Hillsborough Historical Society Inc.

Member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Hillsborough, North Carolina

Vol.  VI, No.  32                                 July, 1967

The Hillsborough Historical Society is pleased to announce to the membership that it now owns real property. On May 7, 1967 at


An Historical Program



Established in 1845


Samuel Wellwood Hughes

Mattie Rose Tolar, great great grand-daughter, of the founder presented the deed to the property to the Society’s President, Mr. John M. Roberts.


The gift of this property was the result of the great interest and concentrated efforts of the Society’s member, Mrs. R.W. Isley, and the many direct descendants of Samuel Wellwood Hughes, who have contributed much time, effort and money to restore the school and to insure its preservation as a truly historical site. Mrs. Isley and Mrs. R. D. Hughes of New Bern were the Coordinating Committee. Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Tolar (Mr. Tolar being a grandson of the School’s founder) donated a plot of land approximately 100 X 100 ft. on which the old School stands.


By presenting the program material given at the dedication ceremony on May 7, 1967 we hope to share with all the Society’s members the history of the School’s founder and a bit of biography of some of its illustrious students.



Presiding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lieutenant Governor Robert Scott

Invocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rev. Clarke Porter III

Welcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   Mr. Tom Ellis

Welcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   Mr. Sam M. Hughes

Greetings from …

The Hillsborough Historical Commission … Judge L.J. Phipps

The Hillsborough Historical Society. . . . . . . . Dr. George Daniel

Recognition of Guests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mrs. R.W. Isley

Introduction of Speaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Phillips Russell

Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   Dr. R.B. House

Presentation of Highway Marker . . . . . . . . .             Mrs. Elizabeth Wilborn

Presentation of Deed to Property . . . . . . . . .            Mattie Rose Tolar

Presentation of all Properties to

The Historical Society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mr. Collier Cobb

Acceptance of Markers and Property . . . . .             Mr. John Roberts

Benediction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Rev Clarke Porter III


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Third of the ten sons of Joseph Dunn Hughes who grew to manhood in this God-fearing, book-loving home, was Samuel Wellwood Hughes. His youth was spent in his father’s school. He entered the Bingham School, then taught in Hillsborough. After completing the course there and assisting Mr. Bingham for a year or two, he entered Hampton-Sydney College and worked his way through. On one occasion he walked home from College – a distance of 160 miles. Samuel Wellwood Hughes married Elizabeth Hughes of Prince Edward County, Virginia and went to live at his father’s old place on the Eno. In January 1845, he established at Cedar Grove a school called Cedar Grove Academy. This was primarily a boy’s preparatory school but a few girls attended from the community. It was advertised in state papers as a Classical and Mathematical School. Tuition was $25 and board $60 for the school year of ten months. The enrollment was about a 100. The main studies in the curriculum were English, Latin, Greek, and Mathematics, but the three R’s were never neglected. The afternoon sessions of the school were always opened with a Bible lesson in which every student was required to take part, thus providing spiritual knowledge and firm Presbyterian discipline. During the war between the states, this school was moved to his yard near the Eno Church and the name was changed to Hughes Academy. There it was successfully conducted until his death – 1884. During these years he taught the sons of most of his neighbors and kinsmen. Students came from other states including Texas. Many were those who attributed their success in life to his influence. Samuel W. Hughes loved his work and continued to teach until a second stroke laid him low near the close of the last term, May 1884. Even then it has been said, a class of young men stood around his bed to recite. In October a third stroke called him to his rest.



Written by Dr. Charles Phillips of the University of North Carolina

In the death of Mr. Hughes, our church and state lost a man whose example was a blessing to out country. For many years a distinguished teacher, his work is to be seen in every department of our social, political, and ecclesiastical life. His pupils were taught to love truth, to be patient in seeking it, and to be strong through the finding of it. As an Elder in Eno Church, his head, his hand and his purse were ever ready and active to promote whatever was praiseworthy. He welcomed to his hospitality ministers of righteousness and teachers of youth, and he stored his shelves with books on Science, Literature and Religion. Belonging to a family that feared God, he has left children likely to walk in his steps of Faith, Hop and Charity. He died in the house where he was born – respected, trusted, and honored by his neighbors. His father had preceded his in the Eldership of Eno Church. His first wife was a sister of Judge Robert W. Hughes of the United States Court of Virgina; his second wife, a sister of Sheriff Murray of Alamance County. He, himself, was a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College of Virginia. Such men, quiet, energetic, unobtrusive, firm for the right, just and true are the strength and hope of any country.



Among the old schools of Orange County was one taught by Joseph Dunn Hughes born 1775, and died 1844. He was the son of Timothy and came from Rowan County in the early 1800’s to the Eno Community at the request of the pastor, Rev. Samuel Paisley, to teach a school near the church. Seeing that his own children, and the families of his neighbors were in danger or growing up in ignorance, he gathered them together, and taught them the rudiments. He was known as “The Father of Schools in North Orange”. Following him for a hundred years or more, his descendants were teaching Orange. In his will, he allotted to each of his children an equal amount for his education.



