John Washington Adair

Photo added by Delbert Adair Jr.

John Washington Adair

  • Birth 10 Feb 1874 Kanab, Kane County, Utah, USA
  • Death 18 Apr 1957 Holbrook, Navajo County, Arizona, USA
  • Burial Pinetop-Lakeside, Navajo County, Arizona, USA
  • Memorial ID 10412800

John Washington Adair was born February 10, 1874 in Kanab, Utah to George Washington Adair and Emily P. Tyler. George, was a pioneer who came out west his family along with the early saints of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. John was the sixth of George and Emily's eleven children: Olive Parintha, Emily Jane, Daniel Tyler, Samuel P., William Albert, John Washington, George Newton, Ruth Alice, Joseph Welton, Rufus Nathaniel, and Edna Irene. John also had a half brother and sister, George Washington Jr. and Jamima Ann, through his father's previous marriage to Ann Catherine Chestnut.

In approximately 1895, John Washington Adair was among the early settlers of Pinetop in Arizona Territory. Family members recall that when John rode into Pinetop he had planned to spend the night and leave the next morning. He stayed, however, and met his future wife, Cynthia Jane Penrod. They were married in Kanab, Utah. John was twenty years old and Cynthia only sixteen. They were endowed and sealed in the St. George Temple, on November 8, 1895, one year after their civil marriage. They made the trek on the "Honeymoon Trail" to be sealed in the temple.

John and Cynthia lived in Overton, Nevada for several months before they settled at what is referred to as "the ranch." It was located about four miles south-west of Pinetop on the old road to Lakeside. They lived there until Cynthia got scared to stay by herself while John was working in Whiteriver. John loaded and drove freight supplies such as food and grain on wagon teams which carried the supplies from Whiteriver to Fort Apache and Holbrook three times per week. It was hard work because sometimes the wheels would get buried in snow and mud that required John to dig for hours to get them out.

When the children started school, they bought some property from David Israel Penrod, Cynthia's father. John owned about seventy-five acres of land in Pinetop, which included an area from above the cemetery down to the road now known Cheryl Lane. The acreage where the Adairs homes were located, included a beautiful meadow, apple orchard, and a corn field that was grown in the upper pasture. John also continued to operate the ranch which consisted if ninety acres. He owned pigs, chickens, cattle in his earlier ranching years. The branding symbol used on his cattle was 7A Bar.

In the historical Pinetop Cemetery there are many members of John's family. Seventeen members of the Adair family buried there. They are Thelma Gladys Adair, John Robin Adair, Cynthia Elfreda Adair Stephens, Wilmer Robin Stephens, John Taylor Adair, Millie Louise Adair, Cleo Adair, Glenn Dayton Adair, Dolan Dean Daniel, Edwin Lloyd Adair, Leslie Ronald Adair, Clements David Adair, Cynthia Jane Penrod Adair, Lawrence Edward Adair, Delbert William Adair, John Washington Adair, and James Edward Adair. The graves are located near the center of the cemetery with a brick border and white chain surrounding them. The border was a family with Genevieve, John's youngest child participating.

John was known as a generous man. Before John's grandson, Kenneth, married Della Allan, John offered his entire social security check to help her with attorney fees to keep her children. He strongly believed that they should not be taken away from their mother. His generous offer was appreciated, but declined.

John made a lasting impression upon his family. Once Delbert, son of Leslie Ronald, stopped in Pinetop with his family on the way to a Lilly family reunion. While there, Delbert noticed that the street his grandfather lived on was named Penrod lane. He was very upset that it was not named after his grandfather because he had owned much of the land in the area. Adair Drive is a small raod named John, but not the road he actually lived on. It is across the street and adjacent to Charlie Clark's Steak house. Another road is Adair Springs lane, which is located off Pinecrest Lane in Pinetop.

John was well known in the Pinetop-Lakeside area. He lived there for over fifty years. Many great things have been said about him. He was respected and looked up to by his family and the community. There was an article written about the early history and settling of Pinetop by Ralph Mahoney in the Arizona Days and Ways section of the Arizona Republic Newspaper on June 20, 1954. In the article the writer states "John Adair, 80, came to Pinetop from Kanab, Utah, at the age of 25."

