John Adams was the second child of John and Mary Anne Adams and was born in the townland of Lisadian (parish of Tullyhappy) in South Armagh, not far from Kingsmills Presbyterian Church where the family worshipped.
The 1901 Census of Ireland shows the family:
John Adams (40*), Farmer – Died in 1912.
Mary Anne Adams (35*), Dress Maker – John’s Mother in all the letters on this site. Maiden name = Kernaghan. Died in 1942.
Jane Adams (13) – Jennie on this site. Became a domestic servant (maid) to a family in Holywood, Co. Down (see 1911 Census for Holywood). Later emigrated to New Zealand and died in 1934.
Annie Adams (11) – a number of letters in this batch written by her. Lived in Lisadian until her death in 1966.
John Adams (9)
James Meeke Adams (5) – Jimmy in these letters. Lived in the Lisadian labourers cottage all his life, until his death in 1986. I remember visiting him there as a child.
*There appears to be a 10 year age discrepancy in the 1901 and 1911 censuses for John and Mary Anne Adams. John went from 40 to 62 in 10 years, Mary Anne went from 35 to 53. I suspect that the latter dates were more accurate.
The family were staunch Unionists, and signed the Ulster Covenant in 1912. John Adams was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force, raised by Edward Carson to fight against Home Rule for Ireland.