James Adams, Sr., was born about 1745 in County Donegal, Ireland. He married Agnes Wilson, daughter of Matthew and Catherine (Hubbard) Wilson, also from Ireland. The families migrated into Pennsylvania, then into Kentucky where they lived. They were the parents of James, Jr., Matthew, Robert, John, Jesse and, perhaps, others. Matthew and John Adams were the first of the family to come to this area in 1819 with the Wolf family. Matthew married Kate Wolf in 1817 and John married Mary Ann Wolf; both were daughters of Michael Wolf. These families located near the mouth of North Fork River. In 1820, when Independence County was constituted (present Marion, Baxter and Izard Counties), Matthew was appointed by the Arkansas Territorial Legislature to be one of the five Commissioners to divide the territory into counties and set county seats.
Matthew Adams, supposedly, was the first white settler in what is now Yellville, living near what is known as Tutt Springs. The town was then Shawneetown and was the headquarters of the Shawnee Indian tribe. Across Crooked Creek from the Tutt Spring there was also a camp during the Civil War known as Camp Adams.
James Adams, Jr., (born in 1779) a brother to the earlier Adams settlers, brought his wife, Pheobe Davis, eight of their ten children and some slaves from Hopkins County, Kentucky, to Buffalo Fork on the White River in 1835. There Pheobe died in 1848 and James died in 1855.
Children of James and Pheobe Adams were: Catherine Bone who married Samuel B. Orr and settled near Lead Hill; Hannah Ramsey who married John Killough and remained in Kentucky until his death. Then she came to Arkansas with her children: Josephine who married Joseph T. McCracken of Flippin and Matilda who married A. C. Hull and was the mother of A. C. Hull, Secretary of State in the late 1890's; George; Isaac; Margaret who married Archibald Maupin and settled in Springfield, Missouri; Agnes W. who married W. B. Flippin for whom the town of Flippin was named; Joseph Davis married Jane DeArmond and later Bettie Morton; Mary Ann (Polly) who married James Duggins; John Quincy who married Avarilla Tinnon; and Matthew who died in infancy.
George Adams, third child of James and Pheobe, was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 1807, married Mariah Lynn, a daughter of Pitts Lynn, who came from Lynn, Massachusetts.
George and Mariah were married in Kentucky and came with their family in 1835 to Buffalo Fork. In 1846, they located five miles south of Yellville on Greasy Creek where he farmed. For some time he held office as Constable and County Treasurer. They were members of the Methodist Church and were Democrats. He died in 1855 and she died in 1883. They were both buried in the Adams Cemetery on Greasy Creek. This family consisted of: Lynn, Thena C., Isaac D., Angelina, Hannah, Pheobe, James W., Mariah and Mary.
Lynn Adams was born in Hopkins County, Kentucky, in 1831, but was reared on the farm on Greasy Creek which was settled by his father. In 1850, he married Susan Edie Swafford, daughter of John H. and Eadie Prewitt Swafford, natives of North Carolina. The Swaffords came to Marion County in 1849. Lynn was a Methodist, did some preaching at Camp Meetings, taught school for one term at Pleasant Ridge, and was a prosperous farmer. The family owned several slaves who chose to stay with them during the Civil War and afterward. These slaves are buried at the Adams Cemetery on Greasy Creek.
Isaac Davis Adams, second son of George Adams, was born in Arkansas and was one of the first volunteers for service in the Confederate Army. He was a Sergeant in Company C, 14th Arkansas Infantry and was killed in action in 1864 while serving with General Sterling Price on his raid through Missouri.
Little is known of the other children of George Adams, except that Pheobe married Gould Thompson. A son, James Webber (as the story goes) accidentally shot a young woman named Sarah Moore in the hip as she was getting water from the spring, thinking she was a turkey. The nickname "Turkey Jim" followed him to his grave.
The children of Lynn and Susan Adams were: Louisa E., who married George Wade, a Methodist minister, parents of Lynn Wade (also a Methodist minister) and Ernest Wade; Serna J., died at age 18; John Quincy who married Emaline Keeter; Eadie P. married John Pennington -- and later Henry Humphrey; George D., who married Adeline Keeling, whose children were Lynn, Elbert and Betty (married Frank Stills); Joseph G., a physician in the Indian Territory, who married Eivira Davenport; Victoria I. (Belle) who married F. F. Burton; Adolphus and Robert died young; Frances E., who married Homer Hudson; Watson P., who married Dell Milligan and Laura S., who married J. F. Gilley.
John Quincy Adams, Sr., the eldest son of Lynn and Susan Adams, was born in 1858 on the homestead on Greasy Creek where he lived for many years. After getting as much education as he could in the schools in Marion County, he attended an Academy at Marshall in Searcy County and Rally Hill in Boone County. In 1879, he married Nancy Emaline Keeter, daughter of James Justice Keeter and Mary E. Moore, who came from North Carolina in 1858. (The Keeters lived on Greasy Creek, also). The young couple continued to live on Greasy Creek where he farmed and taught school.
Being actively interested in politics, John Quincy was elected to the office of Justice of Peace in Hampton Township in 1881, an office he held for eight years. In 1892, he was elected to the office of County and Probate Judge for two terms. In 1895, he was elected and attended as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
In the late 1880's, the family moved to a farm on Mill Creek, where in addition to farming, they owned one-half interest in a gristmill and cotton gin with Mr. Stokes. This mill was located near the head of Mill Creek, which is now Yellville's source of water. The mill was later known as the Pascoe Mill. The mill originally, located here long before the Civil War, was owned by another John Adams, a son of Matthew Adams. Another mill on this stream was owned and operated by Daniel Wickersham. This stream became known as Mill Creek.
