Charles, Jr. Adams by Rev. W. R. Cochrane
It appears from the New England Historical and Genealogical Register,
Vol. VII., and also from Drake's History and Antiquities of Boston,
folio edition, 1854, that "Ap Adam (the Welsh for Adams) came out of the
Marches of Wales." Their descendants appear to have lived for many
generations in the English shires of Lancaster, Gloucester, and Devon.
From the latter, Henry Adams, the first of this family in America,
emigrated, and settled in that part of Braintree which is now Quincy,
Mass., about 1630. He died there in 1646. Twenty-four generations in the
male line are given below, the first seventeen of which are copied from
the authorities cited above.
1. Sir John Ap Adam, Knt., Lord Ap Adam, member of Parliament from 1296 to 1307.
2. Sir John Ap Adam Kt.
3. Sir John Ap Adam.
4. William Ap Adam.
5. Sir John Ap Adam.
6. Thomas Ap Adam.
7. Sir John Ap Adam, Knt.
8. Sir John Ap Adam, alias Adams.
9. Roger Adams.
10. Thomas Adams.
11. John Adams.
12. John Adams.
13. John Adams.
14. Richard Adams.
15. William Adams.
16. Henry Adams who settled in Braintree, (now Quincy), Mass., and died 1646.
17. Edward Adams, of Medfield, Mass.
18. John Adams, of Medway, Mass.
19. Abraham Adams, of Brookfield, Mass.
20. Jesse Adams, of Brookfield, Mass.
21. Dr. Charles Adams, of Antrim, N. H.
22. Hon. Charles Adams, Jr., A. M., North Brookfield, Mass.
23. Charles Woodburn Adams, North Brookfield, Mass.
24. Charles Joseph Adams, North Brookfield, Mass.
From Henry Adams (16), who settled in Braintree, descended the
presidents. He had a large family besides the Edward named above, and
among them a son Joseph, born in 1626, who married Abigail Baxter. These
last had a son Joseph, born December 24, 1654. Of this second Joseph,
the second son was Dea. John Adams of Braintree. Dea. John married
Susanna Boylston, of Brookline, Mass., and their oldest son was John
Adams, born October 19, 1735, second President of the United States. His
oldest son was John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States,
and father of Hon. Charles Francis Adams.
Dr. Charles Adams, the twenty-first generation from Ap Adam of Wales,
was son of Jesse and Miriam (Richardson) Adams, of Brookfield, Mass.,
and was born in that place, February 13, 1782. His early years were
spent on the farm with his father. His education was chiefly acquired in
the district school and Leicester Academy. He then taught some two years
in Half Moon, N. Y. On his return, in 1803, he commenced the study of
medicine with Dr. Asa Walker, of Barre, Mass., with whom he remained in
practice one year after completing his studies. He came to Antrim, N.
H., and began practice in the early summer of 1807, coming to take the
place of Dr. Nathan W. Cleaves, whose early and much lamented death
occurred in April of that year. Dr. Adams married, February 13, 1809,
Sarah McAllister, of Antrim, daughter of James and Sarah (McClary)
McAllister. She was a woman of excellent tastes and superior mind, of
rare patience in toil and trial, and of a sweet and winning Christian
spirit,—all of which made her conspicuously worthy and attractive. She
was of pure Scotch descent and strict Presbyterian opinions. She was a
mother whose children might well "rise up and call her blessed." Dr.
Adams was a favorite in Antrim; was early in town office; was a
successful physician; was a great reader, full of information; and was
looked upon by contemporaries as an original and able man. He moved from
Antrim to Oakham, Mass., in 1816, where he died of old age, March 6,
Hon. Charles Adams, Jr., A. M., the subject of this sketch, was born in
Antrim, January 31, 1810; in that part of the town then known as
"Woodbury Village," having only eight or ten houses all told, now the
large and flourishing village of South Antrim. Here he had his first
schooling, under charge of Fanny Baldwin and Daniel M. Christie,
afterwards Hon. Daniel M. of Dover. Of those early school-days he
retains a vivid remembrance; and he is the last of that group of
scholars, or nearly the last, now living. After removal from Antrim, he
continued and completed a common-school education at Oakham; was at a
select school six months under Rev. John Bisbee, of Brookfield, Mass.;
then he studied eight months with Rev. Josiah Clark, of Rutland, Mass.;
and this was the limit of his opportunity for education. Then, though
quite young, he was in a store about five years in Petersham, Mass.,
obtaining much practical knowledge in the course of his work. He is what
called a self-made man. Few men can be found better versed in literary
matters, or political economy, or the history of our land. He has been
familiar with distinguished men, and is one we count winsome in the
social hour, with a fund of information on most topics of conversation;
with apt quotation, or vigorous repartee ever ready on his tongue. Hence
he is one of the most agreeable, genial, and gentlemanly of men. He was
some years book-keeper, and afterwards partner, in the immense boot and
shoe-manufacturing establishment of North Brookfield (now employing from
twelve hundred to fifteen hundred hands), from which company he retired
just before the war.
With singular continuance, Mr. Adams has been kept in offices of trust
by the people of his adopted town and state. He was clerk of North
Brookfield (now of about forty-five hundred inhabitants) ten years;
representative in the Massachusetts house four years; on the executive
council of Massachusetts four years; treasurer of the state of
Massachusetts five years; and member of the senate of that state four
years. And in all these cases the office sought the man, not the man
the office. The writer of this knows that some of his friends were
almost angry with him because he would not consent to run for congress,
when the way was clear and an election sure. It is simply the truth to
say that he has been in public life more than a quarter of a century;
that he is a man of fixed principles and irreproachable character, a
vigorous hater of shams and corruption, and held in honor throughout his
During his administration as treasurer and receiver-general of the
commonwealth, it became necessary, in arranging its financial matters,
to negotiate, sign, and deliver in England, a large amount of its bonds,
and Mr. Adams was commissioned by the governor and council to go to
London for that purpose. After having successfully accomplished the
objects of his mission, he took the opportunity of traveling for a short
time on the continent of Europe, as well as in Great Britain, and
especially in Scotland. In the latter country he had an ardent and
loving interest, which was increased by travel there, and has lost
nothing in subsequent years. He is a Scotch antiquarian of much reading
Mr. Adams has always been greatly attached to his native town,
Antrim,—cherishing with undiminished love the rocks and the hills upon
which he looked in childhood. His visits are frequent to the old town;
he still retains his membership in the old Presbyterian church; clearly
remembers the old faces; loves the old ways; was a great helper in
preparing the recent History of Antrim, and was a willing contributor to
its embellishment. With all the rest, he has been something of a
musician, being a member of the church choir (North Brookfield, Mass.,)
more than forty years,—for many years its leader. And in these traits
his children follow him, as they are gifted with rare musical taste and
Mr. Adams married, May 8, 1834, Eliza, daughter of Hon. Joseph Cummings,
of Ware, Mass.; and they have three surviving children,—Charles
Woodburn and George Arthur, of North Brookfield, and John Quincy, of
Boston. An only daughter, Ellen Eliza, married Frank A. Smith, and died
at West Brookfield in 1866.
The degree of A. M. was conferred on Mr. Adams by Dartmouth College in
1878. And it may be added that such men as Mr. Adams are continually
reflecting honor upon our rocky New Hampshire, from which they went
forth. Their success goes to prove, that, with an eager mind, good ready
common sense, persevering application, and inflexible honesty, the boys
of the Granite State may win high places among men. We see by this
biography, that, if the man be good enough, the place will seek the
man. Truth and uprightness, backed by good abilities, are pretty sure to