Adair family history scrapbook


The family of Adair, originally from Scotland, has been steeled for many generations at Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland. (For lineage, see Burke’s Peerage & Baronetage, Heatherton Parks, Sir Robert Shafto Adair, Bart.)

In as much as Galloway was the cradle of the Adair Family for 250 years in the time of King Charles I, the branch of the family transferred to Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland.

The progenitor of the Adairs followed William the Conqueror to England in 1066, a descended moved from the southwest of Scotland to Antrim, Ireland. From there William, a Presbyterian minister, who had been educator at Glasgow College (Finis had April 3 1787) came to Philadelphia, PA as an Irish patriot and obnoxious to the British Government, he had to flee his native country hidden in a barrel.

Rev. William Adair was being chased by the King’s soldiers in the County of Down, Ireland, and his horse became bogged in the mire and he abandoned his horse and on foot went to a house near his home. He found an old woman working in her garden and asked to be hidden. She told him to go to the attic, and immediately thereafter, the soldiers asked for Parson Adair. Her reply: “faith and I am Parson Adair’s keeper” and being questioned further made similar replies until the officer in charge ordered his men to leave, saying that the old fool did not hide a man. After dard, Parson Adair left his hiding place and went into a field near his home and was hidden in the top of a large thorn bush where he remained until a passage could be obrained for him to come to America. Immediately after he left his hiding place in the attic, the soldiers returned and made a thorough search of the house. While he was in the thorn bush, his broth worked in the field near the bush and talked with him and brought him food and drink.

After being at sea many weeks, the compass on the boat went out of commission and the boat was off its’ course and a member of the crew knowing that Parson Adair was aboard and that he was a mariner and could fix the compass. The captain was prevailed upon to grant him immunity if he would fix the compass. He did, and the boat was put back on its’ course and the voyage completed. Arriving at Philadelphia, PA, he was sent to the Presbyterian Board as a missionary to the counties of Monroe, Greenbrier, and Pocahontas, VA (now WV).

Both he and his wife, Ellen, often prayed that the death angel would call for them at the same time. Their petition was granted and they were buried at New Lebanon in 1848. (Either he or his wife had died and the body was at the grave when a runner came advising that the other was dead, and the burial was held up and the grave prepared for the other and they were buried in the same grave).

James Adair, brother of Rev. William Adair, of the Parish of Cumber, County Down, Ireland, with his wife, who was Mary Wallace, and whose mother was Nora McDonald, followed his brother William to the USA September 3, 1817, and landed at Norfolk, VA on October 31, 1817, and traveled to Greenbrier County where they spent the rest of their days and with Rev. William and his wife were buried in New Lebanon Church Yard

To James and Mary were born the following children:
Jean – born August 9, 1800
Mary – born July 10, 1802
William – born July 20 1804; died January 31, 1887
James – born June 4, 1807; died August 30, 1868
Robert – born June 4, 1809; died May 2, 1888

Transcribed from a manuscript by Leo Adair at the Connecticut State Library
StLib Stacks CS71.A195 1970z v.1-3? LIB USE ONLY
DESCRIPT 3 pts. (loose-leaf) : ill. ; 28 cm
CONTENTS pt.1. Coats & names.-pt.2. Census.-pt.3. Notices
SUBJECT Adair family
ALT AUTHOR Adair, Loucille Z
Adair, Leo Adair

Researchers should also look for massive compilation of material in the Texas Archives Genealogy Library by Harry and Leo Z. Adair-about 20 volumes.

The Courageous Act of Mrs. Dillard

The day before the battle at the Green Spring, in the Spartanburg district, South Carolina, Colonel Clarke, of the Georgia volunteers, with about two hundred men, stopped at the house of Captain Dillard and were cordially welcomed to a good supply of refreshments. In the evening of the same day, Colonel Ferguson and another officer named Dunlap, with a party of Tories arrived at the same house and inquired of the mistress, if Colonel Clarke had been there, to which question she gave a direct and honest answer. He then inquired in regard to the time of Clarke’s departure and the number of his men. She could not guess their number, but said that they had been gone a long time. She was then ordered to get supper, which she did, though in a less hospitable spirit than she had prepared the previous meal. While at work, she overheard some of the conversation of the officers, by which she learned that they were bent on surprising Colonel Clarke, and would start for that purpose when supper was dispatched. As soon as the food was on the table, Mrs. Dillard hurried out the back door, bridled a horse that stood in the stable, and mounting without saddle, rode till nearly daylight before reaching the Green Spring where Clarke had encamped, and where he was to be attacked by Furguson, at the break of day or sooner, as she had learned before starting.

