James Jemison Adams (1848 - 1922)

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Birthplace: Springfield, Hanncock, Illinois, United States
Death: Died in Parowan, Iron, Utah, USA
Cause of death: influenza and pneumonia.
Occupation: farmer
Managed by: Arthur Whittaker
Last Updated:
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About James Jemison Adams

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868 Allen Taylor Company (1849) Age 1

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The history of James J. Adams who was born October 2, 1848, in Springfield, Ill.

My father and mother moved to Nauvoo in 1844, and lived there until 1846, when they moved to Springfield, a short distance from Nauvoo. My parents came to Utah in 1849, and we lived in Salt Lake City one year. In 1850, father left Salt Lake City and came to Parowan, arriving here January 13th, with the pioneers. Father came here with Samuel Hamilton and mother and the children came in May. Father and Samuel Hamilton made up a team together.

When I was about seven or eight years old I helped to build the old fort. I pitched mud in the molds. We had boards on either side and filled it in with mud. The wall was twelve feet high and about five feet thick at the bottom and three at the top. The fort was a square mile. There was a street of about 30 yds. between the walls and the houses. There was a horse corral in the north west corner as no one lived there. It was built by putting posts in close together. Then there was a corral in the center where most every one put their cattle at night. The cattle were herded during the day and brought home at night. Old man Laney was a herder. He lived across the street from Whitney's at the old Webb corner. He herded all over the bottoms and out toward Summit, I herded once with Uncle. Charles and Grandpa out at the second mound. It was quite late when we got home. I always went barefoot. We generally rode a little brown horse named Sam and a fine mare named Kit or Kate. I used to herd with Tom Rich­ards and we would have great fun rolling over on the tall weeds , until someone frightened us, saying we might lay on a snake. Each family had a little garden spot, either in front of their house or at the back. Our house stood about the middle of the street by Holyoaks Store. The boys used to meet and have great fun playing games. Once a crowd of us were playing and someone fixed up a curtain for a show or circus. They said they would show you anything you wanted to see and Ed. Clark asked to see a hi-rand-a-tange and they pulled a curtain and he looked into a looking glass. Once a crowd of boys met and Crouch was feeling their heads and telling what certain bumps meant. He found a big bump on Joe Dalton's head and went on to tell what it indi­cated. When he got through, Joe says, "Yes, that's where old Mrs. Adams kicked me."

We did not know what sugar was and used to use molasses and a little honey, when we got bees. I remember the first cake mother made out of sugar, we wouldn't hardly taste it as it looked so different from what we were used to.

I went to school first to Aunt Mary Smith, James Lewis, Jesse N. Smith, Peggy Jane Smith, Evra M. Coombs. Billey Rowe was a great speller. One of the West girls was at the head of the class and Aunt Sarah Ann the next and they all went down on a word until they came to me. I was only a little fellow but he sent me to the head of the class and told me to stay there and I sure did. It made the girls awful mad, but Aunt Sara Ann says your mother works hard and you can stay. We used to have town spelling matches. I did not go to school only a part of two years. I got the measles and they left my eyes very weak. But when they got better I read lots. No one could down me on Arithmetic. The Butler boys, Uncle Tom, Jim and John stayed at our house one year and went to school. Grandma was a good cook and boiled dumplings was quite common. Uncle Jim would come in from school and see the kettle on and he said it never looked big enough, but he said it was, although it was so good. Grandma only charged them about $15.00 for their winter's board, about three months

offs school.

The winter of 1868 helped teach school at Beaver. I helped Geo. W. Crouch and boarded around. I never got any pay, only the help it gave me. I taught at Red Creek in 69 and lived around or boarded with the people. Tom Butler and I slept in a granary with the north door open all winter and every morning took a cold bath. Most of the time I had to break the ice.

