Hiram A. McAdams

Jennie Robbins - Alice Rebecca Williamson

Newsletter - December 1999

Merry Christmas!! Happy 2000!!
As we celebrate Christmas and prepare to enter a new century and a new millennium, perhaps it is time to inventory our McAdams heritage and to give thanks for who and what we are.

Our family has lived in Texas for over 160 years. John McAdams fought in the Texas Revolution and was a personal friend of Sam Houston. Sam Houston was a guest on many occasions in John McAdams’ home.

FM 1696, which is now a paved road between Bedias and Huntsville, was once a dirt road that was nearly impassable in the winter and after heavy rain. Travel by horseback was necessary during wet weather, for the road was not suitable for even wagon travel. What is now a 20 minute drive from the present day reunion grounds to Huntsville once required at least a full day, and often longer.

There was no electricity for early generations of the McAdams family, even those lucky enough to have been born in this century. Kerosene lamps and candles were used for illumination. Telephones did not come to the rural areas of Walker County until 1915—1920.

There was no indoor plumbing. Outhouses, well water, and cisterns were ways of life in earlier times. There was no air conditioning. There were no fans. There was no central heating. Wood stoves heated houses, and somebody had to cut and split all that wood. There were no firewood vendors.

Our McAdams ancestors survived the hardships of frontier life despite the lack of doctors and hospitals. They used home medical remedies, and this begs some questions. Did we simply have good genes or were our mothers and grandmothers just very good folk medicine doctors? Did the McAdams children not suffer from any of the serious childhood illnesses that plagued those early Texas generations? It is amazing that 11 of Hiram’s 12 children reached adulthood despite the lack of professional medical care.

Consider what our mothers, fathers, and grandparents — all of our McAdams ancestors did for us. They thrived and lived contented and productive lives, despite what seem to us to be extreme hardships. They gave us our great family. The instilled in us the sense of family unity that we now enjoy.

Our family members who have passed on worked and cared for us and did many tangible and intangible things for us to ensure that we have better lives than they endured in the early years of this century. As members of a clan, it is our responsibility to follow in the footsteps of our pioneer forefathers and continue our wonderful family traditions. We must communicate our heritage to our children and grandchildren so that future generations of the Hiram McAdams family will be just as proud as we all are.

The Christmas and New Year holiday season is a time for reflection. All of us should take the time to reflect on who we are and how fortunate we are to be able to claim the name, McAdams. Just to start things off, have you ever considered that we can claim ownership to a dedicated reunion facility, a family cemetery, a chapel, and a written history that spans 160 years in Texas?

Are you up to this challenge? Will you reflect? Can you pass along our great traditions to your children? Are you willing to assume the responsibility? Will you be accountable if you do not?

Robbie Lee tells about Kelly
Editor note: The information in this article was provided by Robbie Lee McAdams Hughes. We asked her to provide some information about Kelly’s early life and accomplishments. Kelly is oldest living member of the Hiram McAdams family and is recognized for his lifetime achievements and generous support of the McAdams family in Walker County.

Kelly Edgar McAdams was born, September 23, 1903, to Hiram Edgar and Mary D. McAdams, in McAdams, Texas (the old home place). He is the first child of seven children in this family. They were Kelly Edgar, G. B. , Mattie Jennie, John Gayle, Robbie Lee, Robert Franklin (Bob), and Margaret Nealyn McAdams.

Edgar FamilyKelly, being the oldest, always (and still does) wanted to help the others in the family. He is such a loving, caring, blessed brother. I can remember when Kelly, G. B. and John Gayle would get in the old T-model Ford, with the big pet dog clinging to the front fender, and go out alone to a place that Daddy had bought. They would cultivate, plant, tend and harvest a crop of cotton all by themselves. Of course, Kelly was the leader as Daddy had a job in Uncle Cuyler Thompson’s drug store at the time.

One year, Kelly and G. B. went to Lamesa, Texas, to work in the cotton fields for a friend of Daddy’s. Their goal was to make enough money to buy their school clothes.

Kelly was very smart and was valedictorian of his class of 1919 at Bedias High School. I can remember how it was customary to have the graduation service in the First Baptist Church in Bedias. All the friends and relatives of the graduates would bring large bouquets of flowers from their yards and lay them at the feet of the graduates. Of course, with so many relatives in Bedias, Kelly got the most bouquets. As a small child, this event really impressed me.

As the older boys finished school in Bedias, we moved to Huntsville, Texas, so that Kelly and G. B. could go to pre-college at Sam Houston and get a certificate to teach. Both boys taught in small schools for awhile. Then, Kelly went back to school at Sam Houston State Teachers College and obtained his teacher’s degree. He obtained a job as Superintendent of Shepherd High School.

