*12 Jul 1788 - †1871


a) 1891 Canadian Census shows on son, John's, record that his father was born in Ontario, Canada while mother was born in the USA.

REV. EZRA ADAMS, pioneer Canadian,
and one of the fathers of the Methodist Church
in Canada (born 1788emdash died 1871). The "United
Empire Loyalist branch of the Adams family
of New England has lived as long as any
other family under the English flag in America.
There were no Englishmen in Canada when
their forefathers landed as Puritans in Massachusetts,
and it was about this time that a couple
of French Jesuits went as missionaries and according
to Parkman, built the first house in Upper
Canada. For ten generations on this continent
they have maintained a reputation for
integrity, manliness of character and adherence
to principle almost unique in history for an old
family in any country. Possessed of magnificent
physique by heredity, they have held their
own in every walk of life. The "almighty dollar,"
too often the God of the American citizen,
has been their servant and not their master,
and while not classed amongst the wealthiest
citizens they have always been known as amongst
the "best citizens" of Canada and the United
The Canadian branch in Ontario still retains
the family crest, «i»"Loyal au mort," «/i»which has
been in the family ever since the reign of King
John of England and the signing of the Magna
Some letters in the possession of the Rev.
James E. Dyer furnish the information that
Rev. Ezra Adams was a descendant of the
Adams family of which John Adams (second
President of the United States) was a member,
who emigrated to America from England previous
to the Revolution. His mother was of the
Rice family, who also emigrated to America
from England about the same time as the Adams
family did and settled in the State of Connecticut.
His parents removed from Hartford, Connecticut,
to Cambridge, New York, where he
was born July 17, 1788.
In the year 1798 his father, having received
1,200 acres of land from the British government,
moved into the eastern townships of
Lower Canada, then a wilderness beyond the
townships of Stanstead and Hatley (in the easterly
part of the Province), dotted only here and
there with small commencement of rising settlements,
separated by many miles of woods.
His family settled in the township of Westbury,
on the bank of the river St. Francois, nine
miles beyond the last settler in that direction.
Here they lived twelve years without the Gospel
or public means of grace. The family were
trained in all the morality of Presbyteriansm
and in the peculiar doctrines of the church were
most rigid Calvinists. There being no Presbyterian
Church, and the first preacher to arrive in
that portion of the eastern settlements of Lower
Canada being a Methodist, young Ezra Adams
became a convert and adherent to the Methodist
Church, and when his father, Eliphalet
Adams, removed to Upper Canada, he became
a minister of the Gospel. One of his first circuits
was from Stony Creek on the other side
of Hamilton to beyond Muddy York, now Toronto,
north to Lake Simcoe. As he had but one
Methodist associate on this circuit and there
were no railroads in those days it will readily be
seen that a ' ' circuit rider," as he was called, or
preacher of the Gospel, must necessarily belong
to the muscular type of Christianity and that
the hardships and privations were not a few
which these noble pioneers of Methodism endured
in carrying the good tidings to the remote
settlements. This was before the days of the
"buckboard" (a species of buggy), or that steel
spring buggies came into use, when the roads
were bad and travelling on horseback was the
easiest and quickest means of transit. With his
saddle-bags containing his Bible and hymn book,
and a change of clothing, the stalwart form of
Rev. Ezra Adams, mounted on a good horse, was
a familiar figure on the military roads during
the troublesome times of the war of 1814, after
which peace was made between the United States
and Great Britainemdash a peace which has lasted for
almost a century.
His health having failed from overwork in the
ministry, Rev Ezra Adams, with his two brothers
settled in what is now the town of Acton. Here
they took up 200 acres of land each, and he
built the first grist and saw mills, and here his
youngest son, John G. Adams, of Toronto, was
born in 1839. The place was for some time
called Adamsville, but afterward was changed
to Acton. The Rev. Ezra Adams afterward sold
the mills, as having returned to pastoral work
he found it interfered with his calling. Newmarket
was his first circuit after leaving Acton
and Stratford was his last circuit before his retirement
from active work in the ministry. From
Stratford he removed to what is now the town
of Drayton, township of Peel, County Wellington,
and which was then known as the '' Queen's
bush." Here he and the Rev. Benjamin
Jones became the pioneers of the present
town of Drayton, and here they built the first
church in western Ontario in the Queen's bush,
north of Elora. His home, the second to be
built in that section of the county, was known
throughout the countryside for long afterwards
as the ''Methodist Inn," on account of the oldfashioned
hospitality of the owner and the fact
that it was the only large house in this section
of the country. He lived to see a thriving village
and prosperous farming community develop
in what was once but a forest wilderness
when he retired from active work in the ministry.
The following information in reference to the
Rev. Ezra Adams is taken from "The Handbook
