William Huggins, M.D. (c.1797-1868) of Skenarget ‣ Louisville, Ky.

Please note that some of the links in this sketch open in new windows. The footnote references are hyperlinked to the Sources section at the bottom of this page.

‡ Please note that this biographical sketch mentions enslaved people who were enumerated (but nameless) in the U.S. 1850 and 1860 censuses, and the subject of compensated emancipation.

Introduction:—William Huggins was the second eldest son of William Huggins of Gortgonis and Coalisland, and Sarah Kennedy of Cookstown, both of the county of Tyrone. He was born in about 1797, probably in Gortgonis townland in the parish of Tullyniskin. [1] [5] William had an older brother and sister and two younger brothers when their father died in about 1802. [2] In his last will and testament, Mr. Huggins consigned the custody of his children –“then wee infants”– to his nephew, Samuel Carson Huggins, of Ivylodge in Donnydeade townland, parish of Clonfeacle, south of Dungannon. [3] Neither the original will document nor a transcript survive. However, William’s sister was bequeathed a £1,000 marriage dowry by her father. [4] It seems reasonable to assume that William and his brothers, James and Thomas, were similarly provided for. His eldest brother, John Alexander Huggins (1794–1858), inherited their father’s leaseholds and other real property in Ireland.

For William was reserved the opportunity of attending Trintiy College, Dublin, [5] and obtaining his medical degree. Aside from this fact, not a thing has been learnt or found about Dr. Huggins’ career as a medical practitioner. The only other instance of Dr. Huggins’ name, found to date in the Irish records, is the 1825 Tithe Applotment books, where William Huggins was recorded as the head of household, or leaseholder, in Skenarget townland, parish of Desertcreat, county Tyrone. [6] This record suggests that Dr. Huggins and his brother, John Alexander Huggins, were sharing the household.

The next record found for this man places him across the water, in Woodford County, Kentucky, where his younger brother, James, had made a home since the mid-1820s. There, on the 10th June 1839, William Huggins married Miss Elizabeth Henrietta Upshaw of Essex County, Virginia. [7] Henrietta was the daughter of John Horace Upshaw, Esq., late senator for the state of Virginia, and Lucy Eliza T. Baylor. When her father’s will was proved in 1835, Henrietta inherited a farm called “Arcadia” in Essex County, Virginia. [8] 

In the U.S. 1840 census, William Huggins’ household was enumerated in McCracken County (township or city not stated), Kentucky, a considerable distance west of Woodford County. The household consisted of himself, aged 30–39 years, and a female, aged 20–29 years [Henrietta]. [9] 

When the census was enumerated ten years later, William’s brother, John Alexander, had joined the household, having emigrated from Ireland in 1849. [10]  The household was recorded as follows:

  • William Huggins, age 52, male, Physician, value of real estate £1,274, born in Ireland
  • Henrietta Huggins, female, born in Virginia
  • John Huggins, age 54, no occupation, born in Ireland
  • census place: Grant County, Kentucky; [11] 
    ☛ The township or city was not stated, but might have been Corinth or Crittendon.

  • ‡ The slave schedule enumerated one black female, age 50, and one mulatto male, age 17. [12] Both were nameless, in the extant custom of recording enslaved people.

On 19th August 1853, William’s wife died in Jefferson County, Kentucky (probably at Louisville) aged forty-one years. [13] Her body was buried in Cave Hill cemetery, Louisville. [14] William’s brother, John Alexander, died at Louisville in 1858, aged sixty-four years. [15] 

Thus, when the 1860 census was enumerated, William’s household in Louisville consisted of himself, age 60 years, a physician, born in Ireland, and with personal estate valued at $600 and real estate at $4,000. [16]  ☛ Did the real estate value include the value of his slaves, who were then considered property and chattel under the law?

The 1860 slave schedule recorded eight slaves, as follows, again without the dignity of their names:

  • one black female, age 65;
  • one black male, age 40;
  • one mulatto male, age 35;
  • one mulatto male, age 30;
  • one mulatto male, age 26;
  • one black male, age 25;
  • one black female, age 24; and,
  • one black male, age 22. [17] 

    The last young man might have been the same who was enumerated as hired out by William Huggins to George Hibbett [a grocer] of Louisville.

