- Thomas Frederick Adams was born four months after the death of his father, Thomas Adams.
Thomas Frederick had two brothers, Albert and Charles, and two sisters, Caroline and Harriet, who were all likely born in York County, Limerick, Maine, where their parents, Thomas Adams and Betsey Dolloff lived on a farm. He also had 7 half-brothers and sisters, born to his father's first wife, Mary Perry.
The early Maine census records only name heads of households. No children names and ages, or spousal names are listed. Having "run away" from home at the age of 13, Thomas Frederick Adams never appears in the Maine Census records.
Following his youthful adventures at sea, Thomas Frederick Adams established himself in Indiana, where his mother and his brother Albert (and his wife and two children) had previously moved, and in December of 1847, Thomas F Adams married Lucy Cole, in Switzerland County, Indiana, per the Indiana Marriage Index. There were many large Cole families in the county at that time.
The children of Thomas Frederick Adams and Lucy (Cole) Adams listed in the 1860 Indiana census for Switzerland County, Cotton Township, were Lewis J. age 12, Harriet E. age 10, John W. age 7, Newton E. age 2, and Charley A. age 1. In the previous census, in 1850, Thomas Frederick Adams is not listed, but Lucy Adams is listed, with her one year old son,Lewis.
Thomas Frederick Adams' second wife was Melissa Downey, who was listed with him in that 1860 census record. Information for that marriage came from the Indiana Marriage Index 1851-1900. At the time of the 1860 enumeration, Melissa was age 25, born in Indiana and a daughter, Leora is mentioned for the first time in that census record, along with all the previous children in that 1860 census. It is not known why Leora was not in previous census listings with the family. Dates would indicate that Leora is a child of Thomas Frederick Adams by Lucy Cole.
Following the death of Melissa, in 1864, Thomas Frederick Adams marriedf or the third time, to Rebecca Dickerson. (Her last name is seen to have at least four various spellings in the various records.) She had six children following their marriage, and those children's names are listed in the 1880 Switzerland County, Indiana, census: Thomas, Rebeca (sic), and the children, Elsie, Edith, Silvester (sic), Charlotte, Lenny, and Alma.
What records exist, indicate that Thomas Frederick had six children by Lucy Cole, none by Melissa Downey, and six by Rebecca Dickerson.
The 1880 Switzerland County, Cotton Township, Indiana Census, (microfilmT9-313), also lists Thomas' father as being from Maine, and for the first time provided the information that his mother was from New Hampshire. That census stated his age to be 52, 53 or 55. The age is barely legible. His occupation is listed as farmer. His Dwelling # was 83 in 1880.
The following "history" was passed down through Deborah Ray Piper's lineof descent from Albert C Adam Sr. This story of Thomas Frederick Adams was first an oral family history which eventually was committed to writing and published in a genealogical reference: "History of Switzerland County, Indiana from their earliest settlement" Chicago: Weakley, Harraman & Co., Publishers, 1885 - page 1185 & 1186, Biographical Sketches.
"A retired representative of the agricultural interest of Pratt County, Kansas, Thomas had seen much of life, and that in many climes. At the age of 82 he was still in active and robust health. At the age of 78 he was living on Section 2, Township 28, of Valley Township, near the village of Cunningham, Kansas.
"He was a native of Maine, of a mixed English and Irish descent. He was a tanner and a currier (sic) by trade.
"As a boy, at the age of 13, Thomas Frederick Adams was apprenticed tothe trade of carpentry, being bound to a carpenter at Randolph,Massachusetts. Being a lad of independent spirits and the service to thecarpenter not to his liking, he ran away, and at New Bedford,Massachusetts, at the age of 13, he shipped out in a whaler. This ship,called the "John Howland," (see Family Album) was bound for the SouthPacific on a long cruise. Thomas spent the following three and one-halfyears on this cruise. The voyage took in many of the islands of thePacific. On one occasion, while the ship was putting into the "SocietyIslands" for water and provisions, the cry of "Thar She Blows" came fromthe man on lookout, and boats were quickly lowered. All haste was madetowards a school of whales led by an enormous specimen. Thomas was in theprow of a boat, and pulled the after-oar, and his boat was fortunateenough to get to it first, succeeding in killing the whale. It was a 100foot long whale, yielding 100 barrels of oil. It will be of interest inpassing that one tooth of this gigantic monster weighed two pounds andmeasured eight inches in length, and eight inches in circumference. As asouvenir of his life at sea, he brought home such a whale's tooth, onwhich was neatly engraved a picture of the ship on which he had sailed.During his voyage, he passed through many exciting and dangerousadventures, at one time being in a boat when it was stove-in by an angrywhale, and he came near to being drowned.
