Wicomico County MDGenWeb

The Adkins Family of Wicomico

The information in this manuscript was compiled in 1965 by the late Lura Bacon Winings and distributed to various Adkins family members. Eve Weeks has provided it for use by the Wicomico MDGenWeb site. Thank you, Eve!

The Nimrod Adkins Family

The Adkins family came from England. The first record we have of them is a tragedy. The brothers were scuffling in the haymow near an open door and one of the brothers fell out, breaking his neck and died. English law at that time would have punished him by death so they held a family conference and the father told him that he would have to leave England or be prosecuted. The other brother said that if his brother had to leave, he was going with him, and he did. It is not established which one was involved.

That is how two brothers Brazilla and Nimrod came to America and both settled at Salisbury on the eastern shore of Maryland. Both served in the Militia and the Revolutionary War for the American cause. These two boys had families. The Brazilla branch believed in slavery and they held that belief down to the Civil War. Nimrod's family believed in freedom for people regardless of color. They both lived out their lives in Maryland.

One branch of Nimrod's family that lives in Maryland owns the E.S. Adkins Lumber Company at Salisbury. One was a Republican member of Maryland State Senate. A daughter of one, Bertha Adkins, was a member of President Eisenhower's staff. The Reuben, Sr., branch (our family) lived near Mount Sterling, Ohio.

Since Nimrod is a Bible name (Gen. 10:8,9) one wonders if Brazilla's name might have been another Bible name Brazillai (2 Sam. 17:27 and 2 Sam. 19:31).

We have the record "Nimrod Adkins, Maryland Militia, Wicomico Battalion, classed July 15 1780, 8th class, Capt. Davis' Company" on file in the Maryland Historical Society. (He was probably born about 1760.)

Nimrod married Betsy Parsons. Their children were Stanton, Reuben, Benjamin, William, Laban, Lottie and Henine.


Stanton married Anna Timmons and they were parents of thirteen chidlren. He married when he was 30 years of age and she was 15. She died at 40 years of age and he at 91. After the death of Anna, he married Rachel Grindol and they were parents of five children. They are: Elijah, Garrison, Elizabeth, Rodney, Sarah, Mary Ann, Stanton, Jr., Charlotte, Miranda, George W., David, Noah, Cannon, Harriett, Jondoshe, Rosana, Mahala, and Ezra.


Rodney, born 1825 in Ross County, Ohio, was the son of Stanton Adkins and Anna Timmons. He came to Illinois in 1852 and to Moultrie County in 1865. Rodney and Lorena Eskridge (1824) were married in Pickaway County, Ohio in 1847. They moved to Illinois with three teams, moving leisurely, camping at night. Their principle expense was toll at toll gates. He first located in Cumberland County, buying 240 acres at $9.00 an acre. It was 2 miles from Toledo. He made good improvements on his farm.

The Civil War called him from home and he enlisted in the Illinois Cavalry in 1861 and saw service in Arkansas. He was shot by guerrillas and was taken prisoner and carried a ball in his arm the rest of his life. He was discharged in 1863.

In 1864 he went to Ford County then to the north part of Moultrie County near the Piatt County line. He bought 80 acres at $30.00 an acre and soon had 750 acres in one body. He was always a staunch Republican. Rodney died in 1909 and Lorena in 1900. Both are buried at Hewitt Cemetery at Lovington.

Their three children were: William, Mary and Lorena.


Stanton Adkins, Jr. (1830), brother of Rodney and seventh child of Anna, came to Illinois and to Moultrie County near Lovington. He married Lucy Clore (1834). They had no children. He bought land and added to it until at his death he was a very wealthy man. Stanton died in 1908. Both are buried in Hewitt Cemetery north of Lovington.


Reuben Adkins, Sr. ( ), second child of Nimrod and Betsy Parsons, married Martha Hill ( ) and they were parents of eight children: William, Benjamin Franklin, John, Reuben, Jr., Sampson, Eliza (Buzzard), Catherine (Bauhan), and Elizabeth (Davis).

William Adkins had two sons - James Vincent and William H.

John had one daughter - Willa Etta Bryant.


Frank Adkins, second child of Reuben Sr., was born in Pickaway County, Ohio in 1832. In 1853 he came to Piatt County in Illinois for the purpose of buying cattle for the New York market, working in the interest of another party. This section of Illinois in Piatt County was still the haunt of deer and other animals but seemed to Mr. Adkins to present opportunities that made it a desireable place to locate. He married Mrs. Nancy Harris in 1860 and then farmed the 103 acres of land which she owned.

He enlisted in Company C of the 107th Illinois Infantry in Aug. 1862 and became an integral part of the army of Ohio. He enlisted as Duty Sergeant and served as such during his three years of service. Mr. Adkins took part in the seige of Knoxville, was with Sherman in the Atlanta campaign and participated in the battle of Jonesboro. He was then sent back with Gen. Thomas to aid in the operations against Hood and fought at Franklin and Nashville. The command of which he formed a part then rejoined Sherman at Goldsboro, North Carolina. Mr. Adkins participated in the Grand Review at Washington. He received an honorable discharge in June 1865 and returned to his farm in Illinois and again took up farming.

