Henry Adams

Henry Adams (1583 - 1646)

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Henry Adams
Born in Barton St. David, Somerset, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Charlton Mackrell ,Somerset, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusettsmap
Profile last modified | Created 27 Jul 2010
This page has been accessed 39,964 times.

Categories: English Immigrants to America | Massachusetts Bay Colonists | Puritan Great Migration | US President Direct Ancestor | Charles Henry Browning Fraud | England, Adams Name Study | Massachusetts, Adams Name Study | 16th Century, Adams Name Study.

The Puritan Great Migration.
Henry Adams migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640). (See Great Migration Begins, by R. C. Anderson, Vol. 3, p. 1528)
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U.S. President Direct Ancestor
Henry Adams is an ancestor of a US President/Vice President
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This profile is part of the Adams Name Study.



Henry Adams is best known as the great great grandfather of 2nd US president John Adams, and great great great grandfather of 6th US president John Quincy Adams descended through his son Joseph's line.[1]

Three of Henry's known children were baptized in Barton St. David and Kingweston. There is a marriage record of Henry Adams to Edith Squire in Charlton Mackrell (next to Barton/Kingweston) on 19 Oct 1609. Two of her sisters also married and emigrated to Massachusetts and future records indicate relations between Squire and Adams families. Their son Jonathan remained working on the farm of his Squire grandfather until about 1651. There are letters of attorney that describe a sibling relationship between this Jonathan and other of Henry's children. There are court docs in Massachusetts that also describe sibling relationships of Henry's children. And then there's Henry's 1646 will, which names his younger children-- the oldest probably having received their share at marriage. All these, combined, support the link to the Barton St. David family.

"Charlton Mackrell played an important part in pioneer migration to the New England States, especially over the period 1638 to 1650. This movement was inspired by certain religious principles, and a leading spirit in the West Country was the Rev. John White, of Dorchester, Dorset, who is said to have been responsible for over 20,000 emigrants to America.

[2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16]


Henry Adams (1583-1646) was born in Barton St. David, Somersetshire, England. He was the youngest of 4 children of John Adams* (1555-1604) also of Barton St. David, and Agnes Stone* (___?-1615/16).

"Gentleman" Henry Adams (1582-1646), a farmer and maltster, was descended from English yeomen who had lived in Barton St. David for centuries.[citation needed]

Henry was a farmer who held land by the old English system of copyhold from the lord of the manor of Barton St. David about the year 1608 in the village of Charlton Mackrell on the river Cary in the heart of English Somersetshire. [17]

He was a maltster and, presumably, a husbandman like his father and grandfather before him. The earliest record of him is in 1604 when he was executor of his father's estate and the next on 19 October 1609 when he married Edith Squire in Charlton-Wachrell, Co, Somerset.

Only 2 other records (in England) have been found in which his name is mentioned: in 1609, when he was co-executor of the will of his brother John and an original parchment bond found in the Diocesan Registry showing that in 1614 he was living in Barton St. David. It contains the only known signature of Henry. At some time between 1614 and 1622 he moved to the adjacent parish of Kingweston where his youngest children were baptized, the last in 1629, and where he probably lived until his emigration in 1638.

President John Quincy Adams dissented from this opinion of his father that Henry Adams came from Devonshire.
After giving the matter particular and thorough investigation, both in this country and in England, he published it as his conviction that Henry Adams was from Braintree in the county of Essex, on the east coast of England. “The statement in the Alden Collection,” he says, “that the first Henry came from Devonshire was received the collector of epitaphs from my father; but I believe it was not from Devonshire but from Braintree in the county of Essex, thathe came. My father supposed that he formed part of the company that came with Gov. Winthrop in 1630, most of whom were from Devonshire. But at the time my father formed this opinion, Gov. Winthrop’s Journal had not been published.”
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.” [18]
Hooker himself arrived in Sept. 1633, but his Company, which was mostly made up from Chelmsford – perhaps also from Braintree and other neighboring villages of Essex county, - had arrived the year before. Hence it appears highly probably 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 early first-comers of New England, concurs in the opinion of President John Quincy Adams.[19]

