A.S. HUGHES - Photography - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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A.S. HUGHES - Photography

A.S. HUGHES - Photography

Source: That was then … this is now: Daguerreotype or bust by Suzie Zach Baldwin for the January 2015 Montgomery Memories

Aaron S. Hughes was born in Ohio around 1821 and married Martha A. Rector June 20, 1844. The couple was married over forty-nine years, but was not blessed with children. Mr. and Mrs. Hughes did help raise six children and adopted John A. Hughes (John A. Bailey who was 9 months in the 1860 census) who was Martha's nephew. The couple joined the Methodist Church while still living at Chilicothe, Ohio. Before staying in Crawfordsville (in 1852) the Hughes resided at Evansville, Princeton and Bloomington. An advertisement in the 1861 Crawfordsville City guide states A.S. Hughes began his business in 1855 with his title being a Daguerreotype, Ambrotype, Melainotype and Photograph artist. His business was located in rooms opposite the Court House on Vernon between Washington and Green Street. Mr. Hughes motto was, "none cheaper and none better." The information in the 1861 guide also said his photographs were colored in oil and pictures could be taken in all kinds of weather. In the Crawfordsville Weekly Review 18 October 1862 an article titled Photographs in Oil Colors says, "A.S. Hughes is now executing some beautiful colored photographs. In the execution of these works of art, he is assisted by Miss Gobert, a young lady who has recently located in our city. Miss Gobert is an artist of no mean pretensions. Her skills in coloring photographs are true to nature and challenge the admiration of the beholder. Everybody should visit Hughes gallery and witness for themselves these splendid productions of the photographic art." Sadly, the library does not have a picture (that we know of) that was actually created by Mr. Hughes. An 1878-1879 city guide shows Mr. Hughes as a farmer and in 1891 his occupation changed to a carriage trimmer and worked for the Ramsey & Pattison firm. Martha A. Hughes lost her life in December of 1893 after an extensive illness. After a fall (breaking her hip) Mrs. Hughes didn't recover. Within the next three years Mr. Hughes lost his "nice little property" after also fighting illness and often lived at the county poor farm. Mr. Hughes obituary tells of him dying penniless. Many friends offered to help the out of work photographer but Mr. Hughes would not hear of it - instead he went to the poor farm (asylum) when this occurred. His adopted son, John A. Bailey would send him money to assist him with this burden and A.S. Hughes only entered the halls of the building on Whitlock Avenue when he was ill. The local history department would be thrilled to acquire some of his work. Daguerreotypes are difficult to ascertain who created them because of the many layers. In the 1850's + a photographer could easily run on bad luck and wasn't blessed with high-powered lens and digital capabilities. If you have any "OLD" family photographs (or of buildings or businesses) around Montgomery County, please stop by or call (765) 362-2242 x 117. Until next time … keep your eyes open for amazing treasures (and take pictures)!

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