‡ It appears that one of William Huggins’ slaves had enlisted for federal military service. In 1867, he applied for compensation for an enlisted slave. [18]
☛ This claim had been made under the federal governments system, established in 1863, “to compensate loyal owners of slaves who enlisted in the U.S. Army.” The system was suspended until after the war, reinstituted as the Slave Claims Commission in 1867. “Claimants were also required to file a legal deed of manumission. … The inability to provide evidence of enlistment or proof of title were common reasons for the rejection of claims, but there were also many slave-owners who were denied due to disloyalty to the Union. … The commissions were abolished in 1867 with only a handful of slave owners actually receiving the compensation they had been promised.” [19] 

Dr. William D. Huggins died at Louisville on the 28th November 1868, aged seventy-one years. [20] His body was buried in Cave Hill cemetery. [21] 

The last will and testament of Dr. Huggins (c.1797–1868), which was proved on 1st February 1869, is a genealogical treasure. [22] It is the only document found to date that unites the Irish Coalisland, parish of Tullyniskan and Skenarget, parish of Desertcreat branch with the sub-branches in Kentucky and Nova Scotia. Specifically, Dr. Huggins made generous bequests to:

  • Louis H. Huggins (1842–1918) and William Huggins (1844–1920) of Saint Joseph, Missouri, the surviving sons of Dr. Huggins’ brother, James Huggins (c.1797–1863) of Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky;
  • William Shuter Huggins (c.1822–1896) of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the son of Dr. Huggins’ brother, John Alexander Huggins (d.1858, Louisville); and,
  • the children of William Huggins (d.1863) and Sallie, his wife, of Nicholasville, Kentucky—this William Huggins was the son of Dr. Huggins’ brother, Thomas C. Huggins (who d.1858, Lexington). [22] 

❦        ❦        ❦




Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Memorial no. 487-292-312988Capt. Alexander Richardson, Royal Tyrone Militia, to William Huggins [senior] of Gortgonis (dated 26 March 1795; registered 1 April 1795). Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (FHL film no. 535727). Transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, and submitted to www.irishdeedsindex.net, 2017-08-02.
☛ This was the first deed executed by William Huggins (father to the William Huggins who is subject of this profile) from Gortgonis


(i) Church of Ireland. Prerogative Court. Wills and Probate. Index entry: “William Huggins, 1802, Coal Island, county Tyrone.” Original record: Ireland Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administrations indexes 1595-1858. Archival ref. W97. Second entry in the 1809 index, ref. W235. Held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast); extract by Alison Kilpatrick, November, 2003.
(ii) Vicars, Sir Arthur Vicars. 
Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536–1810, and Supplement (1914). Digital copy of the index entry online at findmypast.co.uk (accessed 2015-09-19, by subscription). The original document does not survive.


Registry of Deeds, Ireland (Dublin). Memorial no. 1836-4-36Samuel Carson Huggins to John Huggins (dated 10 February 1836, registered 10 February 1836). Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (FHL film no. 469010); photocopy obtained in SLC, 18 May 2016. Transcribed and indexed by Alison Kilpatrick, and submitted to www.irishdeedsindex.net, 2019-06-18.


Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast. William McCormick, the younger, of Tattykeel, county Tyrone, gent., and Margaret McCormick otherwise Huggins, his wife, to William Richardson, of Drum, and Alexander Stewart, of Drumreagh, county Tyrone, trustees in marriage settlement. Archival ref. PRONI D4269/62 (1812–1834) (accessed in Belfast, November, 2003; transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick).


Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Manuscripts & Archives Research Library. Alumni Dublinenses: a register of the students, graduates, professors and provosts of Trinity College in the University of Dublin (1593–1860). “William Huggins, Pen. (Rev. Nathaniel Alexander), Feb. 7, 1814, aged 16-1/2; Presby., s. of William, defunctus; b. Co. Tyrone.” Ref. pg. 416. Dublin: Alex. Thom & Co., Ltd. (1924). Digital image online at TCD, www.digitalcollections.tcd.ie, (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2015-04-30).


