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Adams Family Papers

Adams Family Papers

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Open Finding Aid

ADAMS FAMILY PAPERS, 1723-1929

Sponsor:

Processing of this collection was funded by a grant from the NHPRC (National Historical Publications and Records Commission).





Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Adams Family
Title:Adams Family Papers
Dates:1723/1929
Quantity:4 linear feet (5 boxes)
Abstract:This collection contains papers of three branches of the Robert Adams family of Newbury, Massachusetts. The papers span six generations of the Adams family. They include correspondence and other personal papers, Revolutionary War documents, legal papers including wills and deeds, lectures and research notes particularly on Essex County history and beekeeping, genealogical notes, inventories of household furnishings, accounts and receipts, Town of Newbury records, and news clippings.
Identification:MSS 370

Series List

SERIES I. Abraham Adams Family Papers
A. Personal Papers
B. Legal and Business Papers
C. Financial Papers
SERIES II. Sarah Adams Family Papers
SERIES III. Richard Adams Family Papers

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains papers of three branches of the Robert Adams family of Newbury, Massachusetts. The papers span six generations of the Adams family. They include correspondence and other personal papers, Revolutionary War documents, legal papers including wills and deeds, lectures and research notes particularly on Essex County history and beekeeping, genealogical notes, inventories of household furnishings, accounts and receipts, Town of Newbury records, and news clippings. The collection is arranged in three series. Series I. Abraham Adams Family Papers contains the will of Captain Abraham Adams (1676-1763) and papers of his descendants. Series II. Sarah Adams Family Papers includes documents from a second branch of the Robert Adams family, descended from Abraham's sister Sarah Adams (1681-1734). Series III. Richard Adams Family Papers includes papers from a third branch of the family descended from Abraham's younger brother Richard (1693-1778).


The Series I. Abraham Adams Family Papers is arranged in three subseries. Subseries A. Personal Papers contain Revolutionary War papers of Josiah Adams (1757-1852). Following are papers of Gibbons Adams (1787-1862), George W. Adams Sr., (1818-1859), and George W. Adams. [We have added "Senior" to the elder George W. Adams, who died when his son was only three years old, to distinguish the two men.] George W. Adams' papers reflect his interests in history, genealogy, and his avocation beekeeping. Contributions of other family members are also represented. Notable among the personal papers are the letters Josiah Adams wrote to his parents and the records he kept while serving in the American Revolutionary War. Also of interest is the exhaustive inventory and history of Highfields, the family home in Byfield, occupied by the Adams family from the time it was built in about 1702 until 1938.Subseries B. Legal and Business Papers contains the wills of Abraham Adams (1676-1763) and Samuel Adams (1717-1791). In addition, there are over 100 legal documents belonging to Abraham Adams and his descendants. These deal primarily with purchase and sale of property and also with articles of agreement among family members with respect to shared obligations. Most of the business papers pertain to Josiah Adams' term as Tax Collector and Treasurer for Newbury or to George W. Adams' Sr. term as Treasurer for Newbury. Also included are papers of the Byfield Parish Church in Newbury and miscellaneous accounts and memoranda.Subseries C. Financial Papers is composed mostly of personal receipts and tax receipts. Also included are First Presbyterian Society in Newburyport receipts and payments and abatements to the Town of Newbury during George W. Adams' Sr. tenure as Town Treasurer.


Series II. Sarah Adams Family Papers contains correspondence to Edwin S. Adams, correspondence among his family and friends, and lines written on the death of Elvira Adams in 1879. Receipts and tintypes of Amanda Adams' brother Joseph Fowler (1824-1888) and his wife are included in this series.


Series III. Richard Adams Family Papers contains one deed to Richard Adams (1726-1788) and several deeds and legal papers belonging to Richard's son, Paul Adams (1758-1833), of Newbury. Most of these papers concern the acquisition of land, while others deal with the operation of gristmills and a sawmill. Other papers in this series pertain to Paul's wife, Hannah G. Adams (1774-1844), his brother Asa Adams (1772-1801), or their children Seneca (1808-1862), Paul Jr. (1814- ) or Thomas Hall (1817-1875) Adams. There is also a statement from the Rhode Island Meeting of the Society of Friends and an account from the Bank Mill.


Biographical Sketch

Robert Adams, born in England in 1602, came to Massachusetts Bay in 1635 and settled in Newbury, Massachusetts, where he died in 1682. Notable among his descendants was Captain Abraham Adams (1676-1763), an enterprising sea captain who launched coasters from the river in front of his house Highfields, built in Byfield Parish, Newbury, in about 1702. Abraham's descendants included Samuel Adams (1717-1791), a successful businessman, who served in the Revolutionary War with four of his sons. This collection contains papers of one son, Josiah Adams (1757-1852), who served in Col. Moses Little's Regiment in 1775 and as Adjutant in Col. Jacob Gerrish's Regiment in 1778. George William Adams (1855-after 1938) was a sixth generation descendant of Abraham Adams. He was a farmer and renowned beekeeper, and he was the last member of the family to reside at Highfields, which was sold in 1938.


Sarah Adams (1681-1734/5), granddaughter of Robert and sister of Abraham Adams, married John Hutchinson of Andover, Mass. She settled in Andover and died there. Among the descendants of her illegitimate son Israel Adams (1707-1789) was Edwin Strong Adams (1806-1887). Edwin S. Adams resided in West Boxford, Mass. He married Elvira Chase (1809-1879) in 1842, and following her death he married Amanda (Fowler) Davis (d. 1887). There was no issue from either marriage.


Richard Adams (1693-1778), Abraham's and Sarah's younger brother was a husbandman in Newbury, Mass. and died in Newburyport at age 84. Among his descendants was Paul Adams (1758-1833). Paul Adams was a successful farmer and miller in Newbury. He married Hannah Ilsley (1765-1803) in 1785; their children included Jerusha, Ruth, Hannah, Jane, Caroline, and Asa. In 1803 he married Hannah Keniston (1774-1844); their offspring were John Jones, Mary, Seneca, Rebecca, Paul Jr., and Thomas Hall.

See Appendices I-III for additional genealogical information.


Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Adams family
Adams, Abraham, 1676-1763
Adams, Edwin S., 1806-1887
Adams, Elvira Chase, 1809-1879
Adams, George W., b. 1855
Adams, George, 1835-
Adams, Gibbins, 1787-1862
Adams, Hannah G., 1774-1844
Adams, Josiah, 1757-1852
Adams, Paul, 1758-1833
Adams, Richard, 1693-1778
Adams, Robert, 1602-1682
Adams, Samuel, 1717-1791
Adams, Seneca, 1808-1862
Byfield Parish Church
First Presbyterian Church (Newburyport, Mass.)
Beekeeping
Massachusetts--Byfield Parish
Massachusetts--Newbury
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
Deeds
Inventories
Letters
Tintypes

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.


Administrative Information

Copyright

Request for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Adams Family Papers, MSS 370, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

Provenance

This provenance of this material is unknown.

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Elizabeth Sherry, December 2007. Updated by Lee Jacoby, August 2012.


Related Material

Adams, Andrew N., ed. Robert Adams of Newbury, Mass. and His Descendants, 1635-1900. Rutland, Vermont, 1900.


Gibbons Adams Diaries, 1840-1861, DIA 3


Adams Family Tree (selected Adams)


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