While at Shepherd High School, Kelly met and married Ina May Ogletree, “ the love of his life.” Three precious children were born to this union: Kelly Roy, Martha, and Billye May. Kelly Edgar and Ina May, in their middle and older years, have given so much to the McAdams family in Walker county.

Kelly has treated me like a queen all my life. It was such fun and love to grow up with him and the others as Mary D. and Edgar were deeply caring parents. They added extra warmth and gentleness to our home. They led us spiritually by action rather than just spoken words. One of their favorite reminders to the children was the quotation: “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.”

Kelly lived with us at Grandpa’s old home place for a time after he started teaching. He taught school at the Liberty Springs schoolhouse (a location at the present corner of the Hopewell road and FM 1696) in 1923. He taught Robbie Lee and John Gayle along with other children in the McAdams community, including our Woods cousins. Robbie Lee and John Gayle would ride in an open T-model car, with blinds (no windows), with Kelly to the schoolhouse each day. He was such a good teacher. John Gayle and I tried very hard in school so Kelly wouldn’t have to correct us. We were trying to help him.

Donations to the McAdams Cemetery, Reunions Grounds and Family by Kelly and Ina May McAdams

Thank God for them and our wonderful McAdams heritage!

Robbie Lee McAdams Hughes
November 1999

Ashley McAdams graduates from East Chambers High School
Ashley McAdams, a great great granddaughter of Hiram A. McAdams, graduated as Valedictorian from East Chambers High School in Winnie, Texas on May 28, 1999. She will attend the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, starting in January 2000 and will major in pre-med and biology.

Ashley earned the following awards during her high school years:

Ashley’s McAdams line:

The following article appeared in the June 5, 1999 edition of the Port Arthur News:

By Samuel Adams, Port Arthur News Staff Writer

WINNIE – The valedictorian at East Chambers High School could be described as hip, hyperactive and hyper-intelligent with a long list of activities and groups she participated in.

Ashley McAdamsAshley McAdams took leadership roles in groups ranging from the academic challenge team to the drill team. Pam Francine, the school’s senior class counselor, said McAdams was “one of the top leaders” in this year’s senior class. “She’s very active. She’s been an officer in the drill team and is on the honor society,” Francine said.

McAdams was also voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by her classmates. Her accomplishments include serving as captain for the high school’s academic challenge team for two years. The academic challenge team competes with other schools in a quiz-show format. A question is asked and the team must use its combined intelligence to give an answer. Winners gain money for scholarships at their high schools.

Another office McAdams held was vice-president of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. To edge out other students competing for valedictorian, she earned a grade point average of 4.0 that increases to a GPA of 4.59 when her advanced classes are added to the equation.

McAdams’ advice to aspiring valedictorians is to “set goals.” “I would say study hard – but my mom would laugh at that because I’ve never studied hard,” she said. “I’m just good at taking tests and writing papers.”

Her other activities include participating in University Interscholastic League academic competitions and playing in the high school band. In band, McAdams played the bass clarinet, was named outstanding band student and took “first chair” in district competition. She said one of her happier high school moments was when the marching band went to state and won the sweepstakes competition.

McAdams plans to attend the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. and major in biology. She said she had always been interested in the sciences. To help finance her education, she sought out and won a scholarship from the Xerox Corporation and received a scholarship package from Rochester University.

Her desire to help others led her to work as a volunteer for a year at the Medical Center of Winnie.

In her valedictorian address at commencement, McAdams said she “spoke about going into the future, how it’s a mystery, and also how my classmates and I grew together through the years.” Other themes she expressed were “believe in yourself; be an individual; create your own life and then go out and live it.”

She quoted a line of John Lennon’s lyrics from the song, “Imagine,” to help express her philosophy. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,” McAdams said when speaking about her and her classmates’ potential to change the world.

McAdams Cemetery
The following letter was recently sent to members of the McAdams Cemetery Association:

8 November 1999

From: McAdams Cemetery Association Board of Directors

The present McAdams Cemetery has almost reached its capacity. Thus, at the meeting of October 1, 1999, the Board of Directors voted to begin development of the acreage that Kelly and Ina May McAdams donated on the east side of the Chapel in 1979. This acreage is about the same size as the original cemetery given by John McAdams, Jr., in the late 19th century and should take the Association well into the 21st century and provide space for the next generations. Without this room for expansion, the Cemetery would very soon be unable to assign new gravesites.

The Board of Directors voted to name this addition “THE KELLY E. AND INA MAY OGLETREE McADAMS ADDITION” to the McAdams Cemetery. This was done in appreciation not only of this gift of acreage but also for the Chapel and their many other contributions.