Church of Ireland. Tithe Applotment Books. Abstract: Parish of Desertcreat, County Tyrone. … Huggins William  Skinnergate.” Records held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast), PRONI ref. FIN 5A/97/1. Index transcribed by Len Swindley len_swindley@hotmail.com; posted to the County Tyrone genealogy web site www.cotyroneireland.com/tithe/desertcreat.html (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2012-02-17).


(a) Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979. William Huggins and Henrietta Upshaw, Woodford County, Kentucky, 10 June 1839. Index online at familysearch.org (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2015-04-30).
(b) Wilson, Dona Adams, comp. and ed. Woodford County, Kentucky. Marriage Bonds and Consents 1831–1861. (pub. January, 1999.) Extract: Huggins, William and Henrietta E. Upshaw – 10 June 1839. Bondsman: Richard G. Jackson. Consent: E.H. Upshaw (self). Photocopy from research commissioned from the Woodford County Historical Society, Versailles, Kentucky; transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 19 February 2016.


“Genealogies of Virginia Families.” In, William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine. Citing John Horace Upshaw and his wife, Lucy Eliza T. Baylor, and daughters, Elizabeth Henrietta and Lucy Baylor; the will of J.H. Upshaw (Guardian Book, 1796–181), p. 105); eldest daughter, Elizabeth Henrietta inherited his farm, “Arcadia” (pg. 267.) Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2006/


U.S. 1840 Census. William Huggins, McCracken County, Kentucky. Original record: NARA (Washington, D.C.), archival ref. microfilm 119, pg. 85, image no. 75. Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library (Salt Lake City, Utah), FHL film no. 0007830; digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2012-02-17).


The National Archives (USA). National Archives and Records Service. General Services Administration. Microcopy No. 237. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York 1820–1897. Roll 79. May 4 – June 4, 1849 (List Nos. 416–643). pub. Washington, 1957. Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2019-06-19). Extract: “List of cabin passengers on the ship, New World, sailing out of Liverpool and arriving in New York, 26th May 1849: No. 689  John Huggins, age 53, male, Farmer, [born in or formerly resident of?] Ireland, bound for the United States.”


U.S. 1850 Census. William Huggins, age 52, with Henrietta (34), and John Huggins (54); in Grant County, Kentucky. Original record: Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Archival ref. Year: 1850; Census Place: Grant, Kentucky; Roll: M432_201; Page: 350A; Image: 298; enumerated 20th September 1850. Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (FHL film no. 442969); index online at familysearch.org (image no. 298, ref. no. 32; accessed 2009-12-17). Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2019-06-19).


U.S. 1850 Census. Slave Schedule for William Huggins (1797–1868), in Grant County, Kentucky. Original record: Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; National Archives Microfilm Publication M432; Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29 (National Archives, Washington, D.C.); roll M432-201, image no. 298. Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2012-02-17).


Smith, Jonathan Kennon Thompson, comp. "The Louisville and Nashville Christian Advocate, and the Nashville Christian Advocate, 1852-56, 12 January 1854.” In, Genealogical Abstracts From Reported Deaths (comp. 1997). Extract of death notice for Elizabeth Henrietta Huggins née Upshaw, daughter of the late Horace and Lucy E. Upshaw. “ELIZA HENRIETTA HUGGINS w/o Dr. W. Huggins; d/o late John Horace and Lucy E. Upshaw; born Essex Co., Va., Jan. 8, 1812; moved to Ky., 1837; died August 19, 1853.” Online at Tennessee GenWeb, www.tngenweb.org (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2015-11-29).


Find-a-Grave Memorial no. 57992644. Eliza Henrietta Upshaw Huggins, born 8 January 1812; died 19 August 1853; buried in Cave Hill cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky (section N, lot 104, grave *3-A). Inscription: “Eliza Henrietta / wife of / W. Huggins / daughter of / John H. Upshaw / born Jan. 8, 1812 / died Aug. 19, 1853.” Memorial created by “ctwardo,” 1 September 2010; photograph of gravestone by “babs,” 4 September 2010. Memorial online at www.findagrave.com/memorial/57992644 (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2019-07-29).


