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William Adams   

William I. Adams came to America from Antrim County, Ireland in 1742 at the age of 25 years. A loomer and farmer by trade, he came with James McCoun. Both were Scots-Irish (Scots who had settled in Northern Ireland after 1600 as part of the plan of James I of England to settle Scots in the region to free up land in Scotland for grazing and pacify the unruly Irish the Ulster region).

The Ulster Plantation is modern day "Northern Ireland," which is part of the United Kingdom and the subject of much news over attempts to bring peace to this violence torn region. The Ulster Plantation was formed in the early 1600's by King James I of England (who was also James VI of Scotland). England since the time of the Normans had been unable to subdue the Irish - yet refused to withdraw from the island - for fear of giving its strong enemies - such as Spain and France - a friendly foothold, so close to its borders.

Elizabeth's soldiers - just prior to her death - subdued, in a very bloody fashion, an Irish rebellion in the north. James declared the rebel chiefs' property as forfeited to the crown, and offered to Scottish Presbyterians the opportunity to settle in the Ulster provinces. This solved multiple problems ( in the short term) for James. The Scottish lowlands were horribly impoverished and overpopulated. Scottish noblemen wanted more grazing lands for sheep herding. The Irish were Catholic, and James wanted protestants to secure his borders.

Hundreds of thousands of Scots settled in Ulster. Between 1700 and 1800, hundreds of thousands of these Scots came to America. they were called "Scotch-Irish" to distinguish them from the native, Catholic Irish. They were not Irish, but did come from Ireland.

At the time of the Revolution, they represented about 10% of the population. They were poor, rugged and courageous settlers, carved the frontier and bore the brunt of the Indian attacks on the colonies.

There are many reasons for immigration from Scotland to Ulster. The reason would typically depend on the time of their migration. The principal move of Scots to Ulster began when James I of England (also James VI of Scotland) made it policy to settle Scots in Ulster. His decision was an attempt to deal with a multitude of domestic troubles. Landowners in Scotland wanted fewer tenants. Crime and theft in the lowlands was becoming rampant as the clan orders were breaking down, food supplies dwindled. He also was faced with Irish Catholics who would not submit to English rule. His "solution" was to settle Scot Presbyterians in Ulster. This would free up tenancies, give land to Scots and create a counterforce to the troublesome Irish.

However, Northern Ireland proved a temporary home for many of the Ulster Scots. Most did not receive land as promised. Conflict with the Irish was constant. In 1700, the English mercantile policies effectively destroyed the woolen industry of Ulster, and a huge number of Scots-Irish migrated to America.

William married Mary Walker in 1744 and had seven children (Anne, Margaret, Samuel, David, Jane (also called Jennet), Mary and William, Jr.). They settled on the Catawba Creek in Botetourt Co. These families migrated to Mercer Co. KY in the spring of 1779 with a group called the McAfee Company.  Mary Walker came to Virginia with sister Margaret, an uncle, and her brother Samuel. Margaret married James McCoun, Sr, the man who arrived with William I Adams in 1742.  Samuel returned to Ireland to settle the uncle's affairs after his death and never returned. The uncle was Thomas Clark, who was the husband of Mary's mother's sister, and related to George Rogers Clark.

William assisted in establishing American Independence, while acting in the capacity of juror in Botetourt Co. May 9, 1775. According to the Journal of Robert B. McAfee. A reference to this has also been identified as: 

The Annals Of Southwest Va. 1769-1800, page's 242 & 243, published by Lewis Preston Summers, Abington, Va. 1929

Prior to settling in Kentucky, William's son Samuel  (born March 27, 1752) was one of the early explorers of Kentucky and took part in the pre-Revolutionary War Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774 between Virginia Colonial forces and a confederation of Indian tribes opposing settlers. The defeat of the Shawnee Indians by Virginia militiamen opened the way for numerous settlers to Kentucky. This Samuel was an adventurer and explorer at the age of 18. He was part of a group of 10 men known as the McAfee Company that surveyed Kentucky in 1773. The men established claims in the area but did not settle there until the Shawnee Indians were defeated.

This Samuel, the son of William I. Adams, had a son named William. This William was born in 1777 in Botetourt County, VA and died 1851. He married a Mary Woods.

William I had a son, William Jr., who  was born in 1768 in Botetourt County, VA and died in 1808 in Mercer County, KY. He married a Mary Curry.

