Hiram A. McAdams

Jennie Robbins - Alice Rebecca Williamson

Newsletter - July 1997

McAdams family now on the internet
The Hiram A. McAdams family now has a home page on the internet. This web site has been in operation since mid-March and has evolved into something of which we can all be proud.

The site address is:

The official internet name is "The H. A. McAdams Family of Walker County, Texas," and the site contains family history, family stories, genealogical data, biographical sketches, links to other genealogical sites, a family e-mail center and more. Perhaps the most interesting section is the photo album which contains many old family photos.

Give the site a visit and see what is out there just waiting for you.

Maydell Thompson Cooper
by Sue Wafer Gilpin

Maydell was the second child of Alice Cornelia McAdams Thompson and Cuyler Thompson. She was born on October 7, 1907, in Bedias, Texas, and died on June 11, 1972, in Madisonville, Texas.

Her hair was so unbelievably thick and curly, it was almost "kinky" and unmanageable. Since long tresses were the only acceptable style for young girls, her mother had to arrange Maydell or (May’s) mass of reddish-blonde hair in dozens of fat tubular curls. Otherwise, to quote a favorite family joke, she would look like a "Ubangi" (it was years before I learned what a Ubangi was). She was blessed with the phenomenal gift of playing the piano "by ear". She couldn’t read a note of music, but everyone said she didn’t need to read it. All she had to do was hear it once and she would play the piece better than it was written. My mother, Alete, would become so frustrated after practicing for hours and days on a special piece, thinking surely this time she’d outshine her younger sister. Maydell would slide onto the piano bench next to Alete and ask, "how does it go, sister?" Mother would perform perfectly, then little sister would say, "that’s enough, move over now." She would then play it with such an exquisite interpretation that even the most somber gospel dirge sounded like a rhythmic pops concerto!

On many evenings after supper, my grandfather, Cuyler, would get out his violin, and both Alete and Maydell would accompany him on the piano. Unable to compete with the competition, Mother would soon relinquish the keyboards to little sister. Shortly after that, their father would put his violin away. Maydell was the star performer, anyway; she needed no accompaniment! Mother said that when Maydell was in college - either her first or second year - one of the national "Big Bands" came on campus for a performance and their keyboard player became ill. Somehow, Maydell was suggested for an emergency replacement that evening. She so impressed the band leader and other musicians that they offered her a full-time job with the travelling orchestra. Elated with the prospects of being paid to do what she loved to do most of all, she asked her Poppa for permission. He declined. The band leader made a special trip to Bedias begging her dad to reconsider, promising they’d take good care of her (she was still in her teens). The irate and proper Mr. Thompson said "no daughter of mine is going to travel around the country with a bunch of men." I think this declined opportunity not only broke her heart, it broke her spirit. She was a natural jazz musician. She heard church music with this influence, and that’s the way she played for churches. You’ve never heard "Old Rugged Cross" until you’ve heard Maydell play it.

Denied a career as a jazz musician, Maydell honored her father’s sentencing and did not rebel as most of the liberated McAdams women would have. However, it is believed that she sought revenge by leaving school - without parental blessings - to marry the handsome, sadistic Ivan Cooper.

Despite her tireless efforts to make it work, the marriage was toxic and after a short while, her abusive husband delivered his beautiful young wife back to her parents. My grandfather met them in the driveway wielding a shotgun and would not allow the "old cuss" to set foot on the Thompson property. Holding the shotgun at close range, he vowed, "If I ever even hear you’re anywhere near this county, I’ll come after you and blow your _______ head off." It is not known whether or not the gun was loaded.

After that, Maydell had a continuous line of amorous suitors (with honorable intentions) come calling, but she rejected them all. Returning to college, she completed her education, received her Master’s degree and taught elementary education until her retirement. Her death occurred a few years after that.

I have often wondered in my dreamy imagination how Maydell’s life would have differed had she mustered the courage to defy her father and boarded the bus with that gypsy band of adoring jazz musicians.

Flapper hair cuts
by Sue Wafer Gilpin

The Jazz Age had infected the nation’s youth of the Roaring 20’s with the same impact as the Big Bands of the "Silent 50’s" and the Rock era of the 60’s. Maydell responded to its influence with her music, but Ruth McAdams and Alete Thompson had other ideas. Going "away" to college was their initial display of independence, but they wanted to make a stronger statement of freedom. Alete’s sense of adventure, colored with mischievous rebellion, prompted her to make a brazen pact with Ruth.

