Category Archives: Charley Hughes

In Honor Of My Dad’s 101st Birthday!

me & dad

Me & Dad 

My Dad was the person who influenced my life the most while growing up. He showed me unconditional love, even through all the craziness of my teen years. I never really appreciated him until after he was gone. In honor of this remarkable man, this blog is to celebrate his life on what would be his 101st Birthday.


Benjamin Douglas “Doug” Hughes was born in Pettis County, Missouri, August 18, 1915. He

Douglas&Lenoard - Restored - Use

Douglas & Leonard 1918

was born the same day that his Uncle who, was blind, died. He was name after this uncle. He was the 8th of 11children born to Charley Hughes. They lived on a farm in rural Missouri, raising all their food, cows and award winning horses. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s they were fortunate enough to not suffer as others did because they were basically self-sustaining. They shared what they had with others in the community and I believe this is where my Dad developed his giving spirit!

Dad at 18At the age of 15 two events influenced his life. The first was he paid 25 cents and got his first drivers license. He said “In those days there was no driving or written test, as long as you had the quarter you got the license!”  He was always proud of the fact that in all his years of driving he had only received 1 ticket. The second event was when his family was living near Lexington Missouri. He along with his brother Leonard and two brother-in-laws Mitchell and Virgil where riding in a wagon going to town. A neighbor came out and an argument broke out between Virgil and the man. This man drew his gun and shot Virgil between the eyes, killing him instantly! This haunted my Dad his whole life.

In 1934-35 my Dad participated in the Civilian Conservation Corp implemented by CCC Camps DadPresident Roosevelt. He served in Lake Tahoe, California. Here he learned to work with wood and stone masonry. These skills helped him the rest of his life. During his lifetime he worked as a horse trainer, as a farmer, as a coal miner, he worked on the railroads, as a butcher and for the last 19 years of his life he worked in the construction field.


dad, mildred, lolaHe was married 3 times; the first time was when he was 22 years old in 1937. He married Mildred Shockley and they had a son Benjamin. Unfortunately Benjamin died at 2 months old from Typhoid and his mom died 3 weeks later from the same thing. My Dad was devastated. He married a second time in 1944 to Mildred McQuillen. She had a daughter name Loretta whom my Dad accepted as his own.Mom, Dad, Bro & Sis They never had children and I don’t know what happened but they divorced sometime before 1948. The third was my Mother, Emmajane Smith in 1948. My Mother had a son, Gordon and once again my Dad took him as his own. My sister Mary Leella was born in 1951 and I was born in 1955.

We left Missouri when I was 11 months old and moved to Southern Arizona. When I was 12 years old my Mother had a mental breakdown and the next 7 years were pure hell! My Dad refused to have her committed and he took care of her even through our moves back to Missouri for 2 years then out to California for 5 years. He showed me that you don’t give up on people because the situation is not ideal. He showed strength of character and resolve that I have always admired.

Dad and my oldest son.

In the Fall of 1973 my Dad went to the doctor for a cough that wouldn’t go away. After many tests and x-rays we were told he had lung cancer. He had surgery to remove his right lung then endured several rounds of chemo and radiation therapy. He lived for 9 months and he passed away at home on June 24, 1974. He was 58 years old. This was 42 years ago and I still think about him every day. I still strive to be the kind of woman, wife, mother and Grandmother that would make him proud. I know that I am proud to be his daughter!


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on and You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Filed under Ancestry, Arizona, Charley Hughes, Death, Family History, Family Search, Farming, Genealogy, Hughes, Memories, Missouri, Story telling, Uncategorized

Don’t Lose Your Treasure By Hesitating

gen groupOver the last several years I have been a part of many online Genealogy groups. They are a great place to meet likeminded people, learn helpful hints, receive encouragement and on occasion receive help. This is also a place for discussing topics concerning the right and wrong ways to research, document and share your family information.


Over the past two years I have read several such discussions on the topic of sharing your 2 people arguingfamily trees on line. I am amazed how “heated” they can become. On one side there are those who believe we should all freely share and post all of our family history online. The premise being by putting it all “out there” it would make it easier for those who may be related to find you. On the other side there are those who believe it is best to not have it available to everyone on line because there are those who will “steal” their hard work, photos, etc.

Leola & OrvilleWell I’d like to tell you what happened to me yesterday. I checked my email and I had received a message from a woman who had found me on WikiTrees. She told me that she had been shopping in an antique mall in San Jose, California and found a photo of two young children , a young girl and her younger brother. She said she bought the photo because the two were just too cute! On the back of it was written “Charlie and Jennie Hughes’ children, Leola and Leonard” and the picture was taken circa 1914 in Pettis County, Missouri. She did a search for those names and up came my tree. She was able to not only contact me but she sent me a copy of the photo. To say I was grateful, surprised and amazed is an understatement. My Aunt Leola died at age 32 and there aren’t many photos of her. Because of putting my tree online (I have it several places) I have been given an unbelievable treasure.

I hope this story helps those who hesitate to put your Family History online see there are some potential benefits to it.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on and You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Filed under Ancestry, Charley Hughes, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, Hughes, Personal Stories, Research, Uncategorized

Charley Hughes, Can You Please Speak Up!

Charley & Virginia (Hayes) Hughes

Charley & Virginia (Hayes) Hughes

I really wish I could have gotten to know my 4 Grandparents. I only met one, my maternal Grandfather and at the time he was already 79 years old and I was 7. He died 6 years later however I did get to spend a few months in the same town as him before he passed. All three of the other Grandparents died long before I was born.  It is odd that although I am in my 50’s my parents’ parents were born over 130 years ago.  My maternal Grandfather was born in 1882 and my maternal Grandmother was born in 1888. My paternal Grandmother was born in 1880 and my paternal Grandfather was born in…well here is where the mystery lies.

Charley Hughes Bible

Charley Hughes was born in 1861, 1864, 1865, 1867 or 1868. I have a page from the Hughes family Bible that lists his birth year as 1861. All the other dates on this page are correct so; do I assume this one is also?  I had Charley Hughes DCasked my Aunt shortly before she died for any Genealogy information she had. She wrote down her parents’ information and she gave her father’s birth date as 1864.  According to Charley’s State of Missouri issued death certificate it states his birth year as 1865. My Dad filled out the small family tree in my baby book and he lists the year as 1867 and lastCharley Hughes Headstone but not least on Charley’s Headstone the year is listed as 1868.

I have searched all the databases for any information on Charleys’ birth records or certificate and have come up empty handed. I even made a Genealogy Research trip from Arizona to Missouri to try to locate the correct date with no luck. If there wasn’t a 7 year gap in the dates it may not matter so much. You see I have been trying to prove that my Grandpa Charley had been married three times instead of the two we know of. My reasoning for this is his age when he married the first known wife. He married Clara Braden in 1900. Charley would have been between the ages of 32 and 39. After Clara died it only took him a few months before he married my Grandmother Virginia Belle Hayes. I know that most men in this era married by the time they are 20 so it is very possible that he did indeed have a “first” first wife.

Charley & Miranda MLA very nice genealogist who lives in Missouri helped me search for a first wife and she did find one record that was promising but I have not been able to prove or disprove it. So until I can find a more accurate date of birth or until he can speak to me from his grave I will just have to keep hoping that I will eventually unravel the mystery of Charley’s birth year.

By the way, I have found him in the Census records but again the ages are different.

If anyone has any hints, ideas or suggestions as to other places that I could search I would appreciate hearing from you!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Charley Hughes, Family History, Genealogy, Hughes, Missouri