Most of the people had cattle, horses and sheep. Father was as well off as most anyone. Ed. Dalton was well off. Every Spring and Fall father and some of us boys would make trips to Salt Lake. He gen­erally took barrels of tar. Old man Chamberlain of Cedar City made the barrels. Father hauled this tar from South Peak to town. He used to burn tar right near this lot. We built a round tar kiln. Father got his first 30 head of sheep from John R. Robinson and some more on a trade from someone from Cedar. We used to get salt from the lake. We gathered alum from alum cove and coppers from under the yellow sand-stone on the sides of the canyon. Father would take it to Salt Lake to sell for dying purposes. Mother worked hard and planned her work well. We used to go bare foot most of the time and then we wore moccasins. When I was about 14 or 16 years old the old man Butt made me a pair of button shoes. They cost $15.00. Mother and Aunt Anna used to weave all the cloth for our clothes. When I went across the plains I got my first pair of buckskin pants. I got them about the first of March. I went up into the mountains the day I put them on and it snowed and they got wet and stretched until I had to keep roll­ing them up. They lasted all summer until I came back from across the plains.

In 1864, I went across the plains with father. We left in April and got back on the 10th of Dec. I had 4 yoke of oxen, two white steers, Monnie and Bounce. We went over the North Pass and crossed Sweet Water. We came back at Poll Creek and brought a load of stoves. We met a train of immigrants and were offered $15.00 a hundred for flour. We were sure sorry we had not loaded with flour. We stayed with the Company all the way across but they left us before we were ready to start. We went over with Robert Heyborne of Cedar and had to wait for a Peter Shelter wagon. We were just a little ways from the Plum Creek Massacre, where a woman and her husband were killed. They started a little while before we did. Plum Creek is about 30 miles from Fort Kearney, Neb. I got so sleepy that I fell asleep while on guard and father found me and took my place. It was quite hard being alone. Our oxen ate just what they could graze. We lived on bacon and flour. We made bread out of flour, salt and baking powder and fried it in a frying pan. I could see father was getting pretty hungry but I did not seem to mind it. We got some grapes from some-where on the road and put them down in molasses so they tasted real good and we also bought 50 worth of eggs and our water bucket would not hold them. When we came to the South Platte, father was afraid to cross the Platte, and he asked me if I thought my Oxen would go and I said I knew they would, so he drove out and let me go first and he followed. At night we would drive our Oxen to feed, sometimes four or five miles and then hunt them in the morning. We went up the Poll Creek to avoid the Indians. We went by way of Red Creek, Beaver, Cove Fort, Dogs Valley, Corn Creek, Fillmore , Pioneer Creek, etc. Father and I went across the plains again in 68. We went to Little Loraine and brought home a thrasher for Old Man Webb. Nearly every night we would dance around the camp fires. John Lee Jones would make the music.

We used to freight lots. I went across the desert from Desert Springs (Modena), to White Pine, Nevada with Old Man Anderson and Sidney Burton. We sold our grain for 18 a pound. I got sleepy and thought my team would follow so I went to sleep. The team strayed from the road and were at the edge of a deep ravine, when I was awak­ened by my grandfather's voice calling me, "James, James!" I did not go to sleep after that.

During the year of 1865 I worked with a crowd at Uncle Nathan's Mill. It was the year Ed. Clark and his father built his house. John Henderson scored logs and John Applegate hewed.

In the fort they used to dance in the old log meeting house. It was in the south east corner of the square.

In 69 we boys, Will, Hugh L., Thomas and I formed a company and divided things nearly equal. We got along alright until they all got married and then troubles came up. Mother was the head of the company and divided to each what she supposed we needed. The company broke up about the time I was married.

The first steers we got were Uncle Hugh's. They cost about $90.00. Uncle Will worked the summer before and got three head of cattle. I got 10 acres of land, five from Richard Benson. We bought 20 acres Company land.

We started to ranch at the old ranch (Co-Op Valley) before I went on my first mission. Mother ranched there before the mill was at the Blowup. I took the land where the old houses are as a homestead and they failed on it, so the Company bought it as a preemption. We got it for $1.25 per acre. There was 160 acres. I used to stay at the ranch more than any of the boys. I lived mostly with Aunt Anna .

We went east during the Civil War and saw some of the Sol­diers. We used to get a little paper every week called the Dispatches About The War, and we used to all meet to hear it read. We felt bad when President Lincoln was shot, for we knew we had lost a friend. But some sympathized with the slayer.

I went on my first mission in the early eighties to Tennessee. When I came back I met Caroline Redd, a daughter of Lemuel H. Redd from New Harmony. She was going to Paragonah to teach school. The next winter I took two of my nieces and went to spend Christmas with her. We got snowed in and had to stay three weeks. The snow was

over the fences.

