Category Archives: Adams

Where Did Mom Live Growing Up? Using Local Resources

Doris Adams, Right Bottom Photo

Do you have an ancestor or family who moved frequently? Growing up, I only moved once from Passaic to Wayne, New Jersey. My mother, Doris Priscilla Adams, said my grandparents moved constantly because Grandfather, Vernon Tarbox Adams, worked for the Western Union. As he was promoted through the ranks, the family was uprooted time and again until 1947 when he was transferred to the Boston office and finished his work career in 1965.

I asked Mom once about the addresses where she lived. She said she didn’t remember most of them, but they lived in Maine, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, often more than once. She hated all the moves. She said they would just make some friends and get settled in school when it would be time to move again.

City directories have helped fill in some of the gaps to prove where Mom lived as she grew up.

Here is a short list of places that I’ve been able to cobble together:

1. Mom was born in Calais, Maine on 7 June 1923. However, the family was visiting relatives when she was born and I believe my grandparents were living in Massachusetts at the time. My aunt was born in 1921 in Malden, Massachusetts. I don’t know if they were still there in 1923.

2. Bangor Daily News reports that Vernon Adams and family are moving to Boston, 13 October 1925.

3. In December 1926, they were living somewhere in Bangor, Maine as the Bangor Daily News reported that Vernon’s grandmother, Nellie Adams, had visited the family over the holidays. No street address was given.

4. By 1928, the Adamses were still in Bangor, Maine, where they lived at 31 Wing Street, as found in the Bangor City Directory.

Source: Google Maps

5. They weren’t there for very long because the 1930 census shows them enumerated at 90 Mellen Street, Portland, Maine. It was a multi-family dwelling with Mary Torrey, owner, and one other family besides Mom’s living there.

6. However, they lived on Mellen Street for a very short time because the 1931 Portland City Directory gives their home address as 318 Stevens Avenue. They were still there in 1932.

7. The 1933 Portland City Directory gives the new family address as 145 Brentwood Street.

8. The 1937 Portland City Directory notes “move to New York City.” However, their exact address isn’t mentioned. I do have my aunt’s grammar school promotion certificate, dated June 1936. Apparently, my grandparents had settled in Lynbrook, New York.

Google Maps

9. Mom mentioned that before the family lived in Ridgewood, New Jersey, they lived for a short time in nearby Tenafly, New Jersey, but she didn’t remember the address.

10. My grandparents last lived in New Jersey at 630 Wyndemere Avenue in Ridgewood.

Source: Google Maps

Ridgewood is where the family lived at least from 1940 (as shown in the census that year) until Grandmother, Grandfather and my two aunts made the final family move to Massachusetts in 1947. My parents married in 1947, so Mom didn’t go with them.

I absolutely hated leaving my friends and classmates the one time my parents moved us to Wayne. I can’t imagine how many more moves my grandparents made that I haven’t yet been able to document. Given that they lived in at least three places just in Portland, almost 2 miles apart from each other, so it would mean a change of schools, it is conceivable that I am missing another 5-10 homes where they lived.

Have you had to move many times in your life?


New Look at the Adams Family of Cumberland County, KY

I’m not sure why I keep returning to the Adams clan of Cumberland County, Kentucky, as it seems to be an unsolvable brick wall. But I do!

The main character in this mystery is Mary Jane Adams, who married Abraham Dulworth in Clay County, Tennessee on 1 February 1883.

There are several problems:

  1. This family was illiterate and might not have known exactly when any one of them was born.
  2. Marriage happened when they got around to it.
  3. They moved frequently from Cumberland County, Kentucky across the Tennessee border into Jackson, Clay, Overton and Fentress Counties.
  4. They are sometimes missing from records where they should be found.

To begin at the beginning, Mary Jane Adams was born in Tennessee between 1850 and 1857. Every record she is in has a different birth year. However, the earlier and later records seem to hover around 1850/51.

