Adams Family History









James Callender Adams was born 14 April 1737 in Sheffield, Massachusetts. He served in the Vermont militia, under Capt. John Spafford's company in Col. Ebenezer Allen's regiment during an "alarm", serving for just two days.  He married Submit Purchase, daughter of Jonathan and Margaret (Worthington) Purchase on 27 Jan 1762 in Springfield, MA. As part of the Vermont Militia, Sgt. James Adams fought in the Revolutionary War under Capt. Ebenezer Allen's company in Capt. Gideon Bronson's detachment, a group raised for the immediate defense of the state. His military services were again requested from 1780-1782 in Capt. John Spafford's Co., Col. Ebenezer Allen's Regiment.


Above: St. Johnsbury area river and woods


Between 1783 and 1786, James and Submit moved their family to St. Johnsbury, Caledonia co., Vermont, being the first settlers in that area. They loaded their boats at Springfield, Massachusetts. These boats had rafters covered with canvas and blankets to protect their belongings, which included their furniture, a large clock, a spinning wheel and loom, chests of their bedding, clothing, and provisions for the trip. They rowed upstream on the Connecticut River, to the Passumpsic River, then to the West Branch, where they stopped, thinking they were at Littleton, New Hampshire, their intended destination. They decided to stay, settling on "Benton's Meadow". His father James, and brothers Jonathan and Martin also were granted land there.

They were going to Littleton because James won land in Littleton in a singing contest. The song he sang was "Brave Wolfe", written by his son Jonathan. A descendant is said to own a copy of this song in it's original handwriting.

Another descendant states that the family went from Massachusetts to Tinmouth, Vermont about 1774, when sons James, Martin and Jonathan were in the Revolutionary War, and afterwards were granted land rights in Littleton township. While Martin's Revolutionary War pension file does not mention and land grants, it should be noted that he entered the service from Tinmouth and mentions his father's home there.

They built the first home, made of logs, using a mud/twig mixture for caulk, and a pine bough roof. Oiled paper covered the windows. They slept on beds of pine and spruce boughs, and bear skins provided rugs for the floor.

Not surprisingly, they also were responsible for holding the first religious services, which was their evening worship around the fire, Bible-reading, praying, and singing hymns.

Submit Adams was noted as being the first woman to keep house within the bounds of that township.

James' house in St. Johnsbury burned at some point, destroying son Martin's Revolutionary War discharge papers.

An early view of St. Johnsbury

Submit died on 13 Nov 1797 at St. Johnsbury, at the age of 62. She was buried at Adams-Babcock cemetery in Waterford, Vermont. James then married Mrs. Trescott.  James died in 1813 in Newport, Orleans co., Vermont, at the age of 78. He was buried on his farm in St. Johnsbury, Caledonia co., Vermont.

The children of James and Submit Adams were:

1) *Martin Adams, 1764-1839

2) Jonathan Adams, 1765-1828

3) Thirza Adams, 1767-?

4) Clarissa "Polly" Adams, 1769-1843

5) James Callender Adams, 1771-?

6) Charles Adams, 1773-1845