Highland News Leader

Members of the McAdams family fought in the Revolution, War of 1812 and Black Hawk War

Roland Harris
Roland Harris

William G. McAdams was the youngest of the four brothers. After the Revolutionary War, he settled in Tennessee and then Kentucky. But 1817, he moved to St. Jacob Township in Madison County, Illinois.

William's oldest brother, Joseph McAdms, who was born in 1757, also served in the Revolutionary War in the same unit as William. They were in the Battle of Hillsborough, and Joseph was proud to declare that he had been in the party that killed Maj. Moore, the Tory.

In their second enlistment, Joseph was able to get into the light cavalry under the command of captains, Nathaniel Christmass, Hodge and Guinn. He then fought with Col. Lee in the Battle of Holt’s Race Paths. He was in several skirmishes, then returned to farming.

Joseph McAdams married Jemima Justice in 1781, and they farmed along Jarden's Creek in North Carolina. But after Jemima died in 1784, Joseph joined the troops fighting the Indians in Tennessee.

By 1788, he returned to Orange County, North Carolina, and married Sarah Bradford. He and Sarah then moved to Sumner County, Tennessee, where William was living.

Joseph and a co-worker, Hugh Webb, were returning home from the salt works on June 11, 1794, when they were attacked by Indians. Webb was killed, and Joseph shot three times, but survived his bad wounds.

Around 1800, the families moved to Logan County, Kentucky, on Clear Fork Creek, on the Gasper River. Joseph received 200 acres on a land grant for his service in the Revolutionary War and Indian wars. Later, he added over 400 more acres.

In 1815, Joseph deeded a tract of this land to his son, John William, whose family had moved to Illinois Territory but then returned because of the Indians.

In 1817, William and his family moved permanently to Illinois. They first located in St. Jacob Township. However, later in 1817, Joseph and his family moved to Montgomery County, to the area of Taylor Springs. The first court and meeting of the commissioners to locate a county seat for the newly organized County of Montgomery met in his house.

By 1820, Joseph and his family moved back to Madison County, to the Little Silver Creek area.

They returned to Montgomery County in 1822, and Joseph was made the first coroner of Montgomery County. In 1825, he was appointed supervisor of the road from Isham Reaves' place, via the "McAdams Mill," to Vandalia.

His wife Sarah died in 1838, and Joseph died in 1840. Both died at the home of their son, James. Both are buried in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Cemetery, near Dudleyville, south of Greenville. At Joseph’s funeral, the Rev. Peter Long, Bond County's most noted preacher, said: “I consider this man to be the ‘Soldier of the Cross’ for his conduct and conversation.”

War of 1812, the Black Hawk War and McAdams' volunteers

Now, let's look at the the sons of the McAdams, who we have records of and also volunteered for the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War.

William Rainey McAdams (1788-1855) served in the War of 1812. He started as a private, but was promoted to sergeant, then lieutenant, before being commissioned as a captain in the 20th Regiment Militia on Nov. 9, 1811.

John McAdams (1791-1877) served as a private in Capt. Philip Latham’s company of the 6th Kentucky Regiment during the War of 1812. He then served as a first lieutenant in Capt. Benjamin James' company in the 2nd Regiment of the Illinois Mounted Volunteers in the Black Hawk War.

Jesse McAdams, born in 1802, served as a private in Capt. Benjamin James' company of the 2nd Regiment of the Illinois Mounted Volunteers in Capt. Samuel Whiteside’s brigade at Hill’s Fort, south of Greenville, Illinois. He also served in the Black Hawk War.

H. William McAdams (1804-1852) served as sergeant major in Capt. James' company of Illinois volunteers under Brig. Gen. H. Atkinson in the Black Hawk War. He died in Clinton County in 1852.

Sloss McAdams (1811-186?) served as a sergeant in Capt. James' company under Gen. Atkinson in the Black Hawk War. Sloss was sheriff of Bond County and was about to be elected to the Illinois State Legislature when he was accidentally thrown from his horse and killed.

Highland Home Museum

Information on all of these McAdams can be found in the War Veterans Cabinet in the Highland Home Museum. Each war veteran who lived in the Highland area will be afforded space to tell the story of their service, and that information will be kept in the cabinet. We still have more than half of the War Veterans Cabinet available for you or your relatives' photo, or photos, and information. We are missing information and photos from the Vietnam War era to present day wars. Can you help?

The Highland Home Museum will be open this Saturday, April 7, starting at 1:30 p.m., with the last tour at 3:30 p.m. Don’t forget, we are open each first Saturday of each month. Also, if you have relatives coming to Highland, but not on the first Saturday, call 618-303-0082 make an appointment for a time that suits you plans. Thanks.