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Home North Carolina Orange County City of Hillsborough Historical Markers Hughes Academy

Hughes Academy

NC-86, Hillsborough, NC, USA
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Classical, 1845-1884. Founded by Samuel W. Hughes. Attended by Wm. T. Dortch, David I. Craig, Geo. T. and P. H. Winston. Site is 1 mi. W."
     Joseph Dunn Hughes (1785-1844), a farmer with a limited education, lived near the Cedar Grove community in northern Orange County. Wishing to create advantages for the young people thereabouts (among them his own fourteen children), he personally taught them the rudiments. One of his sons, Samuel Wellwood Hughes, also took lessons at the Bingham Academy in nearby Hillsborough, furthering his education at Hampden Sydney College in Virginia. In 1845 he opened his own classical school for boys and taught there until his death in 1884.

     Hughes modeled his school on the Bingham School plan. An advertisement in a Hillsborough newspaper in 1855 made clear the terms of the school: courses in Latin and Greek could be had for $20, and tuition in English would run $12.50. The session would begin on January 7th and board for the full session of twenty-one weeks would run $40. The number of pupils was generally around thirty-five to forty. Students included many from the most prominent families of North Carolina among them George T. Winston, Patrick H. Winston, William T. Dortch, and D. I. Craig. Others came from as far away at Texas and Iowa. Two teachers were employed, Samuel Hughes and one other. The school ceased with Hughes’s death caused by a series of strokes. Students are said to have gathered around their teacher’s bedside for their lessons after he was first stricken.

Hillsborough Recorder, December 15, 1855
Orange County Wills, North Carolina State Archives
Annie L. Hughes, “Hughes Academy,” sketch written, October 27, 1951, copy in marker files, North Carolina Office of Archives and History
Robert B. House, “The Rich and Rewarding History of Hughes Academy,” Chapel Hill Weekly, May 31, 1967