The Hughes Family: British Entertainers in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America

Christopher Malley and Nym Cooke

The American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, has in its collections a printed playbill advertising a concert by “the Hughes Family” at Brinley Hall, in Worcester, on 19 April 1844. The playbill measures 24.4 x 17 cm., and is catalogued as BDSDS.1844 Copy 1; the catalogue record number is 205496. Sporting a large variety of fonts in different sizes, the playbill lists the pieces to be performed at this concert, and gives the time and date of the performance. It was this playbill which introduced the authors to a remarkable troupe of nineteenth-century child musicians.

Before discussing the Hughes Family, it’s important to acknowledge the phenomenon of American performing families in the 1840s. Dozens of such ensembles toured the United States during these years. The most famous performing family at this time was the Hutchinson Family, a group of singers from New Hampshire who were among the most popular American entertainers of their day.1 The Hutchinsons presented a repertoire of political, social, comic, sentimental, and dramatic works. Singing in four-part harmony, they were a hit with both audiences and critics, and they toured repeatedly. Their concert programs included controversial material promoting the abolition of slavery, workers’ rights, temperance, and women’s rights.

The Hutchinsons got their start in 1840 after John Hutchinson attended a concert given by the Tyrolese Minstrels, an Austrian singing group, in either Boston or Lynn, Massachusetts. He was impressed by what he heard, and decided to teach the rest of his family to sing in the same style. John and three of his brothers (Asa, Jesse, and Judson) dubbed themselves the Hutchinson Family Singers and gave their first concert in Milford, New Hampshire, in 1840. They performed in Lynn, Massachusetts, the following year. At first the group sang mostly European songs, by such artists as Henry Russell or the Tyrolese Rainer Family, but Jesse Hutchinson soon quit the performing ensemble in order to write original material and manage the group’s business affairs. Twelve-year-old Abby Hutchinson, a high tenor, took Jesse’s place. By 1842 the Hutchinsons were performing across New England and taking in as much as $130—equivalent to about $3,000 today—per performance. In 1843, Jesse wrote “The Old Granite State,” a song about the Hutchinsons, their origins in New Hampshire, and their itinerant lifestyle. This song became their signature number.

Although the Hutchinson Family was impressively talented and became very famous, the Hughes Family was perhaps as skilled as its New England counterpart. Like the Hutchinsons, the Hugheses were active in the 1840s and incorporated both vocal and instrumental performance into their act. Two key differences between the Hutchinsons and the Hugheses were that while the Hutchinson Family eventually performed mostly original material, the Hughes Family was largely a “cover band,” and whereas the Hutchinsons were American-born, the Hugheses were immigrants from Great Britain.

Dafydd (David) Hughes, born in 1803, was a Welsh boot- and shoemaker; his wife Catherine was born in 1798. The couple had four children: Joseph Tudor, born in 1827, was followed by David Edward in 1829, John Arthur in 1832, and Margaret in 1837.2 Having toured English concert halls for some years, the family—presumably seeking concert engagements in the New World—arrived in New York City on 8 October 1840, less than a month before the Hutchinson Family would make their first public appearance. The documents recording the Hugheses’ immigration identify David, Sr., as a “teacher of music,” while his sons are listed as musicians.3 An engraving from about this time (see Illustration 1) shows the three younger siblings playing violin, concertina, and harp. Margaret and John Arthur are standing on tables, while their older brother David Edward stands in the center holding a concertina (an almost brand-new instrument at the time), looking directly at the viewer.4

Illustration 1.

Very shortly after their arrival in the States, the family began to tour, performing in many different venues, including the White House. Ivor Hughes and David Ellis Evans describe the children onstage in New York in 1840:

People flocked to see the young performers and were fascinated by their mastery of music and instruments. . . .Margaret (now three years of age) made her debut and thus all of the Hughes children were performing. The little players coaxed their harps alive, playing popular tunes and their own compositions and variations. The “Child prodigies” looked as young as the audience anticipated. Resplendent in their frock coats, lace collars, and pantaloons, they thrilled the audiences, with Joseph at times playing two harps simultaneously or playing a duet with David on a single harp, and John and Margaret making up a quartet with John on the violin and Margaret on the concertina.5

Unfortunately, tragedy struck on 12 May 1841: a boat carrying the Hughes boys and their father capsized on the Hudson River, and thirteen-year-old Joseph Tudor drowned.6 Nevertheless, after a break of little more than a month, the family resumed its activity on the concert circuit, performing in locations as far apart as the West Indies and Canada. They eventually settled on a farm in Virginia.

The online database America’s Historical Newspapers, 1690-2000 (AHN henceforth) has made it possible to trace the Hughes’s performances from 1840 to 1845. The first Hughes concert for which there is documentation in AHN took place in Boston on 29 June 1841; this was likely one of the family’s first appearances after the drowning of Joseph Tudor in mid-May. A local paper announced on 28 June that “To-morrow evening the wonderful Hughes family will appear. Their musical powers and execution have astonished the people wherever they have given concerts.”7 After another Boston concert, apparently in October 1841,8 the Hugheses crop up in St. Louis on 30 December 1841; a local paper promised that their concert would be “a delightful treat to the younger members of families.”9

Although AHN offers nothing about the Hughes Family for 1842, the printed record resumes in the next year. From 3 to 22 April 1843, the Hugheses presented a series of concerts at the Baltimore Museum. At first it was expected that they would remain in Baltimore for only one week, as this notice in the Baltimore Sun, announcing their arrival in the city, indicates:

BALTIMORE MUSEUM, Corner of Baltimore and Calvert streets. GREAT ATTRACTION. THE HUGHES’ FAMILY, FOR ONE WEEK ONLY. The Manager of the Baltimore Museum feels the highest gratification in being enabled to announce to the citizens of Baltimore that he has affected an engagement, for one week, with those celebrated Minstrels, the Masters HUGHES, who are, on this occasion, accompanied by their sister, Miss HUGHES, who, at the age of three years, possesses musical ability, vocal and instrumental, surpassing belief until seen and heard. THIS (Monday) EVENING, MASTERS AND MISS HUGHES, Will give their first GRAND CONCERT, IN THE SALOON OF THE MUSEUM.10

The Hughes children were evidently such a success with Baltimore audiences that the family was engaged for another week of concerts, this time sharing the bill with a “Mr. Samuel”:

BALTIMORE MUSEUM, Corner of Baltimore and Calvert Streets. UNPRECEDENTED ATTRACTION RE ENGAGEMENT of the celebrated HUGHES FAMILY, FOR ONE WEEK LONGER. Engagement of Mr. SAMUEL, the renowned WIZARD OF THE NORTH. The Manager takes pleasure in announcing that he has succeeded in retaining those interesting Vocalists, the Masters and Miss HUGHES, who will give another series of Concerts, commencing on MONDAY EVENING, April 10. . . .11

An article published in the Sun on 18 April reveals that the Hughes Family had been re-engaged once more, and would be giving concerts every night for the next week:

MUSEUM.—Mr. Peale seems determined to keep up the attraction at this establishment. He has re-engaged the Hughes’ family for another week, and concerts will nightly be given in the picture gallery.12

For this final week of their Baltimore performances, the Hughes children appeared with what must have been quite a contrasting companion “act”:

GRAND ATTRACTION! ENGAGEMENT OF INDIAN CHIEFS! LAST WEEK OF THE HUGHES FAMILY. On the EVENINGS of THURSDAY, FRIDAY and SATURDAY. The Manager of the Museum has the gratification to announce to the numerous patrons of the establishment, and the public generally, that he has affected an engagement with a company of INDIANS, descendants of the native Lords of the Soil, among whom are the celebrated Chiefs, Dar gwar-no-a[l?]-yaud, or Flying Head; He-no-go war, or the Great Thunderer, and Ca-[?] Jgo war, Whale or Big Fish, of the race of the famous “Red Jacket.” They will give an exhibition of Indian Speeches, Songs and Dances, all of which will be described and explained in English by one of the Indian Chiefs. They will appear in full costume, decorated with ornaments, &c.

