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John Hughes Memorandum Book


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

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John Hughes was a Quaker farmer born in Merionethshire, Wales, in 1653. He married Martha Caimot around 1680. John and Martha, along with their three children Jane, Rowland, and Ellis, were among the early Welsh immigrants who settled in what is now Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. They sailed aboard the Robert and Elizabeth from Liverpool with Hughes's sister Eleanor, her husband Edward Foulke, and their nine children. They landed in Philadelphia on July 17, 1698, and settled in Gwynedd where Hugh had purchased 648 acres.

Once in Pennsylvania, Hughes offered his home as a meeting house for Quaker worshipers until an official one was built in 1700. Martha died sometime before 1702, the year in which John married his second wife, Ellen. Martha may have been among forty-five people who died of dysentery during the voyage to Pennsylvania. Ellen and John had two children, Margaret, born in 1702, and Gainor, born in 1704. Hughes moved to Exeter, Berks County, in 1731 with his son Ellis and grandson John. John Hughes died October 10, 1736, in Exeter.

The memorandum book of John Hughes contains entries written sporadically from 1704 to 1762. The entries vary in size and content from a few lines detailing a payment received to lengthy passages of observations and transcriptions of speeches given during conferences with Indians held at Easton, Northampton County, in 1756. John Hughes died in 1736, twenty years prior to the meetings in Easton. These later entries were written by Hughes's grandson.

The first few pages of the book, including the inside cover, contain brief entries such as: "Samuel Miles- a silver sword sent by Barry Hughes October 25th 1716 price 6:17." Following these entries is an account of money owed by Robert William for milling grain in December 1719. This is followed by a list of goods credited to Catherine Griffith that included one quarter of beef, one quart of molasses, and half a hog. Catherine Griffith has another account for bushels bolted for her in the month of November 1719. There are several blank pages followed by several more pages containing brief account notes, three of which are dated 1722.

A substantial portion of the volume contains notes that were taken at conferences held with the Delaware Indians in July and November 1756. It is uncertain who took the notes and for what purpose. Entries include an account of lodging and dining expenses from July 23 to 31, followed by notes on the conference from July 28 to July 30. Some of the pages on which these notes were written had already contained prior account information from 1719 to 1721. Several entries taken during the conferences were written in pencil and have become nearly illegible.

These meetings were held in an attempt to abate the hostilities that had been occurring between Indians and the new inhabitants of Pennsylvania. The pacifistic Quakers were alarmed by recent attacks and urged the provincial leaders to meet with the Indians. A preliminary meeting took place in Easton, Pennsylvania, in July 1756 between Teedyuscung, chief of the Delaware, and Pennsylvania officials. Of interest are the notes taken during Teedyuscung's opening speech stating that the Delaware were no longer subjects of the Six Nations. He also mentioned the death of Newcastle, the Seneca chief who died in April 1756. The parties agreed to put an end to the hostilities and to meet again in three months. In early November they met again in Easton where Teedyuscung and Governor William Denny agreed upon a treaty.

In addition to taking notes on the meetings, the author also recorded incidents that occurred outside of them. In one such incident, a captain questioned two Indians about a murder. The younger of the men fled and was fired upon by the officer, although he was not fatally wounded. Hearing the gunfire, the second man fled and was shot dead.

The volume also includes expense accounts for traveling from April 23 to May 10, 1757. There are accounts of stops in New Jersey at Burlington, Raritan, Elizabethtown, and Trenton. There are also expense entries for taking a ferry to Long Island and Staten Island. Following these accounts is one entry from 1761and one from 1762. The last eight pages contain miscellaneous undated entries.

Gwynedd Friends Meeting, "Gwynedd Friends Meeting History," The Hughes Network, Hughes Genealogy, Jenkins, Howard M. Historical Collections of Relating to Gwynedd, A Township of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Howard M. Jenkins, 1897. Jenkins, Howard M. "Welsh Settlement at Gwynedd." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 8 (1884) 174-183.

Gift of Mrs. A. Morris Harkness, 1900.

Processed by Steven Smith, September 2003. Processing made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this finding aid do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This collection was formerly known as Collection 301.


Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Steven Smith.
Finding Aid Date
; 2003.
Processing made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this finding aid do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Use Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

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