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The Adams Family

Addams Family

Do you remember The Addams Family? It was a fictional family created by Charles Addams in the 1930s. They began life as a cartoon and grew into a television series, and even a full-length movie. My favorite character was Morticia as played by Carolyn Jones. Gormaz as played by John Austin was another interesting person. Austin at one time was married to the daughter of one of my high school teachers.

Maybe the Addams family was just a fictional family… and then again… maybe not. I have no idea where Charles Addams came up with his idea of this family, but haven’t we all had an Addams family or two in our family history. And haven’t we all really wondered how we could be descended from such as those? Just a mention of the person or family will have us shaking… shuddering… moaning… groaning… and hiding our head in shame.

Professional researching

As a professional researcher I traveled most of the south from Louisiana to Virginia in several ways including in a car, online, and by microfilmed records. I spend many a day in Family History Centers studying microfilmed records not only from the United States but many from medieval England . I lectured and took part in many workshops and I met a lot of people who were also into family history. I know well the Louisiana State Archives and the Mississippi State Archives and there are a lot of courthouses in several states where the staff called me by name when I walked in the door. But my favorite place to work is in the Cammie G. Henry Research Center on the campus of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches , Louisiana . Oh, the stories hidden in those all those walls… but I digress…

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Let me tell you about an Adams family I found in my travels, but I won’t tell you who they are related to today in order to protect the unknowing. And so the story goes…

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time… in the 1800s in the middle of the wild, wild west lived a family named Adams . (Spelled with one “d” not two.)

The father of this particular family was a descendent of a well-documented Adams family of South Carolina . Old granddad Adams died in 1812, leaving the bulk of his estate to his son and two daughters. All three children decided to take their families and “go west” into Mississippi .

Unfortunately, Mr. Adams, the father of the family we are discussing, was a little on the wild side, which did not fair well for his wife and large brood of children. He was always into scrapes of one kind or another and this particular event was documented in the newspapers of the time.

Newspaper account of a murder

The names have been removed to protect the innocent, but no doubt the family historians of the said families will quickly recognized the story. I personally copied this record verbatim from a microfilmed copy of the old newspaper in the Mississippi State Archives.

A most foul murder was committed in the southern part of this county last week on the body of an inoffensive citizen by the name of J… . He received several blows on the head which, the Corner’s Inquest decided, caused his death. Rumor says that one … Adams had swore that if he ever came to his house again, he would kill him. This fact together with that of the dead body being found in Adams ‘ yard, at once fixed suspicion upon him. He has since left the county. It is said by those acquainted with the parties that a difficulty had been brewing for some time in consequence of Adams’ intimacy with J…’s wife, and no doubt such was the fact, for most certainly can she make a Pandemonium where she dwells and reign the Hecaet of domestic bell’s.

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Running from the law

Mr. Adams left Mississippi like more than one man did at that time, running from the law. It would seem to me that Mr. Adams was not only on the wild side, but must have been a slow thinker. Any smart man would have quickly moved the body to another location… any location but his own house! But that is just my own personal observation on the event.

A new child was born about the same time as all the startling events were unfolding so I am assuming Mr. Adams’ wife to be in the “family way” at the time of the event. In the 1850 census the family is shown living in Louisiana , but by the 1860 census, Mrs. Adams was living alone with her children with no Mr. Adams to be found in any of the records. However, in the nearby community also lived Mr. Adams’ sister who was married to Mrs. Adams’ brother, as well as several of Mr. and Mrs. Adams’ siblings and their offspring.

150 years later…

One hundred and fifty years later the descendents have yet to find him so it is believed he died or was killed. I would like to consider that the poor old wife got enough of his film-flammery and just run him off, but we are talking about the long-suffering granddaughter of a preacher-man and the mother of thirteen children; some born after they moved to Louisiana !

From all the records found, it showed Mrs. Adams certainly did a fantastic job of raising her children. Most of her youngsters grew up to become well respected members of the community and raised wonderful families themselves.

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One of Mrs. Adam’s sons became a respected sheriff, who later committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart not once, but twice… or so the eye witnesses stated… when his own family problems became too great for him to bear.

We have to remember that even during the late 1800s that part of Louisiana was still the wilds of civilization, where panthers and bears roamed the country side and men and women had to be strong. The newspapers related many deaths at the time and Sheriff Adams just could not cope with losing a wife and several young children within a few years time and then to see one of his sons turn out to be so much like his own father; the burden of it all will break a man or a woman’s spirit.

The moral of the story

You can pick your friends, but you can not pick your family.

And you thought history was dull.

Just something to think about…

Other articles by Annette Womack

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