Some land transactions for early Adams’ include (Book #1 is in Lincoln Co, Book A is in Jefferson):

Last Name

First Name














Salt River






Salt River






Salt River






Salt River






Salt River












Chaplins Fk






Chaplins Fk












Salt River






Salt River






Salt River






Salt River






Salt River






Salt River






Salt River












Salt River




James Jr.           


Salt River






Salt River






Salt River




It is obvious that William Adams and James McCoun remained friends long after their arrival in 1742.  Both acquired 400 acres of land with the first few days of November 1779, although one in Lincoln, and 1 in Jefferson, it is probable that they were still not all that far from one another.  Adams purchased, at the end of the following April, six months later, 1000 acres, and all of this land is along the Salt River.  James McAfee also purchased land at the same two dates, proving a long standing friendship with the McAfee family.


 William Adams married Mary Walker in 1744, the same year that James McCoun married her older sister, Margaret, as before mentioned.  Both families settled on the Catawba River in Bedford County.  We know almost nothing about the life and times of William Adams.  He and Mary Walker Adams had seven surviving children, all were born in Augusta County, Virginia.  Ann, the oldest, was born circa 1747.  Augusta County was divided in 1770 and the southern portion became Botetourt County with its county  seat at Fincastle.  Courthouse records show that William Adams purchased 145 acres on the Catawba Creek from a John Armstrong in February  of 1770.  The sale of this same property to a William McClellan was recorded later in 1779 as Adams prepared to move his family to Kentucky.  William Adams was now 56 years old and his family included his youngest son who was just 11 years old, two unmarried daughters, and nine grandchildren. 


All of William and Mary's children lived a portion of their lives in Mercer County, Kentucky. ...Anne 1747 - 1817, Margaret 1749 - 1816, Samuel 1752 - 1828, DAVID 1754 - 1825, (Jane) Jennet born in 1765, Mary 1766 - 1840, and William 1768 - 1808.

It is interesting to note here that in 1747 - 48 James McAfee,Sr. moved his family from North Carolina to land on the Catawba Creek which was then in Augusta County, Virginia.  The original deed settled in McAfee's name was dated February 17, 1748.  In December of 1749 he received a grant for another 300 acres on both sides of the Catawba.


William Adams, Sr. is often involved in land transactions with his sons and sons-in-law and these are  found in Courthouse records: "this indenture made and concluded on the ninth day of July Anno Domini 1786 between William Adams and Mary Adams his wife of the one part and Samuel Adams of the other part, son-in-law to the former party, both of Lincoln County and the State of Kentucky and the State of Virginia.  Witnesseth that the said William Adams and Mary for the consideration of the sum of Three Hundred Pounds to us in hand paid by the said Samuel Adams, the receipt whereof, we do hereby acknowledge, have granted, bargained and sold, alienated and confirmed unto said Samuel Adams, his heirs and assigns forever, all the parcel or tract of land containing Four Hundred Acres, the residue in full of a Preemption Warrant".


William Adams, Sr. died in 1795 at the age of 72 and is said to be buried in the "old Adams's Cemetery" located one-half mile southwest of the "old Brewer Home".  This old cemetery is unfenced, in the middle of a large pasture.  Cattle seeking shade among its remaining trees have scattered and destroyed the old markers, very few names or dates can be identified.  That William's wife died sometime prior to 1789 is evidenced by the fact she is not mentioned in her husbands will dated August 29, 1789, Book 1 page 205


    (Last Will and Testament, July 28,1795) In the name of God Amen.  I, William Adams, Sen. of the County of Lincoln in the Commonwealth of Virginia, being frail and weakly of body but sound of mind and memory, blessed be the Almighty God for the same, and calling to mind that there's an appointed time for all men to die, do therefore make and ordain this my last will and testament for the better regulating and disposing of my worldly estate and affairs after my death viz. in the manner and form following,  First, I agree and resign my soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it, and my body to the dust to be buried in a Christian and decent like manner at the direction of my executors hereafternamed and for the worldly estate and goods that providence has blessed me with I agree and bequeath in the following manner.  I order that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid. Item, I agree and bequeath to my son, William Adams, all my horses and horse creatures, except a bay mare  and colt hereafter mentioned, and all my cattle, hogs, farming utensils, one bed and bedding, a dutch oven, half of my pewter, and a frying pan to him and his heirs forever.  Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter, Jennet Adams, all my beds and bedding, except the bed and  bedding before mentioned, and one big pot, and one kettle, a trunk, a pair of spoon moulds, half my pewter, a crock or pot tramil (trammel), a loom of tacking, one bay mare and colt, all these particular to my daughter, Jennet Adams, her heirs and assign forever.

