|Birth: ||1717, Ireland|
|Death: ||May, 1795|
Born ca 1717 in Ulste, Antrim to Robert Adams and Agnes or Elizabeth Hubbard. Military Service: Patriot (Revolution) Records for Service # 406138&369748
Adams Cemetery is located northwest of Providence Presbyterian church on the Robert M. Brewer farm (1968) on the Garriott road. Cemetery is in middle of large pasture.
Military Service: Patriot (Revolution) Records for Service # 406138&369748
See the History in Volume A. William and Samuel
Volume B. Anne and Samuel
Volume C. John Adams - Mary Evans
Written and compiled by Ruby R. Cronk
Records and Sources: Collins History of Kentucky
Haddon, McClure, Curry and Allied Families
Various Family Records, Census, Tombstones,
Birth and Death Records of Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana.
Historical Documents, Wills, Marriage Records. State, National and
Libraries and Genealogical Magazines and many other publications.
The Woods McAfee Memorial. County Histories, etc.
Kegleys Virginia Frontier, Seed Bed of the Republic
Notes for WILLIAM ADAMS:
William Adams was born in Antrim County, Northern Ireland or Ulster circa 1717 - 1723.
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, a 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. Conditions were harsh, filled with war and famine. 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, who carved the frontier and bore the brunt of the Indian attacks on
There were 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 counter force 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 Scot-Irish
migrated to America. (Information on Ulster from Ed Adams)
William Adams came to Virginia in the the company of another young man by the name of James McCoun, landing in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1742. The cost of a berth and decent food on a ship going to the colonies was about twenty pounds. The average length of the voyage, because of prevailing winds, was eight weeks to the Virginia Capes. Although the Crown Colony had been in existence for 135 years the uncertainty of employment in America worked hardships on all those who did not have a reserve to fall back on. By 1725 one-third of Virginia's inhabitants were indentured servants. We can assume that William and James were able to pay for their passage and, having made the voyage unaided, they obtained upon arrival fifty acres offered as incentive to settlement. This land incentive was rapidly laying the basis of a small, landowning, Virginia yeomanry. Every settler, whether peasant, artisan, or country gentleman, was entitled to these fifty acres, and no more. Even to obtain such a limited estate he was required to "seat" and cultivate his farm. Should he fail to build a cabin and plant his crops within a reasonable time the land reverted to the common store.
We are told that William Adams and James McCoun were engaged for some time working at the loom (weavers) and farming (yeomen). As soon as he was able to procure enough money James bought himself a small package of goods and started peddling.. He made some trips in Philadelphia to purchase his goods, which he sold at the settlements in the Virginia frontier regions which at that time did not extend much further west than the Roanoke area. James' father was a merchant, this was a business he knew. For almost one hundred years tobacco had been Virginia's primary export, the only source of income that made the colony self-supporting. So long as tobacco prices remained high, the small-scale farmer could raise his own food supply, while his little tobacco crop provided the other essentials to a modest existence. Virginia had an unrestricted market for its product until the British Parliament enacted the Navigation Law in 1661 where be tobacco could only be sent to England. This caused the price to plummet: growing tobacco became a large-scale operation limited to large plantations relying on slave labor. Slavery had been introduced into the colonies as early as 1619. The number of slaves in Virginia increased from 1000 in 1700 to 30000 in 1730, 26% of the total population 114,000. Suddenly white workers were no longer imported, fewer came of their own free will, and Virginia's population increase came chiefly from the Negro. Now many Virginians began to look beyond the Tidewater plantations to a new land in the west. in the Shenandoah Valley and beyond "a horde of new emigrants, mostly Scotch-Irish and Presbyterian in religion, were founding fruitful farms and cultivating the soil with their brawn." These men and women were plebeians; they had no awesome attitude toward the old order and they were destined to profoundly effect the whole course of Virginia history.
Mary and Margaret Walker came to America from Ireland about the same time as William Adams and James McCoun. They came with their brother Samuel and their Uncle Thomas Clark, who had married their mother's sister. Thomas is said to be the brother of John Clark, father of George Rogers Clark. His daughter Agnes married James McAfee, Jr. The party is said to have landed at Charlestown, South Carolina, but migrated quickly to western Virginia and settled in the Roanoke area.
Thomas Clark returned to Ireland and came back again. On his return trip from Ireland, he apparently took sick and died at Charleston. His nephew, Samuel Walker, as yet unmarried, went to settle his affairs and was never heard fro again. The family could only assume he was murdered or had also fallen ill and died in the Charleston area.
William Adams married Mary Walker in 1744, the same year that James McCoun married her older sister, Margaret. Both families settled on the Catawba River in Bedford County. It is interesting to note 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, 1749. In December of 1749 he received a grant for another 300 acres of both sides of the Catawba. There appeared to be families ties between the Adams, McCoun, and McAfee. We know that there were many marriages between members of these families.
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. Anne, the oldest was born circa 1747; Margaret in 1749; Samuel in 1752; David in 1754; Jane (Jennet) in 1765; Mary in 1766; and William in 1768. There may have been other children born to them who did not survive, especially during the years between the birth of David and the birth of Jane.
On 14 November 1757 Benjamin Borden's Executors sold to William Adams for the small sum of 4 pounds 336 acres, a part of Borden's 92,100 acre grant. By May 1761, William Adams had purchased an additional two acres on Moffett's Creek from William and Martha Kennedy.
In the year 1745, all the portion of the colony of Virginia which lay west of the Blue Ridge Mountains became officially a county called Augusta, taken from Orange. The Augusta County court was organized and had its first session in December of that year. For about twelve years the Augusta County Court was the only repository of records for that large district, inhabited by a strong body of Scotch-Irish immigrants most of whom were of the Presbyterian faith. 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.
In 1773, William's son Samuel joined the McAfee Company to survey land in the wilderness which compromised the present state of Kentucky. (See sections on Samuel Adams, James McAfee, and James McCoun.)
In the spring of 1776, the McAfees, McCouns, Currys, Adams, Magees and others with their families started down the wilderness road to their new settlement in the present Mercer Co., Kentucky. Record from 1779 show that William sold the property he had bought from Armstrong to a William McClellan as he prepared to move his family to Kentucky. William 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.
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 at the age of 72 and is said to be buried in the "old Adams 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 husband's will dated August 29, 1789.
(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 hereafer named 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, a loom ot 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 County 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 if 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 hundred 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, and assigns forever.
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 and John Thomas witnesses thereto, and ordered to be recorded.
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, 1890 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 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 Evecutors respectively to guarentee 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 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."
-from John I. Nix, Lilburn, Georgia.
DAR#405138 and 369748.
Mary Walker Adams (1725 - 1789)
Samuel Clark Adams (1752 - 1828)*
Created by: jim gillis
Record added: Apr 26, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26409850