Hiram A. McAdams

Jennie Robbins - Alice Rebecca Williamson

John McAdams Biography

Submitted by Thomas Hiram McAdams
From a newspaper clip supplied by Mary Frances Payne Murphy


From the Madisonville Meteor, Fall, 1936.
Historical Setting of Large Family
Some weeks ago the meteor carried a news item of the McAdams Family reunion held at the old McAdams home in Walker county on September 8th. On Sunday, October 13th, there appeared a picture in the Houston Chronicle, of the scene with a historical sketch of the family. In the picture a number of familiar faces were shown. Among them was that of Mr. Hiram McAdams, whose birthday cake on that occasion contained ninety burning candles, Lee and Edgar McAdams, the youngest of the honorees were also familiar faces in the picture.. We are reproducing the article in John McAdams, Jrfull as it appeared in the Chronicle and believe it will be very interesting reading to many of our readers. The article follows:
On April 21, 1836, while the guns of San Jacinto boomed their way to victory, groups of volunteers from "the states" picked their way through the wood and over unmarked trails to assist Texas in her battle for freedom. In one of these picturesque processions, eager to join forces with Sam Houston, a personal friend of his father back in Tennessee, rode John McAdams, Jr. He arrived at the San Jacinto battleground too late to participate in the battle, but he remained in Texas, made his home and reared a family. Almost 100 years later, on September 8, 1935, at his old homestead in Walker County, a family reunion was held to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of one of his sons, Hiram McAdams, and the first birthday of one of his great-great-granddaughters, Carol McAdams, both of Bedias, in Grimes County.

At this family gathering-the largest ever held in either Walker or Grimes County-more than 250 McAdams signed the register. A check-up showed there were 439 living and 94 dead, direct descendants of this eager young volunteer to the cause of Texas' liberty in 1836.

John Jr., was born in 1815, the son of a Methodist minister, Rev. John McAdams, Sr., in Tennessee, but he lived the greater part of his life in Texas.
In 1828-1829, the Tennessee newspapers bore glowing accounts of this "Spanish country-Texas" and letters told of there being no ministers in this vast territory, John, Sr., who "knew the Bible form memory" decided to move to Texas.

About the middle of February, 1830, after long months of travel by ox wagon, Rev. John McAdams, Sr. with his wife, daughters and sons, including John, Jr. located in Shelby municipality, Department of Nacogdoches.

Shelby municipality, at that time, contained all the land which now is Shelby, Harrison, Marion, Upshur and Panola counties. And across the Sabine, more desperately, destructive than the stealthily creeping Indians, dwelt the cut-throats from the "the neutral ground," between Mexico and the United States.

John, Jr. returned to Tennessee in 1833, where he remained until he heard the tidings of the Texas Revolution; then, riding hard, with other volunteers, he arrived again, anxious to do his bit.

What the family of John, Sr., suffered during those years has come down to posterity only in sketchy tales.

Among the closest neighbors was a family names White. Isolated, huddled together for protection against the hostile Indians on the one hand and the unscrupulous inhabitants of "the neutral ground' on the other, the White and McAdams families carried on the duties of their everyday lives.

To Hester White , who had heard her friends, the McAdams girls, speak of "Brother John," this young man, returning from San Jacinto, was nothing short of a conquering hero, and in 1838 the two were married.

Late one night a group of cattle rustlers from "the neutral ground" across the Sabine raided the town. Barricading themselves in their cabins, the Whites and McAdamses sought to save their lives. When the battle cleared, Joe and Jim were found mortally wounded; also all the hogs, gees, mules, chickens, horses-practically all of their worldly possessions-had been stolen.Hastily burying their brave boys, the two families packed their remaining possessions, drove a yoke of oxen up from the woods, and made their way toward "the old San Antonio Road."

Seeking Sam Houston, they settled n 1838, in what now is Walker County.

John, Sr., and his family settled at what is known today as the Rube Allphin place on Roark Prairie. Years later, when he and his wife died, they were buried in the little grove of trees in the old field nearby.

In 1844, so the deed records of Walker County show, John McAdams, Jr., and wife Hester White McAdams, purchased 1042 acres of land from Daniel Guerrant and Green Spillers and their wives. They built their home just to the east of the gate, near where the McAdams Cemetery is now located.

To John, Jr., and Hester were born five children: Jane, Bill, John, Jim, and Hiram. Their door was always open to all who might pass by.

Hester's health was not at all good and one lovely Sunday afternoon, walking with her husband in the woods, she remarked: 'John, when I die, I want to be buried under this hickory tree." At her death, in 1849, John remembered her wishes, placed her body under the towering boughs of the large hickory tree. That lone grave was the beginning of the McAdams Cemetery, in which nearly 100 of Hester's descendants rest today. In early days, when the graveyard included only members of the immediate family, the McAdams' slaves were also placed in the quiet of the trees in a little corner set aside for them by their "Marster John."

The five small children needed a mother's care, so their grandparents, John, Sr., and his wife, came form their home on Roark Prairie and remained with them until November 14, 1849, when John, Jr. married Miss Frankie Bankhead. They built a large double log house from seasoned hand-sawed logs, where they spent the remainder of their lives. To them were born Frances, Hester, George, Carrie, Docia, Tom and Mattie. This house, later stripped with lumber, is in use today.

In this home prosperity reigned, visitors came and went. Sam Houston built his home at Huntsville, about 16 miles away. Many nights he spent under their roof.

To 29 orphan children, John Jr., gave a home, in addition to his own. Anxious that these children should receive an education, he donated the lumber to build a school. For the construction of another school, about a half mile from Liberty Springs, he gave materials. At one time he owned 10,000 acres of land and 2000 head of cattle.

He owned a number of slaves whose services he needed to work his cotton and corn, to hoe potatoes and drive his cattle, hogs and horses.

At the McAdams reunion, held at the old homestead, descendants of the McAdams' slaves took part in the program, singing spirituals.

Rev. Leonard Bankhead of Goose Creek paid tribute to Hiram McAdams in his address for the counsel and advice always obtained when needed.