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Adams Families - New Boston and Eliza Townships

Mercer County Home Page
Return to Surnames Page

Alternate Spellings - None Found for Adams

Links - Fisher, LaRue, Strong, Noland, Mason

Contacts - Much of the information on Jesse Luster Adams was furnished by Dennis Ronfeldt who has since passed away. Jim Cook is researching John Franklin Adams, brother of Jesse Adams of Millersburg. He has sent photos of Jesse and wife Sarah and of their church congregation. Melissa Burkhalter is namesake and descendant of Melissa Jane Adams who married Issac Larue (see LaRue page - link above). Dani Mann, an Adams researcher, sent us much fascinating information on George M. Hinkle, brother of Rebekah Hinkle Adams, and led us to add more information on the Adams and Hinkle church connections in Mercer County. While their church was not active in New Boston or Eliza Township it may be of a great deal of interest to Mercer County people who think their family might have had Mormon and/or Reorganized Latter Day Saints' Church connections.

References - History of Mercer County, 1882, and various census and cemetery records. Jim Cook sent us an excerpt about ancestor Abraham Adams from "The Pioneer" compiled by Samuel Harden of Anderson Indiana (Greenfield, Indiana: William Mitchell Printing Co, 1895). There is a small genealogy of the Abraham and Catharine Swartzlander Adams family available at the LDS Library. When time permits we will obtain the genealogy and see if we can ascertain the sources of information. In the meantime, take the information about them with a grain of salt as "histories" are notoriously inaccurate.

Abraham and Catharine Swartzlander Adams

The progenitor of some of the Mercer County Adams was Abraham Adams. From a sketch of him in "The Pioneer," we excerpt the following. Abraham Adams came to Madison county [Indiana] in 1823 and settled near New Columbus (Ovid), on the hill just south of town... . Mr. Adams was born in Virginia, October 10, 1767. He was married to Catharine Swartzbinder, in North Carolina, in 1791. She was born August 21, 1769... . The township (Adams) was named after him. He died January 1, 1846...he is buried in the Gilmore cemetery, where his wife is also buried. She died September 23, 1853. They lived on Fall Creek, where the Indian murders took place in 1824, and where Sawyer, Bridge and Hudson were hung for it at Pendleton in 1825... . The following are the names of the children of Abraham Adams and wife: Jemima, born March 11, 1792, married to Daniel Adams [Jemima died in Indiana in 1855]; Elizabeth, born August 11, 1793, married to Resin Sargent [both died in Indiana]; John, born June 10, 1799, married to Rebecca Hinkle [more below]; Nancy C., born November 17, 1801, married to Stephen Noland [more below]; Sara, born August 23, 1804, married to Jacob Little [both died in Indiana]; Jesse, born March 23, 1806, married Sallie Fisher [more below]; Catharine, born October 11, 1811, married John H. Williams [both died Indiana]; Abraham Adams, born July 5, 1814, married Elizabeth Lanham. Four of the children were born in North Carolina, and three in Ohio.

John Franklin and Rebekah Hinkle Adams Family

We are including John Adams here, although he lived across the River from New Boston in Louisa County, Iowa, as Jesse's biography mentions him. Rebecca was a sister of George M. Hinkle who participated with the Adams families in church activities in Mercer County.

John Franklin Adams married Rebekah Hinkle on 4/9/1820 in Wayne County, Indiana, which tells us the Adams family located there before moving on to Madison County. This is verified by 1820 census records.

Jim Cook alerted us to John Franklin Adams purchasing land in Vermillion County, Indiana in 1830 and 1832. In the 1830 record he is given as "of Madison County" and in 1832 as "John Franklin Adams." Brother Jesse (below) evidently visited him there in about 1832. By 1840 John F. Adams had moved on to Louisa County, Iowa (across the river from Mercer County).

The John Franklin Adams family is found in Grandview Township in Louisa County, Iowa, in 1850: John F. Adams, 52, farmer, born North Carolina; Rebecca, 45, born North Carolina; Abraham H., 21, born Indiana; Jesse S., 19, born Ind; Amelia, 15, born Ind; John Q., 10, b Iowa; Rebecca S., 7, born Iowa.

Jim Cook tells us that John Franklin Adams migrated to Oregon in 1852 along with a number of other families in a large wagon train. John is buried on his homestead near Turner, Marion, Oregon. (Note: there may be other older children as Abraham would have been born about 1829. There are no likely Adams males in the 1850 Louisa or Muscatine County censuses, but there may be married daughters.)

