John Hughes

Company K,
1st District of Columbia Infantry, also known as
1st U.S. Colored Infantry

John is buried at Fork Branch Cemetery, Cheswold, Kent Co, DE.
(Photo taken Aug 2001).



Pension #WC 768254 (alternate numbers 577009 & WO 1013230)

  Enlisted (drafted): 26 Sep 1864, Wilmington, New Castle County, DE
  Honorably discharged: 29 Sep 1865, Roanoke Island, NC (one record gives 01 Oct 1865).

John Hughes:

  Son of:: Benjamin Hughes (b. Sussex County, DE) and Mariah Miller (b. Kent County, DE)
  Date of birth: 05 Aug 1831
  Place of birth:

Smyrna, Kent County, DE

  Date of death: 07 Aug 1913
  Place of death:

Cheswold, Kent County, DE

  Buried at: Little Union Cemetery (now known as Fork Branch Cemetery), Kent County, DE on 10 Aug 1913
  Married to: Deborah Cork, daughter of Perry and Hannah Cork
  Marriage Date: 20 Aug 1856
  Marriage Place: Smyrna, Kent County, DE
  Wife's DOB: 14 Aug 1838 (another record gives 14 Aug 1836)
  Wife's POB: Cheswold, Kent County, DE
  Wife's DOD: 16 Jun 1921
  Wife's POD: Not listed

John & Deborah's children (based on an affidavit signed by John Hughes on 04 Jun 1898):

  Name Birth Date Remarks
  Hester 27 May 1858  
  Benjamin F. 14 Feb 1861  
  Andrew 05 Jun 1863  
  John 05 May 1867  
  Harriet (01?) Dec 1869 *[see #3 in Query Items below].
  Edward 26 Jan 1873  
  Perry 09 Oct 1875  
  James 14 Nov 1879 (name & date crossed off with x's after it was written)


John's residences at various times as noted in the pension records:

  • East Dover Hundred, Kent County , DE (as of 17 Jun 1885)
  • Moorton (former name of Cheswold), Kent County, DE (as of 17 Nov 1886)
  • Cheswold, Kent County, DE (as of 24 Apr 1891)
  • Cheswold, Kent County, DE (as of 01 Jan 1895)
  • Cheswold, Kent County, DE (as of 21 Feb 1907)
  • Cheswold, Kent County, DE (as of 31 May 1912)

    Deborah's residences at various times as noted in the pension records:

  • East Dover Hundred, Kent County, DE (as of 21 Aug 1913)
  • On 05 Nov 1913 she signed an affidavit which stated that "for the past twenty-eight years she has resided about one and one-quarter miles south of
      Cheswold, aforesaid, and during her entire life both before her marriage and since she has resided in the vicinity of Cheswold, aforesaid."

    Among the affiants / witnesses for John and/or Deborah:

  • John H. Morgan of Cheswold, DE, b. 17 Feb 1840 (who served in the same Regiment as John, but in Company A, rather than K)
  • Calvin Clark, undertaker, Dover, Kent County, DE, aged 27 as of 09 Oct 1913.
  • Nehemiah Sammons of Cheswold, Kent County, DE, b. 01 Dec 1840.
  • James R. Brown of Cheswold, Kent County, DE, aged 48 as of 01 Jan 1895 (who stated that he and John Hughes "were drafted and entered the
      service of the United States at the same time. We were comrades in the same regiment and in the same company and for the entire time that we were in the service we were tentmates excepting the time that I was in the hospital which was form 4 to six months").
  • Joseph Moore of Kent Co, DE, aged 76 as of 27 Jun 1891 (who stated that he had known John Hughes from boyhood).
  • Joseph P. Moore of Dover, Kent County, DE, aged 30 as of 07 Jul 1891.
  • James S. Moor of Dover, Kent County, DE, aged 30 as of 07 Jul 1891.
  • Lydia A. Hughes of Cheswold, Kent County, DE.
  • Sarah E. Hughes of Cheswold, Kent County, DE.


    John H. Morgan stated in an affidavit dated 19 Nov 1913 that his uncle Samuel Morgan had married Elizabeth Cork, an older sister of Deborah Cork Hughes. He stated this marriage took place a few years prior to
    the marriage of John Hughes and Deborah Cork.

