Adams family settled in Antioch community

Published 12:02 am Saturday, August 1, 2015

Today’s writing will feature the ancestry and family of James Thomas Adams who settled in the Antioch community of Covington County, Ala. His family line appears to be unrelated to other Adams families that have been featured earlier.

A review of related research reveals that the ancestor who brought the family to this country was John Adams. He left Wales during the first half of the eighteenth century, and when he arrived he settled in Maryland. Sometime later he moved into Virginia. He was born in 1698 and was married to Eleanor Powell who was born in 1724. He died in 1732 and she, in 1772. Among their children was a son named John Adams II, who was born in 1730 in Virginia.

John II moved to Halifax, Va., about the time the county was organized in 1752. He was married to Susannah “Susan” Wood, daughter of Richard Wood of Brunswick County, Va. John II died in 1782 in Virginia, and she, in 1791. Among their children was a son named William Adams who was born in 1765 in Granville County, N.C. He rendered service in the American Revolutionary War and was married in 1781 to Mary Gooding (1759-1839), daughter of Aaron Gooding (1729-1787) and Rebekah (Dean) (1733-1839). William died in 1832.

William and Mary Adams had a son named Benjamin Allen Adams who was born in 1795 in South Carolina. He was married to Elizabeth Blythe who appears to have died in childbirth in 1813. She would have only been 22 years old as she was born in 1791 in Granville County, N.C. The child, Alfred Allen Adams, who was born in 1813 in Darlington District, S.C., was her only child. (Some records on list David Fanning Adams Sr. as the father of Benjamin Allen Adams, but David is the ancestor of the Adams family, which settled in the Kinston area of Coffee County. No relationship of these two families is known at this time.)

Alfred Allen Adams was married in 1836 in Monroe, Ga., to Sarah Ann H. Watson (1816-1887), daughter of James Thomas Watson (1775-1850) and Rebecca (Maddox). The couple resided in Marion County, Ga., until shortly before 1850 at which time they were enumerated in Coffee County, Ala. They moved on to Covington County in the late 1850s and remained there until his death in 1880. On May 1, 1862, Alfred Allen enlisted in the Confederate Army at Greenville, Ala. He served as a private in Company F, 33rd Alabama Infantry Regiment.

By the beginning of the War for Southern Independence, Alfred Allen and Sarah Ann had already had their following seven children: Martha Rebecca Amanda, b. 1837, d. 1911; Johnathan Wesley, b. 1839, d. 1864; Elizabeth Ann, b. 1842, d. 1917, m. (1) 1861 James Allen Helms (2) William Helms; Andrew Joseph, b. 1844, d. 1928, m. Mourning Harrelson (1851-1939); James Thomas, b. 1846, d. 1930, m. 1873 Susan Catherine Stewart; Amanda Louvenia Ann, b. 1848, d. 1911, m. William Allen Odom (1849-1895); and Benjamin Allen, b. 1852, d. 1900, m. 1872 Prudence “Prudy” Harrelson (1856-1897).

At least two of the sons rendered service in the Confederate Army. The oldest son, Jonathan Wesley Adams, has a record in the Alabama Archives stating he enlisted on August 27, 1864, in Covington County at the age of 56, so there is a conflict in dates and ages. This record also indicates he became a private in Company B of Captain S.S. Johnson’s company for local defense. Family records report that he volunteered, left the area and never returned. Relatives believe he was probably captured and imprisoned where he died. There is a record of one J.W. Adams being buried in a prison cemetery near Chicago, Ill.

The second oldest son, Andrew Joseph Adams, became old enough to join the army before the war ended. He volunteered and enlisted in 1863 in Tory, Ala. He was assigned to Company E, 27th Alabama Infantry Regiment and served throughout the war. The two youngest sons, James Thomas and Benjamin Allen Adams, were apparently too young to enlist.

After the war ended with the South being defeated, the Adams family, like most others, experienced some very difficult years, which were called “Reconstruction.” They began to search for a better home by looking west for a location with improved opportunities for well-being. They ended up having to move only a short distance as they found a desirable area in Covington County, which was just south of the Rose Hill community. Other families were moving in as well and the location was called Hilton at first. Later it became known as Antioch and is still an active community.

It was here that James Thomas Adams met and married Susan Stewart, daughter of John Floyd Stewart, a prominent family in Rose Hill. James T. and Susan began farming in the Antioch Township. A post office was established there circa 1885, and James T. even served as postmaster for a short period of time. Of course, there was a general store, school and church, for which James T. donated land as well as for a cemetery. In later years, this family is shown as residing in the Straughn Schoolhouse Township.

In the Antioch community, James Thomas and Susan Adams bore and reared their following 10 children: Johnny Alfred James Arlington, b. 1874, d. 1910, m. Izora Baker; Oren Theoplis, b. 1878, d. 1947, m. Martha Dozier; Charlie Eddie Monroe Lee, b. 1880, d. 1948, m. Mary Majors; Lovie Frances Sarah Elizabeth, b. 1884, d. 1964, m. Adger Dye; Annie Berta Esther Idonis, b. 1885, d. 1976, m. Beade Thrower; Lonnie Gaston Thomas Walter, b. 1888, d. 1967, m. Florrie Tipton; Ernest Alchius Bunyan, b. 1890, d. 1973, m. (1) Ara Driver (2) Ila Hinson; Birdie Mae, b. 1893, d. 1973, m. Elisaw Lord; Ida Pearl, b. 1896, d. 1968, m. Oscar Dye; and Susan Gladys, b. 1901, d. 1980, m. (1) Otto Canant (2) Leo Taylor.

It was somewhat unusual that James Thomas and Susan gave six of their children multiple names, and it was always four. However, as they grew older they shortened their names to two given ones.

The Antioch community of Covington County became a wise choice for this Adams family. James Thomas became a skilled farmer and operated a saw mill on the property. When his sons were grown and as they married, he gave each 40 acres of land and a mule with which to farm. He also gave a piece of land to each daughter as they married. James Thomas lived to the ripe old age of 84 and died in 1930. Susan, his widow, lived another seven years and died in 1937. They were both buried in the Antioch Church Cemetery on land which they had much earlier donated to the church.

Sources for this story include, Civil War Soldiers in Alabama records in Alabama Archives and History and a family story written by Charles Dye of Newton, Ala., which was published in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama. Charles used the family records of Pearl Adams Dye.

Anyone who might find an error in the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:



The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 6, in the Dixon Memorial Room and the Andalusia Public Library. Guests and prospective members are encouraged to attend. This is the first meeting of a new year for the camp.