The Dulworth family presents its own challenges. For now, suffice it to say that even though Abe and Jane were the parents of five children by 1880, they aren’t found as a family until 1900.

In spite of that, their marriage record and death certificates of their children identify her as Mary Jane/Jane Adams.

Since I haven’t gotten very far with direct line research, I am expanding my efforts to find some FAN club members.

In 1880, Mary Jane, or Jane as she was called that year, was living with her brother Rashis, his wife Nancy, and their infant son, William. Rashis died in 1941. Although he has a death certificate on file, both parents’ names are listed as “unknown.”

The 1870 census is one of the more unusual records I’ve ever come across.

Source: FamilySearch

Adams, Jennie, 80, born SC
Adams, Francis, 45, born TN
Adams, Elizabeth, 40, born TN
Adams, Jane, 18, born TN
Adams, Race (Rashis), 14, born TN
Adams Brilina (Perlina?), 10, born TN
Adams, Sarah, 4, born TN
Adams (sic), Matilda, 1, born TN

  1. Notice that NO ONE in this household has an occupation except for 14 year old Rashis, working as a farm hand.
  2. Notice, too, that Jennie appears to have no real or personal estate of any worth. I don’t know if that is an oversight by the enumerator, but I haven’t found any land transactions pertaining to this family.
  3. Matilda is actually Matilda Jane Dulworth, eldest child of Abe Dulworth and Jane Adams.
  4. Mary Jane, or Jane, is 18 years old in this enumeration, so born c1852.

The next obvious step would be to jump back a decade to 1860. However, this family makes nothing easy. If anything can be said with certainty about the 1870 Adams clan, it is that they are a blended family. I wonder if some of the surnames were incorrectly recorded in 1870? Could Frances or Elizabeth have been married, but widowed? In other words, perhaps these ladies were not an Adams by birth? Or were they Adams, married to unknown men, and both widowed and living back with an extended family?

There are a lot of questions I can’t answer. The married/widowed scenario, though, could help explain why I can’t find them in 1860.

The 1860 censuses have me mainly grasping for straws. I haven’t come up with much.

Let’s begin with Cumberland County, Kentucky, since the family was living there in 1870. There are two Adams families enumerated, although they lived in different districts.

Cumberland County, Kentucky 1860
Source: FamilySearch

Adams, James, 59, born SC
Adams, M.J., 47, born VA
Adams, Elizabeth, 14, born KY
Adams, M.J., 9, born KY
Haly, Geo. F., 9, born TN
Adams, M.K. 8, (female), born KY
Adams, Jas. Jr., 22, born TN

Is M.J., the female head, our Jennie Adams living there in 1870? I don’t know. James was reportedly born in South Carolina and close in age to the 1870 Jennie, whose place of birth was given as South Carolina? PERHAPS. Next, we have M.J., aged 9, and born in Kentucky. Is she the same person as 18 year old Jane Adams, at home in 1870? PERHAPS.

Who is George F. Hal(e)y? I don’t know. Nor do I know the identity of 8 year old M.K. I can’t find anyone in 1870 who might be these two children.

Also in 1860 in Cumberland County, we have Noah Adams and family. Noah resided in Cumberland County as early as 1830, but isn’t found in the 1860 census. However, he IS on the Cumberland County tax rolls in 1860, 1861 and 1862.

We can pick up his census trail in 1850, although the household configuration is odd. What else would I expect?

1850 Census
Source: FamilySearch

Next door households in Cumberland County include:

Williams, Ellen, 29, born VA
Adams, Noah, 45, born KY
Young, John, 13, born KY

Williams, Judy, 52, born VA
Huff, Nancy, 18, born KY
Huff, Nathan, 22, born TN

Tracing Noah Adams is a bit problematic. He apparently married Sallie Cash, about 1850. The family can’t be located in 1860. By 1870, Noah and family are living in Overton County, Tennessee. However, as with most of the other Adams details, either the census taker or the family members got a few things wrong – like most of their ages.