     Item, I agree and devise to my daughter, Jennet Adams, a missuage survey and tract of land containing four hundred acres being part of my settlement and preemption survey situated in the Couty of Mercer in the Commonwealth of Virginia and on the waters of the Salt River being that part of said survey adjouning George McAfee's land below, to have and to hold the said four hundred acres to her, the said Jennet Adams and her heirs, being her issue lawfully begotten, and their assign forever.  But if it should happen that my daughter should die and leave no child or children lawfully begotten, that then it is in such a case my will that the four hundred acres of land descend and be the absolute property of my son, Samuel Adams, his heirs and assigns forever.

    Item. I give and devise to my son, William Adams, a missuage survey of a tract of land containing six hundred acres being part of the afore mentioned settlement of preemption survey that adjoins the four undred acres before devised and below the same, to have and hold the said six hundred acres to the said William Adams, his heirs and assigns forever.

Item, I give and bequeath to my son, Samuel Adams, a quantity of iron sufficient for a wagon, a pair of smoothing irons, my family Bible, the Westminster Confession of Faith and F‑‑‑‑‑s Works, to him, his heirs, or assigns.The reason why no provision is here made in this my last will and testament for my son, DAVID ADAMS, and my daughters Anne Adams, Margaret Curry, and Mary Wilson is because they have all been provided for according to my abilities before this date.  And lastly, I hereby appoint and constitute my sons Samuel and DAVID ADAMS to be executors of this my Last Will and Testament and disannulling all wills and testaments heretofore by me and done pronouncing publishing and delivering this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament.  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Twenty Ninth day of July Anno Domini 1789 signed and sealed and acknowledged to be the last Will and Testament of William Adams by him in the presents of us.    Elizabeth Thomas William Stewart John Thomas Mercer County July Court 1795 This Last Will and Testament of William Adams, Sr. Deceased, was exhibited in Court and approved by the oaths of Elizabeth Thomas, William Stewart and John Thomas witnesses thereto, and ordered to be recorded. Test. Tho. Allin, Clerk of Court

    Agreement to dispose of articles not included in the will of William Adams, Sr. Articles of agreement agreed upon and concluded between Samuel Adams, DAVID ADAMS, and William Adams, and Samuel Adams, John Curry, Robert Robertson, and Thomas Wilson, sons and sons-in-law of William Adams, deceased, late of the County of Mercer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  That whereas the said William Adams, deceased, in his lifetime by Last Will and Testament bearing the date July 29, 1789 devised and bequeathed several articles therein mentioned to the several legatees above mentioned in his  will.  These presents is therefore to notify to all persons to whom these presents may come, Greetings.  The said articles that now appears over and above the estate of the said William Adams, deceased, we the said heirs and children of the said deceased will  abide and have consented the same shall be divided and disposed viz. One bay mare and colt to be the property of William Adams and also one bed ‑‑‑‑ to be delivered to him as his real property to him and his heirs and assigns forever, and further one brown mare colt ‑‑ year old to be the property of Robert Robertson his heirs and assigns forever.  To which each and every one do bind ourselves our Heirs and Executors respectively to guarantee and conform to each persons so mentioned as its proper owner.  Given under hands and seals under penalty of One Thousand Pounds Virginia Currency this Twenty Eighth Day of July Anno Domini 1795.


Comments: William Adams' will was written when he was 66 years old, six years before  his death.  He describes the land he gives to his son and daughter as being in Mercer County, while he considers himself a resident of Lincoln County.  Mercer had technically been formed from Lincoln three years earlier, in 1776.  It is interesting that he left the bulk of his estate to the youngest children and his feeling that he had already "adequately provided" for the older heirs.  He was concerned that his daughter, Jennet was 24 years old and still unmarried.  As it worked out, Jennet was married and almost presented him with a grandchild before he died, certainly she left no chance for any "unlawfully begotten heirs".


1795 Tax lists of Mercer County Kentucky 1789 portion  has some information, but it is unknown why no David Adams appears. It is also unknown if one of the "William" entries is the immigrant.

On a map of Kentucky counties which existed circa 1800, Mercer is near dead center.
Mud Meeting House cemetery in Mercer county Kentucky - Picture plus a web page of tombstones listed here 
Old Mud Meeting House booklet is available from Harrodsburg Historical Society or
Small “legal issues” surrounding church - mentions below David Adams

David Adams

David Adams married Elizabeth Jane Woods, daughter of Archibald Woods (died in 1783) and his wife Mary (died sometime in 1819 or early 1820, certainly after Oct 1818 when her will was written). David was born Jun.2, 1754, and died Jan.19,1825 in Mercer Co.,KY. Mary Woods mentions David Adams as her “friend”, but her daughter as Elizabeth Adams.  Elizabeth was born on a cold 4th of December, 1756.