He was a friend, leader, organizer, Navajo County Deputy, and farmer/rancher. He was also an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. John was baptized by Alex Pace and confirmed by Benjamin Noble. He was ordained an Elder by J.T. Jones. On October 28, 1920, he was ordained a Seventy by Melvin J. Ballard, former general authority of the LDS church. John baptized Lloyd Edwin, Leslie Ronald, Glenn Dayton, and Genevieve. (Lakeside Ward Membership Records).

There are many fascinating stories that are remembered about John. For instance, he ran a foot race every year on his birthday against an Indian Chief who had the same birthday. The explorer John Wesley Powell, for whom Powell Lake was named after, spent the night on the property of John's family in Utah. In the early days, John rode a horse and buggy from Pinetop to Lakeside for church. He kept his horse hitched to a post in front of his house when he wasn't riding into town. The house did not have electricity until around 1940.

John had a team of horses named Tom and Prince. When they were gelded, the procedure caused Tom to almost bleed to death and go blind. Prince took care of om and practically acted as a seeing eye dog. When Prince died, Tom would not work with any other horse. Tom was hit by a car on the highway and had to be shot by Dell. They got another work horse named Dick, and they also had a high spirited horse named Brownie.

As a county sheriff, John once tracked outlaws all the way to Colorado. John's house at the ranch had port holes which held rifles for protection against the Indians. At the ranch John held and may still hold the mineral rights for clay used to make pottery. He sold one of the plots in the upper pasture, next to the forest line, and southwest of the cemetery, which was referred to as Adair pasture, buy a 1947 Chevrolet pickup.

John loved to whittle wood while visiting with family members. He liked to dance and went to the local dance hall on Wednesday and Saturday nights. He wore elastic garter bands on his arms to hold his shirt sleeves up.

John loved his grandchildren. Once Ina, daughter of Leslie Ronald, was fishing across the street from John's house. She jerked the pole back and got the fish hook caught inside her mouth. Soon after, John saw her and asked what had happened. He told her to wait so he could get his pliers. Ina did not know if he was serious or joking but did not stick around to find out, and went home crying with the pole in her hands and the hook still in her mouth.

Doug, son of Leslie, had his ear partially bitten off by a dog. John shot and killed the dog and had it tested for rabies. He owned a 30-30 rifle. It was a birthday gift from his grandsons, Ed and Kenneth. They sold railroad ties to Old Man Yoder for ten cents a tie to purchase the rifle. Incidentally, Old Man Yoder may have owned the only gas station in Pinetop at the time. The tanks had a glass top, which made the gasoline visible.

John had to endure many hardships and trials. The most challenging being the deaths of eleven children and his beloved wife, Cynthia. The fifty-year-old home he built for his family was destroyed by fire in 1955, just two years before his own death. He lost everything he owned and held dear including a large bible with family records and a pump organ. Today, The Community Presbyterian Church is now located where John's house used to stand. After the fire, he went to live in Holbrook with his daughter, Genevieve, until he passed away on April 18, 1957.

John and Cynthia raised a large family. They had twelve children: Olivia, Cynthia Elfreda, John Robin, Clements David, George Daniel, Lloyd Edwin, Delbert William, Thelma Gladys, Lawrence Edward, Leslie Ronald, Glenn Dayton, and Genevieve.

While raising their family, John and Cynthia had to endure many heartaches and sorrows. Despite their trials, they never complained and they remained faithful and devoted to God until the day they died. They were truly remarkable people and great examples for future generations to follow.





  • Maintained by: Delbert Adair Jr.
  • Originally Created by: Robin Adair
  • Added: 1 Feb 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10412800
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Washington Adair (10 Feb 1874–18 Apr 1957), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10412800, citing Pinetop Cemetery, Pinetop-Lakeside, Navajo County, Arizona, USA ; Maintained by Delbert Adair Jr. (contributor 46962765) .