Search billions of records on

Our Hughes Faily - The Nebraska Generations
Keith County, NEGenWeb
Barbed Wire
A Short History of the Joseph G. Hughes Family Group

By Keith R. Hughes, Seattle Washington, June 2001
Last update: April 15, 2002

[Transcribed by Keith R. Hughes]

A very special Thank You to Mr. Keith Hughes, who's hard work, dedication, and generosity made this transcription possible.

[Permission to reprint granted to Susan Anderson, NeGenWeb Project-Keith County, and USGenWeb Project by Mr. Keith R. Hughes. The material contained herein may not be reprinted elsewhere without the express written consent of the submitter, except in the case of personal use only, in which this statement must appear on all pages.]

The Family Group
     Joseph G Hughes, August 22, 1845 to March 4, 1915
     Elizabeth Ann (Southard) Hughes, May 12, 1850 to August 25, 1940
     William Wright Hughes, August 30, 1869 to November 29, 1934
     Seldon T Hughes, July 1875 to (unknown)
     Evalina Hughes, 1876 to August 8, 1884
     Andrew J Hughes, April 1, 1878 to September 2, 1963
     Joseph Hughes, Jr., November 1886 to (unknown)


Joseph G Hughes was the second child of Andrew J and Pleasy Ann Hughes. Numerous census records and Joseph’s obituary record his birthplace as Indiana.

Joseph married Elizabeth Ann Southard in Knoxville, Marion Co, Iowa on November 7, 1867, and their first son, William W, was born in Marysville, Iowa on August 30, 1869. They are listed on the 1870 Marion Co, Iowa census, in the Marysville Township.

In the spring of 1873, the year Keith Co, Nebraska was chartered, Joe went to Keith Co, and claimed a quarter section of bottomland along the North Platte River, in the area then called Alkali, and later changed to Roscoe. Joe got a cabin built on the land, and when summer came, he sent for his family, who arrived by train with what they could carry. At that time Joe was a Buffalo hunter and trapper, making his living by selling the hides to eastern buyers. The following summer, July of 1875, their second son, Seldon T, was born in the cabin at Roscoe.

Joe’s first official mention in Keith Co records was in December of 1875, when Joe was paid to perform the Coroners Inquest on the body of William Coffman. He, again, served a coroner in September of 1876. That fall, Joe and Elizabeth’s only daughter, Evalina was born.

His first appointment as Keith Co Sheriff came in February 1877, and he served until the election in November. When his term was up, he returned to raising cattle on his homestead, and in April of 1878 his third son, Andrew Jackson, was born. When the elected sheriff “left town” in December of 1878, Joe accepted the appointment again, and held the job until the election in November 1879. This tenure as sheriff includes Ogallala’s most famous Wild West Shootout, between Sheriff Joe and four Texas drovers intent on shooting up the town and eliminating the Law. When it was all over, three were dead and the other severely wounded, and the North Platte Republican summed it up this way. “ We do not know who the sheriff is, not even his name, but he has a way of dealing with unruly cases which, considering it is sometimes the only way, is commendable, and makes us think that he is the right man in the right place.” When November came around, many tried to encourage Joe to run for sheriff. On November 4, 1879, the Omaha Daily Bee wrote “With Joe Hughes as sheriff, Keith County has not a single prisoner in her jail, nor a single case on her district court docket. He knows how to keep the peace”. Joe declined to run for office, but continued on as Deputy Sheriff when needed.

In 1882, the county built a stone jailhouse with a small living quarters attached, and Joe and his family moved in. According to the local paper, Joe served as “the permanent jailer, part time deputy sheriff, census enumerator, elections judge, coroner, and man of all county work”.

On August 8, 1884, Joe and his family experienced a great tragedy, when a timber that was leaning against the building fell over and hit Evalina, killing her instantly. She was buried at the foot of Boot Hill, as it was still the only cemetery for Ogallala.