The possibility of more daughters is born out by the 1820 and 1830 census records for John Adams. In 1820 in Wayne County, next to father Abram Adams, we find John Adams: 1 male 16-26; 1 female 16-26, and 1 female over 45. Stephen Noland who married John's sister Nancy is two families away. In 1830 we find Abraham, John and Jesse in Madison County, Indiana. John Adams: 1 male under 5 (Abraham), 1 male 30-40 (John), 2 females under 5 (Mary Anne and one other), 2 females 5-10, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 20-30 (Rebecca)

Jesse Luster and Sarah Fisher Adams Family

Photo of (1) Jesse Luster Adams and (2) Sarah Fisher Adams


Following the history of this family demonstrates the difficulty of trying to confine a study to particular townships in a County.

The History of Mercer County, 1882 tells us that Jesse L. Adams was born in Bucks County, Ohio, March 23, 1808 [note 1806 in the Madison County history, but generally census records support 1808]. He subsequently moved to Madison County, Indiana, and settled in the wilderness. He married Sarah Jane Fisher, daughter of Martin Fisher, there about 1830 [record not found in Indiana]. In 1835 he moved to Mercer County, settling near Glancey's Lake in Eliza Township.

In 1836 Jesse Adams purchased the E/2SW Section 34 in T15NR5W in Eliza Township (plat map). In 1839 he purchased two additional parcels adjoining each other: E/2NE Sec 15 and SESE Section 10 T15NR5W. In 1842 he bought another 80 acres, E/2 NE Section 22 T15NR5W. His name does not appear in the 1840 census for Township 15N Range 5 West. He may have been censused in Louisa County in 1840. It was not uncommon for families to own land on both sides of the Mississippi River due to the ease of ferry travel.

Jesse Adams and his family are found in the 1850 census in Grandview Township, Louisa County, Iowa: Jesse L., 42, farmer, born Ohio; Sarah, 36, Ohio; William, 20, born Indiana, Martin F. (named for Sarah's father, Martin Fisher), age 13, born Illinois, Melissa J., age 10, Ill; John F. (probably John Franklin, named for Jesse's brother), 8, Ill; Catharine, 5, Ill, and Jesse L., 2, born Iowa.

The History of Mercer County, 1882 (page 497 - Duncan Township) tells us: "Among the first organizers of the Buffalo Prairie Church, of Duncan, Jesse L. Adams took an active interest. He was born in Bucks County, Ohio, March 23, 1808. He subsequently moved from that state to Madison County, Indiana, and settled in the wilderness. In 1822 he went to visit his older brother, who was then living on the Wabash river" [Indiana]. (Jim Cook sent us some additional information on older brother John Franklin Adams who purchased land in Vermilion County, Indiana in 1830 and 1832. Vermilion County includes the Wabash River so we suspect the History errs and the visit date was 1832, not 1822.) The History continues that "While sojourning he united with the Church of Jesus Christ, and was called to the office of elder in 1835 [again the 1832 visit date would make more sense]. In 1835 he moved to Mercer County, settling near Glancey's lake in Eliza Township. He being enthusiastic in the faith, immediately began the agitation of establishing a church, and accordingly in 1862, the church was organized with eleven members. Winthrop Holmes was called to the eldership. The first meetings were held at the houses of the different members. The services were conducted by Elder J. W. Gillon, J. H. Gurley, and W. Holmes. The latter named dying in 1865, his place was filled by J. F. Adams. Up to 1865 the church had a membership of 27. In 1868 a revival took place, at which time 103 were added to the church, making in all 130 members, and they immediately set about building a church by subscription. This was dedicated September 5, 1868. In the fall of 1873 J. F. Adams resigned the eldership of the church, and David S. Holmes was called; he resigned in 1875, and E. F. Bryant was called. Under his administration the church reached 256 members." The dates being referenced here from the organization in 1862 on would have been the Buffalo Prairie RLDS (Reorganized Latter Day Saints)Church. There were numerous differences in the beliefs of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) and the Reorganized Latter Day Saints, particularly in that the latter "detested the very idea of polygamy."

Since John Franklin Adams was gone to Oregon in 1852 we assume that the J. F. Adams who took over the church in 1865 was John F. Adams, son of Jesse Adams. The piece is so riddled by errors however that it is very difficult to assume anything from it. We do not know how to prove Jesse Adam's birth in Bucks County, Ohio. Later censuses give his birthplace as Ohio but tieing it down to Bucks County would be difficult due to the lack of an 1810 census for Ohio. We would have to assume that the information given was from someone in Mercer County in 1882 who knew his birthplace and date. Jesse's move to Indiana before 1822 is credible but Madison County as the initial place of settlement is not, as both Abraham Adams and John Franklin Adams are found in Wayne County, Indiana, in the 1820 census. However Abraham, Jesse, and John are found in Madison County in 1830 and as mentioned above John Franklin Adams purchased land in Vermilion County, Indiana in 1830 and 1832 and brother Jesse probably visited him there about 1832.

