Meet the Family of Daniel Adams of Smith & White Counties, TN, 1800s

It’s time to take a look at all the new puzzle pieces to see if and how they fit together.

At the moment, the earliest year where I can place Daniel Adams in a set location is 1830 in Smith County, Tennessee. I believe this man is “my” man for four reasons – he is the right age, Smith County is next door to White County so he didn’t move far, the Smith County man has an adult female and young daughters at home and, perhaps most importantly, there is no Daniel Adams found in North Carolina who fits the family structure of this man.

Unfortunately, Daniel seems to have married around 1820/21. There is no newlywed Daniel found in either Tennessee or North Carolina in the 1820 census and early marriage records for Smith County have been lost.

There are nine potential Adams males in Smith County who could be Daniel’s father or related to him. However, I found only a handful of Adams land records, no probate records, no mention in court minutes and early tax lists are lost.

As the majority of Smith County’s first settlers hailed from North Carolina, his birth state isn’t of much help here.

Therefore, I am stymied at the moment in my efforts to go back in time.

However, the 1830 and 1840 censuses paint a picture of the family, which is fleshed out by White County marriage records.

In 1830, Daniel Adams is residing in Smith County:

1830 Census, Smith County, TN
Source: Ancestry

Adams, Daniel, aged 20-30
Female, aged 30-34
Female, aged 5-9 (born 1821-1825)
Female, aged under 5 (born 1826-1830)
Female, aged under 5 (born 1826-1830)
Female, aged under 5 (born 1826-1830)

Given that no two records are consistent with family members’ ages, this census is pretty close to the 1850 report with Daniel born c1797 and Jinny born c1800.

By the way, there is quite a list of Adams families in Smith County by 1830. However, the closest Adams to Daniel is 80 families away. The others are hundreds of families away, so there are no easy crumbs to follow on that trail!

Next, let’s look at the 1840 census in White County, Tennessee:

1840 Census, White County, TN
Source: Ancestry

Adams, Daniel, 30-39, born 1801-1810
Female, 30-39, born 1801-1810 Jennie
Female, 15-19, born 1821-1825 Margaret, born c1825
Female, 10-14, born 1826-1830 Martha Jane, born c1830
Female, 10-14, born 1826-1830 Matilda, born c1831
Female, 5-9, born 1831-1835, Sarah, born c1834
Female, 5-9, born 1831-1835 Frances, b. c1834
Male, 0-5, born 1836-1840 James, born c1837
Female, 0-5, born 1836-1840 Elisabeth, born c1837
Female, 0-5, born 1836-1840 Louisa, born c1839

The 1850 census is the last in which Daniel appears:

1850 Census, White County, TN
Source: Ancestry

Adams, Daniel, 57, born NC
Adams, Jinny, 50, born NC
Adams, Francess, 16, born TN (born c1834)
Adams, James, 13, born TN (born c1837)
Adams, Elisabeth, 13, born TN (born c1837)
Adams, Louisa, 11, born TN (born c1839)

Looking at both the 1840 and 1850 censuses, we’ve accounted for everyone except the four oldest daughters. Thankfully, there are extant marriage records in White County for the 1840s.

Margaret Adams married John Rigsby, 4 November 1845
Martha Jane Adams married Harris Rigsby, 7 August 1847
Sarah Adams married Joseph Brewington, 20 December 1848
Tilda Adams married Reuben Brewington, 18 February 1850

On Monday, we will look closely at the Rigsby and Brewington families, but, for now, the important details are the ages of each of these Adams daughters in 1850.

Margaret Rigsby, aged 25 (born c1825)
Martha Jane Brewington, aged 20 (born c1830)
Matilda Brewington, aged 21 (born c1831)
Sarah Brewington, aged 16 (born c1834)

The married Adams young ladies’ ages closely match the age categories in the 1840 census. Given that Daniel Adams was the only Adams game in town that year, I’m satisfied that this is a complete picture of the family of Daniel Adams, reputedly born in North Carolina.

Next up – the Brewingtons and Rigsbys, a case of two sisters marrying two brothers in each family.



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.