Adams Family Tree
About 20 years ago my grandmother gave me a yellowed slip of paper which her father in law had given her to keep for posterity. My great grandfather, Jess H. Adams, had painstakingly typed a list of his parents' and siblings' names and birthdays so that later generations might know where they came from. He had - correctly, as it turned out - guessed that his own children were not terribly interested as the note starts tentatively with "The above may be of no interest to any of you...". It ends with the modest but amusingly accurate self assessment, "I readily admitt I am a lousy typist."
In the spirit of great grampa's note, I have expanded his list with some additional information from censuses, birth registers, marriage certificates etc. and added a couple of generations. To all my cousins and great cousins, especially those I haven't met: I think this is what great grampa wanted you to know and I hope it is of interest to you. If you have any comments or would like to add data to this family history I would be delighted to hear from you! (email address at bottom of page.)
Annemarie Bruinsma Hanlon
FIRST GENERATION: Edmund Adams of Virginia, c. 1764-1798
Edmund Adams was born in Brunswick County, Virginia around 1768. He married Elizabeth Cooksey on 29 Dec 1785 in Greensville County, Virginia. She was born in 1768 in Greensville County, Virginia, the daughter of John Baptist Cooksey (b. c. 1740 in Charles, Virginia, d. 1806 in Charles, Virginia) and Mary Strait (b. c. 1744 in Talbot, Maryland, d. before 1805 in Greenville, Virginia).
Children of Edmund Adams and Elizabeth Cooksey
- Jesse Adams - b. c. 1789 in Brunswick County, Virginia
- Polly Adams - b. c. 1791 in Brunswick County, Virginia
- Wyatt Adams - b. c. 1793 in Brunswick County, Virginia
Edmund Adams died in Brunswick County, Virginia in 1798. His wife Elizabeth either died before him or within a year as the three children were given a court appointed guardian in 1799.
Circuit Court of Brunswick County
Order Book 18, page 234
At a Court held for Brunswick County at the Courthouse of the said County
on Monday the 23rd day of December in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and ninety nine
in the 24th year of our foundation.
Present: Thomas Stith, Thomas Claiborne, Thomas Saunders and William E. Brodnax.
William Hideout is by the Court appointed Guardian to Jesse Adams, Polly Adams & Wyatt Adams orphans of Edmund Adams Dec[eased] whereupon he, together with Stephen Vaughan & David Adams his securities entered into & acknowledged a bond in the penalty of Ten thousand Dollars with condition as the law directs for securing the said orphans estate.
SECOND GENERATION: Jesse Adams of Virginia / Kentucky / Illinois, c. 1789-1844
Jesse (or Jessie) Adams was born c. 1789 in Brunswick County, Virginia. The eldest of three children, he was orphaned at about the age of nine following the untimely death of his parents, Edmund Adams and Elizabeth (Cooksey) Adams. He remained in Brunswick, Virginia and was raised on his parents farm by a guardian. On 29 Jan 1811 Jesse married Elizabeth Goodrum in Greensville County, Virginia. She was born in 1792 in Greensville, Virginia to Bennett Goodrum (b. c. 1756 Greensville Co., Virginia, d. 18 Sep 1823 Warren Co., Kentucky) and Sarah "Sally" Garner (b. Aug 1763 or May 1764, Brunswick Co., Virginia, d. 27 Dec 1851 Allen Co., Kentucky, buried in Old Cooksey Place, near Allen Springs, Allen County, Kentucky).
Jessie and Elizabeth's first born child, Martha, was the only one to see her parents native Virginia. The family moved to Warren County, Kentucky around 1813 where they had a further ten children, including their son Joseph Adams (my great great great grandfather).
Children of Jessie Adams and Elizabeth Goodrum
- Martha Adams - b. 1 Jan 1812 in Brunswick County, Virginia
- James William Adams - b. 4 Dec 1814 in Warren County, Kentucky
- Mary Ann "Polly" Adams - b. 28 Jun 1816 in Warren County, Kentucky
- Elizabeth "Eliza" Ann Frances Adams - b. 1 Jun 1818 in Warren County, Kentucky
- Edmund Adams - b. 10 Jun 1820 in Warren County, Kentucky
- Jesse Jr. Adams - b. 10 Mar 1822 in Warren County, Kentucky
- Thomas Adams - b. 24 Mar 1824 in Warren County, Kentucky
- Mary Elizabeth "Betsy" Adams - b. 1825 in Warren County, Kentucky
- Wyatt Adams - b. 1 Feb 1828 in Warren County, Kentucky
- Joseph Adams - b. 10 Jun 1830 in Warren County, Kentucky
- Elias "Henry" Adams - b. 22 Feb 1832 in Warren County, Kentucky
On 27 Sep 1826 when Martha Adams was only 14 years old her father Jesse signed a written proof of his approval for a marriage licence to marry James Duckett (b. 1808). The licence was issued in Warren County, Kentucky two days later but it was a long engagement: they were married in Kentucky nine years later in 1835.