Disproven Ancient Ancestry

The "Ap Adams" story is one of the most embarrassing nineteenth-century forgeries. It first appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 7 (Jan. 1853) [wrong reference; that volume# and page publishes an abstract of Adams' will], claiming descent from a landed Adams family at Stoke-Gabriel, co. Devon. Because it claims grand ancestry, people have happily quoted it and copied it as gospel ("hey, it's in print, it has to be right"). Places that discuss this fraudulent genealogy include:
  • "Book Notices," in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 56(1902):211: referring to the pamphlet "The Ancestry of Henry Adams of Braintree, New England," by Rev. Hiram Francis Fairbanks, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1901, 8vo, pp 19.
  • G.E. C.'s 'Complete Peerage,' Vol. I., page 111,
  • NEHGS REGISTER, Vol. 37, pp 159-160, Mr. Jos. L. Chester produces proof of the 'forgery' of the portion connecting Henry Adams with Ap Adam.
  • NEHGS REGISTER, 34:432-433 (John Ward Dean)
  • NEHGS REGISTER, 31:333

In 1927, Josiah Gardner Bartlett published the known, documented English origins of Henry Adams, a yeoman farmer from Barton [St.] David (just south of Wells) and next-door Kingweston, Somerset, who married on 19 Oct. 1609 married Edith Squire, from neighboring Charlton Mackrell, Somerset. See Bartlett's book ("Henry Adams of Somersetshire, England and Braintree, Mass.: His English Ancestry and Some of His Descendants" [New York, 1927]), also "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), p. 652, from which I quote:

"In 1853...an Adams pedigree purporting to show that Henry Adams, English emigrant to New England, was a descendant of one Sir John ap Adams and his wife Elizabeth de Gurnay, heiress to estates in Somersetshire, Dorsetshire and Gloucestershire, was published and has been reprinted and quoted from frequently ever since. J. Gardner Bartlett, in his 1927 history of Henry Adams, stated unequivocally that the alleged connection of Henry Adams with the Ap Adam family of Beverstone and Tidenham rested on forged evidences. In proof [the Ap Adam chart from The Complete Peerage, vol. 1 (1910), pp. 179-81] was given in the Bartlett book. It shows conclusively that the Adams line issuing from Elizabeth de Gurnay ended by an heiress in 1424, 159 YEARS PRIOR TO Henry Adams's birth! [The last male Ap Adams died in 1424, with his nephew John Huntley appar. sole heir.] Moreover, although Sir John Ap Adams acquired vast estates in Gloucestershire and Somersetshire, he never had the manor of Cherleton-Adam."
Mr. Bartlett's book (1927) has numerous photographs of the Saxon church at Barton [St.] David, bonds and other documents signed by, or associated with, the real Henry Adams, his wife, and their ancestors. Miss Adams's treatment (1974) of Henry and his English background is also excellent.[citation needed]


Henry arrived in America in 1638 on the ship Mary & John with his wife, seven sons. and one daughter; son Jonathan followed in 1651. Around the same time Henry's wife's sister, Margaret (Squire) Shepherd, her husband Thomas Shepard, and their children also emigrated, joining a third Squire sister, Anne (Squire) (Purchase) Oliver, who had come to New England in 1633 with her then-husband, Aquila Purchase.

Life in New England

Henry was one of the earliest settlers of Mt. Wollaston, incorporated in 1640 as Braintree, MA and included what is now Quincy, Braintree and Randolph, MA. He received a land grant of 40 acres for 10 people at "The Mount" 24 Feb. 1641 in a vote at Boston, of which Braintree was then a part. He settled on that land which became a part of Quincy in 1792. This land remained partially in the male line of descendants until about 1845 when the last occupant had removed to Bridgewater.

The location of the grant was long unknown to modern descendants, but it is now known that the house stood on present Elm street, Quincy, near South street & close to the town brook.
Henry Adams was known popularly as The Founder of New England, probably because of the extraordinary number (89) of his grandchildren. Apparently, Henry Adams was influenced by Aquila Purchase, Master of Trinity School at Dorchester, who in 1613/14 married Anna Squire, sister to Henry's wife, Edith Squire*, both daughters of Henry Squire*. Henry Squire had three daughters who married and went to New England, all seemingly associated with a group known as the Dorchester Adventurers, led by the Rev. John White, whose first group of Dorset Pilgrims arrived in New England on the ship Mary& John in 1630. This group was largely absorbed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in later years, and by the time Henry Adams came in 1638, many of the original Dorset Pilgrims, particularly those who would not take religious oaths as a prerequisite for citizenship, had moved well into the interior settling around river valleys in MA and CT along the Indian or Dutch territorial frontiers. Windsor CT was one of the principal settlements.
Henry Adams with his large family seems to have preferred settling near the coast and thus stayed in Braintree MA, which is now known as Quincy MA. Henry Adams' biographers do not associate him with the more radical and religious Puritans, nor with the liberal and outlawed Pilgrims, but rather see him and other followers of Rev. John White as adventurers, seeking a new world where the boundaries of a class society could be overcome.[citation needed]

He was made constable at Braintree and took his oath Dec. 5, 1643[20]

In October, 1645 thirty-two residents of Braintree petitioned the General Court regarding a grant of land and among the names were Henry Adams, Sr. and Jr., Thomas, Samuel, John and Christopher, the latter likely an error for Peter Adams. This accounts for all the sons except Jonathan, still in England, and Joseph and Edward who were still minors.

Death & Legacy

Henry died 6 Oct. 1646 and was buried 8 October. His will is dated 1646 and was proved 8 June 1647. It mentions wife Edith [not per Register 7(1853):35; that extract names children, but only refers to "my wife"] and all but the 3 oldest children; a copy of the will is printed in the NEHGS "Register," Vol 7, page 35.

The will mentions: sons Peter, John, Joseph, Edward, Samuel; daughter Ursula; and "my wife"[21]
S.P. N.S. 1-429 Will of Henry Adams of Braintree 1646
Sons Peter & John & daughter Ursula shall have the ground in the neck, both upland & meadow, during the term I was to enjoy it, until it return to the town's hands again from whom I had it. Also the acre in the mill fields. Books to be divided among all my children, wife to have other goods as long as unmarried and if she marry Joseph, Edward & Ursula to enjoy all the ground in the field that lieth in the way to Weymouth ferry and my house lot with all houses and fruit trees and moveables at death or marriage of my wife, provided they and their mother pay my son Samuel what is due for ground I bought of him. But in case God should soe deal with my wife that shee be constrayned to make use of something by way of sale shee may.
For moveables Peter & John shall have an equal share with my sons Joseph & Edward and daughter Ursula. Witnesses: Benjamin Allbe, Richard Brackett.
2-32 8:4:1647 Inventory £75/13/ Deposed in court 8 (4) 1647
House & barn & ground about them £26. Doesn't say who took it.
Somme ground within the fence leading to Weymouth ferry £10.

The estate inventory, dated 8 June 1647, revealed that he had a house and a barn, a cow and a calf, some pigs, furniture and utensils, and three beds. More noteworthy and probably relics of the old days in England were a silver spoon and some old books. His estate was worth about 75 pounds.[22]

A monument was erected by his grave by his descendant, John Adams, second President of the United States which is inscribed as followed: "In memory of Henry Adams, who took his flight from the Dragon persecutors, in Devonshire England and alighted with eight sons near Mt. Wollaston. One of the sons returned to England and, after taking some 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; where he was an original proprietor in the township of Braintree incorporated 1639." The President did not have the place of Henry's origin correct. John Quincy Adams, son of the 2nd President believed, unlike his father, that Henry was more likely from Braintree, England and that he came with Hooker to America in 1632.

Tombstone Inscription
In Memory of HENRY ADAMS who took his flight from the Dragon persecution in Devonshire in 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 hereat his left hand, remained here, who was an original proprietor in the township of Briantree, 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 and imitation of their virtures to their posterity. ... Erected December, 1823

His widow Edith (Squire) Adams married about 1651, John Fussell of Weymouth, and removed about 1654 to Medfield where several of the Adams children resided. She died Jan. 21, 1672/3 and he died there Feb. 21,1675/6 when his house was burned by Indians.


Henry Adams and Edith Squire had 9 children:

  1. Henry Adams, Jr. (1610-1675), emigrated with his parents to Braintree MA. Henry was appointed Clerk of Writs at Braintree MA on Nov. 4, 1646. He was a founder of Medfield MA and a Lieutenant in King Philip's War. He was killed in his doorway in an Indian attack, Feb. 21, 1675/6. Henry Adams, Jr. m. Elizabeth Paine (1620-1675), on Nov. 17, 1643, in New England. She was bap. July 23, 1620 in Tenderton, Yorkshire, England, the daughter of Moses Paine and Elizabeth ___? Henry, Jr. and Elizabeth had 8 children.
  2. Thomas Adams* (1612-1688); m. Mary Blackmore* (1613-1694/5)
  3. Jonathan Adams (1614-1619), the only child of Henry and Edith to remain in England when his parents came to America on 1638. Jonathan came to America later, in 1651. He m1. Joane Close on Feb. 7, 1638/9. She may have died prior to Jonathan's emigration in 1651. Jonathan and Joane had at least 3children, born in England. He m2. Elizabeth Holman in c1665. She was born May 19, 1644, in Cambridge MA, the daughter of William Holman and Winnifred ___? Jonathan and Elizabeth had 6 children.
  4. Samuel Adams (1616-1688), a Freeman of the Mass. Bay Colony. He constructed and erected mills in Lowell MA (part of Chelmsford). He is bur. in Charlestown MA. Samuel and his 2nd wife, Rebecca Graves are progenitors of John Calvin Coolidge, Jr., 30th President of the U.S. Samuel m1. Mary Eglesfield in c1646. She was the daughter of Emanuel Eglesfield and Susanna Gray of London. Susanna was the daughter of Thomas Gray and Katherine Miles. Susanna was the sister of Parnel Gray(b. c1601), wife of the Hon. Increase Nowell, and also the sister of Katherine Gray (b. c1604), the wife of Capt. Thomas Graves. Mary d. in 1650. Samuel and Mary had one child, Samuel, b. July 3, 1647, Charlestown MA, who died young. Samuel m2. Rebecca Graves (b. c1631), daughter of Capt. Thomas Graves and Katherine Gray and a niece of Samuel's first wife, Mary. Rebecca d. Sept. 8, 1664, Chelmsford MA. Samuel and Rebecca had 8 children. Samuel m3. Esther Sparhawk (1636-1692) on May 7, 1668 in Chelmsford. Esther is the daughter of Deacon Nathaniel Sparhawk and Mary Angier of Cambridge MA. Samuel and Esther had 4 children.
  5. Ursula Adams, b. c1619; m1. Stephen Streeter in c 1640. He was from Charlestown MA. Ursula and Stephen had 7 children; m2. Samuel Hosier of Watertown MA, on Oct 13, 1657; m3. William Robinson, Dorchester MA, in c1666; m4. Griffin Craft, of Roxbury MA, on July 15, 1673.
  6. Peter Adams (1621-1690), freeman of the Mass. Bay Colony; m. Rachel ___? and had 10 children.
  7. John Adams (1622-1706), apprenticed as a millwright. Became known as John Adams of Menotomy, (now Arlington MA); m. Anne ___?, and had 7 children.
  8. Joseph Adams (1626-1694), the progenitor of Pres. John Adams and John Quincy Adams; m. Abigail Baxter; b. Sep. 1634, Roxbury MA; d. Aug. 27, 1692,Braintree MA. Abigail is the daughter of Gregory Baxter and Margaret Paddy.
  9. Edward Adams (1629-1716); bap. Apr. 19, 1629, Kingweston, England. He was Rep. to MA General Court, 1689, 1692, & 1702. He d. Nov. 12, 1716, Medfield MA. Edward m1. Lydia Penniman; bap. Feb. 22, 1634/5, Boston MA, daughter of James Penniman and Lydia Eliot. [Some say this is not fully proven.] She d. Mar. 3, 1675/6. Edward and Lydia had 14 children, many of whom died in early infancy. Speculation indicates that Edward and Lydia had incompatible blood types. Edward m2. Abigail (Craft) (Ruggles) Day; b. Mar. 28, 1634, Roxbury MA; d. Jan. 19, 1706/7, daughter of Lt. Griffin Craft, and widow of John Ruggles of Roxbury, and widow of Ralph Day of Dedham MA. Edward and Abigail had no children. Edward m3. Sarah Taylor on Jan. 6, 1709/10 in Medfield MA.

Selected Descendants of Note

Some well known descendants include:

Henry was born in 1583. He passed away in 1646.


