Hiram A. McAdams

Jennie Robbins - Alice Rebecca Williamson

Newsletter - April 1997

Your ninetieth birthday
This poem was written by request for Jack Langley as a tribute to his grandfather, Hiram A. McAdams, on his ninetieth birthday by Jud Mortimer Lewis, Poet Laureate of Texas:

Dear Pop, if one small boy could frame
The love that mention of that name,
The love your kindness has made glow
In his boy-heart, then you would know
A part of all that you have meant
To him through all the years he has spent
Growing beside you, and you’d see
His dream of what he hopes to be.

You’d know with wisdom of your years,
Your ninety years, his hopes and fears;
His hope to be a man like you;
His hope to meet and come through
The trying years as bravely strong
As you’ve come through hard years and long;
To teach by precept, as you’ve taught,
With splendid deed and kind thought.

You’d know, too, something of the fear
Of the small boy who holds you dear;
The fear that he may not come through
The years as splendidly and true
As you have come; but you will know
That, because he has loved you so,
He will reach heights now far and dim
Because your love will be with him.

You’ll know his wish, that you may be
Spared many happy years to see
Your dreams come true in that small boy;
Oh, many years; to know the joy
That your companionship has meant
Through the boyhood that he has spent
In step with you, to learn your ways
To guide him throughout all his days.

Hiram’s children called him "Poppa." Jack and most of the grandchildren called him "Pop." Hiram Wesley (Jack) Langley was the son of Era McAdams Langley and the grandson of Hiram Augustus McAdams. Jack was born on July 1, 1924, in Dallas and married Dorothy Nolen on January 1, 1945. He died on January 1, 1973, and is buried in Bedias. Jack and Dorothy had two sons: Hiram Wesley (Jack), Jr. was born on March 7, 1947, in Houston. Jeffrey Wilson (Jeff) was born on January 4 1956, in Houston. Jack’s mother, Era (Hiram’s daughter), was born on July 20, 1896, in McAdams, Walker County, Texas at the "old place." She married Horace Wilson Langley on September 2, 1923 and died on April 19, 1952. She is buried in Bedias. Aunt Era lived in Hiram’s original Bedias house until she tore it down and replaced it with a new smaller house. She taught school in Bedias until her death. The H.A. McAdams family reunion is held annually on the last Sunday in April. Each reunion is hosted by the descendants of one of "Pop’s" children on a rotating basis. This year’s hosts are Era’s descendants, Dorothy Langley and her family.

Question: Who lived in the small house behind Era for years and years and was an adopted member of our family?

A little Scottish history
A possible kinsman of ours in the 17th and 18th century was Rob Roy MacGregor. This is the same Rob Roy popularized in a recent movie. His time of birth is uncertain. Speculation has it that he was born around 1665 to a Donald MacGregor of Glengyle and his wife, a Campbell. He had to go by the name Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell as a consequence of the Acts of Parliament abolishing the use of the name MacGregor. He grew up on the east side of Loch Lomond, in central Scotland, around Aberfoyle, MacGregor stronghold country. The time of his death is uncertain, but it is said to be in the year 1733, and he died an aged man (Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott).

"With fiery red hair and a mighty frame, at first sight he did not seem so tall as he actually was because of his enormous width of shoulder, and the fact that his arms were so long that he could tie his garters without stooping. A born leader and of an acquisitive bent, he had perfected the traditional MacGregor preoccupation with their neighbor’s cattle (rustling) into the forerunner of the protection racket, or if you prefer it, the "insurance industry" (The Story of Scotland by Nigel Tranter).

He fought in the failed Risings of 1708, 1715, and 1719 against English control of Scotland. There is a statue of Rob Roy today outside Stirling Castle in central Scotland.