Apparently, long flowing tresses epitomized the conforming image of pristine femininity, but that was symbolic of the Dark Age - certainly not of the Roaring 20’s. "Let’s cut our hair like the modern flappers, Ruth. Poppa won’t like it, but he can’t do anything about it once it’s done!" Ruth objected, "My Poppa will kill me!" The deal was finally set - Ruth would cut Alete’s hair first, then she’d cut Ruth’s. My mother was pleased with the whacking job, but when Alete took up the magic shears to transform her aunt into a modern miss, Ruth lost her courage and refused to go under the treatment.

So, mother faced the wrath of the McAdams men, as well as her father’s, alone. I don’t know whether or not Ruth ever submitted to a haircut, but my mother wore her hair bobbed for the remainder of her life. Ruth must have been quite creative with those scissors!

Charles Moore 1937—1997
Huntsville Item, March 31, 1997.

Funeral services for Mr. Charles Moore, age 60 of Madisonville, are scheduled for 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 1, 1997, at the McAdams Chapel. Lanier Stevens and Rev. Charles Higgs will officiate. Internment will follow in the McAdams cemetery.

Visitation hours will be 9:00 a.m. to noon Tuesday at the Madisonville Funeral Home.

Mr. Moore was born on March 15, 1937, in Huntsville, Texas, to Charlie E and Rebecca Fails Moore. He was a resident of Madisonville since 1961 and was employed with the Texas Department of Corrections as an industrial supervisor for 30 years. He spent his retired years as a rancher. Charles was of the Baptist faith and passed away on Sunday, March 30 at his home.

Survivors include: wife, Donnie McAdams Moore of Madisonville, Texas: son, Rodger Moore and wife, Cecilia of Madisonville, Texas; daughter, Lauri Hyek and husband, Kenny of Sugarland, Texas; parents, Charlie and Rebecca Moore of Tomball, Texas; sister, Margie Scholl and husband, Roger of Tomball, Texas; grandchildren, Jami Lin Moore, Jaina Leigh Moore, Matt Wesley Moore, Kayli Rachell Hyek, Kyli Reagan Hyek; several nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers are Tommy Starns, Earl Wayne Parten, Bobby Morgan, Slim Savage, Jimmy Anderson, Jimmy Wallin, Bobby Anderson, and Archie Maples. Honorary pallbearers are Bill Savage, Wesley Savage, Troy Sheppard and Jimmy Dee Anderson.

Madisonville Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

A little Scottish history part 2
by Thomas Hiram McAdams

The Scots have fought the English for centuries for their independence.

Starting in the late twelfth century when the Normans conquered England and Scotland, they dominated the Scots for a hundred years. In the early 1300’s, William Wallace (Brave Heart) started the fight against the English / Norman control, and later Robert de Bruce led Scotland to freedom from English control at the battle of Bannockburn (near Stirling castle in Scotland) in 1314. The Scots in later centuries lost control of the country to England again.

There have been numerous attempts by Scottish nationals to regain control of Scotland from England. The last time occurred in 1745 - 1746 when Prince Charles Stewart, pretender to the throne of England and Scotland, rallied Scottish highlanders to his cause and attempted to overthrow the current English monarch, King George.

At the decisive battle of Culloden moor (near Inverness, Scotland) in April, 1746, English troops (and some Scottish clans) under the Duke of Cumberland, third son of King George, decisively defeated Charles Stewart and his highland army. This victory for the English re-established the rule and control of England over Scotland, which has lasted to current times.

During the aftermath of the battle, English troops destroyed the Scottish countryside, Scottish society, and the clan system. During the remainder of the 1700’s and early 1800’s, thousands of Scots were forced to emigrate to other lands. This was part of the "Highland Clearances" in which the English destroyed the clan system and exploited the country in the same pattern of colonial development (native population removed or reduced) as in America, Canada, and Australia. The result was a mass exodus of Scottish people to Nova Scotia (New Scotland), Canada, and America from 1746 to1850.

According to one source, 20,000 highland Scots left Scotland for the American colonies between 1763 and 1775 (The Highland Clearances by John Prebble). Although only a fraction of the clans had taken part in the rebellion of 1745 - 1746, all felt the results of the defeat at Culloden. Bayonet and noose, proscription of arms (swords, knives, guns) and bagpipes, outlawing the wearing of tartan and kilt, abolition of hereditary jurisdiction of the clan chiefs, and confiscation of clan lands led to the destruction of the Scottish clan system and way of life. Their attachment to the land had been deep and strong. Now they were uprooted.