The manager would also remind the visiters [sic] of the Museum, that the engagement of those interesting Minstrels, the Masters and Miss HUGHES, will positively close this week[.] THIS EVENING, Indian Dances and Songs, mingled with the strains of the Harp, Violin and Concertina by the HUGHES’, as well as some beautiful melodies by the infant Vocalist, Miss Hughes. ☞ Performance to commence at 7 ½ o’clock. Admittance 25 cents—children Half price.13

After their successful run in Baltimore, the Hugheses traveled to Albany, New York, for a performance in Knickerbocker Hall on 4 August 1843. This was apparently not their first stay in Albany:

THE HUGHES FAMILY.—These delightful vocalists whose performance, on a former occasion, so charmed our musical friends, have returned to our city, and will give a Concert this evening at the Knickerbocker Hall[.] They are accompanied by Miss M’Gloin, whose performances as a vocalist have been highly applauded by our brethren of the Press in the Commercial Emporium. A rich treat may be expected. Go and hear them.14

From their Albany appearance in August 1843 through January 1844, no accounts have surfaced of Hughes Family performances, though they are likely to have continued touring. The Hugheses resurface in New York City on 2 February 1844, apparently in order to provide illustrations for an address on music delivered at the Broadway Tabernacle:

TABERNACLE!!! ATTRACTIVE NOVELTY! BY THE HUGHES FAMILY. CONCERT AND ADDRESS at the Broadway Tabernacle. —FRIDAY EVENING, February 2, 1844, an Address on Music—its refining tendencies and general influences on Society—will be delivered by J. AUGUSTUS SHEA, Esq[.]: and subsequently illustrated by eminent artists, vocal and instrumental. Several amateur and professional ladies and gentlemen will appear—among whom are the truly surprising musical prodigies, Miss and the Masters HUGHES. The whole entertainment will be of the most novel character that has ever been introduced in the city of New York.15

The Hugheses followed their New York performance with at least two concerts in Newark, New Jersey. Their appearance in Stewart’s Saloon on 23 February elicited a rapturous review, published in the Newark Daily Advertiser:

WONDERFUL MUSICAL PERFORMANCES are those by the little HUGHES family. In fact, I have never heard any thing, all things considered, at all comparable to the musical achievements of these precocious children at the Concert in Stewart’s Saloon last evening. It is truly marvellous that a child of only four years, who can as yet scarcely articulate, should be able to sing with expression and understanding, and play sweetly on the harp, but such is the fact with the infant Miss Hughes[.] The bewitching simplicity and address of the graceful little sylph win all hearts, and all alike seem tempted to seize and caress her, as she goes through her appointed parts. Nothing in the way of infantile performance could exceed the grace with which she announced, at the close of the Concert, a compliance with the unanimous desire for a repetition on Tuesday evening.

Her little brothers fulfilled all expectation. They are apparently a few years older, and exhibit extraordinary talents and attainments[.] The performances of the elder on the violin, which is nearly as large as himself, are surprising, and he shews that Paganini and Ole Bull are not the only artists who can play on one string, and perform a quartette. Dr. Muhlenburg, of St. Paul’s College, Long Island, has well named him the “infant Paganini.”

The Younger brother is scarcely less accomplished, and the Concert altogether realized the expectations which the reputation of the young band had raised.—Miss [M’Gloin?], who has a melodious voice, sang several songs well, and pleasantly diversified the entertainment. Another Concert will be given on Tuesday evening. [signed] “G.”16

By the beginning of May 1844, the Hughes children were in Boston.17 They enjoyed at least a one-week run at the city’s Concert Hall, documented by the Boston Traveler, whose report mentions several concurrent acts. The Traveler’s description of these other performers suggests that at least part of the Hugheses’ appeal was the almost magical novelty of children so young playing and singing so well—similar to the novelty of a virtuoso whistler, juggler, or ventriloquist:

CONCERT HALL . . . EVERY EVENING THIS WEEK. First Week of the celebrated HUGHES FAMILY, whose musical abilities have created the utmost surprise and astonishment in the musical world, and whose performances have attracted fashionable and the most distinguished audiences in all principal cities of Great Britain, Canada and and [sic] the United States.

Second Week of the WESTERN SIFFLEUR, or KENTUCKY WHISTLER, whose unique and wonderful performances have won the admiration of every visitor, and elicited the most unbounded approbation.

Second Week of YAN ZOO, the distinguished Posturer, Juggler, Plate Balancer, &c., who is without a rival in the world.