An interesting fact is that Rob Roy could not use his rightful name of MacGregor in a legal way. This goes back to an occurrence in the early years of the 17th century. The MacGregors were the "bad boys" of the clans in the region of Scotland. They were constantly warring against other clans because of their smaller size and in order to maintain their claim to the lands around the east side of Loch Lomond. The Campbell clan had been systematically ejecting the MacGregors from their own Argyll lands for centuries, to the fury of the smaller clan, who were fiercely proud of their descent from Celtic kings (Clan MacAlpin Gregor being a son of the king, Kenneth 1 of Scotland). The clan had become quite warlike with something of a persecution mania. Matters culminated in 1603, when a raid of Luss occurred and the MacGregors killed many of the Buchanan clan. Afterward in another battle, the MacGregors slew 200 Cohquhoun clansmen at the clan battle of Glen Fruin.

This battle and massacre occurred during the visit of King James (of England and Scotland) to Scotland. Outraged by the constant clan wars with each other, he decided to make an example of the MacGregors (bad timing!).

The clan chief of the MacGregors and 35 clan warriors were arrested and hanged at the command of the King and with connivance of the Campbell clan. A declaration of fire and sword was issued against the MacGregor clan whereby anyone and everyone had the right and duty to slay, harry, burn and dispossess any MacGregors they might find weak enough to let them do so.

By official decree, the name MacGregor was proscribed or forbidden. Thereafter, none might legally call themselves by the name MacGregor. No property could be held in that name, nor bought or sold, no document so signed was lawfully valid, and no one thus named could marry or be buried, and so on. They could not gather in groups larger than four in number and could not maintain any arms (swords or guns). This extraordinary proscription made it legally necessary for every MacGregor to adopt another surname! This decree remained in effect until 1774 - for 170 years (The Story of Scotland by Nigel Tranter).

You may wonder "Why is Rob Roy a kinsman of the McAdams?" A Scottish clan was a collection of families (with differing surnames) having a common ancestor and subject to a single chieftain. Most of the families bore the surname of the clan chieftain (example: MacGregor). However, the clans included septs or sub-groups. These septs were families with different surnames that were closely allied with and inter-married with the main clan family. The MacGregor clan had the following families as septs: McAdam (Son of Adam MacGregor), Black, Brewer, Fletcher, Grier, King, Petrie, and White.

The septs were proud to be connected to the clan chief and to each other and the evidence shows they were willing to die for the clan. To add to the solidarity of the clan, fosterage was practiced, which meant that children (including the clan chief’s) were exchanged for periods of time and brought up among the different families allied with the clan. Thus, the most humble clansman felt personally responsible for the children of his chief, clan, family and vice-versa (Scottish Clans by Alan Bold).

Speculation! The McAdam(s) were a sept of the clan MacGregor. During the period (1603 - 1774) when the use of the MacGregor name was forbidden, what names do you think the MacGregors assumed or used? It is quite possible and likely they used the names of their septs. Thus, it seems likely that Rob Roy and other MacGregors were our kinsmen and some of them assumed the surname of McAdam.

This article was contributed by Thomas Hiram McAdams, son of Joe Horn McAdams and Sarah Elizabeth Jones and the grandson of Hiram A. McAdams and Alice Rebecca Williamson.

Aunt Era McAdams Langley & Bedias (‘30’s & 40’s)
"Aunt Era totally dedicated her life to Bedias - church, school and taking care of Jack. She was a very honorable person - everyone knew that. She was quiet spoken, gentle, and good natured."

"Grandfather Hiram, Grandmother Alice and the children moved to Bedias in 1908. After Grandfather Hiram died in 1935, Aunt Era continued to live in Pop’s house in Bedias. In the summer of 1947, Pop’s old house was torn down and Aunt Era had another home built on the same site. Joe McAdams was one of the ones who helped tear the old house down."