Partly because conditions were not good in Scotland, partly out of natural individualism of the Scot-Irish-Celt people, and partly due to personal enterprise, Scots left in a major overseas exodus. The McAdams’, like other clan families, were probably part of this exodus, eventually coming to America in the middle 1700’s. The result of this exodus of Scots from Scotland was that by 1985, it was computed that there were 20 million "overseas Scots", people with direct family links to Scotland, whereas Scotland’s population was 4 million.

When Bedias Burned
by Charles M. Hughes

An interesting story came up at Robbie Lee Hughes' 85th birthday party. She was born on March 5, 1912 which was the day Bedias burned!

Kelly was sent to get Doctor Barnes and Papa (H. A. McAdams) to come to Edgar and Mary's house as Mary was going to deliver Robbie Lee. Papa sent the boys (Kelly, G.B., and John Gayle) to his house to stay until the baby was delivered. When the fire started, all went to the town to see the fire (Horace, Vernon, Joe, etc.), leaving the kids alone with the women of the house. This upset Papa because the fire was getting out of control, and the wind was spreading it toward the home place. He issued orders for them to take the women and kids to the creek and for them to get into the creek until the fire was under control.

This made a memorable birth, don't you think?

Floyd & Margaret McDonald
On June 7, 1947, in Huntsville, Texas, at the First Baptist Church, Margaret McAdams and Floyd McDonald were married.

Robbie Lee McAdams Hughes was her sister’s matron of honor and Ruth McAdams and Anita Glynn McAdams were Margaret’s bridesmaids.

Floyd’s best man was Earl Shoemake and his groomsmen were Bob McAdams, Margaret’s brother, Charlie Sims and Donald Storch. The latter two and the best man were from Floyd’s hometown, Port Arthur, Texas.

Margaret and Floyd met, through the machinations of Earl Shoemake, at the First Baptist Church of Port Arthur. Both taught school in the Port Arthur School District (although at different schools) during the 1946-1947 school year.

This June 7, 1997, Margaret and Floyd celebrated fifty years of marriage in Auburn, Alabama, at the home of their daughter, Gayle Margaret, and their son-in-law James Cross, and the Crosses’ two children, Jae and Kelby.

Floyd and Margaret’s three sons were present in Auburn with their wives and children. Michael and Ann and their two girls, Naomi and Miranda, drove from Conifer, Colorado. Brian and Rose drove from northern Louisiana with their three children, Daniel, Colleen and Timothy. Mark and Carol came from Pasadena, Texas, with Matthew.

All eighteen (18) family members were present. Margaret and Floyd have four children and eight grandchildren.

Congratulations Margaret and Floyd!!!

Thank You!
The mechanical aspects of newsletter publishing are fairly straightforward. One simply gets a computer, acquires the appropriate publishing software, secures copy for the newsletter content and visits a printer after it is done.

Securing appropriate material to print in the newsletter is the hard part, and the publishers sincerely thank all of you who have responded to our requests for articles, pictures and ideas.

This issue is built around material supplied by Sue Wafer Gilpin, Margaret McAdams McDonald , Mary Frances Payne Murphy and L. C. Courtney. Thank you!!

Let us hear from you. Write about our family, and we will publish it.

1997 H. A. McAdams family reunion
The 1997 H. A. McAdams Family Reunion was held on Sunday, April 27 at the McAdams Reunion Grounds on FM 1696, between Huntsville and Bedias, Texas. The Reunion is always held on the last Sunday in April. Family members and friends started showing up around 9:00 am to enjoy the visiting, program, lunch and more visiting. The first reunion was held in 1935, and the McAdams family has been meeting yearly since then.

The 1997 Reunion was hosted by the Era McAdams Langley family. Dorothy Langley and her son, Jeff presented an interesting and informative program that focused on the history of the Hiram McAdams family. She displayed several very old hand written documents and deeds dealing with the McAdams land in Walker County. One of the most interesting documents was a land grant signed by Mirabeau B. Lamar, the president of the Republic of Texas (1838-1841).

The reunion was held in the activity room of the McAdams Bicentenniel Chapel instead of at the traditional reunion pavillion due to the heavy rains in the area. The weather was terrible all over Texas, and reunion attendance was down from previous years due to this fact. In spite of the weather, however, about 75 family members braved the rain and enjoyed the fellowship and renewal of family bonds.

Historical setting of a large family
submitted by Mary Frances Payne Murphy

Madisonville Meteor, fall, 1936.

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 full 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 named 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, geese, 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 in 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 and 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.

From a newspaper clipping supplied by Mary Frances Payne Murphy. Remember that this article was written in 1936, and it’s words should not be taken out of context.