This will be a long-range project. Because of the high cost of maintenance, the Board of Directors plans to develop the tract in three phases, beginning with the area adjoining the Chapel. The first step is to build a chain link fence to enclose the entire tract as soon as feasible. The fence will cost $11,570, or $5 per foot. Then comes a road to circle from a gate near the Chapel, around the tract, and out to FM1696 on the east side where there will be another gate.

Some McAdams Association members have already donated to the Fence Fund. If you would also like to donate a foot, or a number of feet for the fence, send your donation to:

Opal Snelgrove, Treasurer
McAdams Cemetery Association
2321 Robinson Way
Huntsville, TX 77340

Board of Directors:
J. Dale Sibley, President
Woody Woods, Vice President
Frankie Davis
John Bob Hughes
Eddie McAdams
Gus Schultz
Jerry Woods

Bedias Homecoming - June 3, 2000
The Bedias Homecoming reunion for all natives, relatives of natives, friends, curious individuals, etc. is scheduled for Saturday, June 3, 2000, at the Bedias Civic Center. The scheduled acitivities will last from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This reunion is scheduled every 5 years. Join us for a renewal of acquaintances, making new friends, and just having a good time.

This year the Bedias Civic Club is planning a sequel to the book, My Home Town, published by Wallace Davis in 1953. The new book will be titled "My Home Town, Too" and will include biographies of Bedias natives from the generations subsequent to the original ones featured in the "My Home Town" book. This book and the original book will be on sale at the civic center during the homecoming celebration.

Darren Cole and Kelly Palmer
Darren Dennis Cole and Kelly Lynn Palmer were married in Denton, Texas on July 21, 1999. Darren is the son of Charles and Cynthia Cole, the grandson of Charlie and Ruth McAdams Cole, and the great grandson of Hiram and Alice Williamson McAdams.

After a wedding trip to the Caribbean coast of Mexico, Darren and Kelly will live in Denton. Aunt Ruth/She-Mamma would have been proud!

Edwin Glynn McAdams
We have learned that Edwin Glynn McAdams died in August of this year. The following obituary was published in the Huntsville Item in August:

“Our sympathy goes to the family of Edwin Glynn McAdams who passed away in a Fairfield, Texas, hospital on Sunday, August 1, 1999. His funeral was held at Jewett, Texas, with burial at Sardis, Texas. Edwin was born in Bedias on January 25, 1938, to L. A. and Irene McAdams. He attended school during his early years in Bedias before moving with his family to Teague. He is survived by his wife Julie Ann and daughter, Lynda Louann. Tommy Poe of Bedias, a life-long friend, served as a pall bearer.”

Note: Edwin Glynn McAdams is the son of L. A. and Irene McAdams. He is the grandson of Robert Lee McAdams and Mattie Loretta Corner. He is the great-grandson of James Roger McAdams and Rebecca Mullins. James Roger was Hiram's younger brother.

The following article was published in the Bedias News section of the Huntsville Item on June 2, 1999:

“The Leon Independent School District recently honored retired Superintendent Edwin Glynn McAdams by dedicating the Edwin G. McAdams Auditorium in his name. Edwin McAdams spent his entire teaching career of thirty-seven years as a teacher, coach, principal and superintendent with the Leon Independent School District from 1961 – 1998, serving the last twenty-four years as Superintendent. Edwin McAdams now lives in Jewett and is a native son of Bedias. He attended elementary school in Bedias, graduated from Teague High School and received both his bachelors and masters degrees from Sam Houston State University. His wife, Ann, received her bachelors and masters degrees from Sam Houston and their daughter, Lynde, is a pharmacist in Plano, Texas. The featured speaker at the dedication was Tommy Poe of Bedias, director of Region VI Educational Service Center in Huntsville. McAdams and Poe are life-long friends. Over 350 friends and well-wishers attended the reception which followed, honoring McAdams and his dedicated service to the school and the community.”

In the fall, 1999, Legacy publication by Sam Houston State University, former distinguished students were recognized. One of those recognized was Edwin Glynn McAdams. “Edwin G. McAdams, graduate in 1960, retired superintendent of Leon Independent school district, was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sam Houston State University JACC banquet in the spring of 1999. McAdams began his teaching and coaching career at Leon and later served as principal. Until his retirement in August, 1998, McAdams served the district as school superintendent.

