The Curious Adams Family of Cumberland County, KY

The family of Jennie Adams is a puzzle. I can only find her family as a unit once in the 1870 census of Cumberland County, Kentucky.

We have:

Adams, Jennie, F, 70, Keeping house, born SC
Adams, Francis, F, 45, no occupation, born Tenn
Adams, Elizabeth, F, 40, no occupation, born Tenn
Adams, Jane, F, 18, no occupation, born Tenn
Adams, Race, M, 14, Farm hand, born Tenn
Adams, Brilina, F, 10, At Home, born Tenn
Adams, Sarah, F, 4, At Home, born KY
Adams, Matilda, F, 1, At Home, born KY

So far, I have been able to untangle only three of these people. First, Matilda, aged 1, is the daughter of Jane Adams and Abraham Dulworth, who went on to have quite a few children, but didn’t marry until 1883 in Clay County, Tennessee.

Clay County sits on the northern state line of Tennessee, while Cumberland County sits on the southern state line of Kentucky so these two counties are adjoining even though they are in two different states. Residents of each often moved back and forth between the two places, as seen in census records.

Second, Jane Adams is actually Mary Jane Adams, mother of Matilda Jane. She died in Granite, Greer County, Oklahoma in 1932, but I haven’t been able to find a death certificate for her.

Third, Race Adams is Rashis Chatwin Adams, whose parents are unknown, according to his death certificate. His first name is rare as a given name, but that hasn’t helped me find the names of his parents. This family wasn’t literate and I have to wonder if “Chatwin” is a phonetic spelling of the surname “Chadoin.” Rashel married Nancy Eunice Scott on 1 April 1879 in Clay County, Tennessee, where they were living in 1880. By that time, they had a son, William, and Rashel’s sister, Jane, was living with them. Rashel died in Cumberland County, Kentucky in 1941 and is buried there.

Next, I have to wonder, because of spelling/pronunciation issues, if “Brilina” is a corruption of “Perlina?” Otherwise, it is also quite a unique given name.

Who is Jane’s mother? Not Jennie, if she was really 70 years old. However, Frances and Elizabeth are both possibilities.

The oddest part of all of this is that, aside from Mary Jane, Matilda and Rashel, I can’t find Brilina or Sarah in 1880 or anywhere else later on and I can’t find Jennie, Francis or Elizabeth after OR before 1870.

There is a James Adams, aged 60, living with his family in Cumberland County, Kentucky in 1860 and he is born in South Carolina. Unfortunately, the census taker only listed initials for most of the family members and the ages don’t match up:

James Adams & Family, 1860 Cumberland County, KY

We have:
Adams, James, 58, born SC
Adams, M.J., 47, born VA (born 1813)
Adams, Elizabeth, 14, born KY (born 1846)
Adams, M.J., 9, born KY (born 1851)
Haley, George F., 9, born TN
Adams, M.K., 8, born KY (born 1852)
Adams, Jas. Jr., 22, born TN

M.J. and M.K. are both females.

 There are no probate records found in Cumberland County for them. Clay County probate records don’t begin until 1871 and there are no Adams people listed there.

I truly think that this family was dropped off by an alien spaceship. If you recognize any of these people or have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

3 thoughts on “The Curious Adams Family of Cumberland County, KY”

  1. I am looking for my brick wall a James Adam’s born around 1797 VA.
    Married at least once to a Leovica Milam about 1822 in Tazewell cty VA.

    They go to illinois and have Solomon Milam Adam’s..

    He had other children including William and a Martha and preamaline and myrinda who no where to be found…also a Polly Adam’s…

    James Adam’s he no tombstone, but he died in 1865 supposedly after settling in Missouri Vernon cty.

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