  1. John Hamilton Adams, History of Our Branch of The Adams Family, 1886-from FT Wayne library.
  2. George Norbury MacKensie, editor, Colonial Families of the US, 1966-vol VI p311, Findlay library
  3. Mary E. Mayo, editor, 1600 Lines to Pilgrims-lineage book III,
  4. Gary Boyd Roberts, "NS sons/daus of Pilgrims (1982), OGS English Origins of NE Families," in New England Historical & Genealogical Register, 2nd Series in 3 Vols-vol (1985), p3; this has English background & Braintree information
  5. Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages prior to 1700, 1985
  6. Sir John Bernard Burke, Prominent Families in America with British Ancestry-The Landed Gentry, (1971)
  7. William R. Cutter & William F. Adams, Genealogical & Personal Memoirs relating to families of Massachusetts, 1910, vol III, p. 533
  8. Frederick A. Virkus, "Immigrants to America before 1750," in Magazine of American Genealogy (1965)
  9. R. V. Jackson & Mrs. A. Polson, American Patriots-relating to lineage of John Quincy Adams, (1981)
  10. Burke's Presidential Families of USA [and?] Burke's Peerage, London, England 1st edition (1975)
  11. Charles H. Browning, Americans of Royal Descent, 7th edition (1986)
  12. Charles H. Pope, Pioneers of Massachusetts-from records of colonies, towns, churches & other documents, 1965
  13. Mary C. Crawford, Famous Families of Massachusetts, volume 1 (1930)
  14. Frank R. Holmes, Directory of Ancestral Heads of New England Families 1620-1700 (1964)
  15. J.G. Bartlett, Henry Adams of England and Massachusetts: His English ancestry & some of his descendants (1927); A VERY comprehensive genealogy on Henry
  16. Author?, Descendants of Robert Adams, vols 7, 9, 11, 35 or 36, 48; (1847-1853-1855-1857-1882-1894)
  17. Pedigree of Henry Adams c1583-1646
  18. See Family Memorial by Elisha Thayer; Note p. 38
  19. Henry Adams of Braintree (web site)
  20. Records of Court Assistants, Vol. 1
  21. Will of Henry Adams, of Braintree. 1646, in "Abstracts of Early Wills," in NEHGS Register, 7(1853):35
  22. Pedigree of Henry Adams c1583-1646
  • Andrew N. Adams, (1898) A genealogical history of Henry Adams, of Braintree, Mass., and his descendants : also John Adams, of Cambridge, Mass., 1632-1897, Salem, Massachusetts: Higginson Book Company Archive.org
  • J. Gardner Bartlett (compiled for Edward Dean Adams), (1927) Henry Adams of Somersetshire, England and Braintree, Mass., New York: privately printed HathiTrust.org.
  • Rev. Darrell & Sallyann Joiner, Cary Family History
  • Waldo Chamberlain Sprague, Genealogies of the Families Of Braintree, Norfolk, Mass., 1640-1850, AB Publication: Including the modern town of Randolph & Holbrook and the city of Quincy, after the separation from Braintree in 1792-3
  • Suffolk County Wills
  • Frank Thistlethwaite, (1993) Dorset Pilgrims, Interlaken, NY: Heart of the Lakes.
  • Colonial Families of the USA, 1607-1775
  • New England, The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Henry by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:

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Images: 4
List of Descendants of Henry Adams
List of Descendants of Henry Adams

Henry Adams to Francis Doddy Garvey info
Henry Adams to Francis Doddy Garvey info

Henry Adams Grave Marker
Henry Adams Grave Marker

Adams, Henry marriage to Edith Squire
Adams, Henry marriage to Edith Squire


On 27 Mar 2018 at 22:04 GMT Robin Lee wrote:

Adams-34622 and Adams-277 appear to represent the same person because: identical data

On 6 Mar 2018 at 13:40 GMT Jillaine Smith wrote:

Michael, I'll go ahead and make the change you requested; in the future, know that minor changes such as you suggest, can be made directly to the profile. It's major changes that need to be discussed first.

On 29 Jul 2017 at 15:58 GMT Michael Thomas wrote:

Adams-28847 and Adams-277 appear to represent the same person because: Similar dates and locations for birth and death, same father (after merge already requested)

On 27 Jul 2015 at 16:42 GMT Rena (Bocock) Donze wrote:

Thank you, download the book.

On 26 Jul 2015 at 15:51 GMT Kelly (Sullivan) Rishor wrote:

Available online: COMPILE D BY

J . GARDNER BARTLETT FOR EDWARD DEAN ADAMS https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE745678 Not sure if you wanted the link in profile?

On 10 Jul 2014 at 00:30 GMT Carole Partridge wrote:

Adams-277 and Adams-16387 appear to represent the same person because: Dates line up if you account for differences between old and new styles (October=8th month, year begins March 25, etc.) Son Peter already connected in proposed merge.

On 14 Dec 2013 at 11:43 GMT Nae (Lockhart) X wrote:

Thanks for fixing the LNAB. There are merges pending for him and the other PGM. They are have profiles, so please review and merge them. Once the merge is completed the BIO section will need to be edited to remove duplicate fields and information. Thanks Michael! PS: If you have any questions or need help, let me know. To review the merges, either go to the bottom left of their profile page or when you are logged in you can go to FIND top right PENDING MERGES and then you can narrow it to those waiting on you.  :) Nae

On 27 Nov 2013 at 13:09 GMT Anonymous (Lindt) Large wrote:

Henry was born in 1583, and was the son of John not his brother.

See the Find a grave reference.

Henry is 15 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 19 degrees from Katy Jurado and 15 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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