George Hughes was related to two important enslaved families at Monticello, the Hemings family through his father and the Granger family through his mother, Ursula Granger Hughes (1787–after 1847). After Jefferson’s death in 1826, Hughes, his mother, and his siblings remained in slavery at Edgehill, the plantation of Jefferson's grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph; his father was given his freedom unofficially.
After Emancipation in 1865, George Hughes was a farm manager at Edgehill, while his wife, Sarah Jane, was cook at the Edgehill School for Girls. Hughes was a deacon of the Union Run Baptist church pastored by his brother Rev. Robert Hughes. In 1870 George Hughes and his friend Lewis Hern, grandson of Monticello slaves David and Isabel Hern, made a successful bid for one hundred acres of Albemarle County farmland. Hughes and Hern (Hearns) descendants still live on the property today.
“Sarah Jane was very firm in her demands"
In 1871 George Hughes and his wife ask for higher wages from the Randolphs.
“The rail road hands returning with so much money plays the wild with us; Sarah Jane is dissatisfied with Harriets [daughter Harriet Hughes] wages ($4) & was very firm in her demands for more yesterday morn: & last night, George came in & told his master Lewis had engaged to give him $130. certain, & 30. more if he pleased him, but that he could’nt stay for $160 this year, whereupon the Old Gent [Thomas J. Randolph] rose in his wrath, & told him if he could do better to go elsewhere, that he would not give him $130. & he might take his family & move off; they [finally] took time to think of it but your father has heard of a first rate manager in Buckingham, that Tom thinks he may get, & he is pretty much determined to try him. I mean, if possible, to keep quiet - do’nt begin to know what I shall do without Sarah Jane but try to have faith that Providence will provide.” (Jane N. Randolph, Edgehill, to Ellen Randolph Harrison, 6 Jan. 1871, University of Virginia Library: 1397)