Soldiers’ final resting place

Published 10:37 am Saturday, January 9, 2010

On one of the coldest days of the year, I set out to find the grave of another Revolutionary War veteran buried in Shelby County.

This search sent me to the cemetery of Old Chapel Methodist Church in Wilsonville. The grave of William Hughes was easy to find and I soon had more information about his military service.

William Hughes Sr. was born in 1752 in the Bladen District of North Carolina. At the time of his enlistment as a private in the North Carolina Militia in 1776, Hughes was living in Wake County, near Raleigh.

He served for 18 months in the company of Capt. Drury Kade in the regiment commanded by Col. Benjamin Few. An assignment change then put him in the company of Capt. Ignatius Few.

It was in this company that Hughes fought in the Battle of Waxhaw on May 29, 1780, where British Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton’s troops attacked American soldiers who were trying to surrender.

“Tarleton’s Quarter,” meaning ‘show no mercy,’ became the rallying cry for American soldiers when they battled the British.

After the battle at Waxhaw, Hughes became a scout in Georgia and was discharged 18 months after his initial enlistment.

He would serve voluntarily for an additional seven months, seeing battle again at Briar Creek, Ga. on March 3, 1779, where an American defeat allowed the British to regain their hold on Georgia.

William Hughes married Sarah Eades in Columbia County, Ga. in 1780. They would have eleven children together.

Upon his final discharge, Hughes went back to Wake County, N.C., where he remained until 1783. At this time, he moved to Georgia and was one of the winners in the 1805 Ga. Land Lottery. He took possession of the land in Wilkinson County, Ga. on Dec. 18 of the same year.

The next move took Hughes and his family to Franklin County, Tenn., where he lived until coming to Shelby County in 1813. William Hughes died on April 24, 1833, having lived the remainder of his life near Wilsonville. His wife, Sarah lived another 20 years, passing away in 1853 in Union Parish, La.

Catherine Cousins writes a weekly column about the history of our county. Have an interesting historic topic? You can reach Cousins by e–mail at