"Returning to New Bedford at the end of the cruise, Thomas again shippedout on board another vessel, this one being a US Man of War, the"Cumberland," an historic frigate which in later years, during the CivilWar, was sunk by the Merrimack at Hampton Roads. At the time that Thomastook sail on her (he was 16 years old), she was bound for theMediterranean squadron. It was her maiden cruise. She was made theflagship of the Mediterranean Squadron. Her captain was Samuel L. Breeze,and the commander of the squadron was a Commodore Smith. Thomas served onboard the Cumberland for three years, during which time he was in everyport in the Mediterranean Sea.
"He next took service at the age of 19 on the Montezuma, bound forValparizo, with a large cargo of merchandise. Thomas was engaged in thisservice on the sea and lakes for five years, until he was 24 years ofage, in 1847. His last voyage was from San Francisco to New Bedford. Uponthat occasion, he went to visit his widowed mother, who was now living inSwitzerland County, Indiana. His brother, Albert C Adams Sr and his wife,were already living there.
"He was prevailed upon to quit the sea, and he then located in that areaof Indiana. There he married Lucy Cole, who bore him six children. Shedied prior to the Civil War.
"His second marriage was to Melissa Downey, with whom he lived forseveral years, until the outbreak of the Civil War.
"He enlisted in October of 1861 in the 50th Indiana Infantry, Company 3,with Captain Percy Rouse and Colonel Ayrus Dunham commanding theregiment. This regiment was composed largely of Indiana deer hunters andsaw a great deal of service as sharp-shooters. They were in advance ofmany battles, and were later sent to Little Rock, Arkansas, where theyfought Price continuously for 42 days. There were scarcely any of themilitary leaders of the south that the regiment was not pitted against,including Forest, Morgan, and others. At the battle of Camiden, Thomasreceived a bad wound through the leg, and was also struck a glancing blowover his left eye by a mini ball.
"At the Battle of the Green River Bridge, he received a severe saberwound, having volunteered for special duty, the object being to capture16 of Morgan's men who had become isolated from their company. They weresurrounded in a farm house, but were too quick for their pursuers, andsucceeded in reaching horses. They made a bad fight of it, and one ofthem singled out Mr. Adams, and riding furiously upon him, slashedviciously with his saber, but was neatly picked off his horse by Mr.Adams' bayonet, but in the action, Mr. Adams was not able to prevent athrust from the saber of his enemy. From the effects of this wound, helater became disabled, and it was years before he recovered. He wasdischarged from Indianapolis in 1864 for disability, having served assergeant of his company during the latter part of his participation inthe war.
"During his absence, Mr. Adams' second wife, Melissa Downey, had died. Hefound a mother for his children in Rebecca Dickinson.
"In 1884, when Thomas Frederick Adams was 61 years old, he and his thirdwife, Rebecca, moved to the great state of Kansas, where they located inPratt County and homesteaded 160 acres in Valley Township. Here he put upthe usual shelter of that period, a home made of sod, 16 feet by 30 feetin size. There they lived for the next seven years while they raisedtheir new family. He then bought a house in the village of Cairo, andmoved the house to his farm. There he engaged in farming and raisingstock. The farm on which he lived was one of the most valuable farms inthe county, and it was well improved by him, and had good buildings andfences appropriate to a farm of the times. He had 70 head of fine cattleand other animals such as are found on an ordinary ranch.
"For the first few years of his life in Kansas, he engaged in active workon the farm himself, but in later years, had turned the management overto his son, Sylvester, who had taken over the responsibility for hisfather."