  1. Andrew Green – Presbyterian minister
  2. Thomas Harvey – Sheriff of Orange County
  3. Samuel Wellwood – Educator
  4. Timothy Webb – Died at age 20
  5. Joseph Faddis – Died at age 25 – studying medicine
  6. James Franklin – a farmer
  7. William Paisley – Photographer
  8. William Rice – Physician
  9. John Henry – Merchant and Farmer
  10. Sidney Baxter – Killed in battle 1864
  11. Jane
  12. Eliza
  13. Margaret Anne
  14. Mary

Note: Harvey, Samuel, and Rice were Elders of Eno Church. John Henry was a Deacon.



William Woods Allison

William Benjamin Alliston

Robert Anderson

Alex Anderson

Joel Anderson

Henry Anderson

Robert D. Bain

Martha Bain

Mary Lee Bain

Nathaniel Bain

Alex Clark

Needham Bryan Cobb

John Probert Cobb

Artemis A. Compton

Andrew Compton

D.I. Craig

J.L. Currio

W.T. Dortch

Thomas C. Ellis

George Faucett

Joe Faucett

Osborn Forrest

Joseph Hughes

Henry Hughes


Names of Some Former Students of the Hughes


Robert Hughes

Augustus Hughes

Floyd Hughes

John Knox Hughes

Jesse Hughes


Eugene Hughes

Agnes Hughes

Annie L. Hughes

Netta Hughes

Lizzie Hughes

Mary Hughes

Albert Hughes

Claude M. Hughes, M.D.

Willie Hendon

Mary Hendon

Irvin Hogan

Thomas Jordan, M.D.

Virginia Jordan

Charles W. Johnston

Jeanette Maris

James C. Maris

Corinna L. Maris

Robert W. Murray

Willie McDade

L.A. Phillips

Naza Vernon Ray

John Smith

Robert W. Scott



Academy – Continued


Daniel E. Wilkinson

Charles C. Wilkinson

George Winston

P.H. Winston

Spier Whitaker


Many more attended the school whose records could not be found.



Son of William Donnell Cobb and Ann Spicer Collier; educated at Hughes Academy and University of North Carolina; received first earned master’s degree granted by University of North Carolina and practiced law; because a Baptist preacher; State Supt. Of Baptist Sunday School Board; Recording Secretary; President Baptist State Convention; Chaplain in Lee’s Army; published first paper in Raleigh after war, “The Daily Record,” and wrote poetry. Married Martha Louise Cobb, a relative – of this marriage 3 children were born. (Mr. Cobb was the grandfather of Miss Mary Cobb and Mr. Collier Cobb, Society members from Chapel Hill.)



Born in Orange County, North Carolina; son of James Newton Craig and Mary Emalina Strayhorn; educated at Hughes Academy, Davidson College and Columbia Theological Seminary; Stated Clerk of North Carolina Presbyterian Synod for a number of years.



Attended Hughes Academy, Hampden-Sydney College, Union Theological Seminary; A Presbyterian Minister serving churches of Fairfield, Eno, Little River, Chapel Hill, New Hope, Griers, Stony Creek, Hillsborough and Burlington. Married Violet Womach of Prince Edward County, Virginia.



Born in Nash County in 1824, the son of William Dortch and Drusilla Dortch; attended Hughes Academy and the William J. Bingham School in Hillsborough; studied law under Bartholomew F. Moore at Nashville, N.C.; admitted to bar at January Term, 1845; received Superior Court license in 1846. In 1848 he moved to Goldsboro in Wayne County; acknowledged leader of the bar in Wayne, Lenoir, Greene, Johnston, Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson Counties. Declined judge-ship in 1859; House of Commons 1852, 1858 and 1869; Speaker in 1860; Senator in w861; after war served in State Legislature. Died in 1889 in Goldsboro.



Attended Hughes Academy, and graduated from Jefferson Medical College. He practiced medicine in Orange and Greene Counties. During Governor Kitchin’s tenure of office he was physician in charge at the Penitentiary. Dr. Jordan went with the State Board of Health in 1914, and worked at the State Hospital at Raleigh, where he was in charge of the three Epileptic Colonies.



Daughter of Samuel Hughes. Attended Hughes Academy, Concord Female College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Was an outstanding teacher in Reidsville, N.C. and Orange County for 60 years.



Born in Chapel Hill; Attended Hughes Academy and graduated from the University of North Carolina; son of a Presbyterian minister, Dr. Charles Phillips; grandson of Dr. James Phillips, Presbyterian minister and professor; Home Missionary in eastern North Carolina; General Supt. Of Sunday School Work and Young Peoples Work. (Rev. Phillips was the great uncle of Mr.. Phillips Russell.)



