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Brady-Hughes-Beasley Archives

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Anthia Brady was operating a studio in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee as early as 1891.She married W.D. Hughes and opened Hughes Studio in McMinnville, Tennessee in 1896 Her daughter, Willie Hughes attended the famous Southern School of Photography. Tennessee Historical Marker 2E68 honor them as pioneer women photographers. Together they operated the studio for over sixty years and left an archive of over 33,000 photographs The curator, Joe Hughes Beasley, is the grand-nephew of Anthia and is a photographer in his own right, Having worked in the aerospace industry as a technical photographer. The archives are a private preservation effort. All rights are reserved and the photographs may not be copied, reproduced(downloaded, printed), scanned or posted to other sites without written permission


Warren County Courthouse Circi 1910
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Main Street McMinnville, Circi 1939


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Anthia Jane Brady Hughes was an independent woman, well ahead of her time. William "Doc" Hughes, her husband was a businessman with many interest and pursuits. Information regarding my maternal grandparents is from a review of letters, documents, papers and my observations and conservation's with them as a child growing up in their household, along with my parents, Aunt Willie, and brother. At intervals, Anthia had responsibility for younger siblings, and other relatives. She worked on her uncle's riverboat and became interested in a passenger's camera. This started her interest photographs that eventually resulted in the establishment of the Brady Sisters Studio in Bridgeport Alabama and South Pittsburg Tennessee with Kempt. Anthia and William Darius Hughes ware married July 24, 1892. He was operating a Distillery and a saloon in McMinnville, along with ownership and management of a saloon and livery stable in Dayton. Hughes Photography Studio was open for business at their residence on East Main St. in May 1898. Prior to this, Anthia was operating a restaurant on Main Street. Kempt married Joe Ralston of South Pittsburgh and continued to operate the photography studio for a period of time. (They were the parents of movie star, Jobyna Ralston) Anthia operated a boarding house, "The Worthy" in St. Louis in 1903-4 during the world's fair. She returned to McMinnville and the Photography Studio, Glad the traveling back and forth to St. Louis by family members was over. Records indicate she sold a farm (April 6, 1906) in St Louis, Mo. For 100 shares in Woodlawn (?) Handle Mfg. Co. In 1910, She was operating the City Bakery and the Studio. W.D. Hughes and a Smith designed and produced the "Perfect Churn". (I'm not sure of the time sequence in some of these ventures.) W.D Hughes had a ice wagon, making sales. His connection with the Mountain View Canning company is not clear, though it seems likely he was into this with a partner. Locals indicate, and Berlie remembers helping to haul wagon loads of sweet potatoes to the location. Apples were a product too. Anthia raised Jersey cattle and started the Riverside Dairy from the home place. Pastures were some distance away from the house. The Perfect Churn was used in the production of buttermilk and butter. She molded into round units of delicious butter. W.D. opened a Buick dealership in 1922 in McMinnville that may have been the in the area. He and Ira Gross, his brother in law had owned and operated the McMinnville Bottling Co, later the Coca Cola company until the sold the bottling plant, equipment, franchise and contracts to P.S Barnette and H.B. Mahan September 19, 1922. A dissolution notice confirms that the partnership of the Leader Printing Company between Tom M. Woodard and W. D. Hughes was dissolved by mutual consent to take effect July 9, 1923, with W.D. assuming all indebtedness and all accounts payable to him as the sole owner. I think he owned the newspaper "The McMinnville Leader" for a period of time. He and J.W. Womack were listed as editors. Among other items, there's a Charter of Corporation of the Riverside Oil and Gas Company on Oct. 25, 1922 listing participants as I. N. Smoot, Patrick Clancy, HB Gulick, W. D. Hughes, and W.Hackett Ross. The purpose of the company was listed "as drilling and prospecting for oil and gas, leasing and acquiring lands necessary for such drilling and mining for oil and gas; and for the further purpose of selling all such products as are produced," records indicate the charter was recorded on 11-6-27. Tax records indicate W. D. owned property in Warren, Coffee, and Rhea Counties. A bill indicates W. D. was associated with a Winton, as dealer in mules, livestock and feedstuffs in McMinnville in Feb., 1925. He purchased stock in the Dayton Canning Co. of East Tenn., Crusader Aircraft Corporation the American Gyro Company, the Alto Gasoline and Oil Co., and a significant number of stock down through the years. His last business was a Cedar Chest Manufacturing Co. H e made a huge vegetable garden, raised some hay for cattle, fed hogs for home consumption, etc. During my child hood, Grandmother processed, canned, cooked vegetables, fruits, and meats it was fairly uscral for relatives to appear for a drop in visit near meal times. There was always enough food for all unexpected guests. She usually had two or three vegetables, two meats, hot bread, and desserts that were indescribably delicious, most of the cooking was done on a wood range. There's never been anyone to even half way compare to her in food preparation. She took an active role with her jersey cattle, though brother took some responsibility for feeding and milking.

September 8, 1998 Transcription of notes from Fay Carney Melton (granddaughter of Anthia Brady Hughes) to Joe Hughes Beasley

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