We were married on March 14, 1888, in the St. George Temple by Br. McAlister. I took my niece Francella Adams down with me. We went in a wagon. On our return to Harmony the whole town met us to show us a good time.

We went home to Parowan, and lived for a short time in my mother's home, then we moved to the old wool house across from the old stray pen, north. Before a year had passed I built my home and

moved into it. On March 13, 1889, our first child, a daughter, was born.

After we had had five children, I went on my second mission to the Northern States and spent most of my time in Michigan. On January 11, 1900 another son was born while I was in Michigan. When I returned from my mission we ranched every summer at the Mammoth. When my boys got old enough they ran our sheep. My wife and I came down from the canyon to put up fruit and came back in a rain storm from which she caught a cold. We brought her to town for medical aid but she died on Sept. 3, 1905. She left me eight children, three boys and five girls.

Father was father and mother both to us until we were all grown when he finally went to meet his sweetheart on March 8th, after a few days illness of the influenza. He was one of the stalwart pioneers of the south, an active church worker until his death. He was president of the 69 quorum of seventies for many years. He also held a number of civil offices, Sheriff and County Attorney. His schooling was very meager, but he was a thorough student. He was a self made man and a great reader. He had a rare knowledge of history and a wonderful memory. It was said of him at his funeral that few men had a greater knowledge of the gospel. He was a strict observer of the Word of Wis­dom and full of faith to the last.

Birth: Oct. 2, 1845 Springfield Sangamon County Illinois, USA

Death: Mar. 8, 1922 Parowan Iron County Utah, USA

Husband of Caroline R. Adams.

Parowan Times 3/15/1922

FUNERAL SERVICES FOR JAMES J. ADAMS

Funeral services for James J. Adams, pioneer to Parowan, whose death was announced in last weeks TIMES, were held in the Tabernacle on Friday, March 10, at 2 o'clock, the speakers being Walter C. Mitchell, Morgan Richards, R.H. Benson and John W. Bentley. In addition to the regular music by the choir, special numbers were a male quartet by Messrs Alfred Morris, J. Clayton Mitchell, L. Nelson Marsden and Merton Richards, and a violin solo by Alfred Morris.

From his surviving children, we get the following information relative to Brother Adams: He was born at Springfield, Ill. on Oct 3, 1848, the thrid son of Wm. and Maryann Leech Adams. He came to Salt Lake City with his parents in 1849, and to Parowan the next year, arriving in May, or within about four months after the first settlers reached here. The hardships of pioneer life were all his and he participated in many of the early Indian drives, as well as crossing the plains many times.

He was always prominent in church and civic affairs, having filled two missions, one in 1881 to Tennessee and another in 1900 to Michigan.

He was married in 1868 to Caroline Redd whose death many years ago left him as the soul protector of a family of eight children, seven of whom survive him.

In his death, the community lost one of its most --unreadable-- public problem in our recollection. We express the feeling of --unreadable-- in extending sympathy to the bereaved family.


Family links:

Parents:
  • William Adams (1822 - 1901)
  • Mary Ann Leech Adams (1821 - 1902)
Spouse:
  • Caroline Redd Adams (1866 - 1904)
Children:
  • Luella Adams Dalton (1889 - 1967)*
  • Ancel James Adams (1891 - 1983)*
  • John Redd Adams (1895 - 1971)*
  • Pauline Adams Burris (1897 - 1956)*
  • Josephine Adams (1898 - 1908)*
  • Paul Monroe Adams (1900 - 1985)*
  • Mary Ann Adams Snow (1901 - 1962)*
  • Verene Adams Hasler (1903 - 1970)*

Burial: Parowan City Cemetery Parowan Iron County Utah, USA Plot: 01-21-01

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James Adams's Timeline

1848
October 2, 1848
Springfield, Hanncock, Illinois, United States
1888
March 14, 1888
Age 39
1889
March 12, 1889
Age 40
Parowan, Utah, Utah, United States
1922
March 8, 1922
Age 73
Parowan, Iron, Utah, USA
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Parowan, Iron, Utah, USA