Samuel Adair

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Samuel Adair, his personal and family background, and his alleged involvement in the Mountain Meadows Massacre

Samuel Adair

Biographical Sketch

'[There is uncertainty whether "Samuel Adair" participated in the Mountain Meadows Massacre or was on the ground when the Arkansas company was initially attacked or besieged.]

The 1859 arrest warrant lists "Samuel Adair" as complicit in the massacre. It is not clear whether 51-year-old Samuel Jefferson Adair or his son, 17-year-old Samuel Newton Adair, was intended. Further, it is not clear that either one was at the massacre.

Early Life

Samuel Jefferson Adair was born on March 28, 1806 in Laurens, Laurens County, South Carolina, the son of Thomas Jefferson and Rebecca Brown Adair.

He married Jemima Catherine Mangum on December 3, 1829 in Pickens County, Alabama and their children were: William Jefferson, b. 27 Aug 1830, Pickens, Pickens, Alabama; died 31 Oct 1846, Mt. Pisgah, Union, Iowa; John Milton, b. 8 Jan 1833, Pickens, Alabama; Rebecca Frances, b. 8 Jul 1835, Pickens, Alabama; Pamelia Jane, b. 27 Jun 1837, Fulton, Clarke, Alabama; George Washington, b. 27 Jun 1837, Pickens, Alabama; Samuel Newton, b. 11 Dec. 1839, Itawamba, Holms, Mississippi; David Secrets, b. 1840, Stonsomby, Itawamly, Mississippi; Joseph Jasper, b. 23 Jan 1842, Stonsomby, MS; Jemima Kathrine, b. 6 Apr. 1846, Des Moines, Polk, Iowa; Ezra Taft Benson, b. 25 Apr 1848, Mt. Pisgah, Union, Iowa.

Immigration to Utah

In 1846, they joined the Mormons in their temporary settlements in western Iowa and passed several years there. During that time, Samuel and Catherine Adair lost one child, William Jefferson, age 16, at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, but two children were born there, Jemima Kathrine, in 1846, and Ezra Taft Benson Adair, in 1848.

By 1852, the Adairs had gathered sufficient means to equip and provision an outfit for the trek west.

The Mormon Trail

The name of the company they joined is unknown. But they crossed the plains during the 1852 travel season, traveling that summer. They passed the usual milestones on the trail: Fort Kearney, the South Fork of the Platte River, Chimney Rock, Fort Laramie, the Sweetwater River, Independence Rock, Devil's Gate, Green River, Fort Bridger, Bear River, and Weber River. After suffering the usual hardships of overland trail they arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake in late summer or early fall.

Soon they had moved south and settled in Payson to the south of Utah Lake in Utah County. They joined other southern families who had settled there.

To Washington and the Cotton Mission

The Cotton Mill in Washington County

In spring 1857, members of the Adair clan were part of a migration of southerners to southern Utah. Starting from Payson in central Utah, Samuel J. Adair was the leader of those from the southern states who moved to southern Utah (Utah's "Dixie") to grow cotton. He was the brother to Thomas Jefferson Adair and father to John Milton Adair, George Washington Adair and Samuel Newton Adair.They encamped at Adair Springs near what would become Washington in Washington County. These southerners founded the Cotton Mission in what came to be known as Utah's Dixie.

Washington appeared to have many advantages over other nearby locales. It was located near several fine springs and the Washington fields seemed to provide a lush expanse of farmland. However, appearances proved to be deceiving and soon "Dixie" was considered one of the most difficult areas to colonize. The broad fields were actually floodplains so if their dams washed out, as they did with discouraging frequency, their crops were jeopardized. Meanwhile the springs, so inviting in an arid, hot country, created marshes, the perfect habitat for mosquitos. Many of them suffered from bouts of malaria (the "fever and ague" or "chills") for many years.

The large Adair clan had familial connections with the Mangums and others who settled there. Samuel Adair had married a Mangum, his daughter Mary Ann had married John Mangum, and other Adairs and Mangums would later intermarry. They were also related by marriage to the Prices who settled in Washington.

Samuel J. Adair also married to Rachel Hunter in 1853, and Anne Cathrine Laustdatter (Mattisen) in 1864.

He was a rancher and orchardist and he died on July 6, 1889 at Nutrioso, Apache, Arizona.

Samuel Newton Adair was born December 11, 1839 in Ittawaba, Holms County, Mississippi to Samuel Jefferson Adair and Jemima C. Mangum. He was baptized into the Mormon church in 1847 in Iowa Territory while immigrated to Utah territory. By the early 1850s, the Adair clan had settled in Payson in central Utah. In spring 1857, Samuel Newton Adair joined the Adair clan and other Southerners in Payson in moving to Washington, Washington County in southwestern Utah to found the "Cotton Mission."

Seventeen-year-old Samuel Newton was listed as a private in the 1857 Iron County militia muster rolls.

In 1863 he married Helen Gennett/Genetta Brown in Washington County, Utah and their children were:  Charles Newton, b. 13 Jan 1865, Washington, Utah;Harriet Gennett, b. 13 Nov. 1866, Washington, Utah; Byron Abraham, 9 Mar 1869, Washington, Utah;Jemima Jane, b. 29 Jun 1871, Washington, Utah; William Orin, b. 12 Oct 1874, Washington, Utah;Mary Virginia, b. 23 Feb 1876, Washington, Utah;Anna Catherine, b. 11 May 1879, Washington, Utah; Sarah Edna, b. 27 Nov. 1881, Erasmus, Apache, Arizona; Olive Josephine, b. 28 May 1884, Nutrioso, Apache, Arizona;Thomas Jefferson, b. 28 May 1884, Nutrioso, Arizona; Marcus Owen, b. 8 Oct 1886, Luna, New Mexico;Clarence Duane, b. 17 Feb 1888, Nutrioso, Arizona; Lenore Ann, b. 14 Feb 1891, Nutrioso, Apache, Arizona; Guy, b. 3 Jul 1892, Nutrioso, Arizona; Emily Printha, b. 1 May 1894, Pahreah, Kane, Utah;Betsy Olive, b. 2 Jan 1896, Overton, Clark, Nevada;Alford Chestnut, b. 1 May 1898, Price, Carbon Utah;Blanche Grace, b. 9 Aug 1900, Hammond, San Juan, New Mexico.

Samuel Newton Adair was a private in a reconnaissance unit during the Black Hawk War, 1866. His places of residence were: 1881, Apache, Arizona, 1884, Nutrioso, Apache, Arizona; 1886, Luna, Socorro, New Mexico.

He died on May 16, 1924 at Luna, Catron County, New Mexico.


Alder and Brooks, A History of Washington County, 28-29, fn 11); Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, ; Crampton, "Military Reconnaissance in Southern Utah, 1866," Utah Historical Quarterly, 82/2 (Spring 1964), 160; Lee Trial transcripts;; Walker, et al, Massacre at Mountain Meadows, Appendix C.

For full bibliographic information see Bibliography.

External Links

For further information on Samuel Jefferson Adair/Samuel Newton Adair, see:

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