|About John Adams of Cambridge, Massachusetts
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26-Jan-2018 - This update concludes the Descendants of John Adams of Cambridge - Generations 1
through 10. This is probably the last update unless I receive corrections, additions and changes
from relatives of John Adams of Cambridge.
Note: As with all your genealogy research, check sources. I have added many sources that I have
found at Americanancestors.org. I take responsibility for all errors. Please email me at
email@example.com if you have changes.
Below is an excerpt (regarding John Adams of Cambridge) from: “The Genealogical History of Henry
Adams of Braintree, Mass., and his Descendants, also John Adams of Cambridge, Mass, 1632-1897”
compiled and edited by Andrew N. Adams, published by the author 1898: The Tuttle Company,
Printers; Rutland, VT.
John Adams was an early comer and first settler in the west part of Cambridge, long
called “Menotomy,” but later West Cambridge, and now Arlington.
By many persons he was believed to have been the sixth son of Henry Adams of Braintree;
that he came to America with his parents when young and returned with his mother to England,
coming again with wife and daughter at a later date, and settled in Cambridge. Elisha Thayer, in
his Memorial of the Thayer and Adams Families (1835), says John, son of the first Henry, went with
his brothers Thomas and Samuel to Concord and Chelmsford, where he was in 1654; “after this period
I have not been able to trace him.”
Shattuck, in his History of Concord, Mass., says John came to Concord, removing thence to
Cambridge where he was in 1650. Dr. James Savage, author of the Genealogical Dictionary which was
designed to give an account of all the earliest or first comers, and which embodied what was known
or to be found on the subject, wrote as follows: “That he was son of Henry, as amiable credulity
[which means it is generally agreeable and with a readiness or willingness to believe especially
on slight or uncertain evidence] would assume, is highly improbable, since he came twenty years or
a little less after that great progenitor, and so long outlived him, dying between June and
October, 1705-6.” Dr. Bond, the historian of Watertown, Mass., says he was “probably the eldest
son of George of Watertown.”
President John Quincy Adams [see his letter in Genealogical Register, Vol. XXXIV, p.67)
says the ten persons in Henry Adams’ family for whom the land grant was made in 1640, were
himself, wife, daughter and seven sons.
An aged descendant has written the author that his ancestor, John of Cambridge, was a
Scotchman. Numbers of Scotch people settled in West Cambridge, and John’s eldest daughter,
Rebecca, married Nathaniel Patten, who was a Scotchman. That there was a John, brother of Thomas
of Chelmsford, would seem probable from the record; Jan. 1, 1654 [County Records, Book I., pp.
129, 167] Thomas of Concord and wife Mary conveyed to Samuel Stratton two parcels of land – 20
Acres and 4 acres – including “the house lately called the house of John Adams, last inhabited by
William Howe, a weaver,” also barn and orchard, in the part of Concord set off to Sudbury. Oct. 6,
1656 [Bk. I., p. 193],l “John of Chelmsford,” for £34 deeded to Samuel Stratton, planter, of
Concord, dwelling house occupied by Stratton, barn and orchard, with 24 acres of land, 4 acres
being situated in Fair Haven, Massachusetts.
No wife’s signature appears to the deed. He (John) was “of Chelmsford” in 1656. Was
he “John of Cambridge,” whose wife was Anne, and whose children were born and baptized in Menotomy
between 1650 and 1656? Thayer says John was in Chelmsford, 1654, after which he was not able to
Considering the conflict, or contrariety of opinion, and the doubt which naturally
attaches to absence of direct evidence, the writer has decided to give what he has been able to
gather of the records and history of “John of Cambridge” and his many worthy descendants,
numbering from him as a first comer, and leaving it to every reader to form his own belief as to
the identity of John of Cambridge with the son of Henry of Braintree.
JOHN ADAMS OF CAMBRIDGE was a millwright, and was resident in Menotomy about 1650, with
his wife “Anne,” and his eldest daughter “Rebecca,” who was born before coming to America. He was
admitted as a freeman in 1666. He made his will June 1, 1705-6, and died not long thereafter at an
advanced age. In his will he mentions his wife Anne and his sons John and Joseph, his grandson
William, his granddaughter Martha Smith and granddaughter Rebecca. His widow was living in
October, 1714, when as executor, with her son “John of Sudbury,” of the will of her husband, the
first John, she appended her mark to a deed of 4 acres in Charlestown to the grandson Joseph of