A SHORT SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF
MARY ELIZABETH ADAIR ADAMS
Mary Elizabeth Adair Adams
Mary Elizabeth Adair was born at Washington, Washington
County, Utah on April 15, 1858 to Thomas Jefferson Adair and Mary Vancil
Adair. She was the first white girl born in the town of Washington. Her parents
were pioneers of the early days in Dixie (Southern Utah.) While Mary was
still young her parents and their family of eight children moved to Kanab
then to Upper Pahreah, Kane County, Utah. On this trip their company was
the first to find the camp and the murdered bodies of the Berry Brothers
and wife. The Indians had killed them near Pipe Springs on Short Creek. After
the family got to Kanab Mary saw an Indian with one of the men's clothes
on. She always dreaded that road after that. She was of a nervous disposition
and was so afraid of Indians. She spent a miserable young life in new
At the age 17 Mary met John S. Adams at a fourth of July dance. They were married the next spring on May 17, 1876. John and Mary Adams had thirteen children over the next 24 years. Mary and J.S. went to Long Valley (near Orderville, Utah) to live. From there J.S. freighted to Salt Lake and from Salt Lake to the mining camps in Nevada. He would sometimes be gone months at a time and the family ofttimes got almost without food. One time she told Bishop Brinkerhoff he must get her flour or she would take her two children there to live till J.S. got home. Of course they paid the flour back.
The family next moved to Harrisburg near J.S.'s adopted parents and John S. worked on the St. George Temple ten miles south of there. They took three children for sealing as soon as the temple was completed in March 1880. Mary had chills while at Washington so they moved to Harrisburg but it didn't help her. When her daughter, Lillie Dale, was born the baby had chills and fever. She only weighed 10 lbs at one year old, her thigh was only as large as her father's thumb.
In 1882 John S. was called on a mission. He could either go on a two-year mission to the states alone or take his family to help settle new country in Apache County, Arizona for ten years. He took ten years in Arizona as he feared his family would suffer worse with him away than in new country with him. Mary's people had been called there some time before.
Mary was real poorly with chills and expecting twins as they left for Arizona with ten other families. A captain and ten other men were called a company, eleven families in all. They traveled through Indian Country with bad roads and had a long tiresome trip--28 days. They started in March 1882. They traveled past the Little Colorado River and went on to Showlow, Arizona--sixteen miles from Snowflake. Soon after they arrived the Indians killed a family at Shumway's Ranch, 10 miles from Showlow. All the settlers went into the fort for a few days until the Indians settled down. On May 25, 1882 twin girls were born to the Adam's family. This made three babies for Lillie was only 17 months old. One of the twins died at 20 days old.
Mary was soon called as Relief Society President, a calling which she held for seven years, except two winters when the family went to Snowflake for the children to go to school, then the counselors took charge of the Relief work. The second winter the whole family had typhoid fever at Christmas time and scarlet fever towards spring. Little Lillie lost her hearing. Mary and John's first son, John Bennett, was born the same winter born Aug. 3, 1886. The family then got the ranch in Bognell Hollow, one mile from Adairville, Arizona.
Many exciting things happened while on this ranch. The Negro soldiers put a telegraph line from Holbrook to Fort Apache, they camped for several days at a well near the ranch. They would come to the ranch well after water to drink. Mary was so afraid of them. So one day she bantered them to see who was the best shot. She said the Lord helped her to hit the mark and the Negro didn't. They found Mary could shoot so they never bothered them at all any more.
One time Mary and her children were alone (her husband freighted most all the extra time he had) and a huge Grizzly Bear came past the house. They got up and shut the doors (they thought it was a dog). It went and got green corn and went back but they were sure scared. It did not harm them but it went a few nights later to a house or corral down on the creek and killed a calf. That woman and her two children went to stay with a neighbor that had a better house the next night and men were watching for the bear in the willows near the corral. The bear came to the house first, went in and tore up the feather bed, threw feathers all over, drank some milk then decided to go get more calf. The men shot him but he got away that night but they got him next day. It was a narrow escape for Mary and her children with doors open and he passed within three feet of the back door that had no steps where it should of been (which was lucky).