Fourth successive Week of MR. HARRINGTON, the Valentine Vox of America, and original Ventriloquist, who will this evening and every evening during the week, give selections of his remarkable Illusions and Comic Scenes in Voice. Admittance 25 cents. Performance to commence at 7 [illegible—¼?] o’clock.18

America’s Historical Newspapers contains no references to the Hugheses for the remainder of 1844. The family reappears at the beginning of 1845, but for a few months the papers report little more than where they were performing: Kingston, Jamaica, in January; Mobile, Alabama, in February; and Augusta, Georgia, for at least a week of performances in April.19 From Augusta the family traveled to Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, where they presented several concerts in early May. On 2 May the Charleston Courier printed a brief piece by one “L. G.,” a resident of Columbia, describing the Hugheses’ first performance in that town, and heralding their impending arrival in the “Queen City of the South” (i.e., Charleston):

In the way of amusement just now, we have the first appearance of the Hughes’ Family, a band of Lillipution [sic] Harpers and Violinists, “hard to beat,” who intend to drop in on you after leaving here, which may be next week, although they are drawing crowded and fashionable audiences. Last night was the first time I had an opportunity of witnessing a complete galaxy of Columbia’s beauty, and as the weather forbids the use of bonnets, my phrenological acumen was fairly put to the test in passing judgment upon the numerous marble brows in the hall. They all, however, seemed delighted with the youthful vocalist of their own sex, (a child 5 years of age,) and gratified by the performance of her two brothers, (boys of 9 and 12 years of age,) on the Harp. As it will be their first visit to the Queen City of the South, where music and talent has always been highly favored, I bespeak for them a fair hearing.20

Another brief announcement appeared in the same issue of the Charleston Courier:

THE HUGHES’ FAMILY RESPECTFULLY announce to the friends of Music in Charleston, that they will make their FIRST APPEARANCE during the ensuing week, the particulars of which will be duly furnished.

The Concerts of the Masters HUGHES have created the greatest surprise and astonishment in the musical world, and attracted the most distinguished audiences in all the principal cities of Great Britain, the Canadas, the United States, and the West Indies. Their performances on the HARP, VIOLIN and CONCERTINAS, comprise the choicest selections from the most favorite OPERAS and NATIONAL MELODIES, together with ORIGINAL AIRS and VARIATIONS of their own composition.21

Several days later, “L. G.” wrote to the Charleston Courier about the Hugheses’ last performance in Columbia:

The rain to night, prevented a full attendance of the fair ones at the Farewell Concert of the Hughes’ Family. Carriages are not quite so thick in this village as they are in yours. Nevertheless, a fair turn out was accomplished, considering “the peltings of the pitiless storm,” and the sterner, booted sex made up the deficiency in the slippery [sic]. I am not aware that the powers of the harp are extensively appreciated in your community, but whether they are or not, I should like to hear the opinions of your musical critics on the performances of young DAVID, who they say strikes the strings like the king of old. The violin, I know, is well understood, and I shall therefore look with curiosity for the critiques of the certainly “more than twenty fiddlers” you have amongst you, concerning little JOHNNY HUGHES’ efforts.22

Within a day or two of their final Columbia appearance, the Hughes Family had traveled the 120 miles to the coast and were set to make their debut in Charleston. The following notice appeared in the 5 May issue of the Charleston Courier:

THE HUGHES’ FAMILY RESPECTFULLY announce to the friends of Music in Charleston, that they will make their FIRST APPEARANCE, at the Hibernian Hall, To Morrow Evening, 6th inst. . . .23

Two days later, the Charleston paper Southern Patriot announced the Hugheses’ second concert in that city, accompanied by an picture that showed no fewer than six children standing beside or playing four full-sized harps, a concertina, and a violin (see Illustration 2).24

Illustration 2.

Although AHN lacks notices about the Charleston concerts, the family apparently remained in this area for several weeks. On 24 May The New York Herald reported that “The Orphean family have returned to Charleston. The Hughes family are in the same neighborhood,”25 and four days later the Herald made it clear where they had gone after Charleston: “The Hughes family are giving concerts in Savannah.”26 But the Hugheses had apparently wound up their engagement in Savannah before 28 May, if a notice in the Herald of 1 June (the notice probably written at the end of May) is correct: “The Hughes family gave their farewell concert in Savannah on the 26th inst.”27

By mid-June the Hugheses were back in Charleston. The New York Herald’s notice of their return to that city is entertaining and instructive for the information it provides on five contemporaneous entertainment acts, including three devoted to blackface minstrelsy, then experiencing its first great successes on the American stage:

The Hughes family are giving Concerts in Charleston with great success.

