Biography of Rev. John Adams of Durham NH

The next settled minister was the Rev. John Adams, son of Matthew Adams of Boston and nephew of the Rev. Hugh Adams. [1]See the Genealogy of the Adams Family of New Hampshire He was born 19 June 1725 and was graduated at Harvard College in 1745. The two factions in the church that existed in the time of his uncle’s pastorate were still quarreling, and old Mr. Adams’ party, “who had for a long time been separated and were a distinct body by themselves,” were thought by the other party to have been too influential in the choice of the new minister. Gradually the opposition subsided with the lapse of time and the departure of some from the church militant. The articles of agreement with the Rev. John Adams contain some interesting touches of history :


Then follow the signatures of the persons above named. The acceptance of his call is also spread upon the town records as follows:

John Adams.

On account of fluctuating prices the salary of Mr. Adams was changed, in 1774, to seventy-two pounds ten shillings of lawful money, half to be paid semiannually. New difficulties arose and he was dismissed 16 January 1778, after thirty years of service. He removed to Newfield, Maine, in 1781, where he preached and practiced medicine till his death, 9 June 1792. He married (1) 13 October 1752, Sarah Wheeler of , (2) Hannah Chesley of , and had fourteen children. About a century after his departure from a copy of his manuscript records of marriages and baptisms during the years 1749-63 was obtained by Miss Mary P. Thompson from one of his descendants. There are one hundred and twenty marriages and three hundred and thirty-three baptisms. The Rev. John Adams was a man of ability in mechanics and music as well as in the work of the ministry. He took an active part in the events that led to the Revolution and was chairman of the first committee in of Correspondence, Inspection and Safety. It is said of him that at times he was greatly depressed and at other times his genius flashed out in bursts of eloquence. Toward the close of his pastorate in prejudices were excited against him “by a false and slanderous attack on his character by a worth-less woman.” Thus the lie of a disreputable person sometimes outweighs the truth as proclaimed and lived throughout thirty years, and those who believe such a lie are about as guilty as the liar. When he preached his farewell sermon in , he requested his audience to sing, after his reading, a metrical version of the 120th Psalm, which certainly ministered to mortification, if not to edification.


Source: Stackpole, E. S., Thompson, L. and Meserve, W. S. (1913) History of the town of , New Hampshire : Oyster River Plantation with genealogical notes. [? N.H. Pub. by vote of the town] [Web]


1See the Genealogy of the Adams Family of New Hampshire

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