"As a schoolteacher, Aunt Era was the kind of teacher who inspired. She was the best history teacher I ever had. She made history so interesting that we looked forward to her class. She was excellent at her profession and her dedication was admirable. She taught school for 31 years. I never saw her lose her temper. She commanded respect even though she had a very soft voice. She had a BS degree from Sam Houston in Huntsville and taught in Shiro, Needville and Saratoga before her teaching career in Bedias."

"She knitted sweaters for family members. She knitted for herself and Jack and one year she knitted vests for Joe, Horace, and Vernon. The school building was often cold in the winter and she would wear the sweaters that she knitted for herself."

"When I started to school in Bedias in 1945, I thought it was a very special place. The first and second grades were in the same room with the same teacher, my cousin, Maydell Thompson. At that time, Aunt Era was the principal and Uncle Vernon was the superintendent. I thought this was a real family affair. But, they made me work hard."

"The Bedias school was a two-story red-brick building with a basement. The first through the sixth grades were located in rooms in the basement, with grades 1 and 2 in one room with a single teacher, and similarly, grades 3 and 4 in another room, grades 5 and 6 in another room, and Home Economics in still another room. The restrooms were in the basement also. The first floor (above the basement) held the high school rooms (grades 7 - 12), the Agriculture Education class, and the superintendent’s office. The auditorium and stage and two class rooms were on the second floor. You could stand on the second floor and look out a window on the north side and see Madisonville."

The Pankey School was a country school in the area west of Bedias where Vernon McAdams taught before he moved to the Bedias school. In 1949, the Pankey, Stone, Wilkinson, and Evergreen rural school districts were consolidated with the Bedias Independent School District, comprising a new district that encompassed an area of 83 square miles.

Bedias and the surrounding countryside were dependent on cattle and cotton farming for their existence during this period. Saturdays were busy days. This is when the rural families came to town to buy groceries and other necessities and to take care of other business such as voting or payment of taxes. The banks would stay open all day on Saturday. The sidewalks would be filled with people for most of the day. Quite often, someone would ignite fireworks on the crowded sidewalk and watch the people scatter.

During and after World War II many of the families in this area moved away to work in coastal defense industry plants and petrochemical plants. The Bedias population never recovered after this exodus during and after WWII.

In the 1940’s, most of the McAdams families lived on the east side of highway 90 (from Navasota to Madisonville) along what is now FM 1696. At that time, Vernon and Annie, Joe and Beth, Horace and Nevada, Alice and Cuyler, Era and Jack Langley, Maydell Thompson, and Ross and Mada G. Williamson were family members or close kin who lived in Bedias. All of the family attended the Bedias Baptist church. The family members were buried either in the Bedias Baptist cemetery or in the McAdams cemetery at the reunion grounds.

"The "branch" (creek) behind Aunt Era’s house (which ran in a meandering fashion roughly parallel to FM 1696) was a place of interest then. Many a McAdams in their youth played along the banks of that branch. Activities included fishing for perch, crawfishing, watching out for water moccasins, smoking grapevine, and playing rubber guns with cousins and friends."

For those of you who were privileged to live in or visit Bedias during this period, you will probably remember:

There are probably some family photos in existence within the family archives that provide snapshots of Bedias and some of the family / inhabitants. Another source of information is the book, "My Home Town - Bedias" by Wallace Davis.

Reliving bygone days in our town of Bedias is less difficult through folklore, thanks to the Bedias Sidewalk Brigade - the town "whittlers - who have kept through the years the endless tales of happenings of a faded past - some big, some small events - but always, to them, worth telling. They sat along the store-front sidewalks or on wooden benches. Faces changed through the years as time took its toll, but the group continued to dig deep into the past so that an old story might never die. They whittled and talked, left notches on every store-front bench / sidewalk and literally whittled benches right out from under themselves. They kept alive a history rich with memories, with facts and near-facts passed down through their children and their children’s children. A large percentage of these men who gathered to just sit and talk were elderly retired merchants, cattlemen, farmers, and tradespeople. Some of them may have been tired rather than retired, but Bedias would not be Bedias were it not for the whittling gab-sessions of these leisure-loving gentlemen who have created a fellowship as symbolic of our land as the American flag.