There is information available on David Adams' 1782 & 1790 Land information at the Library of Virginia website - Not confirmed that this is OUR David Adams, but looks probable.

Archibald Woods Land information from Library of Virginia's digitized records online (no guarantee that he is ours, however, much uncertainty about his life and there were other archibald Woods at the time in virginia):

- 16 August 1756 Albemarle County 200 acres on the top of the Blue Ridge, in the old gap adjoin.g Wm. Macords &c Source: Land Office Patents No. 33, 1756-1761 (v.1, 2, 3 & 4 p.1-1095), p. 131 (Reel 31-32).

- 27 June 1764 Albemarle County 176 acres on the north side of Stocktons Branch of Mechams River. Land Office Patents No. 36, 1764-1767 (v.1 & 2 p.557-1083), p. 575 (Reel 36).

- 20 October 1779 Botetourt County 50 acres on the waters of Cataber Creek a branch of James River. Source: Land Office Grants A, 1779-1780 (v.1 & 2 p.1-685), p. 145 (Reel 42).

Mary Woods will part 1

Mary Woods will part 2

Genforum post on David's father-in-law

It is probable that the June 1780 land purchase mentioned above is this David, son of William. And, as before mentioned, his brother Samuel also purchased land.

That David and his wife Elizabeth owned slaves is beyond doubt, some are willed to her from her mother Mary Woods, and certainly Elizabeth herself mentions her slaves in her own will.  One slave, a girl Liza, in Mary Woods’ 1818 will, is freed  as the grown woman Liza (with a male son) in Elizabeth’s 1835 will.  The 1820 census is difficult to read, but ages of these slaves is described below. From available facts, it would seem Liza was born around 1802.

Adams entries in the 1800 "Second" census of Kentucky (rebuilt from tax records, etc) 1 2

Curry entries in the 1800 "Second" census of Kentucky (rebuilt from tax records, etc) 1 2

Woods entries in the 1800 "Second" census of Kentucky (rebuilt from tax records, etc) 1 2

David Adams in 1810 Mercer county KY federal census - David was father of William and Archibald Adams

David and William Adams families in Mercer county 1820 federal census - William was father of John Ward Adams.  A careful analysis appears to show David with 1 male 16-26, 1 male 26-45, 1 male over 45, 1 female 10-16, 1 female 16-26, 1 female over 45, 3 total engaged in agriculture, 1 male slave under 14 years, and 1 female slave (Eliza presumably) 14-26 years of age.  William appears to have 1 male under 10, 1 male 10-16, 1 male 26-45, 1 female under 10, 1 female 10-16, 1 female 16-26, and one male slave 14-26 years old.  One wonders if this was the father of Eliza's young son. These ages fit with known facts.

Elizabeth (Woods) Adams' statement part 1

Elizabeth  (Woods) Adams' statement part 2

Elizabeth (Woods) Adams' statement part 3

Elizabeth (Woods) Adams' statement part 4

Elizabeth (Woods) Adams’ will part 1

Elizabeth (Woods) Adams’ will part 2

Elizabeth (Woods) Adams’ will part 3

Elizabeth (Woods) Adams’ will part 4

Eleanor Drake letter part 1

Eleanor Drake letter part 2

William Adams

Both William and Archibald Adams fit in this generation.  William has John Ward Adams, and Archibald has Henry N Adams, who then had a daughter Minerva Frances Adams

William Adams was born Nov.15,1790 in mercer County, Kentucky. Died in July 1861. Priscilla Armstrong was born Nov 25, 1791.They had the following children--Robert A. Adams born Jan. I, 1820 in Mercer County, Kentucky, died in July 1895 in McDonough County, Illinois. Robert married Caroline Garrison in Parke County, Indiana in 1842. David W. Adams married Laura Lillard in Mercer County, Kentucky in 1865. James Adams married Emma Clark. Martha Bard Adams born in October 18, 1817 in mercer County, Kentucky, married Lewis Smick. Martha and Lewis moved to Mound Township, McDonough County, Illinois. Martha died on August 19, 1887 and is buried in McDonough County, Illinois. Elizabeth Adams was born in July 1823 in Mercer County, Kentucky and died in June 1847.Elizabeth married James J. McAfee in 1845 in Mercer County, Kentucky. Adeline Adams married Sam Brinton. And Sue Amanda Adams married ?Wardon.