In 1901, the year of the drouth, the family sold their home and, with friends and relatives, went by covered wagon to Indian Territory. They settled near what is now Paul's Valley, Oklahoma. They stayed for one year and returned to Marion County, Arkansas. On this trip a child, Nora, died and was buried in what is now Jay, Oklahoma. Upon their return to Arkansas, John Quincy bought a good-sized farm, known as the Pyle place, adjoining the old Adams homestead. While living here a post office was established at Adams, Arkansas, with Emma Adams as postmaster. The post office operated from 1907 until 1910.
In 1916, they moved to Yellville where they operated the County Farm, a home much like our present-day Nursing Homes. He was once again engaged in the milling and feed business. Here he worked until his death in 1931. She died in 1936. They were buried in the Layton Cemetery in Yellville.
The children of John Quincy and Emmaline are: Ethel who married MacDonald Callahan ... their children were Vivian, Logunza and James; Vilas Garland died young; Arthur Victor who married Bertha Smith; Ezra Adolphus who married Agnes Keeter ... their children were Rex, Ola, Nadine, Cecile, Doris, Emma, E. J., Marie and Eddie; Mary who married Alex James ... their children were Lena, Lura, Hammond, Hoyt, Bertha and Johnnie; John Quincy, Jr., who married Myrtle Burnes ... their children were Ewell Burnes and Bernice; James Lynn who married Una Page ... their children were Alma, Dorothy and Eugene; Rhetta was James Lynn's second wife ... their children were Jimmie Ruth and Frankie Sue; Joseph William who married Laura James ... they had one son, John W.; Walter Bryan who married Elva Pyle ... their children were Juanita, Walter Mitchel, Lexa Jean and Sue; Nellie G., who married Howell Burnes ... their children were Kathlyn Lane and Jetty Jo; Oka who married Hobert Willingham and had no children; Nora, a twin to Ora, died in infancy; Elmer who married Mohee Cox and had one child, Natilee.
The children of John Q. and Emmaline were much like their forefathers, moving to other states ancl counties to earn a living for their families. Those leaving were Ezra and family who settled at Grass Valley, California. His children remain in California. James moved to Yakima, Washington. His wife, Rhetta, and one daughter remain there. Walter Adams reared his family in Missouri -- he lives at present in Carthage. Elmer lives in Harrison. Nellie Burnes and Oka Willingham still reside in Yellville. Mary, Ethel, John Quincy, Jr. and Joseph are buried in the Layton Cemetery, in Yellville.
John Quincy Adams, Jr., was born September 5, 1887, to John Q. and Emmaline Keeter Adams at the homestead on Greasy Creek where he grew into manhood. He received his early education in the school near his home. In 1906, at the age of 18, he taught his first school at Bruno. While teaching in Bruno, he met Myrtle Burnes, whom he married in 1908. They took up residence on Greasy Creek where they lived for the next sixteen years. He continued to teach in schools close enough that he could be at home and run the farm.
Two children were born on the farm on Greasy Creek -- Ewell Burnes and Ethel Bernice. In 1920, the farm was sold and the family moved to Yellville. John Q. continued teaching, supplementing his income by working in a monument shop and selling insurance for National Old Line.
In 1922 and 1923 both John Q. and his wife, Myrtle, taught in the Summit School. This was the last year for the school there as they consolidated with Yellville, forming the present Yellville-Summit School.
John Q. then taught at the Hurst School near Flippin until 1928 when the schools consolidated. In 1929, both John Q. and Myrtle were employed in the Yellville-Summit School where they taught until 1942. The following two years were spent at the Flippin High School as Superintendent. In 1958, after 40 years of teaching, he retired and went into real estate business, where he worked until his death in 1968. John Q. was a prominent citizen of Marion County. He served as a Justice of Peace while living on Greasy Creek. He worked toward the consolidation of the schools, was a member of the Methodist Church where he served as a member of the Board of Stewards. He worked toward getting power for the Bull Shoals Dam; was a director of the American Foundation Insurance Company; and a member of the State Park Commission.
In 1930, Ewell B. Adams married Fern Coke, daughter of Leo H. Coke and Virge McCracken Coke. They had a daughter, Patricia Ann, who married Santiago "Jimmy" Torros and they have one child, Lisa Ann.
In 1936, Bernice Adams married Glenn Johnson, son of Eugene and Minnie Huddleston Johnson. Two children were born of this union, Hal Adams and Juanita. Hal married Patsy Ruth Carrico, daughter of Frank and Ruth Sowell Carrico. They have three children: Janice, Mark and Jenifer. Juanita married Leonard Gus McCracken, son of Gus and Latah Sanders McCracken. Their children are: Dan, John Bradley and Michael Lee.
Myrtle Burnes Adams died in 1962. John Q. died in 1968. Both are buried in the Layton Cemetery.
The Adams family still has the pioneering blood of their ancestors. Those left in the county who carry the family name are Ewell, son of John Quincy, Jr., and John C. and his son, Glen, who are the grandson and great grandson of Joseph William.
Reprinted with permission from History of Marion County edited by Earl Berry, copyright 1977.