She had just aroused the Whigs and notified them of their danger, when a detachment of two hundred picked, mounted men, commanded by Dunlap, rushed into the camp. They found their intended victims ready for the charge; were quickly driven out of the camp, and glad to escape by flight. Thus, fortunately for the friends of freedom, ended this battle, which, but for the daring of a single patriotic woman, would doubtless have resulted in the annihilation of the little band of Georgia volunteers.

From: Noble Deeds of American Women, by Jesse Clement

Mrs. Dillard was wife of Capt. Dillard, an American soldier; and the mother of Sarah Dillard; wife of Joseph Adair, Jr., another American solider. This noble woman’s heroic act ought to entitle her lineal descendants to membership in patriotic organizations such as the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution. See also Mills Statistics-SC and the Adair History)

From: The Encyclopedia of American Family Names

S.S. Count: 25,142
Origin: English: derived from the Old English first name Eadgar, which is derived from words meaning prosperity and spear.
Irish, Scottish: 1) Derived from the Gaelic words “ath” and “dare”, meaning a shallow place in a river and oaks. The name was given to those who lived near such places. 2) trans-formation of the Scottish first name Edzear, which is the equivalent to the English first name Edgar.

Famous Adairs: JAMES ADAIR (1709?-1783), apparently born in Ireland but an emigrant to South Carolina, was a pioneer trader with American Indians and the author of The History of American Indians.

JOHN ADAIR (1757-1840) of South Carolina was a soldier during the American Revolution, after which he migrated to Kentucky. There, he was elected to the state legislature a number of times, served as governor, and then represented Kentucky in the United States House of Representatives.

WILLIAM P. ADAIR (1828?-1880) was assistant chief of the Cherokee nation. During the Civil War, he lead a band of Native Americans in the Confederate Army and fought at the Battle of Pea Ridge. He later represented his tribe in government relations in Washington, D.C.

Genealogies: The Descendants of James Adair was compiled by Miriam Dabbs Adair and published in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 1976.

Source: The Encyclopedia of American Family Names by H. Amanda Robb & Andrew Chesler, 1995

Who’s Who in American History

ADAIR, JAMES: Indian trader; author. b. County Antrim, Ireland, circa 1709. Came to America 1735; traded with the Catawba and Cherokee Indians 1735-44, with Choctaw Indians 1744-51; moved to District 96, Laurens County SC 1751; commanded band of Chickasaws as Captain during Indian War 1760-61. Author: The History of the American Indians (maintaining Indians are descendants of ancient Jews), 1775. Died NC circ 1783.

ADAIR, JOHN: senator, Gov. KY; b. Chester County, SC Jan 9, 1757; s. Baron William Adair. Settled in Mercer County, KY, 1786; commanded KY militia, 1792, later Brig.. general; member KY House of Representatives from Mercer County, 1793-95, 1798, 1800-03; speaker 1801-03; member US Senate from KY 1805-06, resigned 1806; aide to Governor Shelby during War of 1812; fought at battles of Thames and New Orleans; Gov. KY 1820-24; member US House of Representatives from KY 22d Congress, 1831-33; Adair County, KY named in his honor. Died Harrisburg, KY May 19, 1840, buried Frankfort, KY

Source: Who’s Who in American History, The Historical Volume (1607-1896)