Is it our William Adams who is included on this list of Mercer County Kentucky War of 1812 veterans? Difficult to say as even in the 1800 lists, there were at least 3 William Ad(d)ams'.

John Ward Adams was the son of William Adams and Priscilla Armstrong of Mercer County, Kentucky. He married Minerva Frances Adams. More on John below.

Robert A. Adams born 1820 in Mercer Co, Kentucky. He married Caroline June Garrison in 1842 in Parke Co, Indiana. They lived in Kentucky and Illinois. Had six children-Sophia Ann Adams married Caleb Swayze (she was probably born in Mercer Co, KY). Charles Edward Adams born in Mercer Co, KY, married Charity A. Medaris. Charles moved to Garnett, Anderson Co, Kansas with his wife. Priscilla Jenny Adams married Peyton T. Carson(she was probably born in Mercer Co, KY.) John James Adams probably born in McDonough Co, Illinois, he married Alice A. Hastie. Martha Susie Adams probably born in McDonough Co, Illinois, married James Woodford Armstrong. And Samuel Oscar Adams married Arabella B. Wilson. Samuel was probably born in McDonough Co, Illinois. Robert died in 1895 in Bushnell, McDonough County, Illinois. According to his estate records his wife Caroline was living in Corydon, Wayne County, Iowa in 1897. It also stated on the estate records of Robert that his son Samuel Oscar Adams was also living in Corydon, Wayne Co, Iowa.

It is interesting that William Adams' brother Archibald had a son named Harvey (Henry in some versions ?) Nelson Adams.  This Harvey N. had Minerva Frances Adams, who would marry John Ward Adams, her first cousin once removed. Harvey also descends from the immigrant William I. 

Harvey N Adams was drawn to the land of Indiana where he appears in the 1840 federal census. Some of the early Adams families to Mercer county Kentucky, after settling the region, again moved, this time to Indiana (along with the Nevins families), between 1811 and 1814, settling in what is now Nevins Township in Vigo County and Adams Township in Parke County. They were among the first settlers in the region. William Greer Adams was the first settler in Nevins Township in 1811 (apparently some of the families may have waited in Clark County before settling with the rest).  Harvey had some extended family in Parke county when he moved there sometime in or around 1836, and this is where Minerva grew to adulthood.

The group that came to Indiana was composed of Samuel Adams and his children - William, Mary, Anna, Margaret, Samuel, Jr., and Rebekah; and sons of another Samuel Adams - William Greer, Joseph, Martin, Elliot, Wayne, Merit (or Merritt) and David. The families migrated to Indiana along with members of the McAfee and Nevins families.

Harvey N Adams' wife's ancestry has some documentation which establishes that her Curry ancestry goes back to James curry who fought in the Indian Wars and the early days of the Revolutionary War.  James' wife Anne applied for a pension after his death in 1828.  It is unknown whether or not she actually received pension moneys.

Another source for the dates of William and Priscilla is listed as Mercer Co. Cemetery Records Vol. 2

William Adams, his brother Archibald Adams, and their mother Elizabeth Adams families in Mercer county 1830 federal census

William Adams in Mercer county 1840 federal census - William was father of John W Adams

William and Priscilla Adams (John Ward Adams' parents) in district 2, Mercer county Kentucky 30 Sept - 01 Oct 1850 Federal Census - David fits for a brother of John W Adams in 1860 census below Actual 01 Oct 1850 record includes valuation of $6900. - while most of Mercer's valuations match between the two 1850 census returns, some (including our William's) do not. It is unknown why the variation in William's reported valuation occurs at this time.

1850 Kentucky Agricultural Census by Linda Green, page 101 (taken from National Archives M1528. Nonpopulation Census Schedules for Kentucky, 1850-1880 (42 rolls) - Roll 4: 1850 Agriculture: Letcher-Nelson counties) has our William Adams (surrounded by these same neighbors with slight variation proving it was enumerated at a slightly different time - On June 1, 1850) with 100 acres of improved land, 27 acres of unimproved land, $3000 "cash value of farm", $150 "value of farm implements and machinery", and $720 "value of livestock".  

It looks as if William is about average in terms of wealth in his area, as he was in 1860, below.  Need NARA Roll 9: 1860 Agriculture: Kenton-Montgomery counties, as it would amplify 1860 information on William Adams. Have emailed NARA asking about availability of M1528 on 1 Dec 07.

