Once again we have an immigrant ancestor about whom little is known. His like is fairly well documented in Massachusetts, but his earlier years, about 30 of them, are more of a mystery.
Richard was born about April 21,1605 in Batcombe, Somerset, England, or near there. Batcombe is and was a very small village (current population about 450), and the church that is there now, the Church of St Mary the Virgin, was there then, although the church has had a tower added since the early 1600s. The main industry of the area was raising sheep and weaving wool, so it's a pretty safe bet this is what our ancestors were doing when Richard was born, and as he grew to a young man.
At some point, the family developed Puritan leanings, and Richard and his family came to America in 1635. Richard apparently paid for the passage of himself, his wife, and one child, by coming as a servant to William Reade, of Batcombe, Somerset, England. They sailed on March 20, 1635 with Reverend Joseph Hull's group, most of whom went to Connecticut. Richard and his wife were in Weymouth, Massachusetts later that year, but it's hard to tell how long Richard retained his role as servant to Mr. Reade. We do know that he was admitted to a church early because he became a freeman at Weymouth on 2 September 1635. This is a possible indicator that he has some sort of status in the community, to be admitted that quickly, or that the church was eager for "live bodies" to enlarge the church.
The identity of his wives remains unknown. The best guess is that he married a Mrs. Cheame, and that either she already had a daughter named Mary Cheame, or they married their first daughter in honor of her first husband. However, nothing has been found in England to support this speculation, in either direction, so all we can really say is that Mary Cheame Adams travelled with her mother and either father or stepfather to America and then to Weymouth.
Once the family was in America, three more children were born. It appears that the first wife, Mary died after 1642, and that Richard remarried to Elizabeth, who died in 1656. He married again, by 1662, to another Elizabeth, and had a child with her. During his early years at Weymouth, he was on the grand jury, served as a deputy to the General Court for Weymouth, and served on a committee and as a commissioner for small causes. His occupation there is described as "planter", which generally means a land holder in good standing with the government and church, which were mostly one and the same thing. He is also described as being "semi-literate."
Richard asked to be relieved from further military training on June 19, 1665, stating that he was of the age of three score or thereabout, also being lame. I wonder whether it was an injury or an illness that caused the lameness? The next we hear from him is that he is in Malden, not Weymouth, and writing his will, which was dated March 21, 1673/74 and proved December 15, 1674. The land, which was left to his widow and his children, was valued at 78 pounds. The rest of his inventory is not totaled, and I have not yet located a copy of the will. However, it appears that he was not a wealthy man.
I'd like to know more about Richard Adams. Was he a servant to William Reade just for the ocean crossing, and if so, was there some family relationship? Was he a good and obedient Puritan all his ife? When did he move to Malden, and why? Where did he get his education, and did he have books in his inventory? There is always more to learn! Most of the information I have came from "The Great Migration" by Robert Charles Anderson, but I'd like more information, still.
The line of descent is:
Sarah Adams-Edward Counts
Elizabeth Counts-Enoch Cleveland
Sarah Cleveland-Israel Joslin
Sarah Joslin-Edward Fay
David Fay-Mary/Mercy Perrin
Luceba Fay-Libbeus Stanard Jr.
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen