Friday, March 14, 2014

52 Ancestors: #11: John Quincy Adams of Vermont, Illinois, and Iowa

This blog post was inspired by Amy Johnson Crow 's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge.  Learn more at her blog.


John Q. Adams
John Adams always impressed me as a real “go-getter.”  Of course, it’s in his genes.  His great-grandparents, James Callender Adams and Submit Purchase Adams, were the first settlers in what would become St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Their son Martin Adams was also one of the pioneers of St. Johnsbury, and also of Duncansboro (Newport), Vermont, and was barely 17 when he enlisted in the Vermont Militia as a drummer in the Revolutionary War. Martin’s son Abial, the first white child born in Newport, served as town clerk and along with his wife Irene, raised 15 children.  It’s no wonder that John Adams had a tendency to go after what he wanted, and was not afraid of working to get it.
At the age of 16, John left home bound for Burlington, Vermont, to attend college there.  He paid his own way by teaching school in the winter terms.  He studied there for two years (1847-1849) before returning to his father’s house where he, along with the older boys in the family, helped on the farm.

Early in 1851, he once again left home, this time headed for Stephenson County, Illinois, where he taught school and worked as a carpenter for two years.  He was 22 years old when he boarded a steamer for California, hoping to jump-start his future in the Gold Rush era.  He was there five years, and went back to Stephenson county in February of 1858 with $1000 in his pocket.  He wasted no time purchasing 240 acres of land south of Florence, Illinois, and within two weeks had married Miss Julia Van Brocklin, daughter of prominent Stephenson county pioneer Conrad Van Brocklin.   He farmed this land for the duration of his many years there, except for a short time he kept a store in Freeport.

JohnJuliaHeadstone2 JohnAdamsLand2_WatermanTwp
Above, left: John and Julia’s headstone in Waterman cemetery.  Left: Their land in O’Brien county, Iowa.

While he started out ambitious, the remainder of his life seems to be relatively quiet, at least as far as the paper-trail he left would indicate.  In 1902, he sold his farm, and purchased another farm in O’Brien county, Iowa, as well as two pieces of land in nearby Sutherland.  His wife died on 24 Feb 1905.  He died on 16 Nov. 1907 of pneumonia in Hampton Iowa, where their daughter Hattie Wolfe and her family lived.  John and Julia are buried in Waterman Cemetery, just outside of Sutherland.

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