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Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes [1] (1824-1895) was related to two important enslaved families at Monticello. As the son of Wormley Hughes (1781-1858), grandson of Betty Brown (1759-after 1831), and great-grandson of Elizabeth "Betty" Hemings, he was a member of the large Hemings family. Robert's mother was Ursula Hughes (1787-after 1827), a granddaughter of Great George and Ursula and niece of Isaac Jefferson/Granger.

Wormley Hughes worked in the Monticello nailery as a youth; as an adult he became Monticello's head gardener and was in charge of the stables. Hughes, who dug Jefferson's grave, was unofficially freed after Jefferson's death. He was a domestic servant in the Jefferson-Randolph household until his own death.

Robert Hughes was born at Monticello. Along with his mother and several of his siblings, he lived in slavery until the end of the Civil War on the plantation of Jefferson's grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph. After the war, Hughes, who was a blacksmith, acquired over a hundred acres of Albemarle County land. He was the founding minister of Union Run Baptist Church near Charlottesville, Virginia, where he served for three decades.


1. This article is based on the entry found in the Monticello Plantation Database


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