JOSEPH R. HUGHES was born at Gadsden, March 14, 1842, and is a son of Gabriel Hughes, native of Haywood County, N. C.
The senior Mr. Hughes migrated to Georgia in early life, there married and came to Alabama. He located at Jackson, Calhoun County, subsequently moving to Double Springs, near Gadsden, and became one of the founders of this place. He died in March 1886.
He was the first postmaster at Gadsden, then known as Double Springs. It seems that he made his home where now stands the town of Atalla from 1857 up to the time of his death. He was a prominent Mason and a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Hughes family, after coming to America, settled first in Pennsylvania, removing thence to the Carolinas.
The subject of this sketch lived on his father's farm until the year 1857. He was attending school in April, 1862, when he entered the Confederate Army as a member of Company B, Forty-eighth Alabama, and with that regiment participated in the Seven Days' Fight around Richmond, at Manassas, where he was slightly wounded, and at Sharpesburg, in October, 1882, he was discharged, came home, and in November following joined Tracy's Brigade as chief clerk of the Commissarv Department. He surrendered, with General Pemberton, at Vicksburg, and after being paroled joined his command at Missionary Ridge in September, 1863. He was afterward in the campaigns of Dalton and Atlanta, at the battle of Jonesboro; was with Hood in his raid into Tennessee, and all the battles from Nashville to North Carolina, where he participated in the last battle of the war, and surrendered with Johnson. Returning home he entered a dry goods establishment as clerk, and in a short time moved to Cherokee County, where he was deputy in the circuit clerk's office. Ile came to Gadsden, and on December 14, was married to Mary Davis, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Adams) Davis.
Mr. Hughes built the Exchange Hotel, and managed it two years; erected the first steam flour mill at Gadsden, and was in the milling business until 1874, when he was elected Clerk of the Court. He was reelected Clerk in 1880, and since 1886 has been engaged in the real estate business. He owns a large number of acres of land, gives some attention to agriculture; is interested in the new Gadsden hotel, and also in the Gadsden Land and Iron Company.
Aside from the office of Clerk of the Court, he has been several times a member of the City Council. He is an extensive owner of mineral lands; is more or less identified with the leading industries of the booming town of Gadsden.
The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Hughes is a Knight of Honor. Their three sons are named William F., Robert S. and Preston M.
Source: McCalley, Henry, Northern Alabama : historical and biographical. Birmingham, AL: Smith & De Land, 1888, pp. 835.