    Joseph Romeo adds:


    This entry from the 1850 census may relate:

    1850 census, Delaware, Kent County, Little Creek Hundred, [page 69]:

    Samuel Morgan, 30, Male, Mulatto, Laborer, b DE
    Mary, 25, Female, Mu, b DE
    Saml, 10, Male, Mu, b DE

    From the deposition, one infers then that Samuel Morgan, b. ca. 1820, is a younger brother of William Morgan, b. ca. 1804, who in turn was the father of John H. Morgan.

    The name Mary in the census record does not match the name Elizabeth given in the deposition, unless her full name was Mary Elizabeth.

    I cannot find any references to this family in the 1860, 1870, or 1880 census.

    When asked what battles he had been in, John answered, "Fair Oaks, Chapin's Farm**, also Ft. Fisher." **[also known as "Chaffin's Farm"]

    John's death certificate is contained in the pension records, but is slightly different than the copy obtained from the vital records kept by Betty & Ray Terry. The handwriting is notably different, but the only
    specific detail that seems to be different is the box for "Color or Race." On the copy in John's pension records (which has "Duplicate certified death certificate, E. Richmond Steele, Registrar, 10/9-1913"
    inscribed across it) it lists his "Color or Race" as "Moor," but on the copy obtained from the state by Betty & Ray Terry the "Color or Race" is listed as "Not black but nearly white."

    Footer Footer

    John is listed at various times as:

  • "Age 55" (Jun 1885) 5' 9" tall, yellow complexion, dark hair, dark eyes.
  • "Age 56" (May 1886) 5' 9" tall, light yellow complexion, black hair, black eyes.
  • "Age 56" (Nov 1886) 5' 10" tall, 145 lbs.
  • "Age 60" (Apr 1891) 5' 9 & 1/2" tall, 157 lbs.
  • "Age 75" (Feb 1907) 5' 9" tall, colored complexion, black hair, dark eyes.
  •  Feb 1911 5' 9" tall, light brown complexion, dark hair, gray eyes.
  • "Age 80" (May 1912) 5' 9" tall, dark complexion, dark hair, dark brown eyes.

    On 05 Nov 1913 Deborah signed an affidavit which stated that "there were born to her and the said John Hughes seven children, six of whom are now living." However, another affidavit signed by John indicates there were eight children (although one of the names was x'd out afterward).

    John's occupations listed: Farmer.


    Earlier forms of the Hughes name were often spelled as "Hewes," although none of John Hughes' pension records contained this spelling.

    John Hughes was the son of Benjamin Hughes and Mariah (aka Maria) Miller. Records indicate Mariah was the daughter of Debrix/Deberix Miller and Sarah Counceller/Councilor/Counseller, and that Sarah in turn was the daughter of Elijah Counceller/Councilor/Counseller, Sr. and Hannah Durham.

    Deborah Cork Hughes was the daughter of Peregrine "Perry" Cork, Jr. and Hannah Counceller/Councilor/Counseller. Records indicate Hannah was the daughter of Jeremiah Counceller/Councilor/Counseller and Hester ________, and that Jeremiah in turn was the son of Elijah Counceller/Councilor/Counseller, Sr. and Hannah Durham.

    Thus, John and Deborah would have been second-cousins prior to their marriage. (John's mother Mariah was a first-cousin of Deborah's mother Hannah).

    Deborah Cork Hughes' death certificate. It gives Deborah's place of death as Cheswold and her place of burial as Fork Branch Cemetery, both of which were not listed in the pension records.


    On the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington DC, John's name is displayed on Plaque A-3.

    Regimental history:

    To go to the official National Park Service's "Soldiers and Sailors" website, CLICK HERE, and in the boxes do the following:

  • under Union or Confederate select "Union,"
  • under State (or Origin) select "US Colored Troops,"
  • under Unit Number enter "1"
  • under Function select "Infantry."
  • Then click on the 1st Regiment US Colored Infantry, and finally,
  • Scroll down under the Regimental History for the links to the specific soldiers.


    1. John Hughes' father's name is given as Benjamin Hughes. Does anyone have any further info on him, or the names of his parents?

    Joseph Romeo adds:

    "... it is noteworthy that John's death certificate records his place of birth as Sussex County, Delaware."

    2. Deborah's birthdate is given in the records as both 14 Aug 1838 and 14 Aug 1836. (And her death certificate gives it as 14 Aug 1835). Does anyone have any further info as to which is more likely correct?

