Family Stories

Hughes/Marksbury Families of Garrard/Boyle Counties

I was drawn to Garrard County this morning, specifically to the Forks of Dix River Baptist Cemetery.  The first two photographs in my files were those of the gravestones of Tharp and Tabitha Hughes.  And my research was set.  Obituaries are always a good source and therefore I typed ‘Tharp Hughes’ in  The first article was about the Hughes-Marksbury families, highlighting the son of the above couple, William Harrison Hughes and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Marksbury.  Obituaries and gravestone photographs are at the end of the blog.

The Advocate-Messenger, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Saturday, December 7, 2019

1861 wedding connected local families’ histories

The Hughes and Marksbury families are intertwined with the O’Bannon and Coovert families in Garrard County, who came to the county in the 1800’s.

The marriage of William Harrison Hughes and Mary Elizabeth Marksbury on December 24, 1861, in Boyle County, is the connection between the two families.

Members of the Hughes family, standing from left, are:  sisters Addie Lee Hughes Coovert, Polly Hughes and Flora Hughes Burnside.  Seated, at left, James D. Coovert, probably Addie’s husband; and at far right, Rice Burnside, Flora’s husband.  The man in middle is not identified.

William was a prominent farmer in Bryantsville and was an engineer for the C.N.O. & T.P. Railroad.  He escaped death in June 1911 during a severe electrical storm, according to an article in the Kentucky Advocate.

“His wife was frightened by the lightning, and he had just made the remark that there was no danger when the bolt struck.  He was thrown violently to the floor and painfully bruised, but no apprehension was felt about his ultimate recovery.”

William ran on the south end and was popular among the railroad fraternity.  He made his headquarters in Danville and was spending the day in Somerset when the mishap occurred.

The Hughes family gathers for a photograph in front of the original O’Bannon family house in Garrard County.

William and Elizabeth’s son, Henry “Dove,” was killed when he was struck by an L & N train when he apparently fell asleep on the train track on July 29, 1900, near his home.

It was evident that one of the night trains had struck him, causing instant death from injuries to his upper body, according to a newspaper article.  He was 31 years old and unmarried.

Early History

Family history compiled from written information and show William was listed as 30 years old and Elizabeth was 28 in the 1870 Census of Garrard County.

William’s parents were Tharp Hughes (1811-1887) of Lincoln County and Tabitha O’Bannon (1816-1890) of Garrard County.  Tabitha was the daughter of Daniel O’Bannon (1780-1845) and Mary Thompson (1792-1863), who moved in the early 1800’s from Clay County to Garrard County.

Tabitha descended from Bryant O’Bannon (1682-1762) and Zena Isham (1682-1750), who came from Ireland to Virginia and Kentucky.

Elizabeth’s parents were Randolph Marksbury (1809-1887) and Nancy West (1819-1900) of Boyle County.  They lived in Perryville and are buried there.

William was born August 12, 1840, and died July 10, 1916, at the age of 75, and Elizabeth was born in 1816 and died in 1890 [should be 1929].  Both are buried in Lancaster Cemetery. 

Their children were Benjamin West (1862-1943), Henry “Dove” (1869-1900), and Della (1870-1923).

William was the brother of Virginia C., America E., Abner D., Lysander B., Mary Addie and Flora Bell Hughes.

Tharp Hughes died January 20, 1887, aged 76 years.  Forks of Dix River Baptist Church Cemetery.

The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Friday, January 28, 1887

Mr. Tharp Hughes, brother of Mrs. B. Dickerson, died at his home in Garrard County of pneumonia yesterday.

Tabitha Hughes born August 24, 1816, died March 9, 1890.  [The wrong year is on her gravestone – it should be 1898.]

The Interior Journal, Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky

Friday, March 11, 1898

Mrs. Tabitha Hughes, aged 84 years, widow of Mr. Tharp Hughes, died at her home near Marksbury on Wednesday.  The remains will be buried at the Fork church today, Thursday.  Deceased was born and lived her entire life at the place where she died.  She was a member of the Christian church, a devoted wife and an affectionate mother.  She had a host of friends and relatives, some in Lincoln County, all of whom mourn her departure.

Mary, wife of Daniel O’Bannon, born September 19, 1792, died December 20, 1863.  [Tabitha’s mother.]

The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Friday, December 9, 1887

Mr. Randolph Marksbury died at his home near this place at 9:15 o’clock on the night of the 2nd inst.  He had been suffering from a complication of diseases for a number of years, but his death was from heart disease.  The deceased was 77 years old and had lived in the West End most of his life.  He was a consistent member of the Christian church and was respected by all who knew him.  Short services were held by Eld. W. T. Corn at the residence on the 4th, after which the remains were laid to rest in the Perryville Cemetery.  A large concourse of friends accompanied his remains to the grave.

The Danville News, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Tuesday, August 21, 1900

Mrs. Nancy Marksburg, of Perryville, and the mother of Mrs. H. A. B. Marksbury and Mrs. Wm. Hughes, of this place, died Saturday night at the latter’s residence.  She was in comparative health until the great shock received in seeing her grandson, Henry M. Hughes, brought in mangled and dead from being run over by a railroad train three weeks ago.  She was in her 81st year.

The Central Record, Lancaster, Garrard County, Kentucky

Thursday, July 13, 1916


Mr. William Hughes, one of the oldest and most highly respected citizens of Garrard County, passed quietly from time to eternity at his home on Richmond Street, Monday morning at seven o’clock.  He had been confined to his bed about two weeks and all that his devoted family and friends could do was of no avail.

He was born in Garrard County in 1840 and in 1861 he was married to Miss Mary Elizabeth Marksbury.  He is survived by his wife and three children who are, Messrs. Ed and Ben Hughes of this place, and Mrs. J. W. Acey of Stanford, and a very devoted little granddaughter, Miss Della Rice Hughes.

Mr. Hughes was a man of quiet and gentle disposition in his home and with his friends, and was ever ready to help in sickness and distress.  He was a life long member of the Christian church.  The funeral services were conducted at his late residence by Eld. F. M. Tinder Wednesday morning at ten o’clock after which interment took place in the Lancaster Cemetery.

The Lexington Herald, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Tuesday, February 5, 1929

Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Hughes, 86 years old, died at the home of her son, Edward Hughes, Sunday morning of the infirmities of age.  She leaves two sons, Edward and Benjamin Hughes, both of this city.  Funeral services will be conducted at the home Tuesday by the Rev. E. B. Bourland, pastor of the local Christian church, of which Mrs. Hughes was a member.  Burial will follow in the Lancaster Cemetery.

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