My Granny, Nina Cecelia Nash Hughes, was born in 1896 in Waterford, New York, the second child of Maurice Nash and Mary Ann Hart Nash. When Nina was quite young, her parents divorced, and Nina never knew much about her father. The divorce was not really ever discussed, and was assuredly somewhat of a scandal for this Catholic family.
I have never been able to find the Nash divorce record, but the divorce was sometime before 1900. Maurice is found in June 1900 in Amsterdam, New York in the census with his second wife, Ada Mercer Nash. They were married in November of 1899. Maurice’s occupation at the time was as a spinner in a mill.
In the same 1900 census, Mary Ann is counted in June as married and living in Norfolk, Virginia with her second husband Joseph E Watson, and like Maurice & Ada, they had been married for less than a year. I don’t have the dates of their marriage, however Mary Ann & Joseph had a son, Edward Philip Watson in late August of 1900. I also remember my mother telling me that Maurice had a daughter born about the same time. There is a story there – probably two stories.
Maurice also appears in the City Directory for Amsterdam, New York in 1903 as the proprietor of Rockton House, a “bar stocked with choice wines, liquors and cigars.” News stories for early 1903 tell that Maurice installed a moving picture machine at Rockton House that showed “moving pictures and illustrated songs.” However, by June of the same year a news story reports that Maurice is missing, Ada doesn’t know where he has gone, a number of creditors are looking for him, and Ada is closing the hotel. Two years later, the 1905 census shows that Ada still is with Maurice, however they are living in Schenectady, New York. I can’t find Ada with Maurice after 1905.
Nina’s mother, Mary Ann, and Joseph Watson had another child in 1904, Louise Estelle Watson and the couple raised all four of the children in Virginia. Maurice Nash was the father of the two oldest, and Joseph Watson was the father of the two youngest. Sadly, Edward Philip Watson died before his twentieth birthday in an auto accident. During all of her life Nina, my Granny, had a very close bond with her younger half-sister, our Aunt Louise.
Even though Nina’s parents were divorced and remarried, she was raised in a Catholic home and was a practicing Catholic all of her life. She married Charles Henry Hughes in 1920 and he was not a Catholic. Most of my memories of my Hughes grandparents were during their later years, and I remember that Granddaddy would drop Granny off at the Catholic church to attend mass with us on Sunday, he would attend the Episcopal church only a block away, and then join us all for lunch after mass.
Nina & Charles were married for 52 years, and had two daughters. They lived in Virginia for most of their married life, but moved to New Mexico for their last years together. After the death of my grandfather, Granny spent the next 5 ½ years living with my family in New Mexico in the summer, and with my Aunt Teene’s family in California in the winter.
Granny holds a place in my memory as one of the kindest and gentlest people that I have ever known. She showed us every day that she loved all of us with no favorites and no demands – a true unconditional love.
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Maurice Nash (1868 – 1939)
Mary Ann Hart Nash Watson (1862 – 1926)
Nina Cecelia Nash Hughes (1896 – 1977)
Charles Henry Hughes (1898 – 1973)
- Jane Scribner McCrary