While on this ranch John S. Adams helped drive a herd of cattle to Utah. He was gone three months or all winter in 1888. The family got without flour. Mary E. took the baby girl and the next to the oldest girl, Mame or Mary hooked up the team, Bill and Crook, took wheat and corn, went 12 miles to the grist mill. There were five children left on the ranch one mile south of Adairville. That night Apache Indians, a dozen or more, camped on the hill in sight of the house. They were drinking Talepie, a drink they made of corn. The children could see their fire and them dancing. They were afraid to stay at home, the oldest child being only eleven years old, so they made a fire in the fireplace so light would show out the window cracks to make the Indians think they were there till they could get away. They took three quilts, locked the doors, and went out the back way. There was a deep wash close to the house. The children followed the wash until they were out of sight of the camp then took over the hill and went to their Grandmother's house at Adairville. When they went home next day to milk and feed they found the Indians had been to the house and took the door down, found the shotgun and took every screw out of it and left it all on the table. The children carefully put the pieces away until their mother, Mary E., came and got a man to put the gun together again.
While on this ranch the sheep and cattlemen quarreled and even fought. There were what was called vigilante committees formed. One day in the fall of 1889 the two oldest girls, Ann and Mame or Mary were about one mile from the ranch hunting milk cows in the Cedars. There was one extra large branchy Cedar they called the shade tree, the cows often lay down under this tree, they could not hear the cowbell so they went to the shade tree looking for the cows. There they saw three cow-men hanging from the limbs of the shade tree. They were frightened and hurried home without the cows and told their father. He went to town and got the sheriff. The men had to tie cloths over their noses and mouths, the bodies had been there so long they were very decayed. The men dug a grave, wrapped the bodies in blankets, they were all three put in the same grave unidentified for no one in town knew them or where they were from, only from their dress they were called cowboys. They had chaps on.
In the spring of 1890 the Adams family moved to PineTop, Arizona 16 miles north of Adairville. Here they lived all summer in the wagon box and slabs from a nearby sawmill leaned on a pole for a ridge pole. They built a two-roomed log house and moved in before winter. While there Mary E. and Dave Penrod, an old friend, decided they wanted a Sunday School. There were about fifteen families on scattered farms so they gathered Sunday morning at Dave Penrod's house. Dave, being an elder, presided the first meeting. There was only one High Priest at PineTop and he wouldn't even come to Sunday School because it wasn't called and organized by the proper authority. But the people found out what they could do and who were willing to help, then they sent a letter to Snowflake, the nearest stake, and asked to be organized. Which was done after three Sunday Schools had been held at Dave Penrod's house with him taking charge and Mary E. Adair taking minutes. After they were organized then Mary E. Adams was chosen secretary, those minutes were kept in book form. Edd E. Bradshaw, the one high priest, was chosen as Presiding Elder in 1890.
In 1889 John S. Adams concluded he could make more freighting with oxen than with four horses so he traded the four horses for six oxen. But he had to walk so much to drive the oxen and he got his feet wet so often, he contracted rheumatics from which he suffered terribly and in 1892 the Dr. at Fort Apache advised him to move to a warmer locality so the family of Father, Mother, and eight daughters and one son started for Dixie Utah with two wagons and four horses on the third of May 1893. John S. was hardly able to get in and out of the wagon for the first few days. But grew better as the climate changed so Mary E. and her girls had to take most of the responsibility of the first part of the trip. They managed very well until they came to the Winslow crossing of the Little Colorado River. When they arrived there they found that a few days before a loaded wagon had gone down in the quicksand. Most of the load had been carried out but they could still see the box of the wagon above the water. So they were afraid to cross and their father knew of an old road without crossing the river if they went through the old settlement of Sunset on the Little Colorado River. So they started on this old road knowing they would have to make road some of the way. This was a very hard day on the whole family. The family was camped quite far from they spring they had to get water from because it got about dark before they got in sight of the trees at the spring. The horses were tired so they camped and John S. and his son, Ben, took the horses and canteens and went to get water. Just after they left those left behind could see a company of about sixty Navajo Indians on the road on the other side of the river. They had been to Flagstaff trading and were drunk. Mary and her children were sure frightened. John S. and his son, Ben, had gotten to the spring when they heard the Indians coming. They got the horses in the willows until the Indians passed. The father got back into camp about 11 o'clock. The next day they went to the Indian trading post on the Little Colorado River. There they saw a sheep with two heads and tails alive and well. They went from there to Moencopi, now Tuba City. They had to stay there for a week because the Indians were angry over a cowboy whipping an Indian with his quirt. Their wagons were searched. Mary was sure nervous. The family crossed the Colorado River at Lee's Ferry two days after leaving Moencopi. The river's water was high so they had to wait three days before they could cross. This was a very hard trip on Mary. Mary showed her children where the Berry brothers and wife were killed by Indians when she was a girl.