1820 Federal Census of Warren County, Kentucky
Jesse Adams is listed as a head of household, aged 26 to 44. He had 3 boys below the age of 10 (James, Edmund and an unidentified boy), Elizabeth is also listed as aged 26 to 44, and there were three girls under 10 (Martha, Polly and Eliza). This suggests there was another son not included in the list above, born between 1810 and 1820.
1830 Federal Census of Warren County, Kentucky
Jesse Adams is listed as a head of household, aged 40 to 49. He had seven young men living with him: 2 below the age of 5 (Wyatt and Joseph), 2 aged 5 to 9 (Jesse Jr. and Thomas), and 3 aged 10 to 14 (James, Edmund and the unidentified boy). Elizabeth is also listed as aged 40 to 49, in the company of three girls: 1 under 5 (Betsy), 2 aged 10 to 14 (Polly and Eliza). Jesse's eldest daughter, Martha, was 18 years old and had already married and left home.
In the late 1830's, Jesse and Elizabeth packed up and left Kentucky to settle in McLean County, Illinios. Four different land patents all dated 1 Nov 1839 show that "Jesse Adams of Warren County, Kentucky" bought 240 acres that year:
the North West quarter of the South West quarter of Section thirty five, in Township twenty three North, of Range three East in the District of Lands subject to sale at Danville Illinois, containing forty acres."
"the East half of the South East quarter of Section thirty four, in Township twenty three North, of Range three East, in theDistrict of Lands subject to sale at Danville Illinois, containing Eighty acres."
"the North East quarter of the South West quarter of Section two, in Township twenty two North, of Range three East, in the District of Lands subject to sale at Danville Illinois containing forty acres".
"the West half of the North East quarter of Section thirty five, in Township twenty three North, of Range three East, in the District of Lands subject to sale at Danville Illinois containing Eighty acres".
In 1842 Jesse purchased a further 40 acres.
the North East quarter of the North East quarter of Section thirty five, in Township twenty three North, of Range three East in the District of Lands subject to sale at Danville Illinois, containing forty acres."
Jesse Adams died on 11 Mar 1844 in Old Town Township, McLean County, Illinois. Jesse's widow, Elizabeth, moved to Iowa - probably with her son, Joseph Adams (see below) who moved there in 1855. Elizabeth remarried on 17 Mar 1860 to George Sams. She died in Hamilton County, Iowa in 1865 and is buried there at Brock Farm Cemetery near Saratoga.
THIRD GENERATION: Joseph Adams of Kentucky / Illinois / Iowa, 1830-1914
Joseph Adams was born 10 Jul 1830 in Warren County, Kentucky, the son of Jesse Adams and his wife Elizabeth Goodrum. He grew up on the family farm in kentucky and later McLean County, Illinois, which the family moved to when he was about 9 years old. A week after his seventeenth birthday Joseph was married on 18 Jul 1847 to Ohio-born Margaret M. Ropp (b. 14 Apr 1829). By the time of the 1850 Federal Census three years later they were living with their first two daughters on the South Side of Old Town in McLean County, Illinois, (see below). In 1855 Joseph and Margaret moved the family to Iowa: they are recorded there for the first time in the 1856 Iowa State Census of Webster Township, Webster County. It is presumably from here that Joseph enlisted for service in the Civil War: he served as a private with the Iowa 32nd Infantry, Company A. After enlisting on 13 Aug 1862, he was mustered in 6 Oct 1862 at Dubuque, Iowa and discharged for disability a little over a year later, on 26 Nov 1863 at Cape Girardo, Mo, with the same rank. At the time of the 1880 Federal Census Joseph and Margaret were living in Hamilton Township, Hamilton County with their six youngest children.
Children of Joseph Adams and Margaret M. Ropp
- Mary Elizabeth Adams - b. 13 May 1848 in Bloomington, McLean, Illinois, m. John M. Dick, d. 25 Nov 1926 Carmen, Alfalfa,Oklahoma.