Content provided by Jo Beth McAdams Stutts and Thomas Hiram McAdams.

In the last newsletter you were asked some questions about relationships (Who is related to whom?) Here are the answers:

David Sibley Grad Speaker
Sam Houston State University News Service

Sunday, Dec. 15, 1996, Huntsville Item Newspaper

Some people spend most of their lives teaching in college classrooms, but few have spent more hours on the receiving end of the higher education process than Sam Houston State University 1996 Fall Semester commencement speaker David Sibley.

Sibley, Texas state senator from District 22, will speak at the ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 22, in Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. Some 927 students have filed applications for degrees to be conferred by Dr. Bobby K. Marks, Sam Houston State University president.

Sibley began his college education in 1966 at Baylor University in Waco, with a math major and chemistry minor. He graduated four years later and enrolled in the Baylor College of Dentistry. He graduated from that program, with honors, in 1974.

To that point his educational career was fairly routine for someone preparing for the dental profession - eight years. Then came four years in internship and residency.

Sibley became a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and practiced in Waco for seven years. In 1985, however, a neck injury forced him to give up his dental practice and sent him back to the classroom.

This time it was to the Baylor Law School, which he attended while serving as mayor of Waco, for three more years. In 1989, he completed his law degree and joined the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor.

Counting internship and residency, Sibley has spent 15 of his 49 years as a participant in higher education.

Sibley opened his own law practice after his election to the Texas Senate in 1991, and in 1995 became affiliated with the Waco-based civil law firm of Naman, Howell, Smith and Lee.

Since his election to the Texas Senate he has become known as a strong supporter of conservative, pro-business issues. He was named to Texas Monthly’s list of Top Ten Lawmakers in 1993 and was honorably mentioned on that list in 1995.

He also won the 1996 Instructional Telecommunications Council Award for the South Central Region for his contributions to the field of distance learning. And in 1993 and 1995 he was named "Texas Medicine’s Best Legislator" by the Texas Medical Association and was presented the Presidential Award of Merit by the Texas Academy of Family Physicians.

One of Sibley’s most recent connections with higher education was his appointment to Baylor University’s Board of Regents in November. Further involvement includes a son and daughter attending college and another son preparing to enter college.

In the Senate, Sibley served as chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee. He successfully sponsored bills that reformed the state’s civil justice system, opened the state’s local telephone industry to competition and expanded health care access for rural and other medically underserved Texans.

In addition to chairing the Economic Development Committee, Sibley also serves on the Finance, Education, and International Relations, Trade & Technology committees. Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock appointed Sibley chairman of the Interim Committee on Managed Care and Consumer Protections, and in 1994 he was appointed to the Sunset Committee.

David Sibley is the son of Dale and Marilyn McAdams Sibley. He is the grandson of Horace and Nevada Stuart McAdams and the great grandson of Hiram McAdams and Alice Williamson McAdams. David married Pamela Patterson in 1970, and they have three children: Rachel, David, Jr., and Jonathan.

Kelsey Sparks
Dorothy McAdams Sparks writes: Kelsey, a cheerleader for Grapevine, sends word that "Our football team won STATE. All the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were there to cheer them on. Kelsey is the daughter of Cynthia and Jerry Zemanek and the granddaughter of Dorothy and Ray Sparks.

Family computer database
As we mentioned in the first issue of this newsletter, the publishers maintain an extensive computer database of H.A. McAdams family information. This database includes names, addresses, births, marriages and deaths of ALL members of the family, present — not just past. One of the reasons we included the survey form in that first issue was to solicit any changes in family status so that we could update this valuable computer database. Please continue to help us keep this important record of our family current by sending changes and updates to Charles Cole. This database is yours for the asking — just let any of the publishers know what you need.

Did you know?