William Jonathan Adams

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William JOHNATHAN Adams

Also Known As: "Jonathan", "jonathan"
Birthplace: Richmond, VA, USA
Death: Died in Marlboro, South Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Adams, I and Amy Adams
Husband of Obedience "Mary" Adams / Robeson
Father of Shockley Adams; Divinity Gibson; William Adams; John Adams and Thomas Adams
Brother of Prudence Adams; Betsy Adams; Richard Adams, II; Elias Adams; James Adams and 1 other

Managed by: Walter Joseph Timoschuk, III
Last Updated:

About William Jonathan Adams


Private, South Carolina Line, American Revolution

He was born ca. 1740. There is a great deal of confusion among his descendants about his and his wife's first names. Several secondary sources from 1897 onward refer to him as "Jonathan" and his wife as "Mary," including a memorial stone erected in his honor in 1941. Nevertheless Anne G. Tindall, one of his descendants has been unable to find a single primary document that refer to them as "Jonathan" and "Mary." She has also found several primary documents that directly or indirectly refer to them as William and Obedience. The most important among these are an extract from some court minutes and an excerpt from his wifes' second husband Luke Robeson's will (see also deed listed under entry for his son 4. William below):

"Luke Robeson and Obedience his wife late the relict of Wm. Adams, Deceased came into Court and Prayed letters of Administration and was granted by the Court and gave Solomon Gross and Richard Leveret Bail for their performance in the Sum of Seven Hundred Pounds... " (1785 March Court Minutes Richmond County NC)

"I Luke Robeson of Marlboro District in the State of South Carolina planter... First I give and bequeath to my dearly beloved wife Obedience Robeson... And I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint My Trusty and well beloved friends and Step sons William Adams, John Adams and Shockly Adams, Executors of this my last will and Testament..." (Children named in will: Jeptha, Samuel, John, Thomas, Leggitt, Christian Chambers, William, Obedience Gibson, Sally Usery, and Mary Slay)" (Sep 7, 1812 (recorded Dec. 25, 1812) will of Luke Robeson, Apt. No. 8, Package No. 16 Marlboro County Probate Judge office, Bennettsville, SC)

In addition to this confusion about his name, secondary sources disagree about precisely where he was born. One tradition places his birth in Ireland, while another identifies his place of birth in Amelia Co. VA. In any event, he died in 1783 "within two days march of his home" according to secondary sources. He was SC Private during the Revolutionary War. He attended services at the Quaker Meeting House in Pine Grove, Marlboro Co. SC.

"[William (referred to in this work as Jonathan) ADAMS] probably came from Virginia or Pennsylvania, arrived in North Carolina in 1760. After remaining in Bladen Co. for some time, he moved on to South Carolina, and was the first Adams to make his appearance in the section of Marlsboro County known as Adamsville. Tradition states that he is a direct descendant of the Adams family of Quincy, Mass. He fought in the Revolutionary War as a Whig, and when the war ended, while returning home, died only a short distance away. He was buried between Lynch's Creek and the Pee Dee River" Pate-Adams-Newton (1958)

"Jonathan [sic] Adams was of Scotch-Irish descent-The year 1740 is given as the date of his birth and 1760 as the approximate date of his arrival in North Carolina from Ireland. He married Mary Robeson, of Bladon County. She was born in 1742 and died in 1810. She was a daughter of William Robeson and his first wife, Elizabeth. William Robeson was a member of the Convention which met at New Bern on 25 August, 1774; of the Provincial Congress which met at Halifax on 4 April, 1776; and of the Congress which assembled there on the 12th day of the following November. After the adoption of the Constitution he represented Richmond County in the General Assembly - 1789-1790. He went to Virginia and died there in 1800. (It is said he drowned attempting to cross Green Briar River)- He was the son of Peter Robeson and Sarah Farmer of Philadelphia, PA. Peter was the son of Andrew Robeson and Mary Spencer, who came from Scotland to America in 1676. Jonathan Adams finally settled in the most ...part of Marlboro County or Marlboro district of South Carolina. His home, in the vicinity of Adamsville (named in his honor) was near the place now known as the former site of the "Burnt Factory"- a cotton mill built in 1835 and destroyed by fire in 1851. He fought through the Revolutionary War as a Whig. After the struggle had ended, and when within two days march of home, he sickened and died (See History of Marlboro County, by J. A. Thomas p. 27.) He was survived by his wife, three sons, and a daughter. The daughter married James Gibson and died soon afterwards, leaving no children. The three sons were William, Shockley, and John. So far as I know this is the first appearance in the family of the name Shockley." Notes written by his descendant, William Jackson Adams.