Letter from Samuel W. Hughes dated November 23, 1873 citing qualifications for Naza Vernon Ray to enter college. He had taken full courses in preparation for this; Math, English, Latin, Greek, Psychology and Astronomy. First receipt dated August 25, 1872 for $10.00 to enter Hughes Academy. After leaving Hughes Academy, attended University of North Carolina – studied there for several summers; then to Greensboro where he taught school for fourteen years.



An agricultural leader – was educated at Hughes Academy, Bingham School, and the University of North Carolina; member House of Commons 1889-91; State Senator 1901-29; married Lizzie Hughes, daughter of Samuel Wellwood Hughes; had fourteen children – among them, Gov. Kerr Scott and State Senator Ralph Scott; a grandson is Lt. Gov. Bob Scott. Appointed to Board of Argiculture in 1901; was a Trustee of State College.



Second President of the University of North Carolina after it reopened in 1875. Also President of State College and University.



Born in Halifax County; Educated at Hughes Academy and the Universtiy of North Carolina; Served as a soldier in War between the States; promoted to Adjutant General; Judge of  Superior Court; Chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee; State Senator; married Miss Fanny DeBerniere Hooper of Hillsborough.



Son of Samuel Wellwood Hughes, was a greatly beloved “country doctor” in Cedar Grove for many years.


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The following advertisement is taken from the Hillsborough Recorder of December 15, 1855.


The next session of this institution will commence on the 7th of January next. The Academy is situated eight miles north of Hillsborough.


Tuition in Latin, Greek, etc.                                       $20.00

English                                                           12.50


Board, including washing, room, furniture, etc., convenient to the Academy, per session of twenty-one weeks                                                       $40.00

S.W. Hughes

S.M. Wells


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About 1875 the school was advertised as follows:



Cedar Grove Orange County

Has been in successful operation for 30 years under its present Principal.


Is located in a pleasant and healthy neighborhood, six miles north of Hillsborough.


Is divided into two sessions, commencing on the Second Monday of January; and the second Monday of July.



Of different denominations are situated near the school, and the pupils are required to attend Church regularly on the Sabbath.



Board, including all necessary expenses except lights, washing and towels $60.00

Tuition                                                                                                                     25.00


Pupils charged from the time of entrance, if more than two weeks is lost at the commencement of the Session. NO deduction is promised afterward, except in cases of protracted illness.


Cedar Grove, N.C.


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We urge all members and friends to visit the Hughes Academy. Take Highway 86N. from Hillsborough to the Highway Marker, 6 miles, turn left 1 mile and on your right is the Hughes Academy. It is a charming, quiet sylvan area. Nearby are the remains of a building which housed the Academy’s kitchen. It has deteriorated beyond repair. Not far away may be seen the crumbling ruins of the Hughes residence. In front of the old school building is the handsome Memorial Plaque atop a native stone marker which was unveiled and dedicated at the ceremony of May 7th.



Established 1845:





Mrs. Robert D. Isely, Mr. Marion M. Clark, and Miss Elizabeth H. Collins have been appointed the Property Committee as provided by the Society’s by-laws. It will be their responsibility to insure proper maintenance of this valuable asset.


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NEW MEMBERS:       Mr. and Mrs. Arthur P. Miller – Hillsborough

Mr. and Mrs. Britton Sawyer – Hillsborough

Dr. and Mrs. Irvin Brody – Hillsborough

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Rasberry – Hillsborough

Mr. and Mrs. Bonner Sawyer – Hillsborough

Mrs. Robert D. Hughes – Cedar Grove, N.C.

Mr. and Mrs. E.A. Braxton, Jr. – Graham, N.C.

Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Harrington – Graham, N.C.

Mrs. W.D. MacMillan – Wilmington, N.C.

Mr. and Mrs. B.S. Hastings – Decatur, Georgia

Mrs. Martha G. Robinson, Raleigh, N.C.


DECEASED: Mrs. E.M. Lockhart, Membership Chairman, notes with regret our loss by death of these two valuable members.

Mrs. Robert B. Street – Huntersville, N.C.

Miss Freda Webb – Raleigh, N.C.


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CORRECTION: The interesting exhibit showing raw cotton and the steps to the finished cloth as reported in the last News-Letter was arranged by Mr. R.B. Cooke of Irwin Mills, Durham.

NEW ACQUISITIONS, Currently displayed:

Tea Pot and Trivett, and a  Cup and Saucer, formerly the property of Mary Burwell Strudwick, daughter of the founders of Burwell School. Donated to the Historic Hillsborough Commission by her grand-daugher, Mary Strudwick Berry, and on loan to the Museum by the Commission.

Hand Cradle, used for reaping grain, -rye, wheat. Loaned by Paul H. Rasberry, Hillsborough.

Shoe maker’s last, Loaned by Mrs. Frank Perry, Hillsborough.