Family and Descendants of James Austin Hughes
By Richard Hughes
Early in his career, James Hughes taught at several one-room New Brunswick schools at such places as Grand Manan and Bear Island (1896-1898) before being appointed principal of St. Dunstan’s parish school, Fredericton. He continued as principal when the new school opened in 1909. He was prominent as an educator and was known for his incredible memory. Having the ability to recite great lengths of poetry without notes. Interested in Catholic and Irish causes, he was active as an executive officer of both the Fredericton branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Columbus. He died at the age of 88, still sharp as a tack, after being retired for 27 years, in Fredericton in 1960. His wife, Eveleen died eight years earlier on 21 April 1952 in Fredericton, NB.
James Hughes and Mary Eveleen McMahon had five children – Helen Evelyn, Charles Joseph Arthur, James Edward, Harold Peter and Florence Louise.
Of all the members of the Fredericton Hughes sept – both past and present – the career of Charles Hughes was the most distinguished. A barrister and solicitor, Charles Hughes first practiced in St. Stephen, later returning to Fredericton to the law partnership of Winslow Hughes. He was called to the county court bench in 1965 and was judge in the counties of York, Sunbury and Queens. He was elevated to the N.B. Court of Appeal in 1968 and appointed Chief Justice in 1972, retiring in 1984. He served on two Royal Commissions. His many honours included a designation as Queen’s Council, an appointment to The Order of Canada – the nation’s highest cilvilian award – and honorary degrees from both the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University. He died in Fredericton 24 September 2006.Charles and Edith Hughes had three children – Richard Atwater, Charles David and Barbara Helen.
5. Richard Atwater Hughes was born in1939 at St Stephen and was christened in Holy Rosary Church, the first son of Charles and Edith Hughes. He was married twice, his first wife being Lesley Ann Eames, (she was born in 1946 in Portsmouth, England, a daughter of Donald Beckett Eames and Stella Marjorie McKay). His second wife was Judy Horvath, born in March 1946 in Hungary, the daughter of Gyula Rudolf Horvath and Klara Kate.
Richard Atwater Hughes was raised and educated in Fredericton where he began his career as a journalist as a cub reporter for The Daily Gleaner. He later worked in radio and television before being appointed an information and public relations specialist with the New Brunswick government. At various times, he was managing editor of The St. Croix Courier, St. Stephen, Fredericton bureau chief of The Telegraph Journal and CHSJ-TV and held editorial positions in Britain with the BBC and Lord Beaverbrook’s newspaper, The Sunday Express. He retired in 1994. Richard died 17 October 2011 in Fredericton.Richard Hughes and Lesley Eames had two children, a son, Sean James (see below) and a daughter.
6. Sean James Hughes was born in Oxford England on 19 April 1964, the first child of Richard and Lesley Hughes, and was christened in St. Mary Magdalene Church, London on 16 August 1964. His godparents were his uncle, David Hughes, and aunt Diana Aldwinkle. Although born in England his parents registered him as a Canadian citizen shortly after his birth. Named after Irish playwright Sean O’Casey and his paternal great-grandfather, James Austin Hughes, Sean attended several Fredericton area schools including St. Dunstan’s where his great-grandfather had presided as its first principal and long-time headmaster. Sean was a member of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, a popular student and had a wide array of friends. He was killed in a motorcycle accident at Kelowna, British Columbia on 11April, 1986, eight days before his 22nd birthday. He is buried at The Hermitage, Fredricton, beside his paternal grandparents.
8. Harold Peter Hughes was born on 16 January 1917, the fourth child of James and Eveleen Hughes at Fredericton and was christened at St. Dunstan’s Church. Harold Hughes would become a distinguished teacher with an extraordinary ability to communicate. His first job was during The Great Depression in a two-room school at Boistown, N.B. At the end of the academic year he was informed that no money existed to pay his salary and to remedy the situation, a cow was seized from a deliquent tax-payer and given to Harold’s landlady who absolved his boarding house debt and so he returned to Fredericton empty-handed after a year’s hard work. He later taught successfully in Bathurst, Fredericton, Oromocto and Sussex. Harold was an accomplished piano player whose work in local bands helped pay his way through the University of New Brunswick. He married Margaret Kane, a daughter of John Edward Kane and Margaret Boyle in 1943 at Bathurst, N.B. Margaret died in 1992 in Sussex, N.B. and following her death, Harold returned to Fredericton where he died two years later. He was buried from St. Dunstan’s Church, Fredericton, N.B..
9. Florence Ida Louise Hughes was born in1919, the fifth child of James and Eveleen Hughes and was baptized in St. Dunstan’s Church. A graduate of Fredericton High School, throughout most of her working years she was an employee of the Government of Canada. Florrie took early retirement to pursue an active life and enjoyed curling and golf. Following their father’s death, she and her sister Helen built a fine house on Grey Street, next to that of their brother Charles. While she had many opportunities to do so, Florence never married. Throughout their lives she and Helen maintained and treasured a network of old and trusted friends.
Written 17 October 2007 (edited in August 2008 by author and October 2011 by request of author’s family)