A HORRIBLE DAY
By S. C. Turnbo
One of the oldest citizens of Protem, Taney County, Missouri, living at the present writing is W. J. (Bill) Adams, son of Benoni and Elizabeth (Sutherland) Adams and was born in Hickman County, Tennessee, May 16, 1838. Benoni Adams, his father, was born in 1809, his grandfather, Laborn Adams, was born in Virginia. Benoni Adams and his wife left the state of Tennessee and moved into Missouri and settled in Ripley County when Bill was 6 years old. In a few years afterward his parents moved into Howell County where in 1859 on February 10 Bill Adams and Miss Sarah E. Herrean were married. Mr. Adams by request of the writer furnished him with the sad details of the killing of his father and brother, Edward, in the month of January, 1864. "we were living ten miles west of West Plains in Howell County, Missouri, and two miles northeast of Pottersville. Our farm was on Spring River that empties into the Big North Fork. One day in the month and year named a party of mounted men charged up to my father’s house and seeing my father and my brother Edward in the road a short distance from the house, they galloped to-ward them and began firing at them. My father was struck 13 times. He got 40 yards from the spot where they first shot him before he fell. Then he rose on his knees and they shot him until he fell again and was dead. They shot Edward three times before he was dead. He was killed first. They lay dead 30 yards apart. Edward was two years my senior. My wife and her sister, Mary Ann Herrean, witnessed the death of them both. It was a horrible day for our family and It was a terrible sight for my wife and her sister to see my father and my brother so cruelly put to death in their presence. The two bodies received interment in the Spring Creek graveyard. They were buried in the same grave but in separate coffins." Mr. Adams continuing said, "Beside myself and brother Edward, there were three other brothers of us. Their names are Houston, Thomas Franklin and Layfayette. I only had one sister and her name was Mary Francis."
There is a slightly different version reported in the West Plains Daily Quill in 1939. Tim Adams, grandson of Benoni and son of Revis Houston, said they were "home on furlough" when they went out to cut wood for the family, and that the women "found their bodies and dragged them home on blankets."
My grandmother was six years old when this happened. Her mother's brother came back from California to collect her and the children and take them to their McVay family, who had gone west just before the war.
I am requesting your books on ILL so that I can learn more about what was going on in those years. When I get them, I may find more connections, since I know the names of most of the Adams' associates. Thanks again.