They went to Harrisburg, Utah where Mary's son, William Alford, was born. Wherever Mary E. went she was an active church worker. Mary E. made many moves in the next few years. First to the town of Washington near St. George where her daughters worked in the cotton and woolen factory. From there the family went to White Hills, Arizona then to Panguitch, Utah then to Hatch town where Mary worked at the Indian school as assistant cook. Mary's son, James Augustus, was born in St. George on Sept 3, 1896 and her son, Hyrum Loy, was born in Panguitch on Sept 13, 1901. The family moved to Annabelle in 1908 and then to Richfield, Utah in 1919.
Mary E. Adams was an active member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers of Mt. Hilgard camp at the time of her death from diabetes and cancer at Annabelle, Utah at her daughter, Susie Roberts' home on Aug. 26, 1926.
Mary E. Adams Funeral -- 30 Aug 1926 - Annabella, Sevier, Utah
John S. Adams, his children and their spouses at Mary E.'s graveside
John S. Adams and grandchildren at Mary E.'s graveside
Written by her daughter,
Ann P. Adams Watts
May 3, 1936
Edited and Privately Printed by
Cynthia Burgess Alldredge
(a great, great granddaughter)
on 22 December 1995.
JOHN SMITH AND MARY ELIZABETH ADAIR ADAMS
John Smith Adams was born 11 May 1844 in Macedonia, Hancock County,
Illinois to Lucinda Thorp and James B. Finley Page. His mother died when
he was three weeks and he was adopted and raised by Orson and Susan B. Adams.
Mary Elizabeth Adair was born 15 April 1858 in the town of Washington, Washington County, Utah to Mary Vancil and Thomas Jefferson Adair.
John and Mary were married 17 May 1876 in St. George, Utah. They were later endowed and sealed in the St. George Temple on 27 February 1880.
Mary Elizabeth Adair Adams died 27 August 1926 at Annabelle, Sevier County, Utah.
John Smith (Page) Adams died 19 April 1935 at Sigurd, Sevier County, Utah.
They are the parents of thirteen children:
1. Ann Adams born 19 March 1877 at Pareah, Kane County, Utah
She married (1) Hyrum Henry Rose 20 August 1896
(2)Benjamin Watts, 8 September 1915
She died 1 January 1943 at Aurora, Sevier, Utah
2. Mary Angeline Adams (Mame) born 27 October 1878 also at Pareah, Utah
She married Walter Wallace Elder 1 January 1897
She died 28 April 1964 at Springville, Utah, Utah..
3. Arminta Francis Adams (Mint) born 23 July 1880 also at Pahreah
She married Jessie Smith Hathaway.
She died 1 December 1957.
4. Lillie Dale Adams born 23 December 1881 in Harrisburg,
Washington County, Utah.
She married Joseph Barnhurst, 11 November 1899.
She died 16 November 1938 in Eugene, Lane County, Oregon.
5. Ada Adams (twin) born 25 May 1883 at Adairville, Arizona
She married (1) Fred Wardrobe (2) John Reed 11 August 1915
(3) William Luther Smalley.
6. Ida Adams (twin) born 25 May 1883 at Adairville, Navajo, Arizona
She died 18 June 1883.
7. John Bennett Adams born 3 August 1885 also at Adairville.
He married (1) Mary Edith Talbot (2) Martha Colby 7 May 1948.
He died 20 October 1974.
8. Rebecca June Adams (Becky) born 27 June 1887 at Showlow,
She married (1)Commodore Seguine Myers 20 March 1905
(2)Otis Alonzo Dickinson 9 November 1912
She died 3 March 1962 at Richfield, Sevier, Utah.
9. Susie Emma Adams born 7 June 1889 also at Showlow, Arizona
She married Ammon Roberts 27 January 1909.
She died 26 February 1964.
10. Viola Adams born 3 February 1891 at Pinetop, Arizona
She married Earnest Bertrum Lambert 2 January 1908
She died 24 October 1955 at Reno, Nevada.
11. William Alford Adams born 5 February 1893 at Harrisburg, Utah
He died 3 February 1896.
12. James Augustis Adams born 3 September 1896 at St. George,
He married Rosa Mae Lazenby 1 September 1927
also Grace Signer.
He died 4 October 1951.
13. Hyrum Loy Adams born 13 September 1901 at Panguitch, Utah
He married (1) Geraldine Augusta Rice 3 April 1926
(2) Othella Gurr 16 August 1934.
He died 15 December 1970.
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