Noah is enumerated as 60 years old. Sallie is listed as 25 (!! and as far as I can tell she was born c1834, so she was actually about 35). Children are John, 20, Edward 15, Richard, 10, James, 3, Savina, 1. Noah died in October 1879 in Clay County, Tennessee of a lung hemorrhage and is in the 1880 mortality schedule. Sarah, aged 45, was at home with their two youngest children – James, 17, and Joanna (Savina), 15, in District 10. Sarah’s likely younger brother, John, lived next door with his own family.

By the way, when Sarah died in June 1928, the family claimed she was 108 years old! Not even close – she was about 93 years old.

Many online sites show Noah to be related to the Bryan and Daniel Boone families, but that Noah appears to be a different man. I’ve not been able to determine if or how Noah and James Adams were related, but they lived in all the same places and I tend to think they were brothers.

However, none of this is helping at all with my efforts to untangle and identify Mary Jane Adams Dulworth’s family.

Also in 1850, we find James Adams in Cumberland County:

1850 Census
Source: FamilySearch

Adams, James, 52, born SC
Adams, R., 42, born TN
Adams, Polly, 18, born TN
Adams, James, 13, born TN
Adams, John, 8, born TN
Adams, E. (female), 7, born TN
Huff, Jessee, 22, born TN
Huff, E., 16, born TN

Two details are evident when comparing the 1850 and 1860 James Adams families. Although his age varies a bit, these two Jameses appear to be the same person. James Jr. is in both household, as is Elizabeth, again with a slight age variation.

However, the 1850 female head (probably James’s wife) was R. Adams, 42, born in Tennessee, but in 1860, was M.J., 47, born in VA.

Another detail has jumped out at me. Both James Adams’ 1850 home had two Huff young men living with them AND Judy Williams, who lived next door to Noah Adams likewise had two Huffs in her home.

A bit of sleuthing has found that Judy Williams was born Judith Carver. She married Eli Williams on 19 June 1820 in Albemarle County, Virginia. He died before 1840, when Judith appears as head of household in that census.

They had four children: Sarah Ellen (who is the Ellen residing with Noah Adams in 1850), Alanson (who lived in Clinton County, Kentucky), Elizabeth and Nancy, who married Nathan Huff on 3 January 1850.

Nathan Huff and Nancy had one daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, born 1851, but divorced in June 1854. Nancy died in 1855 and her daughter Elizabeth lived with her grandmother in 1860.

What became of Nathan Huff is not known, nor are the origins of Jessee and E. Huff. Clues point to the possibility of all four Huff children (Nancy, Nathan, Jesse and E.) being sons of Leonard Huff of Jackson County, Tennessee.

Jackson County is a parent county of Clay County, which was set off in 1870. However, it’s a burned county. Also, online information about the Huff family is a hot mess, and I haven’t found any family connections between the Carver/Williams family or James Adams’ family.

Back to the 1870 Adams clan – where are Rashis Chatwin and Brilina (Perlina?) or Frances and Elizabeth, who would have been 35 and 30, respectively, ten years before?

I have absolutely ZERO possibilities for any of them in 1860.

And in 1880? I can account only for Rashis and Jane, who married Abraham Dulworth.

To top off all of this, my husband’s line from Abe and Mary Jane (Adams) Dulworth is strictly maternal. Dave’s taken an mtDNA test and . . . . . there are no matches anywhere close to him.

What do you think about these new puzzle pieces? Do they fit my puzzle or do they belong elsewhere?

To be honest, I am doubting whether or not any of these Adams have any ties to Jennie Adams and her odd family formation, other than they have the same (common) surname and they happen to be living in the same place.

Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day. Let’s see what it brings as I trudge on.



Life on Little Sebago Lake in the 1950s

Summer 2020 is well under way and I can’t believe that it’s been almost 70 years since Grandfather and Grandmother bought their camp on Little Sebago Lake.

They had rented for several years – the late 1940s into the early 1950s – and I guess the owners decided they were ready to sell.