T. D. Rice commenced a short engagement at the Baltimore Museum on Monday evening last.

The Congo Melodists are in Philadelphia.

Mr. Booth is proving very attractive at the Richmond Theatre. He is engaged for six nights.

The Fakir of Ava is going down east. Let him avoid Salem [Massachusetts], or the days of olden witchcraft may be revived.

Messrs. Archer, Plumber, and three other vocalists, have associated themselves as a band of sable [i.e., blackface] minstrels. They are excellent singers, and will succeed.28

There is only one further reference to a Hughes Family performance in ANC. On 27 August 1845, The New York Herald reported that “The Hughes Family gave their farewell concert at Lynchburg, Va[.], on the 20th inst.”29 This may have been the Hugheses’ last appearance in that city, but there is no reason to assume that it was their final concert altogether. Beyond this point, however, the historical record is silent.30

On the evidence of their many performances over a wide geographical area in just a few years (1841-1845), and judging by the favorable notices and reviews that their concerts inspired, the Hughes children were clearly accomplished and versatile performers. Their versatility is evident not only in the range of instruments they played but also in their concert programs. Very few of these appear to have survived, but a pair of programs published in two issues of the Baltimore Sun, five days apart, reveal that these youngsters had mastered an impressively large and varied repertoire. From the Sun of 3 April 1843:

BALTIMORE MUSEUM, Corner of Baltimore and Calvert streets. GREAT ATTRACTION. THE HUGHES’ FAMILY, FOR ONE WEEK ONLY. The Manager of the Baltimore Museum feels the highest gratification in being enabled to announce to the citizens of Baltimore that he has effected an engagement, for one week, with those celebrated Minstrels, the Masters HUGHES, who are, on this occasion, accompanied by their sister, Miss HUGHES, who, at the age of three years, possesses musical ability, vocal and Instrumental, surpassing belief until seen and heard. THIS (Monday) EVENING, MASTERS AND MISS HUGHES, Will give their first GRAND CONCERT, IN THE SALOON OF THE MUSEUM.

Overture—Harp—Imps’ March, in which Master Hughes will introduce all the new harp effects—Mast. D. E. Hughes.
Solo—Violin—De Benets—Mast. J. A. Hughes.
Song—Under the Rose—Miss Hughes, the celebrated Vocalist.
Solo—Concertina—Master D. E. Hughes.
Solo—the celebrated Cuckoo Solo—J. A. Hughes.
Duett—Harp and Violin—Masters D. E. & J. A. Hughes.

Solo—Welsh Battle Harp—Miss Hughes.
Solo—Harp—Napoleon’s Grand March—in which Master Hughes will imitate the marching of troops and the advancing and retiring of the band, until the music ceases on the ear—Mast. D. E. Hughes.
Temperance Song—Oh! take the Pledge—Miss Hughes.
Solo—Violin—Kathleen O’More, with variations—Mast. J. A. Hughes.
Solo—Concertina—Mast. J. A. Hughes.
Finale—Lord Harderich’s March, Hail Columbia, and Yankee Doodle—Masters D. E. and J. A. Hughes.

A GRAND CONCERT, On WEDNESDAY & SATURDAY AFTERNOONS, At three o’clock. ☞ Admission as usual, 25 cents—Children half price. ☞ Evening entertainments to commence at half past 7 o’clock.31

The program reproduced in The Sun on 8 April 1843 has identical opening and closing material, but the list of selections introduces twelve new or varied numbers, out of a total of nineteen:

Overture—Harp—Imps’ March, in which Master Hughes will introduce all the new harp effects—Mast. D. E. Hughes.
Solo—Violin—“Jenny Jones”—Mast. J. A. Hughes.
Solo—Concertina—Favorite Irish Melody, “Believe me if all those endearing young charms,” with variations—Mast. D. E. Hughes.
Song—“Under the Rose”—the Infant Vocalist—Miss Hughes.
Solo—Harp—Admired Italian air, “Nel cor pa [recte più?],” with variations composed by Mast. D. E. Hughes.
Solo—Violin—The celebrated “Cuckoo Solo”—Infant Violinist.
Song—The popular Song, “Buy a Broom,” in character—the Infant Vocalist— Miss Hughes.
Duett—Violin and Concertina—“Lord Hardwicke’s March” and the “Tyrolian”— Master Hughes.
Song—“Napoleon’s Flight from Moscow”—Mast. J. A. Hughes.

