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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ADAMS, SEYMOUR WEBSTER

ADAMS, SEYMOUR WEBSTER

ADAMS, SEYMOUR WEBSTER (1 Aug. 1815-27 Sept. 1864), pastor (1846-64) of Cleveland's FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, was born in Vernon, N.Y. His father, a farmer, was a deacon in the Baptist church, and his mother was a niece of Noah Webster. Adams decided on the ministry as a youth, attending Hamilton Theological Seminary after graduating from Hamilton College. Ordained in 1843, Adams served in 3 churches in New York before accepting First Baptist's second call to him, serving there from Nov. 1946 until his death. Adams was a carefully prepared sermonizer and an active pastor who oversaw the growth of First Baptist and the new congregations that spun off from it. He was perceived by his contemporaries as scholarly, shy, and retiring, yet an example of moral rectitude and high purpose to his fellow citizens so potent that he was still mourned 50 years after his death. During 1858-59, he wrote a memoir of Dr. Nathaniel Kendrick, founder of the Hamilton Theological Seminary.

Adams married 3 times: first to Caroline E. Griggs, who died in 1847; then in 1849 to Mrs. Cordelia C. Peck, a widow, who died in 1852; and finally to Augusta Hoyt in 1855. In the summer of 1864, he joined other volunteers of the U.S. Christian Commission in nursing Union soldiers in Washington, D.C. where he contracted a fatal case of typhoid.


Bishop, J. P. Memoir of Rev. Seymour W. Adams, D.D. (1866).