Friday, December 19, 2014

Nominus Quincy Adams (1839-1922)

From the 1908 Official and Statistical Register of Mississippi.

    If you read yesterday's posting on Mississippi state representative Cullinas Boyd Hannah its should be apparent that Oktibbeha County had no qualms about electing an oddly named man to serve as its representative in the state legislature, and, that point is further reinforced by today's write-up on Nominus "Non" Quincy Adams, who preceded Mr. Hannah in legislative service. Besides being Oktibbeha County's representatives to the Mississippi state legislature (narrowly missing out on serving in the same session) both Cullinas Hannah and Nominus Adams resided in the Oktibbeha County town of Sturgis, and one can only wonder if these two oddly named fellows ever bumped into one other on the street (I like to think their paths crossed at some point!)
   A native son of Rutherford County, North Carolina, Nominus "Non" Quincy Adams was born in that county on January 22, 1839, being the son of Azariah and Mary Runyons Adams. While there are varying spellings of Adams' first name (being given as both "Nonimus" and "Nominus"), Adams relocated to Mississippi with his family whilst an infant. He would have limited educational advantages in "rural schools of Choctaw and Oktibbeha County" and married his first wife, Catherine Griffith (1836-1867), in 1857. Three daughters would be born to their union, Mary Jane (died in infancy in 1858), "Betty" (1860-1899) and Virginia Catherine (1865-1955).
   In 1863 "Non" entered into service in the Confederate Army, serving with Co. A., 21st Mississippi Infantry. He would see action at the battles of Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, and in July 1864 suffered a grievous injury at the Battle of Atlanta which would necessitate the amputation of his left arm. Following his return home from the war Adams lost his wife Catherine, and following her death in 1867 remarried to Lois Hannah (1849-1892) in 1870. This marriage would produce a further seven children. 
   In the period after his Civil War service "Non" Adams engaged in farming in Sturgis, Mississippi and also gained distinction as a minister, having been licensed to preach in 1868. In 1870 he began an affiliation with the Missionary Baptist Church and would serve as pastor in several Oktibbeha County churches during his life, including those at Sturgis, Wake Forest, and Blythe Creek. Adams was a primary organizer of the Chestnut Grove Baptist Church in 1869 and later served as the moderator of the Oktibbeha County Baptist Association for a total of ten years.

Portrait courtesy of the Adams Family Newsletter, January 2013.

    While prominent in religious circles in Oktibbeha County (as well as the neighboring counties of Choctaw and Winston), "Non" Adams didn't enter into political life until he was past the age of fifty. In November 1895 he won election to the Mississippi State Senate from the counties of Oktibbeha and Choctaw and served in the Senate session of 1896-1900. In November 1907 Adams was returned to the state capitol, serving as a member of the State House of Representatives. His tenure in that body lasted from 1908-1912 and was a member of the house committees on Liquor Traffic, Pensions and Corporations during that session.
   In the latter portion of his life, "Non" Adams dabbled in banking, serving as a Vice-President of the Bank of Sturgis, Mississippi. Active in the Masonic order, Adams was a charter member of the Sturgis-based Lodge #375 of Free and Accepted Masons. In 1892 Adams became a widower for the second time, and following the death of his wife Lois, Adams remarried in 1893 to Mary Delilah Dodds (1855-1941), with whom he would have a further three children
   Nominus Quincy Adams died at age 83 on May 7, 1922 in Sturgis and was survived by his third wife Mary and a number of children. His burial took place at the Wake Forest Cemetery in Sturgis, just a short distance away from the Sturgis Cemetery, home to the gravesite of his political counterpart Cullinas B. Hannah.

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