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Hughes, Thomas, 1854 - 1934, and Family. Collection, 1855 - 1946

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SMHC Collection 0101

Scope and Contents

Correspondence 1855-1946: These letters are arranged chronologically and pertain to Hughes's research into historical topics as well as his personal correspondence. The materials contain information about biographical details and other factual information. These letters provide insight into Hughes's research for the History of the Welsh in Minnesota and Mankato: Its First Fifty Years, Dakota and Winnebago Indians, Traverse des Sioux, and the discovery of some Mayer sketches. Letters written between 1930 and 1934 are primarily of a personal nature.

Research Notes: This section contains research notes used by Hughes for writing books and articles. The notes pertain to research detailing the following publications: Blue Earth County, Indian Chiefs of Southern Minnesota, Semi-Centennial of Mankato, Old Traverse des Sioux, and Welsh in Minnesota. A portion of the materials illustrate Hughes's research into the Sioux Uprising, Spirit Lake Massacre, Steamboating on the Minnesota River, Cambria Mounds, Early Missions in America, Forts Judson, L'Huillier, and Ridgley, Long's Expedition, Mankato Hanging, Minneopa State Park, Minnesota History, Reminiscences, and Roads. Furthermore, the section contains personal biographies not included in Welsh in Minnesota.

Manuscript Drafts: These drafts are for the following research endeavors: "Early History of Mankato and Vicinity," "Early Missions in America," "Fort Ridgley," "Mankato Hanging," "Steamboating on the Minnesota River," "The County Discovered," "The Settlement of Mankato," "The Treaty of Traverse des Sioux," and an untitled paper about Mankato. This section also contains information about Hughes's published research. Manuscripts included are: History of Blue Earth County, Indian Chiefs of Southern Minnesota, Minneopa State Park, Old Traverse des Sioux, and Welsh in Minnesota.

Miscellaneous: This part of the collection contains a variety of information. Topics range from Indian archeology, Hughes legal notes, Legal papers for Patterson v. Shaubhut, newspaper clippings of "Little Journeys Through Early Minnesota History," newspaper clippings for the Mankato Daily Free Press and The Review, notes of public addresses given by Hughes, speeches by E. Raymond Hughes, a travel account, dozens of photographs of American Indians, periodical literature, and information about an Old Settlers' Reunion in 1902.

Volumes: This section contains 69 notebooks with research notes regarding various papers and books written by Hughes. Additionally, certain notebooks contain biographies, reminiscences, a compilation of Mankato area men who participated in World War One, notes from the diary of Andrew Friend, and preliminary drafts of the History of Blue Earth County.


  • 1855 - 1946

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on use of this collection for research purposes. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property and libel laws as they apply.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Hughes, a well-known historian from Blue Earth County and Southern Minnesota, was born in Minersville, Ohio on 23 September 1854. His family moved to a farm near Cambria, Minnesota in 1855.

Hughes attended Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and after graduation, he studied law. He practiced law primarily in Mankato, Minnesota in partnership with his brother Evan Hughes. While practicing law, Thomas Hughes wrote about the history of the Mankato area. His work resulted in four publications: History of the Welsh in Minnesota (1895), History of Blue Earth County (1909), Indian Chiefs of Southern Minnesota (1927), and Old Traverse des Sioux (1929). In addition, he helped compile Mankato: Its First Fifty Years (1903). Also, he wrote a pamphlet on the History of Minneopa State Park and contributed articles to the Minnesota Historical Society Collections along with various publications in periodicals and newspapers.

Aside from his historical pursuits, Hughes served as Blue Earth County Attorney, 1896-1900. He helped form the Blue Earth County Historical Society in 1916. Hughes died on 8 November 1934.


10 Cubic Feet (14 Hollinger boxes and 2 Oversize boxes) : Paper

Language of Materials



This collection relates primarily to Thomas Hughes a lawyer in Mankato and a lay historian for south-central Minnesota. The majority of the Hughes collection concerns the history of Blue Earth County, Dakota and Winnebago Indians, steamboating on the Minnesota River, Welsh immigrants in Minnesota, and Traverse des Sioux. A few documents depict aspects of Hughes's legal profession, but the majority of documents, newspapers, and photographs pertain to the region's history. Also, the collection contains the primary notes compiled by Hughes in his research endeavors.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Thomas L. Hughes donated this collection in 1967.

Hughes, Thomas, 1854-1934, and Family Papers, 1855-1946.
Dr. William E. Lass Processed this Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2001-10: Finding Aid revised by Jeff A. Jenson.
  • 2023-12: Adam Smith made an addition to the collection

Repository Details

Part of the Southern Minnesota Historical Center Repository

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Memorial Library
PO Box 8419
Mankato MN 56002-8419 US