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Henry Adams and Edith Squire

Henry ADAMS. [Familytree].
As the emmigrant ancestor, Henry is the progenitor of United States Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Calvin Coolidge, as well as of Samuel Adams, who also signed the Declaration of Independence, while Presidents Millard Fillmore and William Howard Taft were descendants of his spouse's sisters Ann and Margaret. (S7).

The ancestry of Henry Adams has been seriously questioned. There are several schools of thought. For example, J. Gardner Bartlett (S9) said, During the past century at least four erroneous claims have been made concerning the place of his origin and his ancestry in England.
Conjectures for the origin of Henry Adams include:
* of Devonshire, England; the ancestral home of the baronial ap Adams family, a large landed gentry family.
* of Braintree, Essex, England.
* of Beverstone and Tidenham in Gloucestershire, England; which was also in part related to the Devonshire family.
* of Flore in Northamptonshire, England.
* of Barton St. David in Somersetshire, England.

Two of these diverging thoughts were in part championed by United States President John Adams and by his son, United States President John Quincy Adams.

Let us look at each of these scenarios:


President John Adams believed that Henry was related to the ap Adam family of Devonshire, England. (S13).

Vice President John Adams, believing that Henry was related to the ap Adam family of Devonshire, had a plaque placed in the parish church commemorating the link between the village and the United States. (S6).

John Adams erected a monument to his memory in the old church yard at Quincy, Massachusetts with the following inscription: In memory of Henry Adams who took his flight from the Dragon persecution in Devonshire, 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 here at his left hand, remained here, who was an original proprietor in the township of Braintree, 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 an imitation of their virtures to their posterity. Erected December, 1823. (S7).


President John Quincy Adams disagreed with his father, and thought that the evidence pointed to Henry being from Essex, in the east of England, and not fom the west of England on the Welch border. This is taken as evidence that Henry was not related to the baronial ap Adam family. (S13).

John Quincy Adams believed that: After giving the matter particular and thorough investigation... my conviction is that Henry Adams was from Braintree in the county of Essex, on the east coast of England. (S7).

However, the purported evidence for this is not provided. The greatest evidence may be that the family in New England did not use the ap Adams armoial coat of arms for the first 140 years in the new world.

In this scenario, Henry thus emigrated from Braintree, Essex in England to what soon became Braintree, Massachusetts in about 1632–1633. (S7).

Dr. James Savage, author of the Genealogical Dictionary of the early first-comers of New England, concurs in the opinion of President John Quincy Adams. (S7).

Bartlett (S9) disagrees, and states that this supposition was soon proved to be erroneous.


In 1853 a long pedigree was published setting forth the descent of the emigrant Henry Adams from a landed Adams family at Fenn in Stoke-Gabriel, county Devonshire, claiming to be derevied from the ancient baronial family of ap Adam if Beverstone and Tidenham, county Gloucestershire, England. (S9).

As such, this would also indicate an eventual connection with the Devonshire ap Adam family, but Bartlett (S9) states that it was later shown that this particular connection was false and rested on forged evidences. He does not say however what these forged evidences were.


Bartlett (S9) says that in November 1923, and old farm cottage at Flore in Northamptonshire was announced as the ancestral home of Henry Adams. In a syndicated newspaper article published in America by the Sulgrave Institution. This organization had been induced to purchase the cottage in Flore as an Anglo-Americah shrine, based on the mistaken representations of two English journalists, who claimed it as Henry's ancestral home.

He further says that after fifteen months of representations on the matter, the Sulgrave Institution, on 3 February 1925 officially acknowledged in the public press their error regarding the Flore cottage and repudiated it as the ancestral home of Henry Adams. (S9).


Bartlett (S9) is of the opinion that research shows that Henry Adams is the son of John Adams and Agnes (Stone-S12). This opinion has been largely followed by most researchers. (S7,S12).

This opinion was also held by Col. Charles E. Banks, whose researches in England established beyond question that the emigrant Henry Adams was a native of Barton St. David and that at least three generations of his ancestors resided in this parish for over a century prior to his emigration to New England. (S9).

This Henry Adams, son of John Adams and Agnes, was born probably about 1583 in Barton St. David, Somersetshire, England. (S9).

In the will of John Adams of Barton St. David, in 1603, he makes his son Henry Adams — who was at the time seemingly unmarried — his executor. Barton St. David is between Balstonsborough and Charlton-Adam, perhaps less tlian two miles from each, and about a mile from Kingweston. (S10).

Henry Adams married Edith SQUIER (Squire-S12) on 19 October 1609 at Charlton Mackrell, Somersetshire, England. (S10,S12).
Wikipedia says: Henry Adams and Edith Squire were married in the parish church in 1609 and she is thought to be the ancestor of Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Calvin Coolidge, as well as of Samuel Adams, who also signed the Declaration of Independence, while Presidents Millard Fillmore and William Howard Taft were descendants of her two sisters Ann and Margaret. (S7).

Thus we follow the ancestral line of Henry Adams and Edith Squire of Somersetshire, and from Somersetshire back to the ancestral family of ap Adams in Devonshire; though the accuracy of this entire line has been questioned. We will attempt to indicate where these discrepancies occur.

Three of his children were christened in Barton St. David. (S9).

He was recorded as living in Barton St. David in 1614. Sometime between 1614 and 1622 he moved to the adjoining parish of Kingweston. His younger children were christened in Kingweston. (S9).

Concerning the question of what motivated him to emigrate to New England, Bartlett (S9) writes:
One of the great promoters of emigration in southwestern England was the Rev. John White, rector of the Holy Trinity Church, Dorchester, Co. Dorset, who represented the moderate conforming clergy in the great religious controversies which preceded the Civil War in England. His influence extended all over that region and he advocate as early as 1622 the colonization of New England for spiritual and material reasons, believing that it could be a haven, as well for Non-conformists as for loyal Churchmen. He organized the "Dorchester Adventurers" in 1623, a commercial company which was to operate at Cape Ann, and thereafter he was active in promotion of this and like enterprises, including that of the Massachusetts Bay Company itself. Among his parishioners was one Aquila Purchase, master of Trinity School, Dorchester, England, 1625-1633, whose brother Thomas Purchase, also of Dorchseter, was an emigrant to New England as early as 1626, settling at what is now Brunswick, Maine. In some way, probably through employment as a teacher in the vicinity of Kingweston, 1612-1614, Aquila Purchase met and married there, 28 Jan. 1613/1614, Anne Squire, sister of Edith Squire, and thus became brother-in-law of Henry Adams. The connecting link which debeloped the idea of emigration in the mind of Henry Adams thus became established. (S9).


Henry is likely to have arrived in the area with his wife, his brothers Jeremy Adams et al., and eight sons and a daughter, in 1632 (or in 1638 as Bartlett indicates-S9). Braintree was incorporated in 1640, and included what is now Quincy, and Braintree, Massachusetts. (S7).

Aquila Purchase, brother-in-law of Henry, emigrated to New England in March of 1632-1633, with his wife and children; but he apparently died either during the voyage or shorlty after arrival. His wife, Widdow Purchase, was granted four acres of land on 5 August 1633. (S9). Bartlett further asserts that doubtless this emigration and letters from her ot her family in England, setting forth the advantages of New England, caused the emigratin in 1638 of her two sisters Edith and Margaret with their husbands, Henry Adams and John Shepherd, and their children. (S9).

It has been said, as mentioned, that Henry Adams emigrated in 1633:

Henry may have been in the company of Thomas Hooker, who arrived in September 1633. The Hooker company was mostly made up from immigrants of Chelmsford, perhaps from Braintree and other neighboring villages of Essex county, who had arrived just to the new colony the year before. 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. Hence it appears highly probable that Henry Adams, if from Braintree in Essex, joined Hooker's Company and arrived in Boston in 1632. (S7).

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 possible that Henry Adams from Braintree in Essex joined Hooker’s Company and arrived in Boston in 1632. (S8).

The colonial authorities at Boston allotted to him 40 acres of land at “The Mount,” [Mount Wollaston] for the ten persons in his family, Feb. 24, 1639-40. (S8).

He died (in 1646-S?)(before 6 October 1646-S3)(on 5 October 1646-S12) in Braintree, Norfolk County, Massachusetts; and was buried in the Hancock Cemetery, Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.

WILL OF HENRY ADAMS, Proved 8 June 1647 (S8):

"First, my will is that my sonne Peter and John, and my daughter Ursula, shall have the grounde in the neck, both upland and meadow during the term I was to enjoy it, until it returne into the towne's hands againe, from whom I had it; also the aker in the mill fields: my will is that my bookes shall be divided amongst all my children, that my wife shall have and enjoy all my other goods so long as shee live unmarried, and if shee marry, then my will is y't Joseph, Edward and my daughter Ursula should enjoy all my ground in the fielde y't lieth on the way to Weymouth Ferry, and my house lott, with all the houses and fruit trees and all my movables at the death or marriage of my wife, provided they and their mother shall pay to my sonne Samuel that which is due to him for the ground I bought of him, to be paid in convenient tyme; but in case God soe deal with my wife that she bee constrained to make use of something by way of sale, shee may:--finally, for movables, my will is that my sonne Peter and John shall have an equal share with my sonne Joseph and Edward, and my daughter Ursula."

We note here that Henry does not name his wife, but merely lists her as my wife.

Edith SQUIER. (Edith Rosamond Squire-S12)(Squier-S?)(Squire-S12). [Familytree].
Born (before 29 May 1587)(on 29 May 1587-S12) at Charlton Mackrell, Somersetshire, England; daughter of Henry SQUIRE. (S10,S12).

She was christened 29 May 1587.

She married Henry ADAMS on 19 October 1609 at Charlton Mackrell, Somersetshire, England.

Edith and her son John returned to England (S4), probably after the death of her husband Henry in 1646. Her son John married in England in 1650 and returned to New England about 1651. Edith apparently returned to New England at about the same time.

She died on 21 January 1672-1673(1652-S12) at Medfield, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.



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