Adams, James

Battle:3 Sep 1650, Battle of Dunbar, at Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland
Ship/Arrival:Unity; Dec 1650, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Prisoner and List:James Adams, #1 on George S. Stewart’s “Scots at Lynn 1653. Iron Works Inventory
Name Variations:Adams, Addams
Residences:Lynn, Carlisle, and Concord, Massachusetts
Other SPOW Associations:
Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy; please independently verify all data.

Published: 02 Dec 2014
Updated: 05 Sep 2020
Researchers: John Bordsen, David Gibson, Andrew Millard, Teresa Rust
Editor: Teresa Rust

First Generation in the New World

1. JAMES¹ ADAMS, was born possibly at Carlisle, Cumberland, England (on the border of Scotland) about 1635 and died at Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts on 02 Dec 1707. He married at Concord on 7 May 1662, PRISCILLA RAMSDELL/RAMSDEN, 1 daughter of JOHN RAMSDELL and PRISCILLA CHASE [TNEM & MVR]. She was born at Concord about 1640.

Biographical Notes:
1. Contributed by Dr. Andrew Millard in July 2018:
According to, Christopher Gerrard, Pam Graves, Andrew Millard, Richard Annis, and Anwen Caffell, in, Lost Lives, New Voices: Unlocking the Stories of the Scottish Soldiers at the Battle of Dunbar 1650, (England: Oxbow Books, 2018), on page 246, James is categorized as: Definite [that he is a Dunbar prisoner transported on the Unity] Adams/Addams, James. Residences: Lynn, Carlisle, Concord MA. Appears: 1653. D.1707. A founder of SCS. [Exiles; Banks; DR; SPOWS; Ch.7 & 8] For explanations of the category, abbreviations and references see List of Dunbar prisoners from Lost Lives, New Voices.
2. Jon Cryer: Ascension to a Legacy by Ancestry Team
3. AKA “Goodman Adams” of Carlisle, Mass.
Founding member of the Scots’ Charitable Society in 1657

Children of James and Priscilla (Ramsden) Adams, all born in Concord:
2. i. PRISCILLA² ADAMS b. 9 Feb 1662/63
2. ii. ELIZABETH² ADAMS b. Feb 1664/65 m., JOSEPH LAMSON.
2. iii. JAMES² ADAMS b. 29 Mar 1668 m., PRISCILLAH SHORE.
2. iv. HANNAH² ADAMS b. 25 Jul 1670 d. 20 Sep 1727 m., WILLIAM RUSSELL.
2. v. JOHN² ADAMS b. 30 Aug 1672 m., ESTHER FORD.
2. vi. NATHANIEL² ADAMS b. Feb 1673/74
2. vii. DORCAS² ADAMS b. 1 Feb 1676/77 m., BENJAMIN BAYBROOK.

Second Generation

2. i. PRISCILLA² ADAMS, (James¹), was born at Concord, on 9 Feb 1662/63. She married, WILLIAM HARDY.

Children of William and Priscilla (Adams) Hardy:
3. i. ISABEL³ HARDY, (Priscilla², James¹), born in Massachusetts. She married, EDWARD AUSTIN.

2. iv. HANNAH² ADAMS, (James¹), was born at Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts in 1670 and died in 1726. She married, WILLIAM RUSSELL.

Children of William and Hannah² (Adams) Russell:
3. i. HANNAH³ RUSSELL, (Hannah², James¹), born in Massachusetts. She married, JONATHAN WHEELER.

1653: Iron-worker at Lynn, Mass. “ox team manager” “farming”
1657: Made a donation to the Scots Charitable Society [Boston] on 6 Jan 1657.
1662: Married Priscilla Ramsdell

Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700 (18)
Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015.
Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (13)
Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016).

From David Gibson, Feb 23, 2016 and March 2, 2016:
“Hello Teresa, I am certain that I am from a James Adams and Priscilla Ramsdell. I cant confirm that this is the same James Adams, but if this James Adams is the same one that married Prescilla Ramsdell then it is the same James Adams. Do you have documentation to prove this is the James Adams that married Priscilla? Does anyone know how this James earned his freedom? Was he an indentured servent of the Ramsdell familiy or a neighboring family perhaps and that is how the met?
You may add my information to the site.
Thank you.”
David Gibson

I am decendent from the daughter Prisilla
Pricilla married Wiliam Hardy
Isabel Hardy married Edward Austin
Jedediah Austin married ?
Jonathan Austin married Mary Mercy
Nathan Austin married Lydia Fletcher
Cynthia Austin married Reuben Tyler
Julia Tyler married George W Woodock
Lillian Woodcock married Harry L Gibson
Harry T. Gibson Married Jennie M Groves

“About 17 Scots were subcontracted to the colliers (charcoal makers) and other plant workers. Accounting records show that a few of the Scots received wages from the Company for skilled work. For example, James Adams was paid for managing ox teams” also, “…Scots James Adams, George Darling, Malcolm Maccallum, John Mackshane, and John Pardee ran the ironworks farming operation.” From: Regan, Janet and White, Curtis. Hammersmith Through the Historical Texts

“In 1662, Scottish ironworker James Adams married Priscilla Ramsdell, the daughter of John Ramsdell, a part-time employee of Saugus and a man later connected to the Rowley Village ironworks.” From: Hamilton, Marsha L.. Social and Economic Networks in Early Massachusetts: Atlantic Connections, 49.

From: John Bordsen, dated Dec 2, 2014:
One line of descent from James Adams and Priscilla Ramsdell is as follows:
Hannah Adams (1670-1726) married William Russell
Hannah Russell (b. 1690) married Jonathan Wheeler
Tabitha Wheeler (b. ca 1726) married Samuel Woods
James Woods (1767-1843) married Susannah McCullough
James William Woods (1799-1886) married Eliza Jane Harper
James Wilson Woods (1847-1924) married Harriet Stewart
Hattie Amber Woods (1880-1976) married Lorin Hazelton
Bess C. Hazelton (1915-2004) married Francis Bordsen

I’m a direct descendant of James Adams, captured at Dunbar, via his daughter Hannah Adams-Russell. The last-named are my parents. Their migration: This line largely lived in eastern Massachusetts. Samuel Woods moved to Keene, N.H.; his son, the first James Woods, relocated from there to Chatauqua County, N.Y. James Wilson Woods was born in western New York, died in Minnesota.

Oldest item of this line: Copy of a tintype (circa 1840) of James William Woods and Eliza Jane Harper-Woods.
~John F. Bordsen, Charlotte, N.C.

Marshall, Tod Howard. My Adams Ancestors.,( 19 Dec 2014; accessed 5 Jan 2015)

Russell, Jacquiline Sleeper. The Ancestry of Sally Sleeper Russell of Worcester, Mass. (1919-1983), James Adams genealogy at RootsWeb on Ancestry. com. ( updated 2011; accessed 5 Jan 2015)

Russell, Jacquiline Sleeper. JAMES ADAMS, b. Scotland, d. 1707 Concord, m. PRESCILLA RAMSDELL-RAMSDEN., MAMIDDLE-L Archives at Rootsweb on ( 2006; accessed 5 Jan 2015)

  1. Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015. []