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John Hughes and Mary Daggs Hughes

Parents of Susannah Hughes Esarey

John Hughes was born 8 July 1786 in Pennsylvania to James and Catherine (Prothro) Hughes. He was oldest of seven children, two daughters and five sons. The three eldest children were born in Pennsylvania and the four younger born in Virginia. John was a Methodist preacher and a circuit rider: a veteran of Indian wars, interpreter at meetings and treaties. He was taught coppersmith by a German who helped raise him. He was fiercely proud to be of Indian blood (his grandmother was Indian). He was involved with the Underground Railway and helped many slaves escape to the North. John was self educated, well read, and possessed one of the largest personal libraries in Southern Indiana.

He and his brother Nathan – also a minister – organized the First Methodist Church in Indiana which met in John’s coppersmith shop – a log cabin on the Blue River in what is now Harrison County. In 1824 John and his wife Mary deeded an acre of their land on top of a hill above Blue River for a place of worship and for a school. Thompson’s Chapel (Section 1, Township 3 S, Range 2 E Spencer Township, Harrison County, Indiana) is located on this parcel of land and is known as the oldest Methodist church with continuous service in Indiana.

John Hughes was married to Mary Daggs, daughter of William and Mary (Cook) Daggs, 28 January 1812 at Ramsey, Indiana. Mary was born 21 March 1792 in Virginia, the second of five children. It is believed that the Hughes and Daggs families may have traveled together from Virginia to Indiana. Four members of the Hughes family were married to four members of the Daggs family.

John and Mary had nine children, four daughters and five sons. Eliza (married Marcus Benham), Athaliah (married Briggs Elliot), Mary (married Joseph Brown), Ananias (married Polly Craig), Susannah (married Jesse Clark Esarey), James Armstrong (married Rachel Yates, and later Estelle Miles), Eli (married Kitty Patrick and later Miss Croley and still later Miss Litcher), John, and Absalom (married Mary Johnson).

Mary died 10 Aug 1853 and John died 21 Nov 1863. They are buried at the Seaton Cemetery, Grantsburg Indiana. Their son John who is buried beside them drowned in the Mississippi River at the age of 18 years, 8 months.

Through the years the tombstones have been damaged and have been lying on the ground. The descendants of the Hughes family have collected money and in 2006/2007 had the stones of John and Mary and their son John W. restored and reset in Seaton Cemetery.

Source: “Hughes: A Pedigree” by Fern Orr Scanlon

Hughes gravestones at Seaton Cemetery


The Hughes gravestones - after restoration (2007)