- Louisa Jane Adams - b. 1 Nov 1850 in Illinois, m. Joshua McFarland, d. Dec 1908 Pueblo, Colorado
- Janette Armarius Adams - b. c. 1853 in Illinois
- Pearl Scott Adams - b. 1854 in Illinois
- Ellen Adams - b. c. 1856 in Illinois
- Jesse Adams - b. c. 1858 in Iowa
- Harriet "Hattie" E. Adams - b. c. 1861 in Iowa
- Lucy Adams - b. c. 1865 in Iowa
- William D. Adams - b. c. 1867 in Iowa
- Olive Adams - b. c. 1869 in Iowa
- James Adams - b. c. 1871 in Iowa
- Luther J. Adams - b. c. 1873 in Iowa
Obituary for Joseph Adams, 1914
Joseph Adams was born June 10, 1830, at Bowling Green, Kentucky and died in Webster City on Oct 2, 1914, aged 84 years, three months and 21 days. Mr. Adams was united in marriage with Margaret Ropp, July 18, 1849, near Bloomington, Ill., removing from there to Iowa in in 1855, locating on a farm twelve miles south of Webster City, where he resided many years and reared a large family of children. In 1891 the deceased removed to Webster City where he remained until his death. Mr. Adams has twelve children, sixty-five living grandchildren, sixty-three great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild.
Mr. Adams enlisted in the civil war on Aug. 13, 1862 as a private in company A, 32nd Reg. of Iowa infantry for a term of three years and was honorably discharged for disability on November 26, 1863 at Cape Girardo, Mo. He was a member of the Methodist church from early in his life until 1888, when he united with the United Brethren church with his younger children.
The sons and daughters of Mr. Adams are Mrs. J.M. Dick and Mrs. Robert Neese of Carmen, Oklahoma; Mrs. Wm. McFarland, Cloo, Oklahoma; Mrs. P.R.* Neese, Des Moines; Mrs. N.J.* Whaley, Columbus, Kansas; P.S. Adams, Vancouver, Washington; Mrs. Lucy A?ram?, W.D. Adams and J.J. Adams, all of Mason City, and Mrs. Joshua McFarland of Pueblo, Colorado; the latter passing away six years ago.
The funeral service was held at the United Brethren church in this city, Tuesday Oct. 6th at 2 o'clock, Rev. H. ??????? ???? the sermon with ??? ?? ?? in charge. Six members of Company C, I, N, G acted as pall bearers.
In this connection the children wish to thank the kind neighbors and friends ??? ??? ?????? and courtesy extended during the illness of their beloved father.
Note: Illegible letters shown as ?, uncertain letters shown with *.
Marriage date should read 1847, not 1849.
Five generations - Joseph Adams,
Mrs. P. Neese, daughter
Mrs. Clara Higgins, granddaughter
Mrs. Dolores Conner, great granddaughter
Mary Elinore Conner, great great granddaughter.
1850 Federal Census of Old Town (South Side), McLean County, Illinois
Joseph and Margaret were both 21 years old. They had two daughters born in Illinois: Mary E. (age 2) and Luisa J. (1 month old).
1880 Federal Census of Hamilton Township, Hamilton County, Iowa
Name Relation Marital
Sex Race Age Birthplace Occupation Father's
Joseph Adams Self M M W 50 KY Farmer VA VA Margaret Adams Wife M F W 50 OH - VA OH Hattie Adams Dau S F W 19 IA - - - Lucy Dau S F W 15 IA - - - William Adams Son S M W 13 IA - - - Olive Adams Dau S F W 11 IA - - - James Adams Son S M W 9 IA - - - Luther J. Adams Son S M W 3 IA - - - John Adams Nephew S M W 19 IL Works on Farm KY IL
FOURTH GENERATION: Pearl Scott Adams of Illinois / Iowa / Kansas / Washington, 1854-1929
Pearl Scott Adams was born in Illinois in 1854 to Joseph Adams and Margaret Ropp, just before the family moved to Iowa in 1855. Pearl grew up on his father's farm twelve miles south of Webster City, Iowa. Around 1874 Pearl married Mary Ann Fowler, a seventeen year old Iowa native, whose father had emigrated from England and whose mother was born in Tennessee. Pearl and Mary Ann had their first child in Iowa 1875, and then set off to find a place of their own.