"Jonathan [sic] Adams (1740-83) served as a private in the South Carolina Line, from Marlboro County, SC, where he died. He was born in Ireland." There are several other entries of women claiming Jonathan [sic] Adams as their ancestor who make the same claim, but a later entry by Mrs. Vera Kirkwood Crosland states "Jonathan [sic] Adams (1740-83) served as a private in the South Carolina troops. He was born in Virginia, died in Marlboro County, S.C." (DAR entry of Mrs. Imogene Underwood Wardle (no. 96451) p. 142).

William ADAMS married Obedience -. She was born ca. 1742 and prior to her marriage lived with her parents in Bladen Co. NC. She died sometime after 1812 (the year her second husband Luke ROBESON signed a will mentioning her).

According to secondary sources (e.g. the notes written by William Jackson Adams above), Obedience (referred to as Mary) was the daughter of William ROBESON & Eliza Ann nee HARRIS and married William (referred to as Jonathan) ca. 1762 in Bennettsville, SC. This is also mistaken. Mary ROBESON, daughter of William ROBESON & Eliza Ann nee HARRIS, married - BURKE. We should note further that William and Eliza Ann nee HARRIS ROBESON's daughter Mary was born ca. _1778_, which makes it unlikely they had another daughter named Obedience born 36 years earlier (i.e. 1742).

"DEED: "This Indenture made the 27th day of July in the 16th reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third and in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six between JEREMIAH HENDRICKS of ANSON County in the province of North Carolina and planter of the one part and WILLIAM ADAMS of the SAME COUNTY and province aforesd. planter of the other part WITNESSETH that for the consideration of the sum of eighteen pounds Proc. money by the sd. William ADAMS to the sd. Jeremiah Hendricks in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby fully acknowledged that the sd. Jeremiah Hendrick hath given granted bargained & sold and by these presents doth give grant bargain & sell unto the sd. William Adams his heirs & assigns a certain piece or parcel of land lying and being in Anson County in the province of North Carolina on the No. side of the Great Peedee River beginning at a certain stake on the No. side of Grimes fork then running No. 5 Wt.p the corner to a stake two post oaks and one pine pointer then So. 70 Wt.81 poles then So. 5 Et. to the said grimes fork then up the said Grimes' fork then up the various courses thereof of the sd. fork to the beginning it being part of a tract of land GRANTED TO JESSE WALLIS by his Majestys letter patent bearing date the 24th Day of FEBRUARY 1775 and transferred from JESSE WALLIS to sd. JEREMIAH HENDRICK and now from the sd. Hendrick to the sd. WILLIAM ADAM containing one hundred and eighty five acres more or less TO HAVE AND TO HOLD..." This deed witnessed by Jacob Cockerham, and Actor Taylor. "Anson County Sess. July Court 1779 then this deed was in open court duly proved by the oath of Jacob Cockerham a witness therunto and ordered to be registered. Test. Michael Auld." (1776 DEED; Book 7, p. 132 Anson County, NC: "JEREMIAH HENDRICKS & WIFE MARTHA TO WILLIAM ADAMS"." (Deed found by Anne G. Tindall)

After the death of her first husband, Obedience nee - ADAMS married (2) Luke ROBESON sometime between Jun 1784 and Mar 1785.

RECORD OF A DEED- "Obedance Adams witnessed the sale of land to Alexander McRae from Thomas Adams and Charity Adams in June 1784, which shows, if this is the correct Obedience, that she married Luke Robinson between June 1784 and March 1785." (Letter to Dave Rudge from Anne G. Tindall, Feb 1997)

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William Jonathan Adams's Timeline

Richmond, VA, USA
Age 30
Richmond, Richmond County, VA, USA
Age 32
Marlboro, South Carolina, United States
Age 43
Marlboro, South Carolina, United States