Adams of TN & KY: Further Ponderings

It isn’t yet quite time to close the book on the Daniel & Jenny Adams family research. I do have to admit, though, that I get a headache every time I try to make sense of all the details I have uncovered.

Jane, Frances and Elizabeth Adams had remained hidden in the 1860 census records for the longest time. I was sure I would have many more family answers if I could just find them!

1860 Census, Overton County, TN
Source: FamilySearch

Now that they have been found living in Overton County, Tennessee, more questions have been created than answers found. My working theory about the mother of Mary Jane Adams, who married Abraham Dulworth, was that she was likely the daughter of Frances or Elizabeth Adams.

However, the 1860 census is pictured here and Mary Jane was born c1851-54. Rashis Chatwin Adams had his sister, Jane, living with him, his wife and infant son in 1880 in Clay County, Tennessee.

1870 Census, Cumberland County, KY
Source: FamilySearch

When comparing the 1870 household to the 1860 family configuration, there are two GLARING omissions in 1860. If Rashis is the brother of Mary Jane and either Frances or Elizabeth is the mother of each, WHERE ARE JANE AND RASHIS IN 1860? Well, nowhere to be found in that home.

Also, given the odd happenings in this family anyway, even though Rashis, in 1880, is listed as the brother of Jane, I don’t know if they were full siblings, half siblings or just told they were siblings when growing up.

I’ve commented on the unusual family configuration of this group in 1870, mentioning that 14 year old Rashis was the only one who had a job.

Rashis Chatwin Adams remained in Cumberland County, Kentucky after he married. If born c1856, he should turn up somewhere in 1860 and likely living in the same Kentucky-Tennessee state line area where the Adams, Dulworths and many other collateral families lived. However, I haven’t found any trace of him whatsoever before the 1870 census; I’ve searched with wild cards and read several counties page by page. He just isn’t there.

Rashis lived a long life, passing away in his 80s in 1941 in Cumberland County. His death certificate says both parents are unknown. An exact date of birth – 23 January 1859 – is given.

What do the census records tell us about Rashis? Sometimes he was Rashis or Rash, but he also went by Chatwin. When and where was he born? Well, the 1870 census stands out as an anomaly, when he was enumerated as 14 years old.

I am assuming that Rashis was not the person who spoke to the 1870 census taker since he was  a farm laborer and probably off at work when the guy knocked on the door. Therefore, someone else would have given his age. We’ve seen how well age reporting went with other members in this family – ages jump all over the place.

What about later census records? From 1880 onward, Rashis’s age remains remarkably stable:

1870, born 1856, TN
1880, born 1860, TN
1900, born January 1860, TN
1910, born 1860, KY
1920, born 1861, TN
1930, born 1867, KY
1940, born 1860, TN

Gravestone – 23 January 1859

The 1930 census stands out, too, but makes him about 7 years younger than most of the other censuses. If we focus on the remaining census years, it appears that Rashis might have been born about 1860. Although January is given as his birth month, he might not have know exactly when he was born and the 23 January date might be a date he chose. June 1 was the official census date in 1860. What if Rashis wasn’t born until after that day and the census taker followed instructions and omitted him from the family record?

If so, little Rashis was only ten when he was sent off to work on neighboring farms! However, it might explain not being able to find him on the 1860 census.

So who might his parents be? I can’t answer that yet, but I need to revisit James and M.J. Adams and Noah and Sarah Adams, who lived in Jackson County, Tennessee in 1850 and 1860.

An extremely important fact to note here is that Clay County, Tennessee was set off from a part of Jackson County in 1870.

I started looking at Rashis Adams’ FAN club.

In 1880, he lived in Clay County, Tennessee and was living in House #17 in District 10. Besides his own family, there was just one other Adams family living in District 10 – Sarah Adams, 45, with son James, 17 and daughter Joanna, 15, living with her. Who is Sarah? she’s the widow of Noah Adams!

Was it simply a coincidence that Sarah lived in House #9, only 8 doors away from Rashis Adams?

A few more doors away, in House #32 were Joseph and Sarah (Adams) Brewington. In 1870, Joe and Sarah Brewington lived next door to Jennie, Frances, Elizabeth, Jane, Rashis, Brilina and Sarah Adams, along with Matilda Dulworth.

Sarah Brewington was the daughter of Jennie Adams and her deceased husband, Daniel.

Also in the same neighborhood were several of Jennie Adams’ grandchildren, so many of these people were close kin. The family relationships cross each other time after time.

Proof is still lacking showing a familial tie between James Adams,  Noah Adams and Daniel Adams, but I am beginning to think they might have all been brothers.

When I discussed James and Noah Adams last week, I specifically mentioned that James and M.J. Adams had a female at home in1860 – M.J. – who was 9 years old. This M.J. is the ONLY Mary Jane Adams I can find living anywhere near where the Dulworths lived and her age is an excellent fit with Jane Dulworth’s reported age.

1860 Census, Jackson County, TN
Source: FamilySearch

Given that Mary Jane was not in Jennie Adams’ home in 1860, and both James and Noah had died by 1870, could Jennie have taken in her (possible) niece? It is certainly possible.

My work here definitely isn’t done, but leaving no stone unturned might not take very long because these people didn’t seem to own land AND courthouse fires destroyed a number of documents.

In past research, when I’ve proven what I call “weird” family structures, it was due to unusual family circumstances, which may be what I’ve found here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.