    Joseph Romeo adds:

    "Earlier census records suggest that the later date (1838) is more accurate: Deborah's age in the census records: in 1850, age 12; in 1860, age 21; in 1870, age 30; in 1880, age 42; in 1900, age 64 (b.
    Aug 1835)."

    3. *As noted previously in a chart, above, John Hughes signed an affidavit on 04 Jun 1898 listing his children, the fifth of which was listed as "Hannah J. Hughes" born on (01?) Dec 1869. However, later records seem to give this daughter's name as Harriet, not Hannah, as noted in this transcription of the 1880 census as posted by Lorraine Johnson Gregg:

    1880 Census, Kent County, Delware:
      Name Age Relationship Remarks/Married to
      Hughes, John 48   farmer
      Hughes, Deborah 42 wife nee Cork
      Hughes, Hester 21 dau [Jeremiah] Ridgway
      Hughes, Benjamin 19 son Joeanne Gould
      Hughes, Andrew 17 son Mary Emma Pierce
      Hughes, John 13 son Mary Coombs
      Hughes, Harriet 11 dau  
      Hughes, Edward 7 son Letishia (Lettie) Johnson
      Hughes, Perry 4 son Sallie Jackson
      Hughes, James 1 son Harriet Durham, dau of Caroline Carney, Daniel Durham


    Also odd was the fact that the 8th child on John Hughes' 1898 list (James B. Hughes) was crossed off with x's over his name and birthdate. Furthermore, in a 1913 affidavit signed by Deborah she states that "there were born to her and the said John Hughes seven children, six of whom are now living." Why does there seem to be an effort to list only seven children instead of eight? All records indicate that neither John nor Deborah had another other spouses. Was James perhaps adopted from another family? And which one of the children is the one noted as being deceased by the time of Deborah's statement in 1913?

    Joseph Romeo adds:

    The 1900 and 1910 censuses both report that Deborah was the mother of 7 children, of which 7 were alive.

    The 1880 census reports James as a son. That John listed him confirms that he was raised as John's son. That he crossed him off suggests that he was not his natural son. Speculating, I might suggest that James was the illegitimate child of the oldest daugher Hester, whom John and Deborah raised as their own.

    I don't know which of the children died before Deborah's deposition in 1913, but the death presumably occurred between 1910 (census reports 7 children alive) and 1913 (deposition reports 6 children alive).

    4. (This is more of a statement than a question). Back in 1999 and 2001 there was a discussion regarding James & Deborah's daughter Harriett (noted above as having married Jeremiah Ridgeway) in which one of her descendants (a granddaughter, I believe) claimed that this name was in error, and that the spouse of Jeremiah Ridgeway was Deborah Hughes, not Harriett. There was much confusion about this at the time. Indications seemed to be that the names had simply gotten mixed up in being passed down in their family, as all records clearly indicated that it was Harriett who had married Jeremiah Ridgeway, and that Deborah was Harriett's mother. But the descendant was clear that she remembered her grandmother's name as Deborah, not Harriett. I'm not sure if this confusion was ever resolved completely.

    Joseph Romeo adds:

    "It does appear that "the names got mixed up in being passed down in the family."

    "1900 census reports Jeremiah Ridgway married to Hester A., born May 1858. This is evidently Hester A Hughes, as the date of birth matches the date given in John's list of children. Jeremiah and Hester were reported to be married 19 years (i.e., ca. 1881). The death certificate of son Earl Ridgway in 1941 reports his mother's maiden name as Hester Hughes.

    "I cannot find Jeremiah/Jerry or Hester in any census after 1900. Both their children (Lola and Earl) are married with children by 1910."

    5. Does anyone know of a photograph of John (or Deborah)?

  • ----------

    For those who may be new to the list, I have posted a few of these Civil War pension extractions previously, as has Paul Johnson and Joseph Romeo. To view some of the others, as well as an explanatory note, please see the following page of the Mitsawokett site:

    (Once on the page, scroll down below the Index to see the Overview).

    Please let me know if anyone has any questions: 
    John C. Carter






      EMAIL US





    "The History and Genealogy of the
    Native American Isolate Communities
    of Kent County, Delaware, and
    Surrounding Areas on the Delmarva Peninsula
    and Southern New Jersey"



    Copyright 1997-

    All rights reserved.
    Not to be used for commercial purposes.