Bill Hughes is a Vineland, New Jersey boy, raised up around a father and grandfather whose work ethics and positive role model lives made a deep impact on him.
Bill is a graduate of Pfeiffer University in North Carolina, with a Master of Education degree from West Chester University. He taught physical education and drivers’ education at Pennsauken High School for 38 years. He also coached soccer, and refereed soccer and track & field. He was inducted into the Pfeiffer University Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the South Jersey Soccer Hall of Fame. He served on the board of the Sterling Regional School District for 18 yrs.; before joining the board, he spent 25 years as a volunteer fireman.
Over his 81 years, Bill has become quite the writer and publisher as he accomplished with his two books pertaining to the Civil War era. The U.S. General Hospital at Beverly, New Jersey, 1864-1865 traces the hospital’s roots and the people who shaped it.“The hospital was the reason for the beginning of Beverly National Cemetery.” The book was later used as a source for a mail-related story in The Journal of the New Jersey Postal History Society.
The Civil War Papers of Lt. Col. Newton T. Colby, New York Infantry is a compilation of Colby’s personal letters, newspaper articles, and accounts of fighting and daily life from other soldiers. Colby served with two New York regiments, the 23rd and the 107th, until getting typhoid fever after Chancellorsville. He served later in the Veteran Reserve Corps as superintendent of the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. at the time of Lincoln’s assassination. Colby, recognized as an excellent soldier by his peers and commanding officers, was Bill’s great-great-grandfather. “It started with over 100 of his personal letters home to his father during the war. With about 10 years of research on my part, I found many other documents and side stories about him. I felt it was history that should be preserved.” (Bill had two other Civil War veteran ancestors, his wife had one.)
Bill is nearing completion on a Civil War history of Vineland, a city that did not exist in 1861. “I have identified over 600 veterans that had something to do with Vineland. There are over 300 veterans buried here, and that to me was an amazing number. I wrote a bio for each one.” Two are special: Dr. Charles Brewer, a surgeon general on General Robert E. Lee’s staff in Richmond and brother-in-law to Major General J.E.B. Stuart; and Sergeant William Pittenger, one of the Andrews’ Raiders who went south and stole a locomotive from the Confederates, spent time in a Rebel prison, and then won the Medal of Honor.
It is obvious the substantial amount of time Bill spends on researching Civil War history. He and his wife of 47 years, Marty, have traveled many years in RVs to Civil War sites and have followed J.E.B. Stuart’s trail around the Union Army and Colonel John S. Mosby all over Virginia.
Bill is a member of the American Battlefield Trust, Millville Army Air Field Museum, Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society, numerous Elks and Masonic lodges, the NRA, and is a trustee of the historic Siloam Cemetery in Vineland.
As for the Old Baldy Civil War Roundtable of Philadelphia, Bill has been a faithful member for 31 years and is a past secretary. To write the history of the group — founded in 1977 — Bill has had the monumental task of tracking down past members, gathering pictures, and rounding up newsletters.
“I have dabbled in many things.” We noticed, Bill. Thank you!
Profile written by Kim Weaver