While Grandmother enjoyed the lake, sunbathing and taking boat rides, I think the impetus behind buying the camp was Grandfather.

Grandfather and Grandmother with Family and Friends

Grandfather was a very handy guy and I remember him always puttering around camp with various tools, working on his projects.

Their camp had two buildings on it, the main cottage, where Grandmother, Grandfather and Aunt Barbara lived and the guest cabin, where my parents, brother and I stayed when we visited for two weeks every summer.

Mom, in front of the guest cabin, c1956

Notice the right side of the guest cabin and the open door. That was a wood shed. Around 1957, Grandfather finished off the shed into a second bedroom and covered an area behind to use as a carport.

I remember being quite in awe as we inspected the beautiful new room. I also have distinct memories of those big wooden window shutters that opened and closed pulling that rope. There was a second shutter on the left side of the cabin that let in nice cool air in the evening. They were so heavy that I couldn’t open them by myself and, if I tried to close them, there would be a huge THUD. I imagine I probably tried doing that once by myself and got yelled at enough that I kept my little hands off the pulley rope!

I think part of the reason I remember those shutters so well is that, when the weather was nice, they were left open all night and all the scary night sounds kept my fertile imagination going. What animal was walking around right outside, crackling the pine needles on the ground? Was it a wolf or a bear or something else? Or was a stranger lurking about? (The stranger was probably Aunt Barbara who liked to walk around camp in the early evenings.)

On the other hand, there were some ferocious summer storms on the lake. I remember a big hail storm with golf ball-sized hail pelting the cottage during the day. Thunder and lightning made regular appearances so when storms arrived, the shutters closed. I was tucked safely inside the guest cabin, listening intently.

Grandfather and Grandmother loved taking boat rides. I never, ever remember Grandmother taking the motor boat out by herself. I don’t think she ever did, nor did Aunt Barbara. They sometimes went rowing in the rowboat, but that was all.

Me, c1955

This appears to be Grandfather’s first motor boat, but it’s not the one I remember. This boat was retired to a tiny sandy area along the camp’s waterfront and I used to play in it when I got a little bit older.

Eventually, it had too many spider webs and there were water snakes slithering along the path to the boat and I stopped wandering down there.

However, by the summer of 1957, Grandfather had the boat which I remember and which he still had in 1968, the last summer before he died.

Once each season, Grandmother and Grandfather would head out on their marathon boat ride early in the morning. They explored every nook and cranny all the way around the lake and they were gone for hours. I remember asking if I could go with them a couple of times, but the answer was no because I would get bored sitting in the boat for that long. I probably would have!

They never tired of the beauty of Little Sebago Lake.

The  green motor boat is also the boat behind which I learned to water ski around 1965. I was spending time with my aunt and uncle on Lake Winnipesaukee by this time and traveled over to Little Sebago when my parents came up for their two week visit. I had been trying and trying to get up on skiis in New Hampshire and had almost made it up. I was determined to learn and Grandfather spent several days with me, pulling me up out of the water. His green putt-putt didn’t have tons of power, but I did succeed and went back to Winnipesaukee able to water ski with my friends.

Grandmother loved to sunbathe on the dock and on the beach across the lake that we used to visit. It was like our own private beach because there was hardly anyone ever there when we were.

Grandmother, ready to sunbathe, c1958

In the water with me, c1955, off the beach

My favorite activities were (1) picking blueberries, which I did even when I was of high school age, although they weren’t nearly as plentiful as when I was little, and swimming or playing in the water:

Playing with baby brother, 1958

Mandatory life vest until I became a proficient swimmer

Enjoying the inner tube at the beach

I still think back fondly of those perfect summers on Little Sebago Lake. I also remember being quite sad when Mom told me in the spring of 1969, a few months after Grandfather died, that Grandmother had sold the cottage.

Later this summer, I will do one more post about those idyllic years on Little Sebago Lake in Maine.