Jean Amelia Summerlin was the daughter of Thomas Summerlin and Bathsheba Robards. She married Felix Turner Hughes, President of the Keokuk & Western Railroad, on 1 August 1865 in Memphis, Missouri. They settled in Keokuk, Iowa in 1879, where Felix Hughes was an attorney. He was later elected a judge and mayor of Keokuk. The children attended First Ward School and were educated in the arts, history and science.
Her children were Greta Hughes (an opera singer who went by the stage name "Jean Greta") (1866-?), Howard Robard Hughes Sr. (inventor and father of Howard Hughes Jr., the famous aviator, land developer, film producer, inventor and industrialist) (1869-1924), Rupert Raleigh Hughes (screen writer and novelist) (1872-1956) and Reginald (who died at the age of 5). Three other children died in infancy: Felix Jr. (1874), Jean (1880), Baby (1880).
Jean had a phobia of germs. When her son Robard offered to build her a house in Grand Avenue in Keokuk, Iowa, she asked the house be built without closets. She felt diseases grew in the darkness within them. This phobia was inherited by her grandson Howard Hughes.
She died on 4 November 1928 at age 86 in Los Angeles, California. According to the obituary, she lived at 204 North Rossmore Avenue, Los Angeles. She was originally buried at Hollywood Cemetery, but was apparently re-interred to the Hughes Family plot in Iowa at a later date.
Her grandson was the famous Howard Hughes and he inherited his father (Howard Hughes Jr.) fortune. In 1950, the eccentric aviator, engineer, land developer, industrialist, film director and producer over 25,000 acres of land just north-west of Las Vegas, Nevada. He planned to move his "Hughes Aircraft Company" to be a huge planned community from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. That never happened.
After Howard Hughes died in 1976, the Hughes Corporation took control of the land and began making plans for the long undeveloped area. Construction began in 1990 on 900 acres for set aside for residential use and called the area "Summerlin" after Hughes' grandmother Jean Summerlin Hughes. Another 1000 acres was set aside as a nature preserve, which includes environmentally sensitive lands with 150 miles of trails.
Today, the suburb of "Summerlin" (which lies partially in the city of Las Vegas and partially in an unincorporated area of Clark County), has a population of 100,000 people living in more than 100 villages with various romantic names. It is among the most desirable areas of Las Vegas to live and it's residents include several film and music stars. The area is accessed by the Summerlin Parkway and there is also a fine medical center named the Summerlin Hospital in the area all named after Jean Summerlin Hughes, who would never know the extent of the tribute given to her.
Film actor Jason Robards was a direct descendant of Jean Summerlin Hughes' mother Bathsheba Robards.
Felix Turner Hughes
1837–1926 (m. 1865)
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