Solo—Welsh Battle Harp—Miss Hughes.
Solo—Harp—Napoleon’s Grand March—in which Master Hughes will imitate the marching of troops and the advancing and retiring of the band, until the music ceases on the ear—Mast. D. E. Hughes.
Song—Oh! take the Pledge—Miss Hughes.
Solo—Violin—Kathleen O’More, with variations, (the fourth variation on one string[)]—The Infant Vocalist [sic; not Master J. A. Hughes, as in the earlier program; likely an error]
Concertina [recte Concertino? –see below]—“Malibran’s favorite air[“], with variations, by De Beriot—Mast. D. E. Hughes.
Song—“Lavender Girl”—The Infant Vocalist—Miss Hughes.
Concertino—On two Harps at the same time—Mast. D. E. Hughes.
Overture—Harp and Violin—Fra diavolo—Masters Hughes.
Solo—“Brother Jonathan”—Mast. J. A. Hughes.
Finale—“Happy Land,” “America[,]” “Hail Columbia” and “Yankee Doodle.”32

Reading of concerts like these, we can only wish that we had witnessed these true child prodigies onstage. Whereas Charles Dickens’s “Infant Phenomenon,” Miss Ninetta Crummles, was something of a fake (passing for ten in her mid-teens, she “had been kept up late every night, and put upon an unlimited allowance of gin-and-water from infancy, to prevent her growing tall”33), “The Infant Vocalist,” Margaret Hughes—born one year before Dickens’s character was introduced, and five years old at the time of the concerts documented immediately above—was clearly the real thing. And her older brothers seem to have been no less extraordinary: David Edward at age thirteen could “imitate [on a harp] the marching of troops and the advancing and retiring of the band” in “Napoleon’s Grand March,” had composed his own variations on the “admired Italian air, ‘Nel cor pa’” (surely “Nel cor più [non mi sento,” the much-adapted duet from Giovanni Paisiello’s 1788 opera La Molinara), and managed to play a “concertino” “on two harps at the same time,” while the eleven-year-old John Arthur could play a concertina solo, a violin solo (apparently imitating a cuckoo), or sing “Napoleon’s Flight from Moscow.” It’s to be hoped that future research will flesh out the musical careers of these remarkable young performers who enlivened the American stage for several years in the middle of the nineteenth century.34

