Vicki, you have a very interesting case here. First, by way of introduction, Armistead Hughes had a younger brother who went by the name of Wyatte Jefferson Hughes (1825-1896) and who is my great-grandfather. Armistead and Jefferson are two of the thirteen children of Alexander Hughes and his wife Elizabeth “Betsy” Mitchell. Alexander Hughes was the son of Francis Alexander Hughes (the name of Francis’ wife is unknown, but we do know that they had 5 children). Francis was a Revolutionary War veteran and he was the son Thomas Hughes and his second wife Elizabeth Atkinson. Thomas Hughes had seven sons by two wives and most of the Hughes’ of Orange and Culpeper Counties in Virginia descend from them. Thomas Hughes died in Orange County, Virginia in June 1766 and left a Will.
I shall attempt to clarify some of your research results. The Armistead Hughes family that you addressed has more census age inconsistencies than any family I have come across. I believe the daughter Mary Hughes was born around 1849 and therefore was the daughter of Armistead and his second wife Frances Hicks. Mary Hughes was the mother of Viola Cumorah Hughes who was born January 29, 1870. Mary never married and the father of Viola is unknown. Mary had mental problems and she can be found in the 1900 census as a patient at Western State Hospital for the Insane in Staunton, Virginia, where her birth year is listed as 1849. Viola was raised in the home of her grandparents, Armistead and Francis Hughes.
Armistead and Francis Hughes had a son named William W. Hughes who was the son listed as age 11 in the 1870 census. He is not listed in their household in the 1880 census as he was living in Louisa County and working as a carpenter. On April 29, 1880 he married Virginia Gibson who was the daughter of his father’s third wife, Mary J. Gibson. His mother-in-law was his stepmother.
Virginia “Jennie” Hughes, daughter of Armistead and his first wife, Sarah Ann Sleet, appears to have married a bigamist in 1863 when she married the Mississippi soldier, Reuben G. Phillips. Since Reuben was killed in battle in 1864, he cannot be the father of the William Phillips who appears in the 1880 census at age 10. Reuben it seems had a wife and five children in Mississippi when he was killed. The father of William H. Phillips should be considered as unknown. Jennie’s son, Robert Phillips is the son of Reuben and the DNA of his direct male descendents should match that of the descendents of Zachariah Phillips. Best of luck in finding a male descendent of Robert Phillips. Paul Hughes