The only other Latter Day Saints Church in Mercer County was in Millersburg (page 221 in the 1882 History): "This doctrine of the church was first preached in the county about 1840, by Elder G. M. Hinkle [Rebecca Hinkle Adams' brother]. The first society in the county was organized in 1861 in Duncan Township [close to the 1862 date given in the Duncan County history]. The members of this faith then in Millersburg worshiped with the congregation in Duncan township till 1872, when they were organized into a distinct society, which met at private residences for worship for a short time after its organization, and other buildings suitable, till 1876, when they built their present church-house at a cost of $600." 25 members are listed by name and then by 1882 it says there were 46 members. It gives a partial list of ministers and J. B. Harris was the one in charge when the History was written so it wasn't Jesse Adams. A statement is made "It receives much uncalled-for censure because of the infamous doctrine preached by the Utah church." [This reflects the confusion between the Mormon Latter Day Saints' Church and the Reorganized Latter Day Saints' Church.] This has some credibility as from history that Dani Mann sent us we know that George M. Hinkle was excommunicated from the Mormon Church in 1839. She also tells us he established a Mormon Church in Muscatine County, Iowa, across the River about 1840 which explains the gap until the Duncan Township organization of which Jesse Adams was a part. Since Muscatine was so close and because he was related to the Adams family via the marriage of his sister, he no doubt influenced the churches in Mercer County. The Church was apparently still active around 1890 as the below photo of the congregation was taken in about that time frame from the dress of the parishioners. Members Jesse Adams and Isaac Beard LaRue are both in the photo.

Photo of Millersburg LDS Church ca 1890?


Jesse Adams must have been about church business in Duncan Township when the 1860 census was taken, or possibly also owned land there, as his family is listed in that township: Jesse, 52, farmer, Ohio; Sarah, 46, Pa; Martin F., age 23, carpenter, Il; Martin's wife Rosette (Rosanna Kindlesparker), 21, born Indiana; John, 18, Il; Catharine, 14, Il; Stephen, 8, Il; and Elaster (Luster), age 5, Il. Son William is not found in the 1860 Mercer County Census and had evidently left the area. There is a census record in Nevada County, California in 1860 which matches his name, age, and birthplace but since the name is fairly common there is no way to determine if this is the right person. He was living with a Conoly family and working as a farmer.

In 1870 Jesse is found in Eliza Township: Jesse L., 62, farmer, born Ohio; Sarah, 56, Pa; Stephen, 19, Ia; Luster, 15, Il.

In the 1880 Census for Eliza Township, Jesse and Sarah are living in the household of their son Stephen N. Adams. According to the History of Mercer County they were living on Section 22 in Eliza Township in 1882 which was Jesse's land. In the census Jesse's occupation is given as Minister of the Gospel (not sure if he was still connected to the Mormon Church!), born Ohio, father born Virginia and mother born Pennsylvania. Sarah is listed as born Pennsylvania with parents both born Pennsylvania. This information matches genealogical information from Dennis Ronfeldt showing Jesse to be the son of Abraham Adams, born October 10, 1767 in Leesburg, Loudon County, Virginia, and Catherine Swartzlander, born August 21, 1769 in Boyestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Both parents died in Ovid, Madison County, Indiana, which agrees with the Madison history. Sarah's parents, Martin and Rachel Reese Fisher, were both born in Pennsylvania and both died in Mercer County.

The reference in the Mercer County History to Section 22 in Eliza Township may be in error. The 1875 plat map of Eliza Township shows him owning land in Sections 21 and 28, or perhaps he bought additional land by 1882.