Pearl and Mary Ann were pioneers on the wagon trail West: by the birth of their second child in 1878 they were living in Newton, Harvey County, Kansas. They stayed there about ten years before moving on and finally settling in Washington Territory. The family's claim to pioneer status is confirmed by their appearance in the 1887 Spokane County Census of Washington Territory - two years before it joined the union as the 42nd state on 11 Nov 1889.
1880 Federal Census of Newton, Harvey County, Kansas
Name Relation Marital
Sex Race Age Birthplace Occupation Father's
P.S. Adams Self M M W 25 IL Teamster KY IL Mary A. Adams Wife M F W 23 IA Keeping House ENG TN Cora E. Adams Dau S F W 5 IA IL IA Elsie Dau S F W 1 KS IL IA
1887 Spokane County Census of Washington Territory
31 year old Pearl was working as a carpenter, living in Spokane Falls with his 29 year old wife and four children aged 2 to 12. The census taker recorded an error in Pearl's place of birth: although this census says he was born in Iowa like his wife, he was actually born in McLean County, Illinois as given in the 1880 census.
Children of Pearl Scott Adams and Mary Ann Fowler
1. Cora Etta Adams - b. 1 Feb 1875 in Iowa. Married Joseph Steffan on 22 Nov 1892 in Vancouver, Clark County, WA. She d. 5 Jun 1941. Two sons: Joseph Leland Steffan (1892-1966), William Francis Steffan (1898-1974).
1892 Marriage Certificate
Cora Etta Adams and
2. William F. Adams - b. 12 Mar 1877 in Newton, Harvey County, Kansas, d. 5 Oct 1877 in Newton, Harvey County, Kansas. 3. Kelsey "Elsie" Adams - b. 7 Nov 1878 in Kansas, lived in Vancouver Washington working as a teacher at the time of her marriage 26 Nov 1897 to Wesley Stoops (b. 1868), son of J.N. Stoops and Katheryne (Slaughterback) Stoops. Marion W. Stoops died on 5 Dec 1930 at Washougal, Clark County, Washington; Elsie remarried as Mrs. McDonald.
1897 Marriage Return
Elsie Adams and
4. Eugenia "Blanche" Adams - b. 24 Sep 1881 in Newton, Harvey County, Kansas. Married Elmer Franklin Thompson on 3 Dec 1902 in Vancouver, Clark County, WA. He was born in Washington County, Oregon, the son of Bennett Thompson and Melinda Williams, died 1949. Blanche died August 1968 in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon.
1902 Marriage Certificate & Return
E. Blanche Adams and
Elmer F. Thompson
5. Arthur Alvin Adams - b. 20 Jan 1885 in Kansas. Worked as a machinist (1910 census), and later as a marine engineer (1918 WWI draft card and 1920 census). In 1918 lived at 807 Railroad Ave., Seattle, King County, Washington, but by 1920 census was divorced and living with parents again. Draft card described him as 5 feet 9 inches tall, medium build, blue eyes, gray hair. Died 16 Sep 1946 in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. Arthur is buried with his wife Grace under a shared headstone in plot A 44-3 N 1/2, Park Hill Cemetery, Vancouver, Clark County, Washington.
1918 WWI Draft Registration Card
6. Mary Pearl Adams - b. 19 Oct 1888 in Kansas, d. 1912 unmarried. 7. Jesse "Jess" Harold Adams - b. 5 Aug 1891 in Washington. My great grandfather, see below. 8. Margarette E. Adams - b. 19 Dec 1893 in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington as the eighth child in the family (William had died as an infant in 1877). Became Mrs. Wratten.
1893 Birth Register
9. William Jennings Bryan Adams - b. 10 Aug 1896 in Washington, m. Mary L. Luse/French on 18 Dec 1934 in Clark County, WA (witnessed by his nephew Don, son of Jess).
1934 Marriage Certificate
William J.B. Adams and
Mary L. Luce/French
10. Leon Ayers Adams - b. 21 Mar 1899 in Vancouver, Clark County, WA.
Pearl worked for many years as a teamster - this was his occupation recorded in the 1880 census (Newton, Harvey County, Kansas) and in 1893 when his daughter Margarette was born. By the time of the 1910 Federal Census, Pearl was a farmer working his own farm on Mill Plain Road in Hurney Precinct, Clark County, Washington (click on census extract to see full sheet with details).