(I remember when I was small hearing him or someone else tell of him crawling 1/2 a mile to get away from the enemy.)

They lived in Monticello Township until 1896 when they moved into Monticello. He was always a staunch Republican and Methodist. Nancy died in 1898 and is buried in the Monticello Cemetery.

His nieces and nephews from Bethany came to his home in Monticello for his birthday each year and were joined by the Monticello cousins. This was the start of the Adkins reunion held each year on the 1st Sunday in Sept. near his birthday. These reunions have been held over 50 years. He died in 1919 and is buried in the Monticello Cemetery.


The fourth child of Reuben Adkins was Reuben, Jr. He was born in 1834, near Five Points in Pickaway County, Ohio and died at Bethany, Illinois on Dec. 24, 1893. He came to Illinois in 1855 and settled on a farm 2 1/2 miles north of Bethany. He lived on the farm until retiring to Bethany. He married Mrs. Sarah Penniwell (1837 - 1871) whose maiden name was Rhodes. To them were born five children: Ida (Cole) 1861 - 1917, Joicie (Bacon) 1863 - 1935, Martha 1866 - 1873, William Frank 1868 - 1868, and Mary Elizabeth 1869 - 1870.

After Sarah's death in 1871, he married Thursa McGinnis (1839 - 1903) in Oct. 1872. They were parents of three children: Jennie (Hudson) 1873 - 1920, Francis Marion (Frank) 1876 - 1881, and Pearl (Brock) 1880 - 1961.

Everyone who knew "Uncle Rube" knew his temperance sentiments. His obituary says he was a "noble man, a good citizen and neighbor and was loved and respected by all." He was thoughtful of others' welfare.

Sarah and the three younger children are buried at Pea Cemetery.


Sampson, 5th son of Reuben Sr., was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, in 1839 and married Ann Minton, born in 1843. During the Civil War he was in Company A, 19th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was in the battle of Murphysboro and received an honorable discharge. While he was in service he received a severe back injury from which he never fully recovered. He married Eliza Ann Mintun and they were the parents of 13 children.

Sampson died in 1882, two months before his son Sampson was born. The family moved to Illinois in 1885 to a farm near Monticello. Here they lived until about 1900 or 1902, when Ann moved into Monticello. The children were for the most part grown and making their own way. Sampson was buried in Ohio in 1882 and when Ann died in 1910 her body was taken back to Ohio and buried in the family plot.


Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of Reuben, Sr., was born in Pickaway County, in Ohio, and married ____ Davis there. They had six children: Reuben, Belle, Edward, Samuel, Ann, and J. Robert. Elizabeth's husband was killed by being kicked by a horse. After her husband's death, her brother Reuben helped her to move to Illinois to a farm near his so he might help her with her family. The mother died when Robert was quite small and he stayed with his uncle while the older ones went to school. When the children were grown, they scattered. Reuben Davis went to Washington State, Belle married William Widdick and lived northwest of Bethany where she died, and Edward went to work in a Decatur clothing store, then to Forsythe where he managed a clothing store. Robert lived with his uncle Reuben till grown. He married Cora Mitchell and they farmed in Alberta, Canada for two years before returning to Illinois where he farmed. They had one son: Stanley, who was born in Alberta.

(by Lura Bacon Winings)

Joicie, 2nd daughter of Reuben Adkins and Sarah Rhodes Penniwell, was born on her father's farm 2 1/2 miles north of Bethany, Illinois on May 12, 1863. She attended Bushart School near the farm and later Sells Academy in Bethany.

Her teacher at the Bushart School was Charles Bacon whom she later married. He came to the community in 1881 after he had come to Lake City with his father and brother Amos. He may have taught school in Lake City as he played cornet in the Lake City band.

His obituary says, "Mr. Bacon came into the neighborhood 8 years ago, an entire stranger, and engaged in school teaching. He ramined 2 years making a good record as a teacher and many friends and then went to Dakota to make a home. Four years ago this month (June 1889) he returned to Illinois to claim as his bride Miss Joicie Adkins, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Adkins and after a brief stay returned with her to his northern home. Naturally ambitious he did not spare himself but worked hard on the farm in summer and teaching in the winter. This added to exposure in the famous blizzard of two years ago (1886-87) and was too much for his frail constitution and last Nov. with his wife and child he came back to this neighborhood [Bethany, Illinois] hoping to regain his health. His malady had proceeded too far, however, to be checked and for several months he had no hope of recovery. He was baptised and united with the Methodist Church. He had a clear apprehension of Christ his Saviour and the last days of his life were peaceful and confident." Quoted from the Bethany Echo.

I [Lura Bacon Winings] have an autograph album given by "C.A. Bacon to Joicie Adkins Dec. 25, 1882, Columbia, Dakota Territory" written in his beautiful handwriting. I also have other samples of his beautiful shaded penmanship.

