Even though Mother lived most of her life in Georgia, she was Tennessee through and through. She thought us until her death that everything from Tennessee was better, whether it be fruit, vegetables or a country cured ham. We always brought home some delicious "Tennessee goods" from our visits there. We even visited the artesian sulphur well across the street from the Big House in Clifton and carried containers of smelly sulphur water back home to Georgia because it supposedly would' cure our ills'!

Both of our parents provided a wonderful, nurturing home for us. They adored and cherished each other and were truly faithful and devoted in their marriage. They loved to travel and relive their experiences. They were blessed with 5 grandchildren and poured a lot of love and wisdom into each one. We were truly blessed. They celebrated their so" Wedding Anniversary in 1985.

It is a fact that as our character, morals, and ethics are being developed, those around us have a significant effect on what we become. We both are forever grateful to Mother and Daddy for the many ways they influenced our lives. We also understand that our lives were significantly shaped by Daddy and Mama Hughes and our Shearouse grandparents, if not directly, through the influence they had on our parents.

Daddy died in 1988, and Mother missed him every day. She, however, returned to many of her activities, until she broke her hip in 2001. Many friends ministered to her when she became disabled, reflecting the love and concern she had given through her life for others. She lived for 4 more years to everyone's amazement and was fully cognizant until she breathed her last in May of 2001. She was a prayer warrior for her children, grandchildren, family and friends until the end of her life. Heaven is a richer place because she is there!

(In late 2003, Babs enticed her mother to talk about growing up in Clifton while she, Babs, recorded their conversation. There were places where it seemed she drifted off down memory lane, so Niny transcribed the recording as best as she could.

In Dorothy's own words ...

I'm so thankful to have been brought up in a Christian home ~ mother and father - bible ~ and we had a happy home. We almost fought over the piano to see who could get there first. There were seven girls and all but one taught music - so we kept the piano going. My Dad gave me my first wristwatch for getting up at 6 o'clock in the morning and practicing before school.

We were not allowed to go to a showboat. The showboats came up the river, but ... our Dad wouldn't let us go. But we did enjoy watching the excursionists get off the boat, and we, as little children, would walk along behind them or with them and they would give us money. They liked to hear us talk. Most of them were from the North, you know, That was a happy time. Aunt Molly Ricketts, who was Daddy's sister, lived next door to us, and she started us all off on the piano. She didn't have much patience with us, and I came home crying a few times 'cause she would press my fingers into those keys sometimes ~ but that was before I started to school. After I started to school, I took lessons from someone else.

Beatrice (Bea) went to some college in Nashville. That's where she met Will, her husband. I used to visit them quite often after they got married. Bea sort of took me under her wing.


Will and Lillian's tenth child was a daughter that was born May 10, 1913. It is  not sure if she died at birth, but she is buried at Ruskin.


Hughes-Spurlock (Owned  Property from 1950-2016)

Hughes-Spurlock, Jim Hughes, an early Wayne Countian, married Mary Edmondson in early 1800. One of their children, John W. Hughes, married Katurah Montague, daughter of John and Nancy Elliott Montague. Their children were Mary Briggs Hughes, Fannie Montague Hughes and John Frizzell Hughes. Mary Briggs Hughes married Eilhu Davis. Their only child died in infancy. Fannie Montague Hughes married W. B. Newcomb, No children were born to this union.

John Frizzell Hughes, for many years and education at Frank Hughes College in Clifton married Lizzie Virginia Dixon, daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Katherine Kinnard Dixon. Their children were Marie Louise Hughes and John Gideon Hughes. After the death of Lizzie Virginia Dixon, John Frizzell Hughes married Alice Hardeman. They had no children.

Marie Louise Hughes taught in the Wayne County Public Schools prior to her marriage to the Reverend John B. Spurlock, a young Methodist minister from Gainesboro, Tennessee. Their children were Mary Frances Spurlock and Charles Hughes Spurlock. For some 30 plus years, they served many Methodist churches throughout the Tennessee Conference3. Anticipation retirement in the late 1940s they purchased the Will Hughes property at 204 W. Pillow Street in Clifton and began renovations.* Before his retirement, however, the Reverend Spurlock died suddenly, and Marie Hughes Spurlock returned to Clifton and this house where she lived until her death in 1970.