On November 25th, 1884, the village of Ogallala was officially incorporated, and Joe Hughes was appointed Town Marshall. He remained in that position until it became and elected position in 1889 and he declined to run for office. With that appointment, they bought three city lots on Second Street, and the “jailers quarters” building was moved and expanded. In November of 1886 their fourth son, Joseph Jr. was born there. Also, during the summer of 1886, Jasper Southard, Elizabeth’s brother, was serving as Deputy Marshall under Marshall Joe. They went out to North River to arrest some renegade Indians, and Jasper was killed in the attempt. His body was brought back to Ogallala, and he was buried on Boot Hill.

In an interview for the Keith County News in 1935, Elizabeth was asked why Joe would never run for office, and her answer was “he didn’t really relish the aggravation, but he would serve whenever he was asked”. As late as 1910, he was still serving. According to the 1910 census, his occupation was “janitor” and his place of employment was “county courthouse”.

In mid-February of 1915, Joe injured his foot, and ended up with gangrene. He was taken to Methodist Hospital in Omaha, but was too weak to undergo surgery. He died there on March 4, 1915. His Death Certificate lists his cause of death as heart failure with gangrene as a contributing factor. He is buried in the Ogallala Cemetery, his grave marked with a stone that has his name misspelled, his birthdate incomplete, and his date of death wrong.


Elizabeth was born in Knoxville, Marion County, Iowa, on May 12, 1850. I do not have a record of the parents at this time, but know of two younger brothers, Jasper and Ward. She married Joseph in Knoxville on November 7, 1867, and bore 5 children, two of which were living at the time of her death on August 25, 1940. In 1905, at age 55, when the wife of her third son, Andrew J, died suddenly, Elizabeth took their 12 -day- old daughter, Eva, and raised her as her own. Andrew and Hannah had named Eva after the daughter, Evalina that Elizabeth had lost at 8 years old. The only specific information I have on Elizabeth comes from two newspaper articles. The first is from the February 1935 “50th Anniversary Edition” of the Keith County News, which also has her picture, and the second is her obituary published in the August 29, 1940 edition. The 1935 article concludes this way;

“Grandma Hughes resides in her own home in east Ogallala. She does her won work and a caller at any time during the day will always find her house neat and clean. On May 12th Grandma Hughes will celebrate her 86th birthday, however she does not look her age.”

The caption to her obituary is: Mrs. Hughes, 91, Oldest Local Woman, Dies Here Sunday. The following is taken from that article.

Mrs. Hughes was the mother of six children, two of whom survive, Andrew, who had been with his mother for several weeks, Joseph, who resides in California, and a granddaughter whom she raised, Mrs. John Walraven of Sterling Colorado. Mrs. Hughes came here, the little cow town at the end of the old Texas trail, in 1873, from Iowa. Some years ago she told The News that, at that time antelope still roamed the prairies of Keith County. On one occasion she said she saw a large heard of buffalo.

Her casket was carried by John Fernstrom, Oscar Fernstrom, Jack Armstrong, Claude Armstrong, Fred Armstrong, and Perry Thies, sons of pioneer families, who had been friends of the Hughes family for many years.

Elizabeth was buried in the Ogallala Cemetery, but her grave is not marked. It is assumed to be one of the three unmarked plots next to Joseph Hughes.


William was the first born son of Joseph and Elizabeth Hughes. He was born on August 30, 1869, in Marysville, Marion County, Iowa. He was four years old when his family moved to the homestead at Alkali, later renamed Roscoe, in Keith County, Nebraska.

I have very little personal information on William, other than one small piece I found in the Roscoe News section of the December 23, 1887 edition of the Keith County News.

“W.W. Hughes, a promising young man, well known to many of the older residents of the county, started on a visit to his uncle at Oxford, Furnas County. He goes by way of Plum Creek, as he has relations at that place. We all wish him a pleasant time.”

It appears that he was never married, as all the census records and his death certificate indicate Single. He died on Thanksgiving morning, November 29, 1934. The following obituary was printed in the December 6, 1934 Keith County News.

“William Wright Hughes was born in Marysville, Iowa August 30, 1869, and passed from this life on November 29, 1934 at his home in Ogallala, Nebraska. He is survived by his aged mother, Mrs. E. A. Hughes of Ogallala; two brothers, Andrew Jackson Hughes of Oregon, and Joseph Hughes of California; also a number of nieces and nephews. He was proceeded in death by his father, one sister and one brother. He came to Keith County with his parents when about four years of age. He will live in the memory of his friends as a pioneer of the Texas Trail days. He braved the dangers and privations of pioneer life helping to settle Western Nebraska.”