To summarize, Jesse and Sarah Fisher Adams had children: William Adams, born 8/10/1829, Indiana; Rachel Ann Adams, born 3/3/1832, In; Lucinda, born 5/12/1834, died same day, Indiana; Martin Fisher Adams, born 8/7/1836, Ill; Melissa G. Adams, born 3/17/1840, Il; John F. Adams, born 9/1/1842, Il; Catharine Adams, born 3/1/1847, Il; Luster (Jesse in the census) L. Adams, born 1848, died before 1855; Stephen N. Adams, born 3/1/1855; Luster Adams, born 8/5/1854. Rachel Adams Keck Daughter Rachel Ann Adams married Michael Keck sometime after 1850 in Iowa. Michael had a wife Catharine in 1850 but she evidently died. He was born about 1829 in Hamburg, Germany, son of Michael and Catherine Keck. In 1870 Michael and Rachel are living in Eliza Township, two doors from Jesse Adams: Michael Keck, 41, Carpenter/Farmer, born Hamburg; Rachel, 37, In; Jesse, 18, Ia; Sarah, 15, Ia; William, 4, Ia. Jesse Keck married Arminda Jack on 5/29/1875. Sarah Keck married Wentworth Holmes 8/25/1874.

Martin Fisher Adams

Son Martin Fisher Adams married Rosanna Kindlesparker, daughter of James and Christine Kindlesparker, on 6/21/1860 in Mercer County. They had a daughter Melissa Jane, born 1861, died 1862 and buried in Leech Cemetery. They are not found in Mercer County in 1870. They may be in Iowa.

Melissa Adams LaRue

Daughter Melissa Jane Adams married Isaac Beard LaRue on 12/31/1857 in Mercer County. They are in Duncan Township in 1870: Isaac B. Larew, 38, farmer, born In, Melissa J., 30, born Il; Sarah A., 11, Il; Clara B., 5, Il; Rachel A., 1, Il. They are still in Duncan Township in 1880: Isaac Larew, 48, born In, father born Md, mother born Va; Jane Larew, 40, born Il, parents born Pa; Sarrah Larew, 20, Il; Clara Larew, 15, Il; Anna Larew, 11, Il; Lydia Larew, 9, Il; William Larew, 4, Il; Zeb Halsted, 18, works on farm, born Il. Melissa Burkhalter, descendant of Lydia Larew, and namesake of Melissa Jane Adams, tells us that Melissa died in 1881 in a runaway wagon accident and that Isaac later remarried.

John F. Adams

Son John F. Adams married Bessie (Betsey A.) Strong 9/4/1866 in Mercer County. They are not found in Mercer in 1870 but may have been across the river in Louisa County, Iowa. They are found in Duncan Township in Mercer County in 1880: John Adams, farmer, 37, born Il, father born Oh, mother Pa; Betsy Adams, 30, Il, father NH, mother Can; Eva Adams, 12, Il; Emma Adams, 11, Il; John Adams, 9, Il; Sadie Adams, 7, Il; Rachel Adams, 5, Il; Bessie Adams, 3, Il; Jessie Adams, 1, Il.

The Adams Cemetery plot in Aledo Cemetery is instructive in giving us more information on John and Bessie and their children: John F. Adams is not indexed in the DAR cemetery records but he is found in the Aledo Cemetery: John F. Adams 1842-1929. Also found: Bessie Strong Adams "Mother" 1848-1910; Eva M. Adams 1867-1894; Gertrude Adams 1899-1890; Bessie E. Adams 1876-1953; Jessie L. Adams 1878-1938; Lydia E. Adams 1891-1951; One stone E. Logan Adams 1886-1964 Ada Adams 1873-1953.

Vicki Mason is researching this family and tells us there were four additional children born after 1880: Stephen Noland Adams about 1881; Howard, about 1882; Lydia about 1892, and E. Logan Adams. Stephen Noland Adams was no doubt named for Stephen Noland who married John F. Adams' aunt Nancy Eleanor Adams (see Noland page). Lydia and Logan are verified by the cemetery records and Howard is found with his father John F. Adams in Hampton Township, Rock Island County, in 1910 (census taken May 3, 1910): John F. Adams, 67, widower, born Il, parents born In, moving contractor; Howard, 27, son, born Il, moulder in foundry.

Vicki Mason also told us that sisters Bessie, Jessie, Ada (Rachel in 1880 census), and Lydia were school teachers in Aledo. We find them there in 1930: Aledo City, 409 S. Maple St; Bessie Adams, rent $30 mo, no radio, 53, born Il, public school teacher; Jessie, sister, 51, public school teacher; Ada, sister, 55, no occupation; Lydia, sister, 38, no occupation. We also found Logan Adams listed as a school teacher in 1910 in Duncan Township, boarding with a Kerch family, age 24, born Il.