Some other Adams families and neighbors are in the rest of the 1850 Mercer county census

William Adams' 1860 Census info, this comes from a transcription by Faye Sea Sanders (a rather limited transcription at that), self-published in 1988. District #1, Enumerated by A. D. Haynes    Thank you Jenny!!

(no Post Office listed; unincorporated area outside Harrodsburg)

Family #388 (no dwelling # listed/no line # listed)

Adams, William, head, age 69, male, b. Ky, farmer

Adams, Mary A., age 28, female, b. Ky, seamstress

Adams, James A., age 23, male, b. Ky, farm hand

Archibald Adams in Mercer county 1840 federal census - Archibald was father of Harvey Nelson Adams

Some notes on Harvey Nelson Adam's maternal Caldwell lineage (Harvey Nelson Adams’ maternal grandfather was David Varner Caldwell)

Henry Adams entry in 1830 Perryville, Mercer Co. Ky federal census  pt2 for slave data  (this Henry had none, it appears) - discrepancy between 2 daughters here and one son 10 - 15 in next census and distance away from identified kin in same census make it uncertain that this is our Harvey, who may still be living with his father Archibald's family in 1830, just before his marriage. Still, this is the only Henry/Harvey Adams in the 1830 Mercer Co. census. Cook's Mercer County Kentucky Records Vol II (along with the Curry documentation below) gives some confusing dates. Cook gives 18 Aug 1830 for marriage registry, but 31 Oct 1830 for a marriage bond. The Gene Curry-provided data for Phoebe and Harvey's wedding give both an 18 Oct 1830 and a 21 Oct 1830 date for bond. Thus 4 possible dates indicates some level of confusion regarding their marriage. Perhaps this is a reason to move from one's kin. Perhaps the first child was conceived earlier than custom allowed. Regardless, it would appear the marriage was in late October or early November 1830. 29April 2006, it does not appear that we can find any valid records referring to our Harvey Nelson as "Henry" as previously believed, with the possible exception of the 1830 record above.

Harvey Nelson Adams in Parke county Indiana 1840 federal census - Harvey N Adams was father of Minerva F Adams

James and son John Curry in 1810 Mercer county KY federal census - John was father of Phoebe Curry, wife of Harvey Nelson Adams, parents of Minerva.

Several John and James Curry families in Mercer county 1820 federal census

One more John Curry in Mercer county 1820 federal census

Index to Adams’ in Parke county IN 1850 census - not posted any longer in original location...

Minerva Frances Adams in Parke county IN 1850 Census with family - just scroll to Adams

H. N. Adams in 1860 Parke Co Indiana federal census returns   Index

New! Harvey N Adams from in U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 > Indiana > District 7; Monthly Lists; 1863

New! Harvey N Adams from in U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 > Indiana > District 7; Annual Lists; 1863

New! Harvey N Adams from in U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 > Indiana > District 7; Special Income Tax Lists; 1864

New! Harvey N Adams from in U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 > Indiana > District 7; Annual Lists; 1864

New! Harvey N Adams from in U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 > Indiana > District 7; Annual, Monthly and Special Lists; 1865

New! Harvey N Adams from in U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 > Indiana > District 7; Annual, Monthly and Special Lists; 1866

Harvey N Adams in 1870 Parke County, Washington township Indiana federal census

H. N.  Adams and son David in 1874 atlas of Washington Township, Parke County Indiana

Harvey N Adams' location within Parke county locatable with plat and township maps * Better Map from 1874 Atlas - NEW!

Harvey N Adams’ second  wife Mary in 1880 census

Apparently Harvey N Adams left a will which we must acquire - NEW! - sent for 15 May 08 - Received 31 May 08!  1  1A  2  2A  3  3A  4  4A (due to size of pages being larger than Microtek ScanMaker 5950 scanner capabilities).

Henry N Adams and his wives' burials are recorded here in Bethany cemetery in Township 10 Parke County, Indiana - NEW!

David Adams (Harvey’s son, Minerva’s brother) second wife (Dora’s) obituary

John Ward Adams

There are several circumstantial factors which lead us to believe that John Ward Adams was the son of William Adams and Priscilla.  The 1850 census does not show John with his father's family.  This is not surprising, John is 28 years old, and is living somewhere else (location undetermined as yet).  However, in the 1840 census, there is a male of the right age living with William's family.  It is also noteworthy that the age of the eldest male child in the 1830 census is a couple of years too young for both John and his elder brother Robert, neither of whom appear with known relatives, either.  But if someone else answered the census taker that year, perhaps John looked young for his age.  In the early years, the accuracy of the returns often left something to be desired.  Literacy, fatigue, inattention, and hostility towards the census takers often played very real roles in what information was transcribed for future generations.