of Canadian Methodism," by the Rev.
George H. Cornish (printed at the Wesleyan
Book and Job Printing Co., Toronto, 1867):
"The first Canadian Methodist Conference
was held in Canada in 1824; at that time there
were in connection with the church thirty-five
ministers and preachers. These travelled in
Canada under the direction of the M. E.
Church, United States, prior to the formation
of the Canada Conference, or travelled under
the direction of the English Conference. For
ten years previous to this Rev. Ezra Adams was
actively engaged in the ministry of the Gospel
under the Methodist Episcopal Church of the
United States. His first circuit, in 1814, was
Ancaster and Long Point. This circuit extended
from the Niagara river to beyond Little York
or Toronto around the head of Lake Ontario
and Burlington Bay, westward beyond Oxford
and southward to Long Point on Lake Erie. In
1815 and 1816 he was on the Bay of Quinte
Circuit; 1817, Hallowell; 1818-1819, Ottawa;
1820-1821, Thames; 1822-1823, Niagara."
While in the County of York his circuits after
1814 were, according to the same authority:
Yonge street, 1830; Toronto Circuit, 1840; Newmarket;
1842-43-44; Markham, 1845 and 1846.
In 1831 and 1832 Rev. Ezra Adams was presiding
elder of the London District, and in 1833
and 1834 presiding elder of the Munceytown
District. In 1835 he was in Prescott and Augusta.
From 1836 to 1839 inclusive he was superannuated.
His last two appointments were
Bradford, 1847, and Stratford, 1848, when he
was superannuated on account of old age after
thirty-four years in the ministry.
Rev. Ezra Adams's wife, Amy, was a woman
of exceptional benevolence and virtue and her
great charity and large-heartedness and sympathy
for the poor and afflicted, while accomplishing
much in her day and generation, were
a great source of inspiration to all within her
sphere of influence and to-day a powerful vital
force for good in the hearts and lives of her
children even to the third generation, and the
circles of her. influence are ever widening to
generations yet unborn. Rev. Mr. Adams and
his wife Amy had three children: (1) Electa Ann,
born in Munceytown, Ont., Sept. 10, 1834,
married Rev. James E. Dyer. She died in Toronto,
July 2, 1897, a woman of much force of
character and versatility, and her gift of eloquent
speech would have made her prominent in
public life had not her fondness for her home
and children and church work made her an exemplary
parson's wife and mother. (2) Sarah
Rowena, born in Brockville, Ont, Dec. 28, 1835,
married Rev. Thomas Culbert, and is still living
(1907), devoting her evening of life to charitable
work. (3) John G. Adams, born in Adamsville,
now Acton, Ont., March 16, 1839, is still
living in Toronto, where he has been prominent
for many years in works of charity.
By his first wife, Isa (Proctor), Rev. Ezra
Adams had children as follows: (1) Betsy Almira,
born in Fredericksburg, Upper Canada,
Oct. 16, 1815, married June 15, 1832, Rev.
Thomas Hurlbert. (2) Henry Proctor, born
near Lundy's Lane, March 12, 1822, settled in
Acton, County Halton, where he learned his occupation
of miller and afterward, in 1855, built
mills and did an extensive business, building up
what is now the town of Hanover, where Ms
son, James Henry Adams, still resides, and is
resident manager of the Merchants' Bank. (3)
William Case Adams, born near Lundy's Lane,
Oct. 18, 1823, married Oct. 20, 1857, Matilda Osman,
daughter of John Osman, Esq., of Seneca
Falls, New York. One daughter, Miss L. 0.
Adams, still resides in Toronto, where she is
well known as an artist. William Case Adams
was the third dentist to practice in Toronto,
and was one of the founders of the Royal College
of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, and one of
the first professors in the School of Dentistry.
His literary education was obtained in Victoria.
University, and Dr. Nathaniel Burwash, Chancellor
of Victoria University, says of 'him, in
the «i»Christian Guardian, «/i»1899: "He was a descendant
of the Adams family of Massachusetts,
which has given to the United States so many
of her foremost names. He with others of his
family were U. E. Loyalists, and bringing to
Canada and Canadian Methodism their hereditary
ability and force of character, made no unworthy
contribution to the building of our national
life. In the later forties, under the presidency
of the late Dr. McNab, Mr. Adams completed
his literary education in Victoria College,
where his fine physique and force of character
made him a leader in manly exercises and
in Christian work, and gave him a moral influence
which commanded the esteem of professors
and students alike. Commencing the
practice of his profession in the city of Toronto,
he became at once associated with the old
Adelaide Street Church, a member of its official
board, a class-leader, a trustee, a Bibleclass
leader and an active worker in all social
reform and Christian benevolence." For over
forty years he practised his profession in Toronto,
(4) Jane Maria Adams, born in Adamsville
in 1826, married, about 1852, Archibald
MacCallum, principal of the Normal School at
Hamilton, and afterward of the Model School
in Toronto. (5) Eliza Roxana was born in
Adamsville, township of Esquesing, Halton
county, Ont, in 1828, and married Rev. Matthew
Swann, who was educated in Upper Canada
College. (6) George Washington Adams,
born in Acton in 1830, resides in Grand Rapids,

b) Isa PROCTOR is mother of: William Case ADAMS (*1823)

c) Amy Curtis EDMUNDS is mother of: Electa Ann ADAMS (*1838) and John Glennings Curtis ADAMS (*1839)

  • 1836