  1. The information that follows on the Hutchinson family was taken from Wikipedia: see “Hutchinson Family Singers,” Wikipedia, 2021,
  2. Ivor Hughes and David Ellis Evans, Before We Went Wireless: David Edward Hughes FRS, His Life, Inventions and Discoveries (1829-1900) (Bennington, VT: Images from the Past, 2011), pp. 4, 6-8. This biography contains some valuable details on the Hughes Family’s musical skills and concerts, both in Great Britain (1832-40) and America (1840-45); see pp. 8-17.
  3. Dan M. Worrall, “David Edward Hughes, Concertinist and Inventor,” Papers of the International Concertina Association, vol. 4 (2007), p. 42.
  4. This illustration is borrowed with our thanks from Ivor Hughes’s article “Professor David Edward Hughes,” AWA [Antique Wireless Association] Review, vol. 22 (2009), p. 113. Young David with his concertina may represent the earliest known image of a concertinist.
  5. Hughes and Evans, Before We Went Wireless, p. 15.
  6. See Hughes and Evans, Before We Went Wireless, pp. 15-16 and p. 343, n. 8, for details of this sad event.
  7. Bay State Democrat, Boston, 28 June 1841, p. 3.
  8. Hughes and Evans, Before We Went Wireless, pp. 16-17, states that this concert was the family’s first after James Tudor’s death, but we’ve seen that they performed in Boston on 29 June 1841.
  9. Western Atlas, and Saturday Evening Gazette, St. Louis, 29 December 1841, p. 4.
  10. The Sun, Baltimore, 3 April 1843, p. [3].
  11. Ibid., 12 April 1843, p. [3].
  12. Ibid., 18 April 1843, p. [2].
  13. Ibid., 20 April 1843, p. [3].
  14. Albany Evening Journal, 4 August 1843, p. [2].
  15. New York Journal of Commerce, 1 February 1844, p. 2. The New York Evening Post, 2 February 1844, p. [2], also announced that evening’s performance, referring to it as “an attractive bill of entertainments.”
  16. Newark Daily Advertiser, 24 February 1844, p. 2. The name of the performer who shared the bill with the Hugheses is indecipherable, but may be M’Gloin; a Miss M’Gloin had performed with the Hugheses in Albany, New York, in August 1843 (see above).
  17. The Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper of 1 May, 1844, p. 3, reports the Hughes Family’s presence in Boston.
  18. Boston Traveler, 17 May 1844, p. 4.
  19. The New York Herald, 3 January 1845, p. [1]: “The Hughes’ Family are giving concerts at Kingston, Jamaica.” The New York Herald, 9 February 1845, p. [2]: “The Hughes family are in Mobile [Alabama]. They are very highly spoken of.” Two other New York City papers reported the same news on 10 February: the Evening Mirror, p. 2, and the True Sun, p. 3. The Augusta Chronicle documents the Hugheses’ performances in that city between 15 and 21 April 1843 (see issues of 15 April, p. 3; 17 April, p. 3; and 21 April, p. 3). Although their appearance on 21 April is billed (complete with an illustration of six Hugheses with harps, violin, and concertina) as a “FAREWELL CONCERT,” they may have remained in Augusta for another week or so; The New York Herald, 27 April 1845, p. [2], reports (perhaps erroneously, given the geographical distance) that “The Hughes Family are in Augusta.”
  20. Charleston Courier, 2 May 1845, p. [2].
  21. Ibid., p. [3].
  22. Ibid., 5 May 1845, p. [2].
  23. Ibid., p. [3].
  24. Thanks to Dan Worrall for permission to reproduce this newspaper advertisement, which appears in his article “David Edward Hughes: Concertinist and Inventor,” p. 43.
  25. The New York Herald, 24 May 1845, p. [2].
  26. Ibid., 28 May 1845, p. [1].
  27. Ibid., 1 June 1845, p. [1].
  28. The New York Herald, 18 June 1845, p. [1]. “T. D. Rice” is actor, dancer, and singer Thomas Dartmouth Rice (1808-1860), one of the most prominent early performers of blackface minstrelsy. The Congo Melodists were a troupe of five blackface minstrels that hailed from Boston. “Mr. Booth” is probably Junius Brutus Booth (1796-1852), a famous actor and the father of actor John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Abraham Lincoln. “The Fakir of Ava” is stage magician Isaiah Harris Hughes (1813-1891). And “Messrs. Archer, Plumber,” et al. formed a blackface minstrel troupe known as The Sable Harmonists; by the end of 1845 the company included J. W. Plumer, James B. Farrell, William Roark, J. Tichenor, and three men with the last names Archer, Wall, and Cramer.
  29. The New York Herald, 27 August 1845, p. [2]. “Va.” is Virginia.
  30. See Hughes and Evans, Before We Went Wireless, pp. 17-19, for evidence of several shifts in the priorities and interests of various members of the family in the years 1845-1847: travel increasingly for enjoyment rather than to perform, Dafydd and David’s growing fascination with gold mining, David in his mid-teens beginning to study “natural philosophy” (physics), “alchemy” (chemistry), and geology, and the family’s 1847 purchase of a farm located on the Virginia gold- belt, a region about 15-25 miles wide which runs for 140 miles along the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  31. The Sun, 3 April 1843, p. [3].
  32. Ibid., 8 April 1843, p. [3].
  33. See Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, chapter 23.
  34. Dan M. Worrall, Ivor Hughes, and David Ellis Evans have done important research on the later remarkable career of David Edward Hughes, who matured into an accomplished and important inventor. See Worrall, “David Edward Hughes: Concertinist and Inventor”; Hughes, “Professor David Edward Hughes”; and Hughes and Evans, Before We Went Wireless.