External corroboration of John W Adams and Minerva F Adams' marriage date and location - original recording in book 2 page 100. Need this record from Parke County Clerk - (765) 569-5132 - sent for 15 May 08 - Received 31 May 08!

New! John Adams' new family (with first daughter Margaret Jane) in Township 6 of 1855 Mcdonough County Illinois state census next to Robert Adams

But the most compelling evidence is the fact that Robert A Adams and his brother John Ward Adams both lived for many years in Mound township of McDonough county Illinois.  The 1860 federal and the 1861, 1862, and 1865 state censuses verify this. In the 1860 census, it appears as if a David Adams (born @ 1833) was living with them.  This is most likely the brother of  John Ward, although, again, the ages in the census are off a few years. 

The February 2008 acquisition of John W. Adams' probate papers sheds light on the family. It seems that Robert A and his eldest son Charles (John's nephew) borrowed money (item 52) as did John's brother David W Adams (item 55). Likewise John was heavily engaged in borrowing from family and friends, including Minerva's father Harvey Nelson Adams (items 73 & 76).

Robert appears In the Index of Personal Names found in School Tax List - McDonough County - of 1859, provided by Terry Moore, 18 Dec 00: Thanks Terry!

Mound Township
District number four, Township number 6, Range number 1, McDonough County,
Illinois - September 6, 1859

John W Adams family in McDonough county Illinois in 1860 Federal Census

John W Adams family in McDonough county Illinois in 1860 Agricultural  Census  pt2

John W Adams in U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 > Illinois > (Division 3) District 9; Annual Lists; 1864

John W Adams in U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 > Illinois > (Division 3) District 9; Monthly and Special Lists; May 1864-May 1865

John W Adams in U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 > Illinois > (Division 3) District 9; Annual Lists; 1865

The 1865 census shows a man living with John's family between 20 and 30 years old.  It isn't known whether this is the same David, or whether the D W Adams now living a short distance away is David from the 1860 census.  It is likely the latter, David W having married Laura Lillard, some reports indicating that this marriage took place in Mercer county Kentucky.  Could David have returned to Mercer county, married and then come back to McDonough county where he had established some roots near his brothers Robert and John?

In the 1885 McDonough county history, there is a history of the Bushnell church which mentions John and Minerva as well as Robert and his wife.  There is also information available indicating that conditions in McDonough county became fairly lawless and Robert was required to join in a civilian group patrolling for the lawless elements.  John W was not in this group, as he had moved south to Jackson county Missouri sometime around 1868 or 1869, perhaps as the conditions in McDonough worsened, he decided that with his family of women a dangerous place indeed was McDonough county, Illinois.  Too dangerous?

                    pg. 366-368 has an article on the formation of a National Grand Order Anti Horse Thief Association. It began in 1863. The Illinois state grand order sprung from the above.  In 1881 it was divided into district or state grand orders. No. 124, A.H.T.A.  Mound twp. In 1878-79 horse thieves, tramps, and cut throats got so bold and numerous in this vicinity that the law abiding citizens were almost compelled to take the law into their own hands, .As many as 10 or ll horses were storlen in the immediate neighborhood, in the space of a year........houses broken into and women insulted, and ordered around at the sweet will of the tramp. Such was the condition when .....John Smick,....R.A. Adams . and others banded together and organized, under a state charter, what is now known as Subordinate Order No. 124, which now numbers upwards of 50 of the best citizens of the Mound and adjoining townships and it is a significant fact that not a single animal has been stolen from any members since the organization of the order............ List of lst officers. R.A. Adams, W.T. and six others listed

As a final confirmation of the relationship, in the 1880 census down in Jackson county Missouri, Minerva is living right next to a man James M (so says the census) Adams and wife Emma, who turns out to be the brother of her deceased husband John Ward Adams.  It is unknown when James moved to Jackson county, whether before or after John's death.  It is unknown if James moved his family to Missouri because of John's death.

It is quite interesting to look through the census returns and find that John W Adams for the period 1860 – 1870 is the richest of the families immediately around him, in the latter census quite dramatically.  This might explain the probable high expense required for the family portrait below.  Photography was still a relatively little used science at that time and the technology was still changing and improving.

