1861 wedding connected local families’ histories

Published 5:36 pm Friday, December 6, 2019


The Hughes and Marksbury families are intertwined with the O’Bannon and Coovert families in Garrard County, who came to the county in the 1800s

The marriage of William Harrison Hughes and Mary Elizabeth Marksbury on Dec. 24, 1861, in Boyle County, is the connection between the two families.

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William was a prominent farmer in Bryantsville and was an engineer for the for the C.N.O. & T.P. Railroad. He escaped death in June 1911 during a severe electrical storm, according to an article in the Kentucky Advocate.

“His wife was frightened by the lightning, and he had just made the remark that there was no danger when the bolt struck. He was thrown violently to the floor and painfully bruised, but no apprehension was felt about his ultimate recovery.”

William ran on the south end and was popular among the railroad fraternity. He made his headquarters in Danville and was spending the day in Somerset when the mishap occurred.

William and Elizabeth’s son, Henry “Dove,” was killed when he was struck by an L&N train when he apparently fell asleep on the train track on July 29, 1900, near this home.

It was evident that one of the night trains had struck him, causing instant death from injuries to his upper body, according to a newspaper article. He was 31 years old and unmarried.


Early history


Family history compiled from written information and Ancestry.com show William was listed as 30 years old and Elizabeth was 28 in the 1870 Census of Garrard County.

Members of the Hughes family, standing from left, are sisters Addie Lee Hughes Coovert, Polly Hughes and Flora Hughes Burnside. Seated at left, James D. Coovert, probably Addie’s husband; and at far right, Rice Burnside, Flora’s husband. The man in middle is not identified.

William’s parents were Tharp Hughes (1811-1887) of Lincoln County and Tabitha O’Bannon (1816-1890) of Garrard County. Tabitha was the daughter of Daniel O’Bannon (1780-1845) and Mary Thompson (1792-1863), who moved in the early 1800s from Clay County to Garrard County.

Tabitha descended from Bryant O’Bannon (1682-1762) and Zena Isham (1782-1750), who came from Ireland to Virginia and Kentucky.

Elizabeth’s parents were Randolph Marksbury (1809-1887) and Nancy West (1819-1900) of Boyle County. They lived in Perryville and are buried there.

William was born Aug. 12, 1840, and died July 10, 1916, at the age of 75, and Elizabeth was born in 1816 and died in 1890. Both are buried in Lancaster Cemetery.

Their children were Benjamin West (1862-1943), Edgar L. (1866-1936), Henry “Dove “ (1869-1900), and Della (1870-1923).

William was the brother of Virginia C., America E., Abner D., Lysander B., Mary Addie, and Flora Bell Hughes.