Charles Hughes Spurlock married Virginia Mae Smith of Maryville, Tennessee. Charles , and educational administrator in Nashville, Tennessee, for 43 years, died in 1993. His widow, children and grandchildren continued to own and enjoy the house at 204 W Pillow St. as their summer home until it was sold in 2016.

Submitted by Virginia Smith Spurlock

*The property was purchased at the Estate sale of Lillian A. Hughes.


Michael and Kathy Dumont (Owned  Property from 2016-present)


Before buying and restoring the Commodore Hotel Linden hotel in 2007, Michael and Kathy Dumont, lived and worked in Rhode Island.

Michael Dumont is originally from Rhode Island, and spent his professional career as a real estate developer and mortgage company owner in RI, Massachusetts and Florida. Kathy worked for several years as a Mortgage Loan Officer during the real estate boom of the late 1990s-early 2000s.  Prior to that, her experience included customer service and sales positions: at a mailing-list management firm, where she handled part of the Time-Warner account, retail, and Fidelity Investments.

In 2003, Michael and Kathy purchased a farm in Linden, Tennessee as a second home and family retreat. Michael continued his development passion with the restoration of the historic, 1800s log cabin and farmhouse on the Tennessee property. He then rescued the landmark hotel building in the center of the decaying downtown area and he and Kathy reopened it as the Commodore Hotel. Through this venture, Michael started meeting with and discussing local economic development with the local mayors and concerned citizens when local unemployment rates reached 27%. These discussions led to the formation of VisionPerry in 2009.

Michael served as Executive Director of VisionPerry, which became an innovative community development organization receiving national attention for creative rural development strategies. The program received regional best practice awards and focused on the creation hundreds of new jobs in rural areas with above average salaries in digital information sector. Michael has presented the successes of the organization at numerous conferences including, the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development, National Historic Preservation Trust, The Tennessee Governors Conference on Tourism, The South East Regional Economic Development Council Conference, The Delta Regional Authority Broadband Summit, TVA Economic Development Conference, TN Economic Development Council Conference, and the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance Conference. In 2017 Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam appointed Michael to serve as a Commissioner on the Tennessee Arts Commission.

After growing up in small Sterling, Illinois, Kathy moved to Connecticut, where she (née Wolfe) finished high school.  Scholarships and her nearby sister took her to Dallas’ Southern Methodist University, where Toay (as she was known by her classmates – her middle name) achieved a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing, and a Minor in Music: Vocal Performance and Percussion.


Kathy credits her Fidelity Investments experience with putting her on her career path: “I discovered, while working at Fidelity, that my natural talent was helping people in a friendly, positive, and patient way.  I never would have thought that was a marketable skill.”

Besides being the operating partner  of the Commodore Hotel, Kathy’s  other passion  is the Dumont’s home on  a 400 acre farm where she raises Australian Shepherd dogs, sheep, chickens, and a few rescue horses. She is also known for her culinary skills on farm with a love for outdoor open fire cooking.

Michael and his wife Kathy have since become full time Perry County residents and own and operate the Commodore Hotel Linden, a vintage 1939 hotel they lovingly restored. The venue has received statewide recognition as a unique venue complete with fine dining and quality live music. The Dumont’s also bought and restored the oldest commercial building in downtown Linden - the original bank building -which had been boarded up since 1965. In 2015 the Dumont’s purchased and restored two other historic properties in Downtown Linden adding additional rooms to the hotel’s footprint. Through the efforts of the Dumont’s and other visionary local merchants, the Linden downtown area is becoming transformed into a quaint, nostalgic downtown with interesting shops that is attracting tourists daily.

In 2016 the Dumont’s have expanded their efforts to the neighboring town of Clifton, TN. They purchased the Hughes home. A four-year extensive renovation took place and opened as the Commodore Inn at Clifton. The property is now a meticulously restored 1892 Victorian Bed and Breakfast.


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