Pearl Scott Adams died on 7 Sep 1929 at the age of 74 in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. His death registration is online at the Washington Digital Archives and gives the name of both parents.
FIFTH GENERATION: Jess H. Adams of Vancouver, Washington 1891-1969
Jesse "Jess" Harold Adams was born on 5 Aug 1891, the seventh child of Pearl Scott Adams and Mary Ann Fowler, but their first to be born in the State of Washington. Jess grew up on his father's farm knowing he would need a trade as he would not inherit the farm. By the age of 18 he had trained as a lather and ran his own business (described in the 1910 census as "Odd Jobs").
At the age of 20 (in 1911 or 1912) Jess married Bess, a couple of years his junior. Little is known of Bess other than she was born in Washington of a Missouri father and an Illinois mother. She may have been an orphan. After the birth of Jess and Bess's first child in Washington (c. 1913), the young family moved about 250 miles east to Midvale, Washington County, Idaho where Jess worked in nearby South Crane as a farmer.
Jess was living in Idaho at the time of the First World War draft registration: on 5 Jun 1917 he registered with a request for exemption based on "family to support", citing a wife and child as dependents. He was described as medium height, slender build, blue eyes with light hair - partially bald!
Their second child was born in Idaho (c. 1918) but by 1920 the family had moved back to Vancouver, Washington where their third child was born in 1925.
1917 WWI Draft Registration Card
Children of Jess and Bess Adams
1. Jesse "Don" Donard Adams - my grandfather. Born c. 1913 in Washington. Graduated from university in engineering and went to work on the Grand Coulee Dam. 13 Sep 1936 married June McDonald, only daughter of George R. McDonald, a keen supporter of the dam and owner of the local shop and hotel in Almira, Washington. At the outbreak of World War II, his engineering skills allowed him to stay home to build warships at Kaiser. After the war became a salesman, particularly of cars. Divorced c. 1950 and remarried to Irma. Set up and ran his own flooring company. Had three children, seven grandchildren by his first wife, June. Irma also had a son of her own.
1936 Marriage Certificate & Transcript
Jesse Donard "Don" Adams
and June McDonald
1935 Graduation Photo
2. Stan Adams - b. c. 1918 in Idaho. m. Drue. 3. Norma "Jean" Adams - b. 2 Jun 1925 Vancouver, Clark County, WA. Married James "Jim" Stuart Richardson 18 Oct 1944. He d. 1985, she d. 17 Feb 2010. Buried at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, plot D-3715. Three children, seven grandchildren.
1944 Marriage Certificate
Norma Jean Adams and
James S. Richardson
1920 Federal Census of Vancouver, Clark County, Washington
The 1920 census was taken in Vancouver on 6 jan 1920: it lists 28 year old Jess working as a labourer in a shipyard. Bess is 27, at home with the two children: Jessie D. (age 7), Stanley F. (age 2).
1930 Federal Census of Vancouver, Clark County, Washington
On April 2nd 1930, the census records Jess as a 39 year old lather with Bess and all three chidren living at home: J. Donard (age 17), Stanley L. (12) and Norma J. (8).
Jess and Bess's marriage did not last, and they lived apart for many years. Jess eventually became estranged from the children which lead him to type up the little slip of paper with family dates (see introduction at top of page) and try to pass this information on to each of the children.
Bessie died on 22 Dec 1951 at the age of 59 in Vancouver, and was buried in plot N 65-1, Park Hill Cemetery, Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. Jess also died in Vancouver, in November 1969. His social security record notes his number SSN 536-24-6289 and his last residence in zip code 98661.
- General Land Office Records - high resolution images of original land documents, FREE
- Dawn Goodrum's webpage "Thomas Goodrum Descendants" - source for most of the information about the first generation.
- Washington State Digital Archives - FREE online document images of censuses, marriage certificates etc.
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - FREE searchable 1880 census.
Other Family Pages
- McDonald Family Main Page, starting with John McDonald born 1778
- Thomas McDonald, born 1774
- James C. McDonald, born 1776
- Malay McDonald, born 1823 (son of James C. McDonald)
- John McDonald III, born 1803 (son of John II McDonald)
- McDonald Biographies: citations from county history books
- McDonald Obituaries: from old newspapers
- Annemarie's Dutch family: the Bruinsma, De Vet and De Leeuw families of Friesland, The Netherlands.
email to Annemarie Bruinsma Hanlon / Copyright © 2010 / Last updated 23 Mar 2010