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David Nelson Adams

David Adams taken between 1865 - 1873 in Indiana.

Shared by Terrel Shields

 I thought I might share with you a history of David Nelson Adams, one of my ancestors who was a private in Company A, 85th Indiana Infantry and was captured at Thompson's Station, Tennessee


David Nelson Adams was apparently born in Spencer, KY on November 1, 1834 and lived in Parke and Vigo Counties. His wife's name was Hannah McCray Sparks  (October  21, 1841 January 1, 1928) and her father was Preston Sparks and mother was Rachel McCray.  They married in Vigo Co., Indiana in 1857. He is buried in the Second Prairie Baptist Church Cemetery South of Terre Haute. It was an abandoned Holiness church when I was there in 2010.  There are a number of Sparks buried there.  According to family lore he inherited a slave from his father but freed the slave and joined the Infantry unit above. A younger brother wanted to join but his father refused permission and the boy ran off and joined the Confederate Army.  At the time of the war, they supposedly lived "on the banks of the Wabash 11 miles north of Terre Haute."  The freed slave refused to leave the household and after David went to the army, their youngest child died.  The slave and Hannah tore out boards of the kitchen floor to craft a coffin for the child and buried him on the farm. That child was Preston Adams b. 1860 

During the war (based on records from the National Archives Trust Fund Board) Adams was 5' 4" tall, dark complexion, light hair, listed as a farmer and enlisted August 1, 1862. in Parke County for Capt. A. Floyd. He enlisted at Annapolis, Indiana for 3 years and originally assigned to Company D. 

He apparently was sick during the fall of 1862 and may have contracted tuberculosis there or certainly during his captivity. He both was a patient and worked in the Nashville Hospital in 1863 after being captured March 5, 1863 at Thompson's station after Nathan Bedford Forrest surrounded a large Union garrison who eventually ran out of ammo and surrendered. 

He was in the hospital in Chattanooga as late as May 3, 1864 and mustered out of service June 12, 1865.  His health broken, they lived in Parke and Vigo counties until about 1873 when they moved to Arkansas. Originally setting out for Texas, they stopped near Vaughn, Arkansas after one child (a twin girl) died.  They decided the climate was good and remained there. Their eighth child was born near Highfill, Arkansas in 1877 shortly after David's death. 

Hannah never remarried.  Both are buried in the Douglas Cemetery in Benton County, Arkansas near the village of Highfill.  Their children were: Mary Catherine  who married William Lee Story, Charles Wesley who married Lula Glover, Preston - see tombstone picture below (1860-62), Elmira who married  George Summers, Nancy Elizabeth Ann who married Wm. "Weeks" Smith, Rachael Dora who married  Jesse Milton Douglas, Elvry Etta (Rachael's twin sister who died less than 1 year old). And Minnie Isabelle who married Oliver Leach



Preston Sparks tombstone at 2nd Prairie Baptist Church Cemetery south of Terre Haute