Seldon was the second child of Joseph and Elizabeth Hughes, born in July of 1875 at the Homestead in Roscoe, Keith County, Nebraska.

I have found two newspaper references to Seldon, one from May 4, 1888 in the “Roscoe Happenings” column of the Keith County News, which just says “S.T. Hughes is dropping corn for S. Enevoldson”. The other reference is from the 50th Anniversary edition of the Keith Co News in a column by Jack Armstrong, who grew up on the homestead next to the Hugheses. He lists the first class of School District 15 established in Roscoe in 1885, and among them is Bill, Sel, and Jack Hughes, and two of the Armstrong boys who served as pall bearers for both William and Elizabeth.

My next reference for Seldon is the 1900 Keith Co Census. In that, Seldon is listed as head of household with a wife named Mary and a daughter named Cornelia. Cornelia was born in August of 1898. Seldon and family are not in the Nebraska census for 1910, and the obituary for his father, Joseph, says that Seldon is living in Lodi, California at the time of Joseph’s death in 1915.

In the obituary of Seldon’s brother, William, in 1934, it states that William was proceeded in death by one brother. That has to be Seldon, as the others were still alive at the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1940.

I will continue to look for records of Seldon and his family in the 1910 and 1920 census records for California, as time permits.
UPDATE: April 15, 2002.
In a recent visit with Mildred Albro, daughter of Eva May Hughes Walraven, I received pictures of Seldon, and of three children, Cornelia, Edward, and Glen. I also found a reference to Seldon’s wife as Mary E. Mears.


All of the information I had prior to my trip to Nebraska, was that Joseph had a daughter who was killed in an accident and buried on Boot Hill. None of the references had either her name or a date of the death. When I arrived in Ogallala and went to Boot Hill, I found that the reader board put up by the Historical Society had a quote from the predecessor of the Keith Co News. It says

“On Aug 8, 1884, Joe and his family experienced a great tragedy, when a timber that was leaning against the building fell and hit their only daughter, crushing her skull. She was about 8 years old at the time.”

This gave me her date of death and some approximation of her birth date. My only other piece of information came from the 50th Anniversary Edition of the Keith Co News, February 1935. One of the articles was written by E.W. Kohler, and talks about his childhood on a claim next door to the Joe Hughes claim, and the founding of School District 15 in Roscoe.

“When we moved to the tree claim our only neighbors on the bottom were the Joe Hughes family. Evalina Hughes, the only girl of the family, had just recently been killed… I can remember so well how her brother Jack used to lay his head on his desk at school and cry”

Now I have her name!

It is very moving to me that twenty years later, Jack (Andrew Jackson Hughes) named his first daughter Eva, and that when his wife, Hannah, died 12 days after the birth of their third child, Paul, Grandmother Elizabeth took Baby Eva in and raised her as her own.

Evalina was buried at the foot of Boot Hill, near the intersection on the southeast corner. Years later all the known remains were moved to Ogallala Cemetery. The Boot Hill history board says that her grave was still at Boot Hill until the Street was widened and paved, no date given. Her name is not in the records of Ogallala Cemetery, nor is there a grave marker for her.

ANDREW JACKSON HUGHES (updated Nov 12, 2001)

Andrew Jackson Hughes was born on April 1, 1878 at the Homestead in Roscoe. He was the third son of Joseph and Elizabeth. The only childhood event I have a record of is from the Keith Co News, June 22, 1888

“Little Andrew, son of J.G. Hughes met with what came very near being a fatal accident. Last Saturday he was in the act of picketing a pony when it got scared and ran away, the rope fastening somehow on the boy, dragging him for some distance, he was found by some passersby and carried to his home, where he remained in an unconsious state until Sunday, but we are pleased to state he is rapidly improving at this writing.”

In the 1900 Keith Co, Logan Precinct census, Andrew is listed as single, head of household, owning his own farm.

On August 21, 1900, Andrew married Hannah Gummere of Paxton, Keith County. According to a newspaper article written at the time of Hannah’s death, they moved to Sutherland in the summer of 1901, and lived there until January of 1905. Their first son, Harold Carlin Hughes was born on June 12th, 1902 in Sutherland. On March 18, 1903, Eva May was born to the family. Her Obituary lists her birthplace as North Platte. In the summer of 1904, Andrew had filed a homestead claim on a place in the Scotts Bluff area, but was waiting until after their third child was born on to undertake the move. They were staying over with Joseph and Elizabeth when Hannah was “taken ill and died” on February 6, 1905 according to her Obituary. The article states that “she left behind three children, the oldest being not quite 4 years old and the youngest being only 12 days old”. According to Hannah’s death certificate her cause of death was “bleeding”, with no mention of it being related to childbirth. The article also states that she was buried in the Ogallala Cemetery, but I found no record or headstone when I was there. From the time of Hannah’s death, Eva was raised by her grandmother, Elizabeth.

UPDATE: April 2002.
I recently received a copy of a list of births and deaths keep by Dr. Arrowsmith of Ogallala, which lists the death of “Infant Hughes”, died of pneumonia on April 18, 1905 at age 4 months. I believe this to be the third child of Hannah and Andrew. On April 13, 2002, I received copies of the Family History pages from Eva May’s bible from her daughter, Mildred. On these pages, under Brothers, she has listed “Paul (died)”.

On April 7th, 1906, Andrew married Aurora Rebecca Eichelberger in Ogallala. He was 28 years old, she was 19. I have a copy of the marriage license, but no other record. By the time of the 1910 census, they were living on the Homestead farm in Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska. There are three children listed: Myrtle, born July 7, 1907; Alva, born in 1908, and Flossie, born January 28, 1910. All three were born in Scotts Bluff. This census record is the first knowledge I have of a son named Alva. A fourth child, David Douglas, was born December 25, 1911, and is the only child still living at this time. Information received from Donna Berry, Flossie’s daughter, and the Oregon Death Index shows that Aurora died on June 27, 1918, and is buried in the Picard Cemetery outside of Dorris, California. She is on the cemetery list as A. E. Hughes. According to David, she died from complications of childbirth, and the child died also, and they are buried in a common grave.

The next record I have is Joseph’s obituary in 1915, which lists one of the surviving children as Andrew J of Oregon. I have not been able to find the family in the 1920 census images for Syskiyou Co, California or Klamath Co, Oregon. My father remembers that Grandpa Jack stayed with his family for a few months when the lived in Silverton, Oregon around 1930. In the obituary of William W Hughes in 1934, it lists Andrew as living in Oregon. Elizabeth’s obituary states that Andrew had been with her for several weeks before her death, but doesn’t say where he was living at the time. From other family stories I’ve heard from Harold and my father, I believe he lived in Klamath Falls, Oregon, between about 1952 and 1957, and I know from the information on his death certificate that he was in Grants Pass, Oregon from August of 1960 until his death on September 2nd, 1963. He is buried in the Granite Hill Cemetery in Grants Pass, Oregon.


Joseph Jr. was born in November of 1886, probably in Roscoe, but possibly in Ogallala, Keith Co Nebraska. He is listed with his parents in the 1900 census, but not in the 1910 census. It is my belief that Joseph Jr. went to Oregon with his older brother, Andrew, when he and his family moved between 1912 and 1915.

Joseph Jr. is shown as living in Klamath Falls, Oregon at the time of his father’s death in 1915, and is shown as living in California at the time of his brother William’s death in 1934 and his mother’s death in 1940.

In my meeting with David D Hughes in December 2001, David said he remembered that Joseph Jr had lived in Bakersfield, California.

As you can tell, I still have a lot of research to do. I will continue to update this document as I make more discoveries.
Last Update: April 15, 2002.

Barbed Wire
Return to: Family Histories Page

Return to: Keith County Welcome Page

Page Design © S.M. Anderson, 2000-2002
Text © Keith R. Hughes, 2001-2002