John Ward Adams bible part 1 - First entries in Births, Marriages, and Deaths sections appear to be circa 1900

John Ward Adams bible part 2 - First entries in Births, Marriages, and Deaths sections appear to be circa 1900

John Ward Adams bible part 3 - First entries in Births, Marriages, and Deaths sections appear to be circa 1900

John Ward Adams bible part 4

John Ward Adams bible part 5

John Ward Adams bible part 6

John Ward Adams bible part 7

John Ward Adams bible part 8

John Ward Adams bible part 9

John Ward Adams bible part 10

John Ward Adams bible part 11

William Coley and Minnie Adams marriage document - rx frm on 6 Mar 06!

Minerva F Adams death certificate - 29 Apr 2006 - Confirmation of Minerva's burial in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Cass County Missouri  * And source data - Thanx Cyndy!

30 Apr 06 email request to Cass Co. Mo. Historical Society for copies of Minerva's obituary and that of 2 daughters and a son-n-law

Bushnell church (with John W and brother Robert A Adams listed) – from 1885 McDonough county history

Robert Adams in 1850 in Hancock County, Illinois and in Mound Township, McDonough County Illinois Federal census returns: 1860A 1860B 1870 1880

Robert A Adams (John’s brother) in 1861 Mound Tnsp, McDonough county Illinois Military census – where’s John?

John Adams and brother Robert in 1862 Mound township, McDonough county Illinois military census

Robert Adams in the 1890 McDonough county Illinois federal census

John W Adams family in McDonough county Illinois in 1865 State census - from *  Earlier (lighter) version - note brothers Robert Adams and D W Adams (David's 1863 and 1865 tax records from Division 3 of Collection District 9) nearby. NOTE drastically different financial figures between the two versions! The lighter version fits number of family members and values are consistent with 1860 values. Ancestry scans are not correlated with families correctly.

John W Adams family in Jackson county Missouri 1870 federal census First (worse) image

I suspect this to be a picture of John Ward Adams and his family circa 1873 - note 8 girls. Significant because every source lists only seven daughters. - Note, Item 36 below identifies 8 females living with Minerva after John Ward's death! It seems certain that this is our Adams family!

John Ward Adams probate email request - 23 Dec 07   **  Records returned (.pdf) from Mo. State Archives 20 Jan 08:  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88

1877 Jackson County Atlas (J. W. Adams in lower part of image) Cover - Items 46 & 47, above, prove that (in addition to the two 10 acres parcels in townships 34 & 35 which are assigned correctly to John) the 320 acres of land identified as "W. W. Adams est." on this page are, in fact, the estate of John W. Adams!

Minerva F Adams family in 1880 Jackson county Missouri federal census

Minerva Frances Adams with son-in-law William Wherrit family in 1900 census

Minerva F Adams with son-in-law Noble Hilligoss family in 1910 Pleasant Hill Township, Cass County Missouri federal census

Minerva F Adams with son-in-law Noble Hilligoss family in 1920 Pleasant Hill Township, Cass County Missouri federal census

Minnie Lou (Adams) Coley death certificate

Minnie Lou (Adams) Coley will - 1 2 3 4

Anna Belle Adams' death certificate from 23 Dec 07

Minerva F Adams' obituary   *  Belle Adams' obituary   *  Ellen Hilligoss' obituary  *  Noble C Hilligoss' obituary  *  Source - 12 May 2006 - Thanks Cass County Historical Society!



1) Much of the intro information came from the site and follow-up correspondence. The words are NOT mine, but some fantastic posters who've spent a lot of time researching in Mercer county and other locales for our shared ancestors. I HAVE, however, edited some of the posts and perhaps slightly re-worded some passages to simulate a sort of coherence to the whole.

2) The Woods-McAfee Memorial is a good source. It is not without errors, however

3) Old Mud Meeting House booklet from Harrodsburg Historical Society

4) Eleanor Drake was very kind to send me specific sources as hyperlinked above

5) Jenny Tenlen was extremely kind in providing much McAfee information on her website

6) Gene Curry was kind enough to share his entire lifetime of research on the Curry family. It is only because of a promise to him and Jenny that it isn't online (with him as the source) right now! His and Jenny's sharing of Ann Curry's pension application was particularly appreciated

7) is a well-known fantastic source for many things. In particular, the IRS tax records are a fascinating, and little known look into the financial world of the Civil War era

8) Missouri State Archives has launched a fantastic source over the last few years (I paid $10.00 per death certificate for several - now available here for free - not all that many years ago) at

Of course the author would be very pleased if anyone has additional source information they wish to share on the above individuals.