Catharine Adams Strong

Daughter Catherine Adams married Daniel Strong, brother of Bessie Strong, in a double wedding on 9/4/1866. In 1870 they are living next door to Jesse Adams: Daniel Strong, 33, Farmer, Vt; Catharine, 24, Il; Mary L., 3, Il; Zenas H., 1, Il. In 1880 they are in Eliza Township: D. W. Strong, farmer, 44, born Vt, father NH, mother Can; Catherine S. Strong, 35, Il, father Oh, mother Pa; Mary L. Strong, 12, Il; Zenas H. Strong, 11, Il; William Strong, 8, Il; Rachel E. Strong, 6, Il; Joseph L. Strong, 1 month, Il. (We will be putting up a Strong page.)

Stephen Adams

Son Stephen N. Adams married Martha J. Welch on 12/31/1874 in Mercer County. We have been unable to fit Martha into any of the Welch families, but she may have been the female M. J. Welch with a James Duncan Family in 1870 in Duncan Township. They had a daughter Dora Mae Adams, born and died in 1887 and buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery. Martha is also buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery and died 10/30/1887 as a result of the childbirth. Stephen married next to Amanda E. Nelson on 8/16/1888 in Mercer County.

Jesse Luster Adams

Son Luster Adams married Theresa E. Mason, daughter of John of New York, on 12/25/1880 in Mercer County. We have a Mason family page up with more information on Theresa and Jesse. They are found in Eliza Township in the 1900 census taken 23 June 1900: #200 Luster Adams, b. Aug 1854, married 20 years, born Il, father born Oh, mother born Pa, farmer; Theresa Adams, born Dec 1864, 4 children born, 4 living, born New York, father born Scotland, mother born Isle of Mann; Lillian Adams, born Nov 1881, in school; Adrian A. Adams, born Aug 1883, farm laborer; Luster J. Adams, born Nov 1886, in school; Roena Adams, born July 1895, age 4, at home.

Jesse Luster Adams died October 23, 1897 in Mercer County and was buried next to his wife, but the tombstone was not readable and not included in the 1960 DAR cemetery walk down. A descendant says it is still there. Sarah Adams' tombstone was read in the 1960 DAR walkdown of Eliza Creek Cemetery as "Sarah Adams, wife of Jesse L. Adams, died 12-19-1891 age 78 yrs, 2 mos."

Nancy Adams Noland Family

Nancy Eleanor Adams, sister of John Franklin and Jesse Luster Adams, married Stephen Noland on 9/12/1820 in Wayne County, Indiana. Stephen and Nancy are found in Eliza Township in 1860: Stephen Noland, 59, Ky; Nancy E., 58, NC; Stephen, 21, In; Nancy E., 19, In; Mary E., 19, In; Eliza E., 13, In. We have considerable information on this family and have a separate Noland page.

Other Adams Families Connected to New Boston or Eliza Township

Isaac & Abraham Adams Families

In New Boston Township in the 1840 census: Isaac Adams, male 30-40, female 20-30, and four children. Abraham Adams, male 20-30, female 15-20, and a small child. In Eliza Township in 1840: Abraham Adams, male 20-30, female 20-30, and two small children. It is quite possible this is the same Abraham Adams family censused in both places. The differences in the family would not be at all unusual from what we have seen of duplicate census records. None of these families are found further in Mercer County. There is an Abram Adams family found in the 37th District of Rock Island County in 1850: Abram Adams, 37, farmer, born Pa; Sarah, 42, Pa; Angeline 17, Pa; Bethell (m), 15, Pa; Malina, 10, Ohio; Rachel, 8, Il; Samuel, 5, Il. One or another of these Abraham Adams may be the son of Abraham and Catherine Swartzlander Adams. The age of the Abram Adams in Rock Island County is right but the birthplace is not.

Lewis Adams Family

There is a Lewis Adams family in New Boston Township in the 1860 census. Lewis is 39 years old, laborer, born Indiana. Wife Sarah is 39 and born Indiana. Their children are born in Iowa, including Levi, 9, Willis, 4, and Eliza A., six months old. This appears to be the same Lewis Adams found in the Almhouse Register January 16, 1875, a widower, born Pennsylvania, educated, health good, left on his own April 29, 1875. With him is son Lewis (given as Willis in the 1860 census), born Iowa, educated, health bad, also left on his own April 29, 1875. No further record.

Halsey Adams Family

There is a Halsey Adams family in New Boston Township in 1870: Halsey, 52, farmer, born New York; Aletha, 46, born NY, Lydia M., 23; Oscar, 19; Halsey M.; 17; Edward, 12; and Edgar, 6, all born Illinois. Since no marriages are found in Mercer county for any of the children we think they did not remain in the County.

Updates:Added some information on the Reorganized Latter Day Saints' Church to try to clarify the differences between the Mormon Latter Day Saints' Church and the Reorganized Church.



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