Find-a-Grave Memorial no. 57992755. John A. Huggins, born c.1793 in Ireland, died in November 1858 in the USA; buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky (section N, lot 104, grave 1-A). Inscription: “John A. Huggins / born Co Tyrone Ireland / died / Nov 17 1858 / aged 64 years / [small typeface, which appears to be Job 19:25].” Buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky (section N, lot 104, grave 1-A). Memorial created by “ctwardo,” 1 September 2010, and photographs of gravestone by “babs;” also by Pat Harmatuk Baker, 13 January 2017. Online at www.findagrave.com/memorial/57992755 (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2014-03-24).


(a) U.S. 1860 Census. William Huggins, age 60, Physician, born in Ireland; resident in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky. Original record held by NARA (Washington, D.C.); archival ref. Jefferson County district no. 1, enumerated 6th August 1860, microfilm M653-377, page 841, image 103. Microfilm copy held by the Family History Library (Salt Lake City, Utah), FHL film 803377. Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2012-02-17).
(b) Edwards’ Annual Directory to the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, Business Firms, Etc., Etc., in the City of Louisville, for 1865-6. Citing, Huggins W.D. physician, 2d, se. cor. Jefferson, bds. St. Cloud Hotel.” (pg. 364). Louisville: Edwards, Greenough & Deved, publishers; Maxwell & Co., printers. Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2019-07-29).


U.S. 1860 Census. Slave Schedules. William Huggins, owner: eight slaves, enumerated as follows: (1) in two slave houses: black female, age 65; black male, age 40; mulatto male, age 35; mulatto male, age 30; mulatto male, age 26; black male, age 25; black female, age 24 (enumerated 6th August 1860, pg. 225); and (2) one black male, age 22, employed with George Hibbett of Louisville (enumeration date not stated, pg. 4). Note: The latter young man might have been the same who was recorded in the first list. Original record: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Eighth Census of the U.S., 1860; held at National Archives and Records Administration (Washington, D.C.), NARA film series M653. Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2012-02-17).


The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), 6 February 1867 (pg. 2). “Compensation for Enlisted Slaves—Jefferson County Applicants.” Citing in a list of Jefferson County slave-owners, the name of William Huggins, for one enlisted contraband [sic]. Digital image online at www.newspapers.com (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2019-07-29).


Family Search. “United States, Slave Claims Commissions (National Institute).” Research Wiki. Excerpt from the online course, “Research: African American Ancestors,” offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies (Plantaganet, Ontario, Canada; online at www.genealogicalstudies.com). Online at www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States,_Slave_Claims_Commissions_ (National_Institute) (accessed 2019-07-29).


State of Kentucky (USA). Death Records. Dr. William Huggins, male, white, age 70 years, cause of death: cystitis; born in Ireland; street and number: 9” & Jefferson; died 28th November 1868, in Jefferson County; buried in Cave Hill cemetery, 29th November. Original record: Cabinet for Human Resources, Vital Statistics, on microfilm 7007126, Louisville, Books 1-4 – Jefferson Books, Louisville, Kentucky; Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (Frankfort, Kentucky). Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2012-02-17).


Find-a-Grave Memorial no. 57992851. William Huggins, born unknown, died in November, 1868; buried in Cave Hill cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky (section N, lot 104, grave 2-A). Memorial created by “ctwardo,” 1 September 2010. Online at www.findagrave.com/memorial/57992851/william-huggins (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick,  2012-02-17).


State of Kentucky (USA). Wills and Probate Records. Will of William Huggins, probate granted 9 November 1869. Original record: Wills, Vol. VI-VII (1862-1872), County Court (Jefferson County). Digital copy online at ancestry.ca (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2015-09-03).

If you have a family history connection to a Huggins family from the county of Tyrone in Ireland or the state of Kentucky in the U.S.—or if you have information to add to the biographical sketches presented here—please consider getting in touch via the contact page.

❦          ❦          ❦

© Alison Kilpatrick, 2019. All rights reserved.
Copyright notice

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

Contact   |  Copyright notice  |   Privacy statement   |   Site map

© Alison Kilpatrick 2014–2019. All rights reserved.