While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Aragorn Storm Miller

ADAMS, SAMUEL J. (1837–1889). Samuel J. Adams, lawyer, Confederate officer, and businessman, was born in Stewart County, Georgia, on April 14, 1837. While growing up in Georgia Adams received a private education in literature. Upon reaching adulthood Adams traveled to Arkansas, where he entered the law office of a W. D. Lee as a student. In 1859 Adams gained admission to the bar. In 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War Adams volunteered for service in the Confederate Army, enlisting as a private in the Third Arkansas Infantry Regiment. Adams served with this unit in the eastern theater and was with the Third Arkansas when it was folded into Hood's Texas Brigade. At the end of 1862 Adams was wounded. While convalescing in Richmond, Virginia, Adams met previous acquaintances from his early days in Arkansas, who had risen to prominent roles in the Confederacy. By virtue of this encounter Adams was able to secure an appointment as captain for a company of cavalry in Arkansas. Adams saw action with this unit throughout the remainder of the war. At the conclusion of hostilities Adams immigrated to Texas, settled in Houston, and resumed his law practice. In 1867 Adams accepted a position with the Houston and Texas Central Railway as a banker. Around this time he married Alabama "Bema" Hearne. This couple had three sons. In the late 1860s Adams began working to extend the rail lines of his company from Houston to Dallas, compelling him to relocate to Robertson County. In 1870 Adams won election on the Democratic ticket as representative for nearby Freestone County to the Twelfth Texas Legislature. By 1872 Adams had settled permanently in Dallas, where he played a prominent role in local affairs. He accepted a position with the banking firm of Adams & Leonard, eventually rising to the rank of senior member. In 1873 he received the nomination of Dallas County for governor, but Adams chose not to run against Richard Coke in 1874. On February 10, 1885, he joined the Dallas Hunting and Fishing Club, reputed to be the first country club in Texas, as a founding member. Adams continued his business affairs through 1887. Adams died on February 19, 1889, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Dallas.


Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas (New York: Southern Publishing Company, 1880). Dallas County Pioneer Association (http://www.dallaspioneers.org/stories/historical.php?ID=47), accessed June 6, 2007. Hearne on the Brazos: The Hearnes (http://www.rootsweb.com/~txrober2/HOTBTHEHEARNES.htm), accessed June 6, 2007. IGI Individual Record, "Samuel J. Adams" (http://www.familysearch.org/), accessed June 6, 2007.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "ADAMS, SAMUEL J.," accessed July 11, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fad31.

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Modified on October 23, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...