Stephen F. Austin State University

Adams House

1502 S. Washington, Marshall

Current Owner 2013: David Morgan

Texas Historical Landmark

The Adam House recieved a TX Historical Marker in 1979.

Architectural Survey

• Description: The Adams house is a one story, 1880 Colonial Revival, wood frame house, built on a brick foundation. Originally there was a front portico, which was later replaced by the current front porch in 1933 which is the length of the house. Due to neglect and deterioration, all of the doors, and the majority of the windows have been boarded up. A back view of the house reveals the numerous additions that have been built over the years, which include several bedrooms, a bathroom, and an enlarged kitchen. All of the outbuildings have been removed except for a stone milk house. The house was originally built with an L-shaped plan with the addition of a fifth room at the rear of the left wing of the house. This was a dining room which was later converted into a kitchen.

• Significance: The primary historical significance of the house is its association with one of the county's earliest notable families. The Adams family maintained continuous occupancy from 1880 until the death of Col. and Mrs. C. Adams in 1982, over 100 years! During its occupation, the house was part of a cotton plantation, then later transformed into a dairy farm that provided the majority of dairy products within the city limits of Marshall.

Historical Background

According to deed records, (filed July 24, 1851, Book K, Page 159, Deed Records of Harrison County) Chesley Meredith Adams purchased Outlot 61 in Marshall from Joseph Harris in 1851. He and his wife Martha Stephens built a log cabin on this property and it was here that their first and only child was born in 1856, Chesley Francis Adams. Chesley M. Adams, died on February 3, 1859, leaving his wife and son with a significant estate and valuable inventory, all of which was left in equal parts to his family.

Martha Adams re-married in 1862, to Major Jeremiah Fletcher Riggs. In 1880, construction on the present dwelling began, and at its completion, the original cabin was razed to the ground in 1885. According to the 1880 census, the members of the household included, Jeremiah Fletcher Riggs, age fifty-nine as the head of the household, Martha Riggs, age fifty-one his wife, their two children, Mary L. Riggs, fourteen, Fletcher S. Riggs, eight, and Martha's son from her previous marriage, Chesley Francis Adams, age twenty-three. (Year: 1880; Census Place: Marshall, Harrison, Texas; Roll: 1309; Family History Film: 1255309; Page: 350C;)

Chesley Francis Adams acquired the Adams House on November 25, 1889, when his mother and Major Riggs transferred the title to him and after his marriage to Alice Chandler Stuart in 1892 the couple reared eight children in the home. Deed records show that the warranty deed for the house was transferred from Martha Adams Riggs and her husband Jeremiah Riggs to Martha's son, Chesley Francis Adams. At the time of the 1900 census, Chesley Francis Adams was the head of the household, with his wife Alice Adams, and three of their eight children, Chesley M., Maria L. and Chas S., along with his mother-in-law, Mariah Stuart. (Year: 1900; Census Place: Marshall Ward 2, Harrison, Texas; Roll: 1643; Page: 26A; Enumeration District: 0046; FHL Microfilm: 1241643.)

The house was not far from the downtown Whetstone square, but it was still considered rural, which is why it did not appear on the Sanborn maps. The property contained extensive orchards and vegetable gardens as well as a dairy farm that provided milk for the surrounding area. (Adam's Family Folder in the Harrison County Historical Archives.) Upon Chesley Francis Adam's death on January 3, 1940, the house was left to his remaining family. After serving in WWI and WWII, Col. Chesley Meredith Adams, eldest son of Chesley F. and Alice Adams, retired on May 1, 1953 and moved to Marshall with his wife, Celeste Harrott-Adams. They purchased the Adam's home from relatives, John F. and Emma S. Adams. (Warranty Deed, John F. Adams, Emma S. Adams, to Chesley M. Adams and Celeste Adams, Outlot 61 SE, dated March 22, 1955, filed April 19, 1955, Vol. 450, Page 599, Deed Records of Harrison County.) Although they remained in their home until their deaths in 1982, the deed to the house was transferred to their daughter Alice Adams Morgan in 1972. (Warranty Deed, Chesley M. Adams, et ux, Celeste Adams, to Alice Adams Morgan, Outlot 61 SE, dated August 16, 1973). Alice maintained ownership of the home until 1995 when she transferred the deed to her eldest son David Morgan in 1995. (Warrenty Ded, Alice Adams Morgan to David Morgan, Outlot 61 SE, filed August 4, 1995, Vol. 1414, Page 238, Deed Records of Harrison County.) As of 2013, David Morgan, a resident of Colorado, still holds the deed for the Allen House.

When the house was first constructed, the one story floor plan included a hall-and-parlor. But unlike most vernacular homes within the county, the Adams house contained a fifth room on the northeast corner of the house which served as a dining room opening up onto a back porch. Many alterations were made to the Adams house beginning in 1933. Partitions were taken out from within to create larger rooms, the dining room was turned into a kitchen, and several bathrooms and extra bed rooms were added onto the rear throughout the 1940s and 50s. The only alteration to the front façade was the lengthening of the front porch the entire width of the house and two bedrooms in the south wing of the house still remain in their original state. Although the front of the house still maintains its original architectural integrity, the back of the house has taken on many different shapes in the past years, creating an irregular floor plan. In 2012, the windows and doors were boarded up and although it still stands among flowering Crepe myrtles and giant oaks, the house is barely visible from the road due to the siege of undergrowth and vines.

Adams House Photos