Henry Adams (farmer)

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Henry Adams
Died1646 (aged 62–63)
Braintree, Massachusetts, Colonial America
Spouse(s)Edith Squire
Parent(s)John Adams of Barton St. David
Agnes Stone
RelativesJeremy Adams (brother)
John Adams Sr. (great-grandson)
John Adams (great-great-grandson)
John Quincy Adams (great-great-great-grandson)

Henry Adams (1583–1646) was a British colonial farmer. He was a patrilineal ancestor of U.S. Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Henry Adams was born in Barton St. David (1583-1646) to John Adams (1555–1604) and Agnes Stone (1556–1616). He emigrated from Braintree, Essex[3] in England to what soon became Braintree, Massachusetts in about 1632–1633.[3]

He married Edith Rosamund Squire on 19 Oct 1609 in Charlton Mackrell, Somerset, England and they had ten children.

While his descendant President John Quincy Adams believed Henry Adams to have been born in Braintree, Essex, numerous records have shown Henry Adams to have been born and raised in the village of Barton St. David in Somerset, England (see reference link for pictures of his gravestone in Braintree, Mass).[4]

Henry Adams most likely moved to Braintree upon maturity to work for the Hooker company, which then arranged for his passage to America.

Further clarification may be needed.

Settling in Massachusetts[edit]

He was one of the earliest settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He is likely to have arrived in the area with his wife, Edith Squire[5] (1587–1672/73), his brothers Jeremy Adams et al., and eight sons and a daughter, in 1632.[6] Braintree was incorporated in 1640,[citation needed] and included what is now Quincy, and Braintree. Henry Adams is an ancestor of Virginia Attorney General Candidate John Donley Adams.[7]

Falsified and incorrect genealogies[edit]

Genealogist Charles Henry Browning contributed to a bogus lineage for Henry Adams, who immigrated from Barton St David, Somerset, England to Braintree, Massachusetts. Henry Adams' great-grandfather was a lowly tenant farmer, but, in 1853, a forged document fooled the editors of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and the false lineage was republished in 1893 in Browning's Americans of Royal Descent.[8] The NEHGR has diligently tried to warn its readers about this false lineage disseminated by such as the Register's 1902 book notice of the Reverend Hiram Fairbanks' The Ancestry of Henry Adams of Braintree, New England.[9]

It is widely believed that claims Henry Adams (thus, President Adams) is descended from the Welsh political family also called Adams are false. The Welsh prefix Ap (meaning "son of") often appears in the Welsh Adams family but not in the name of the Somerset family. These mistakes and false assumptions are frequent in early attempts at genealogy.

See the book "Henry Adams of Somerset, England and Braintree, Mass" by J. Gardner Bartlett[10] which is referenced in a well-researched genealogy. [11] which cites the book "Ancestors and Descendants of Jeremiah Adams, 1794–1883, of Salisbury, Connecticut, Sullivan County, New York, Harbor Creek, Pennsylvania and Vermilion, Ohio" by Enid Eleanor Adams (1974)" as well as several other references.


John Adams, the second president of the United States of America, erected a monument to his memory in the old church yard at Quincy with the following inscription: "In memory of Henry Adams who took his flight from the Dragon persecution in Devonshire, England and alighted with eight sons, near Mount Wollaston. One of the sons returned to England, and after taking time to explore the country, four removed to Medfield and the neighboring towns; two to Chelmsford. One only, Joseph, who lies here at his left hand, remained here, who was an original proprietor in the township of Braintree, incorporated in 1639. This stone and several others have been placed in this yard, by a great-great grandson, from a veneration of the Piety, humility, simplicity, prudence, patience, temperance, frugality, industry and perseverance, of his Ancestors, in hopes of Recommending an imitation of their virtures to their posterity. ... Erected December, 1823."

However, President John Quincy Adams dissented from the opinion of his father that Henry Adams came from Devonshire. He believed that: "After giving the matter particular and thorough investigation... my conviction is that Henry Adams was from Braintree in the county of Essex, on the east coast of England."[12]

Henry may have been in the company of Thomas Hooker, who arrived in September 1633. The Hooker company was mostly made up from immigrants of Chelmsford, perhaps from Braintree and other neighboring villages of Essex county, who had arrived just to the new colony the year before. Winthrop's Journal, I. 37, says, "1632: 14 Aug; The Braintree Company which had begun to settle down at Mt. Wollaston by order of Court, removed to Newtown. These were Mr. Hooker's Company."[13][14] Hence it appears highly probable that Henry Adams from Braintree in Essex joined Hooker's Company and arrived in Boston in 1632. Dr. James Savage, author of the Genealogical Dictionary of the early first-comers of New England, concurs in the opinion of President John Quincy Adams.[15]

The brothers Adams were likely among the citizens of Chelmsford, England, who originally came to the colonies in early 17th century, in the Hooker company.


  1. ^ http://henryadamsofbraintree.com/[better source needed]
  2. ^ http://freepages.folklore.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ankeny/Henry%20Adams%20of%20Somersetshire/Henry%20Adams%20of%20Somersetshire%20%20.PDF
  3. ^ a b Cutter, William Richard. New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 4. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1913. p. 2048.
  4. ^ https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11014343/henry-adams
  5. ^ https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11014343[better source needed]
  6. ^ N. E. Hist. and Gene. Register, Vol. VII., p. 35 (1853)[full citation needed]
  7. ^ http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/john-adams-the-political-opposite-of-attorney-general-mark-herring/article_90014365-a07a-540d-8b87-6fd9df5b896c.html
  8. ^ Drolet, Yves The Aryan Order of America and the College of Arms of Canada 1880-1937, by Yves Drolet; Montreal, Canada, 2015, p. 25.
  9. ^ Fairbanks, H. F. The ancestry of Henry Adams of Braintree, New England, by Hiram Francis Fairbanks. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1901. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  10. ^ https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE745678
  11. ^ https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Adams-277
  12. ^ "The statement in the Alden Collection"[full citation needed]
  13. ^ Winthrop's Journal, I. 37[full citation needed]
  14. ^ See Family Memorial by Elisha Thayer; Note p. 38.[full citation needed]
  15. ^ Genealogical Dictionary of the early first-comers of New England[full citation needed]