Charles had gone to South Dakota (Dakota Territory then) with his brother Amos and wife and his father George Bacon. He was not 21 years of age till June 22, 1882, and they would not lie about their age so they were too late to get claims near Charles' father and brother Amos, and Frank's grandfather, Bartlett Bacon, and they had to take claims farther north on land that was more sandy. Their farms were across the road from each other on what is now Highway 37. The cousins and their wives were very close friends and much company for each other in this new country.

Charles made improvements on his land, a house and barn and taught school at Huffton. The town of Huffton was built on land of his Uncle Bartlett and Charles' father gave land for the cemetery where he and Bartlett were buried. Just south of Bartlett Bacon's quarter was the quarter taken by Amos and across the road (now 37) west was a quarter taken by Frank's father Robert Paine.

The school at Huffton was an ungraded school as were all schools there at that time. I have my father's notebook with all pupils; records, recommendations for promotion, etc. Also his farming plans, and a talk he gave before the county institute is written in his very beautiful handwriting.

Charles is buried in Bethany Cemetery and his daughter Ethel who died at 20 years of age is buried beside him. His daughter Lura was born two months after he died.

Joicie always loved books and was generous to loan books, especially to young people. The day of her funeral a teen-age girl expressed to some of the family her gratitude for books she borrowed before Bethany had a library. In the early days where were few books available and she remembered her hunger for books and always loaned books, gave away magazines, etc.

Her home was always a welcome place for visiting relatives, she always was ready to help with church and family affairs and for many years was a recorder as well as a charter member of Royal Neighbors.

For many years she was a dressmaker.

Her last months held much suffering from cancer, but she never complained and was always thoughtful of those around her. Her life was one of love and kindness. After Charles' death, she remained a widow over 15 years and busily and bravely made a wonderful home for her girls.

(by his daughter Ella Adkins Campbell)

[Part of this narrative was also taken from the History of Piatt County written by F.M. Shonkwiler.]

Charles Adkins was born in 1863 in Pickaway County, Ohio. When his father Sampson Adkins died in 1882, Charles was only 19 years of age. He was the oldest of 13 children, the youngest born two months after the father died. Charles took over the farm work under the very capable supervision of his mother and help of his brothers. The family moved to Illinois in 1885. He received his education in the public schools and also taught in the district schools.

In 1888 Charles married Dora Farrow and lived in Willow Branch Township until 1893 at which time he moved to the W.H. Stephenson farm near Bement where he lived for 35 years. He did general farming and raised livestock, for several years raising show cattle. His knowledge of agriculture and livestock conditions made his services as a lecturer and instructor in Farmers Institutes and other agricultural organizations in great demand. For a time he was president of Illinois Livestock Breeders Association.

His first bid to public life was when he was elected to the board of Supervisors and served 3 or 4 terms, He was chairman of the board when the present Piatt County courthouse was built. He was on the school board for 20 years and fought hard for the Township High Schools or the consolidated schools of today. He was on the Methodist Church board for several years and was chairman of the building committee when the present church was built.

Dad was a very good practical christina and seldom missed church at home and was a faithful attendant while in Washington. He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, I think in 1908, and speaker in 1910. He was a director of the Illinois State Fair during Gov. Louden's administration. In 1924 he ran for Congress from the old 19th District and served 4 terms till he was defeated in 1932 with the rest of the Republicans. He served in 4th place on the very important Agriculture Committee.

He worked hard to keep Chanute Field at its present location. The War Department wanted to move it to Denver, Colorado or Dayton, Ohio. There was so much fuss about it that even a movie was made about it with Dad fighting for it to stay where it was. When Mr. Dobbins was elected Representative, he came to see Dad to ask if he had any unfinished business and Dad told him, "Yes, it is as much your interest as mine, but I want Chanute Field to stay where it is. I have done all the ground work and you will get the credit, but all that is important to me is that it stay where it is."

As my son Charles said, "Mother, Grandpa is like a sturdy oak tree that when it starts to go, it just dwindles away and that is what Grandpa is doing." Dad had been out of Congress almost 10 years when he passed away, but the day of his funeral at the hour it was held, the House paid tribute to him.

Each of us children received a Congressional Record with a marked copy of the tribute paid to him. Mother received messages and letters from all over the nation. Among them, one from Jack Garner and one from the Mayor of New York, LaGuardia, who had served in Congress with Dad.

We all have fond memories of our father and mother and thank God for giving us two such wonderful people for parents and the heritage that is ours through them.

Dad said one time that if a person did not live a life that he could reminisce about in his old age, he had lost something. I feel that he should have been pleased with his past and believe he did relive it many times. I feel that he did live a very rich and full life and that none of his children or grandchildren will have to apologize for anything. After he retired, he told a young man, "I can look every person in the face that I meet and say to myself, 'You can blame me for the mistakes I have made, but not for the money I've spent that did not belong to me.' "

Lura Bacon Winings added this note: "I think Ella left out one important thing about her dad. He loved a good clean joke and could remember them and have everyone laughing whenever he was around. One story I remember was about his Grandmother Adkins having a German girl help her in the kitchen. When they were expecting a number of people for dinner, the girl was left to make blackberry pies. After a long time, Grandmother Adkins came to see if she had finished. She had - and had stacked the pies like pancakes. That was good for a real guffaw."

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