- Honorary Degree (1848)
- Master of Arts
- Bloomington, Indiana
- Presenter: Andrew Wylie
Levi Allen Hughes was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended IU Bloomington in person as a student and was listed in 1840 as a sophomore that had not graduated. He attended and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1847.
Hughes became a minister of the Gospel and moved back to Bloomington. In 1848, IU awarded him with an Honorary Master of Arts.
For many years of his life, Hughes was totally deaf, and his daughter faithfully transcribed and signaled for him. He continued to pastor a congregation and preach his own sermons. In 1869, a newspaper article wrote of the deaf pastor of Bloomington attending a three-day Presbyterian Convention and speaking on “the need of humility as a condition precedent to a revival.”
Hughes was pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Remington, Illinois until his death. On Wednesday, November 2, 1870, in the town of his pastorate, he did not hear the whistle of an oncoming train. The train (with multiple cars) ran over him, killing him almost instantly. His body was brought to Bloomington and was buried in Bloomington’s Rose Hill Cemetery.
Hughes married Amanda Maxwell, who had lived in Bloomington all her life. Maxwell was the daughter of the man who selected and purchased the site for the beginning of Indiana State Seminary (now IU). She was also the sister of James Darwin Maxwell (1833 IU graduate) and David Howard Maxwell (1849 IU graduate). Thus, Hughes was the brother-in-law of two fellow IU alumni. His brother, James, also moved to Bloomington, where he was a judge.
The Hughes’s children were born in three different states due to his traveling ministry. They had four daughters: Julia Ringold, Mary Maxwell (born 1852), Elizabeth Green (born 1853 in Logansport), Florence Amanda (born 1857 in Bloomington), and three sons: Levi Allen (born 1858 in Minnesota), James D. (born 1864 in Wisconsin), and Frank H. (born 1864).
In 1876, his namesake son, Levi A. Hughes II, began attending IU Bloomington. He pursued his degree for three years, but then decided to move west to Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory. He was a business leader in Santa Fe and president of its First National Bank.
During World War I, Hughes II was “a principal figure and factor” (according to biographer Ralph Twitchell) in the financing of the American war effort, zealously promoting Liberty Bonds, the Red Cross, the YMCA, and soldier welfare efforts. He and his wife Christine (of Oregon) had several children, including namesake son, Levi Allen Hughes III. In 1934, Hughes II died in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His daughter-in-law, Dorothy Belle Hughes (wife of Levi III and granddaughter of female evangelist Belle Haley), became an award-winning fiction writer, writing the stories on which the motion pictures The Fallen Sparrow (1943), Ride the Pink Horse (1947), In a Lonely Place (1950), and The Hanged Man (1964) were based.
Hughes Sr.’s daughter, Julia, married an IU professor (an ichthyologist, Charles Henry Gilbert). They eventually moved to California, where her mother, Amanda, joined her in 1899. Amanda retained her faculties until the end, and her eulogist wrote that she “maintained interest all through her life in religious matters and the work that women are now united in doing throughout the country.”
In 1911, Hughes Sr.’s son, Frank, died in Palo Alto, California followed by his wife, Amanda, in 1914, in the home of daughter Julia. In 1918, Hughes Sr.’s daughter, Mary, died in Eagle Pass in Maverick County, Texas.
Hughes Sr.’s daughter, Elizabeth, became a faculty member at Castille’s School and died in 1935 in El Paso, Texas. His daughter, Florence, became a librarian on the staff at Stanford University and died in 1939 in El Paso, Texas. His son, James, became a printer and died in 1945 in El Paso, Texas.
Maxwell Hall at IU Bloomington is named for Hughes Sr.’s father-in-law, David Hervey Maxwell. Hughes was the brother-in-law of David Howard Maxwell and James Darwin Maxwell.