John Adair

ADAIR, John (Jan 9, 1757-May 19, 1840), soldier, politician, was the son of a native-born Scotchman, Baron William Adair, who settled in the up-county of South Carolina. There, in Chester County, John was born in time to take part in the Revolutionary War, which devastated so thoroughly this part of the South. In the course of the struggle he was made prisoner and harshly treated. Following the inevitable course of the restless frontiersman, he migrated westward and settled in Mercer County, KY, in 1786. In this restless and rapidly developing community he found a congenial atmosphere. In 1791 he enlisted in the enterprises against the Northwest Indians, conducted by Arthur St. Clair and James Wilkinson, and was made a Major. From this time until the Indians were definitely crushed by “Mad Anthony” Wayne he was much in evidence of fighting these scourges of Kentucky. In 1791, while in command of about a hundred men, he ran into a band of Indians near Fort St. Clair, led by the famous Miami chieftain Little Turtle, and was finally worsted in the engagement that took place. Despite this reverse he was recognized as a brave fighter and for his reward was made a lieutenant-colonel the next year. Since a military record was the surest road to military preferment among vigorous frontiersmen, he was chosen as a representative from Mercer County in the legislature in 1793, and was frequently reelected thereafter up to 1817, serving in all nine terms. He was the Speaker of the House from 1801-1803. His popularity at the time was attested by the fact that a county was laid off and named for him. In 1799 he served in the constitutional convention which made a second constitution for the state.

In 1805 Adair with other Kentuckians such as John Brown and Henry Clay became a willing listener to Aaron Burr on his trip though the state. To Adair, Burr was a patriotic advance-agent of the Federal Government on his way to arouse the West to take part in the contemplated war with Spain for the purpose of seizing the Southwest. Correspondence with James Wilkinson confirmed him in this view (Humphrey Marshall, History of Kentucky II, 430). When therefore Burr was apprehended in Frankfort in 1806, a persistent but ineffectual effort was made to indict Adair also. In the hysteria that followed, Adair’s reputation temporarily suffered. In 1805 he had been elected to fill out the unexpired time of John Breckenridge, but when in November of 1806, in the midst of the Burr trouble, he was defeated for the full term of six years, he immediately resigned.

The mellowing effect of a half-dozen years and the glamour of another war were necessary to restore Adair to the full affections of his fellow Kentuckians. On the outbreak of the War 1812 he immediately volunteered and in the Battle of the Thames the following year he served as an aide to Gov. Shelby. He received the praise of his superior officer and was rewarded with a Brigadier-generalship in the state militia. But his particular glory came out of the battle of New Orleans, not so much because he led 1,100 Kentucky riflemen in the main conflict, as because when the struggle was over he defended another group of Kentuckians who were involved in the battle, against the charges of cowardice made by Gen. Jackson. For two years afterwards he fought Jackson in a heated correspondence and made himself an outstanding hero with Kentuckians (James Parton, Life of Andrew Jackson, II, 383-391). The people now proceeded to give him almost every important honor within their gift. In 1820 he was elected governor over three of the strongest men in the state, William Logan, Joseph Desha, and Anthony Butler. He was aided not only by his general popularity but by the position he took in the bitter struggle between the relief and anti-relief parties which had grown up during the past two years. He knew little about banks and money, but he was sure of his love for the common man. For the next four years, as the leader of the relief party, he helped to drag his state to the brink of destruction; but his broad sympathy for the people also led him into a strong advocacy of higher education, prison reform, and the abolishment of imprisonment for debt. From 1831-1833 he was a member of the House of Representatives. He made only one speech during the two sessions and it was so inaudible that no one knew what he was advocating. The reporter guessed it was in favor of mounting some Federal troops. Adair’s career was not characterized by sound statesmanship but his genuine sympathy with the common people and his military exploits made him a long favorite. In 1872 the State brought his remains from Mercer County to the Frankfort Cemetery and there erected a marker to his memory.

[The facts concerning the life of Adair are scattering. In Lewis and Richard H. Collins, Hist. of Ky. (1882), there is a short sketch of his life. Humphrey Marshall in his Hist. of Ky. (1824), a biased work in many respects, gives the best account of the Burr episode. Other woks concerning his life are Jas. Parton, Life of Andrew Jackson (1860), vol II, and W.E. Connelley and E.M. Coulter, Hist. of Ky., 2 vols. (1922).]