Name: Trader Hughes
Birth: ABT 1635 1
Reference Number: |
(Editor's note: "Trader" Hughes was the first permanent settler
in Amherst Co. Va. He and his Indian wife established a
trading post on the north side of the James River, west of the
Tobacco Row Mountains (circa late 1600's). He has been the subject of my
research for a number of years and I have been unable
to connect him to my direct line of Amherst Co HUGHES' who
settled on the east side of the Tobacco Row Mountains. He
is finally entered into this database through a proven connection,
not with my HUGHES line, but through his wife's side.
His wife was a niece to Pocahontas. She married into the ROLFE
family and from there the connection goes to the BOLLING family,
then LEE, BALL, GLASSCOCK, MUSE, McKINNON and finally me.
The indirect connections between Trader Hughes and William Hughes
are numerous. Several of these are:
1. John Floyd is a direct descendant of Trader Hughes.
2. John Floyd was witness to the purchase of property by William Hughes
3. James Crews married into the family that was related to Trader Hughes
4. James Crews sold the original land to William Hughes)
First name of "Trader" Hughes is thought to be John, however,
it has not been confirmed. Other researchers suspect the
name may have been Rees or Rice. Most references mention him
as "Trader" Hughes, giving no first name. It is said by some
that he came from a "notable Colonial Family of Virginia."
Some historical references describe him as a Scotsman, others
say he was an English cavalier.
Traders began to move their goods along the upper James
River around 1720. According to Alexander Brown in his 1895
book, "Cabells and Their Kin", Hughes was the first known
white man to open a post for Indian trade above "the falls".
He built his cabin deep in the silent forests along the Blue Ridge.
Hughes traded with the local Monacan Indians and was
accepted by them because of his wife's heritage.
The stone chimney attached to the trading post was a well
established landmark and was used as a reference point for
many surveys done by William Cabell. Part of the chimney
On November 7, 1999, this writer sought out the old remains of
the Trader Hughes cabin and trading post. The location was found
just off the trail around Otter Lake at coordinates 37.55627 degrees
North by 79.35203 degrees West. The ruins are just off the hiking trail
and covered by thick growth. All that remain are the bottom 4 feet of
the chimney and a raised earthen outline of the building's foundation.
Trader Hughes' grandson, Robert Davis developed a second
trading post further down the James River at the mouth of the
The Trader Hughes Story (one version)
Most histories of Amherst County, Va recount the first
settler in the area as being an Indian trader known as "Trader
Hughes". He, along with his Indian wife, Nicketti, established
a trading post on the James River about a half-mile west
of the mouth of Otter Creek. This location was where several
Indian paths intersected and near the river access to
the "Valley of Virginia". This must have been a busy
intersection by 1700 standards!
According to Dr. William Cabell, HUGHES had the
first stone chimney in the area, which qualified him at
the first permanent settler. Hughes' wife, Nicketti, was
the great grand daughter of the legendary Indian Chief
Opechanacanough Powhatan and niece to Pocahontas.
Trader HUGHES and his wife had a daughter named
Mary Elizabeth HUGHES, who was born in Jamestown
about 1654. She married an Welsh settler named Nathaniel
Davis about 1680. They had a daughter in 1711 named
Abadiah Davis who married William Floyd and their grandson,
John Floyd played an important part of the formation of
Amherst Co. and later became governor of Va.
I have traced my ancestors back to William HUGHES
of Amherst Co. by tracking the ownership of property
that was passed from father to son. This property plays
a key role in unraveling the family connections. The
property is described as located on Harris Creek
near a small branch known as Fawn Creek in present
day Amherst Co. (not far from the Tobacco Row Mountains).
The "Executives Journals of the Council of Colonial
Virginia", V. 5, page 136, gives the 1743 patent of George
Carrington for 6000 acres on both sides of Harris Creek
on the north side of the Fluvanna River in then Goochland
County. Page 249 of this book gives the petition of George
Carrington to include the adjoining patents of John Floyd
and Orlando Hughes in his acreage.
So we have a HUGHES owning land on Harris Creek
as early as 1743. We know from Albemarle and Amherst
County deeds that both George Carrington & Orlando
HUGHES were of Cumberland Co. We know that George
Carrington of Cumberland Co sold land on Harris Creek to
James Crews, and that James Crews sold land on branches
of Harris Creek to William Hughes. We know that one of
the witnesses to this deed was John Floyd and a John Floyd
was an adjoiner to the patents of Orlando HUGHES and
George Carrington. We know that William HUGHES had a
son named Orlander - probably his eldest son. Orlando
HUGHES died in Cumberland Co in 1768, naming sons Josiah,
Anthony, Caleb and Leander. A Micajah HUGHES was
a witness to the will. William Hughes of Amherst County,
who died in 1802, was my 4th great grandfather.
Was William HUGHES another son to Orlando?
Or a grandson to Orlando? Who is Micajah HUGHES?
Was Trader HUGHES a son to Orlando HUGHES, possibly
Caleb or Anthony?
- Mary Elizabeth Hughes b: ABT 1654 in Jamestown, VA
- Abbrev: Simonini, Leona, 1134 Lassen View Drive, Lake Almanor Peninsula,
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