Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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HUGHES , EZEKIEL ( 1766 - 1849 ), one of the early Welsh settlers in the far west of the U.S.A. ;

b. 22 Aug. 1766 , son of Richard Hughes , Cwm Carnedd Uchaf , Llanbryn-mair . He appears to have had some little education at Shrewsbury . At the age of twenty he was bound apprentice to John Tibbott (see Tibbott family ) the clock-maker of Newtown . When his apprenticeship was over, he opened his own clock-making establishment at Machynlleth ( 1789 ), where he came under the influence of William Jones ( 1726 - 1795 ) of Llangadfan (q.v.) . In mid-July 1795 , he, Edward Bebb , George Roberts , and others left Llanbryn-mair and walked to Carmarthen and thence to Bristol ; on the 6 Aug. they sailed in the ‘ Maria ’ for Philadelphia where they arrived on the 25 Oct. After spending the winter in the city he, Edward Bebb , and one other set off in the spring on the long trail to the river Ohio . In three months time they arrived at Cincinnati , which at that time was ‘about the size of Machynlleth .’ There, near the Miami river and at no great distance from Paddy's Run , they bought land suited to their purpose. Hughes built a cabin, began to cultivate the land , and settled there with his cousin Edward Bebb . In Sept. 1802 he returned to Wales and m. Margaret Bebb of Bryn Aeron , Llanbryn-mair ( May 1803 ). He returned to the U.S.A. where, in a year's time, his wife d. and was buried in the first grave to be opened at Berea . In course of time ( 1808 ), Hughes took Mary Ewing for his second wife and nine children were born of this marriage. From time to time heavy responsibilities were thrust upon him, e.g. in 1805 he was charged with planning a new road from the river Miami to Hamilton town. He was also the first justice of the peace to be appointed in his district, an office which he discharged faithfully and mercifully. As the years went by he bought a great deal of land which he leased out at reasonable rates . In 1822 a chapel was built which became a place of worship for all the surrounding districts. Harrison , who became president of the U.S.A. , was a great personal friend of his and they attended the same class in Sunday-school .

Hughes continued to discharge his duties punctually both in the church and outside in spite of the lameness which handicapped him in his later years. Apart from building the chapel it was he who largely supported the ministry. He d. on Sunday afternoon, 2 Sept 1849 , and was buried the following day. He was described as a man who was ‘the friend of the poor, a true patriot, and a loyal Christian .’

Sources:

  • Y Cenhadwr Americanaidd sef cylchgrawn gwybodaeth fuddiol a dyddorawl i Gymry America / The American messenger , Utica, New York, 1840-1901 , Dec. 1849 ;
  • Y Cronicl , Feb. 1850 ;
  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies , second ed., 1894 .

Author:

William Ambrose Bebb, M.A., (1895-1955), Bangor

Published date: 1959