Stories from our past
In 1995, Mary Frances Payne Murphy compiled some remembrances of Hiram A. McAdams. She collected these recollections from Hiram’s grandchildren. Some of these observations have been presented in earlier issues of this newsletter. Here are some more:

Hiram McAdamsThe one thing that all of us seem to remember about Grandpa is that he did not drink coffee. Riah had an old fashioned coffee grinder on the wall in the kitchen, but she did not need it for Grandpa. He drank a cup of hot water every morning. His tastes in food were simple in his later years. He ate lightly, enjoying the chicken, biscuits, and vegetables he grew up on. His evening meal consisted of leftover cornbread crumbled in one of those old fashioned goblets of buttermilk.
Robbie Lee McAdams Hughes

Whenever I’d go to Pop’s house, more times than not, he’d be sitting in the front hall on a hide-bottomed chair, “catching the breeze.” He had a walking stick, and before I could get inside the screen door, he’d hook me around the neck with his walking stick, pull me to him, and invariably ask me the same question. He’d ask, “Is your daddy any count?” Then he’d give me a nickel
Jo Beth McAdams Stutts

My memories of Pop have him in only two locations: In HIS pew at the Baptist Church and in his Bedias home, in a rocking chair on the back porch in summer and by the fireplace in winter. He was quite old at this time and slept a lot in that chair. I do recall my mother (Nevada McAdams) commenting that he “rocked” the grandbabies in a straight rawhide chair by getting momentum going by bouncing back and forth from front legs to back legs. Also, I was told that even in his eighties he could jump the yard fence with ease.
Ruth McAdams Ralston

My mother and Aunt Ruth always claimed that our grandfather decided that he had lived long enough and was ready to leave this world. He simply went to bed in December of 1935 after a bout with pneumonia and quit eating. We came from Carthage to stay so Mother could be with him. The night he died I was asleep in the middle room across the hall and in the early morning Mother woke me to tell me he was gone. I had had no experience with death and did not know what to say. Swallowing the lump in my throat, I finally asked if the Sunday paper had come, as I wanted to see the funnies. For years after that I was burdened with guilt because I was ashamed of my reaction. This was my first funeral to attend, and it upset me so much that Mother let me go back to the house where Aunt Beth was caring for Dan who was a baby.
Mary F. Payne Murphy

On his death bed he (Grandpa) was offered a little liquor in water to revive him. He said, “Dog-gone it, (his cuss word) I spent my life not drinking that stuff and won’t do so now.”
Bob McAdams

I had spent the night with my other grandparents and went to Sunday School the next morning without knowing it. (Hiram’s death) until I heard talk and realized that my Grandfather had died. I felt terrible about not knowing. The funeral was in the First Baptist Church at Bedias. The preacher used a scripture which he said Pop had requested: “Thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.” (1 Samuel 20:18) This was a very appropriate scripture, and I still remember his place at church in Bedias — even though there have been new buildings since his death.
Marilyn McAdams Sibley

What I do vividly remember was the day of his funeral. I walked out of the church feeling so alone and looked up at a dark, black, stormy looking sky. I stood there thinking that the world was coming to an end because Pop had died. I will never forget that feeling.
Dorothy McAdams Sparks

William Mitchell Wright was born on July 18, 1999 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Derrick and Cynthia Hughes Wright are the parents, and Charles and Barbara Hughes are the grandparents. Robbie Lee Hughes is the super proud great grandmother. Derrick and Cindy recently relocated from Fayetteville to Austin. (Good deal, huh, Barbara??)

Robert Clifton McAdams, Jr. was born on September 23, 1999 in Oregon, Ohio. Robert and Susan McAdams are the proud parents and Jerry and Debra Sandefur McAdams are the grandparents. Wanda Jenkins McAdams is another extremely proud great grandmother.

Both of these new additions to our family are the great-great-great grandchildren of Hiram and Jennie Robbins McAdams.

Walker County Genealogical Society celebrates year 2000
Everyone who is a descendant of Hiram McAdams is eligible to receive two certificates from the Walker County Genealogical Society as it celebrates the year 2000:

First Families of Walker County Certificate

To receive the “First Families of Walker County Certificate”, the applicant must directly descend from an ancestor who settled within the boundaries of Walker County prior to October 5, 1850.

Century Families of Walker County Certificate

To receive the “Century Families of Walker County Certificate”, the applicant must directly descend from an ancestor who settled within the boundaries of Walker County prior to June 29, 1900.

To qualify as a “Charter Member” of one of these unique groups, your application and documentation must be postmarked by December 31, 1999. Charter members will be honored at a reception to be held in early 2000.

The applicant must be able to prove descent from the ancestor (in our case, John McAdams, Jr.) by official records for each generation.

To join, send a long self addressed, stamped envelope for application forms to:
Pioneer Registry—WCGS
P.O. Box 1295
Huntsville, TX 77342-1295

Application forms are also available at the Huntsville Public Library, Walker County Courthouse, Huntsville Chamber of Commerce, and Samuel Walker Houston Cultural Center.