Adams, Samuel J. (1837–1889)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: March 24, 2008

Updated: October 17, 2014

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 (, accessed June 6, 2007. Hearne on the Brazos: The Hearnes (, accessed June 6, 2007. IGI Individual Record, "Samuel J. Adams" (, accessed June 6, 2007.

  • Twelfth Legislature (1870-1871)
  • House
  • Military
  • Confederate Military
  • Regimental and Staff Officers
  • Soldiers
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Civil War
  • Reconstruction
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

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

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Adams, Samuel J.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 24, 2008
October 17, 2014

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: