Adams of Toboyne, Cumberland County PA (later Perry County)

Map of Perry County Pennsylvania With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Perry County Pennsylvania With Municipal and Township Labels. Perry was part of Cumberland County until it was separated in 1820.

Note to the reader: This is a dump of raw information about the Adams of Toboyne. I am working on a map of the relationships using Wills, Land records and cemetery listings in order to piece these Adams families together. There are many Thomas, William, Halberts (4), etc . . . don’t make assumptions until you see this map and understand the underlying data.

What we really need are a couple male Adams descendants, probably still living in the area, who have documented their ancestory to either Thomas or Halbert “The Pioneers” or their probably children and grandchildren so they can take the y-DNA test and thereby prove the connection. 

This page is a work in progress. I will clean it up and make it easier to read as I have time – 3/10/2012 – ds


Toboyne Township, Perry/Cumberland County – Adams Cluster

I have some other circumstantial information that cannot be ignored connecting the Adams and Culbertson family together. It involves the scalping on August 14th 1776 in Isle Aux Nois of Robert Adams (1745-1776) and Joseph Culbertson (1753-1776) as documented during the Rev war in a Journal from a British soldier – British Invasion from the North – Lieutenant Digby’s Journal written during the war and published in 17?? – page 136.

This is important because the Adams in Family A265 and Family A364 both intermarried with the same Culbertson Family from Culbertson’s Row located between Chambersburg and Shippensburg about where Orrstown Pennsylvania is today.

Very few particulars of this distressing occurrence have come down to us. Robert Adams was the son of Thomas and Katherine Adams, and was born in 1745 in what was subsequently Toboyne township, in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania.  He was a soldier in the Bouquet expedition to the westward in 1764, and when the Revolution opened he raised a company of “Associators,” which formed the second company of Colonel William Irvine’s regiment, of which he was commissioned captain, January 9, 1776. Joseph Culbertson was the son of Alexander and Margaret Culbertson, and was born in 1753 in the Cumberland Valley. His ancestors came from the North of Ireland about the year 1730, subsequently locating about seven miles from what is now Chambersburg. Owing to several contiguous farms being owned by different members of the family, the place was known as “Culbertson’s Row.” Joseph was an early “Associator,” and received his commission as ensign in Captain Wilson’s company, January 9th, the same day that Adams received his. He had two brothers in the Pennsylvania line, Robert and Samuel, both officers. It would appear that Adams and Culbertson, in company with several other officers and men, on the 21st of June, crossed from their camp at Isle-aux-Noix to the western shore of the lake for the purpose of fishing, and not supposing any enemy to be in the vicinity, took no arms with them. Near the shore was the house of a Frenchman who sold spruce beer to the soldiers, a beverage which was not only refreshing, but supposed to possess medicinal virtues and very popular at this time. A small band of Indians, in which were two Canadians, were in ambush on the shore of the lake watching their movements, and surprised them while they were stopping at the Frenchman’s house to drink, killing Adams and Culbertson and two of their companions, not very broad, but the shore is such a swamp and so thick with wood, that you can scarce land, and those unbounded forests quite uninhabited, except by Indians and other savage beasts.

The Culbertson who was killed was related to Nancy Agnes Culbertson Adams (of Family A265), wife of John Adams (1769-1825) (Joseph Culbertson was her cousin) and my theory is the Adams was likely related too by association. You would probably skip company and grab some beers with your kin, right? When I looked up the Adams in the story he and his parents (Thomas and Katherine Adams) were from (Toboyne Township Cumberland County Pennsylvania) – t was 20 miles from the Culbertson Row location – Falling Springs now Orrstown, PA. Thomas the elder could have easily been a brother to David and William Adams discussed above. 

Thomas Adams of Toboyne Township appears in the 1780 Tax list for Toboyne in Cumberland County PA along with a James, Robert, William Adams and a second William Adams.

This cluster of Adams is likely a significant find given their proximity to the Culbertson’s of Culbertsons Row in Falling Springs and the other cluster of Adams located in Guilford. I cannot yet determine if these are some of the same people in both locations.

1780 Tax list for Toboyne Township, Cumberland Pennsylvania
1780 Tax list for Toboyne Township, Cumberland Pennsylvania

Also in Early Assessments in Toboyne Township in 1767 there lists 5 Adams men: James, Thomas, Robert, William and William.


The fact that they all had an even 100 acres makes me wonder why. Was this some sort of  offering to get people to move back into the area after the Seven Years War?

Wills of Toboyne

  • Thomas Adams Sr.  (1720-1782) – Wife Katherine and Son Thomas Executors – Son Robert (1744-1776), Son James and Son Thomas Jr. (eldest child) and daughter Elizabeth – Cumberland Will book D 79 – Executed on Feb 13th 1782 – The will was written on 13th of Jan. 1771 and witnessed by son Robert Adams and James Watt. Son Robert witnessed the will prior to his murder in 1776 at Isle Aux Nois, Canada. List another son James. Thomas daughter Elizabeth marries John Watt.
    Important note on the 1762 land entry for Thomas Adams (prob son) was John Watt and William Adams. Thomas Sr. appears to have witnessed John Chambers Will in 1756.
  • Thomas Adams (xxxx-1785) – Letter of Administration Dated 25th of October 1785 to Elizabeth Adams widow of Thomas Adams – Also lists what appears to be son James Adams.
  • Halbert Adams – Deceased on 20th Jan 1779 – Letter of Admin to William Adams and William Blaine. Widow renounced her right of admin. Important note: There is a marriage record showing Halbert Adams married Agnes Blain in 1770 she being born in 1750. I think this is probably inaccurate – I think it is really Halbert Jr who married Agnes Blain but I could be wrong. Halbert settled in 1750 the West side of Paxton in “the Narrows” with Thomas Adams with Thomas McKee, Mr Murray, Robert and John Armstrong, Robert, George and Thomas Clark.
  • James Adams of Tyron Township (xxxx -1815) – Half Brother William Simpson of Huntingdon County Pennsylvania. Unto the children of William Foster of Tyrone Township – Mary Foster, Isabella Foster, Jane Foster and James Foster equal shares of his estate. Names frieds William and James foster as executors. Written 16th day of November 1814. Executed on 20th of March 1815. George Kline witness.
  • Robert Adams of Toboyne Township (xxxx-1802) – Wife Hannah Adams and two sons Thomas and Robert. Three daughters (married) Hetty, Serica and Polly (Mary). Dughter Betsy. Land next to John Douglass, George Lambert, James Miller. Names Thomas and Robert Executors. Written 27th day of August 1801. Executed 25th day of October 1802. Wit: John Nelson, George Douglass, John Kincaid. F. 328-329. ——>>>> THIS ROBERT ADAMS IS SON LIKELY OF THOMAS ADAMS WHO ACQUIRED 200 ACRES on SHERMANS CREEK ADJOINING John GALFS and George Douglas in Tyrone Township 1st of March 1760. Also on the page is listed a James Watt and WIlliam Adams next to James or Jospeh McCLintock in Tyrone – all the same day See below. BUT HOW CAN THIS BEE IF HE DIED 1776 at ISLE AUX NOIS CANADA?
1760 Mar 1st - Thomas and WIlliam Adams - Tyrone -Shermans Creek
1760 Mar 1st – Thomas and WIlliam Adams – Tyrone -Shermans Creek

September 17, 1791. December 21, 1791.
Wife Margaret.
Oldest son John Murray and his son Alexander, a minor.
Oldest dau. Mary Armstrong.
Son Halbert.
Mother-in-law Ann Adams.
Son James.
Dau. Jane Adams.
Sons William, Alexander, Thomas, Richard and dau. Ann.
Some of the children, minors.
Exs: Wife Margaret, son John Murray and 2nd son Halbert Murray.
Wit: Alexander Murray, John Morrison. E. 241.

September 10, 1795. November 18, 1795.
Wife Martha.
Son-in-law Abraham Boyd.
Grandchildren Hugh Boyd, James Boyd, Robert Boyd, Martha Boyd and
Alexander Boyd.
Son-in-law William Adams.
Grandchildren James Adams, Matthew Adams, William Adams and Richard
Adams, all minors.
Son Alexander Hathorn.
Son James Hathorn.
Exs: Robert Quigley and Robert McCune.
Wit: Robert McCormick, Robert Quigley, Robert McCune. E. 358.

January 18, 1788. February 13, 1788.
Son John McCormick.
Dau. Margaret Quigley.
Granddau. Elizabeth Quigley, dau. of Margaret Quigley.
Remainder of grandchildren, viz., Samuel McClure, Thomas McClure, John
McClure, James McClure, William McClure, Wilson McClure, David McClure,
Jane McClure, John Quigley, William Quigley, Samuel Quigley, Elizabeth
Quigley, Easter Quigley, Jane Quigley, Sarah Quigley, Elizabeth Sharon,
Sarah Sharon, Mary Sharon, Issabella Sharon, William Sharon, Jane
Sharon, William Adams, Ann Adams, Thomas McCormick and Hudson
McCormick. To grandson John McClure, his grandfather John McCormick’s
Bible. Exs: David McClure, Esq., and James McCormick, Sr.
Wit: Patrick McCanna, James Adams, William Foster. E. 118-119.

January 31, 1791. March 10, 1791.
Wife Mary.
Children minors, names not given.
Exs: Wife Mary and Thomas Adams, son to Robt. Adams.
Wit: Robert Richey, Richard Murray. E. 211.

April 5, 1813. November 12, 1819.
Wife Mary.
Sons Hugh, John, David, James, Andrew and Thomas.
Daus. Fanny and Peggy.
Robert Adams in right of his wife, dau. Martha.
Exs: Wife Mary and sons Hugh and John Clark.
Wit: Alexander McCord, Samuel McCord, William McClintock.
I. 150-151.

Martha Clark married Robert Adams, a far- 
mer of Toboyne ; lived in Sherman's Valley, 
where she died in 1813. Her daughter Jeniza 
married Fisher Nesbit, whose children were 
John, William, James and Martha. This 
family and their descendants are mostl_v in the 

ADAMS, JAMES, yeoman, Tyrone.
November 16, 1814. March 20, 1815.
Half bro. William Simpson of Huntingdon Co.
The children of William Foster of Tyrone Township, viz., Mary Foster,
Isabella Foster, Jane Foster and James Foster.
Exs: Said William Foster and James Foster.
Wit: Robert Kelly, John Creigh. H. 316-317.


Land of Toboyne


Cemetery Listings

Toboyne ADAMS Cynthia Ann Feb 21 1910 91-4-24
Mary Jane May 17 1915 93-3- –
John Nov 5 1887 76 years
Stephenson Dec 28 1885 81 years

Toboyne ADAMS Robert Aug 29 1845 68-8-23
wf. Martha Apr 11 1817 30-2-2
Tabitha Mar 16 1862 in 67th year
Martha Oct 12 1851 25-9-27 d/o Robert and Tabitha

Toboyne ADAMS David Feb 27 1852 43-7-1
wf. Mary Mar 6 1890 79-3-5
Susan Mar 15 1810 May 21 1844
Elder Thomas Mar 17 1829 in his 60th yr

Toboyne ADAMS Sarah Feb 19 1797 Oct 13 1819

Toboyne ADAMS Holbert Apr 24 1843 34-4-29

Toboyne ADAMS Thomas A., Apr 3 1842 Jan 21 1898 Co. F. 201st Regt. P.V.
wf. Lizzie M Sep 17 1847 Dec 30 1894
dau. Viola E Jul 13 1885 0-4-25

Toboyne ADAMS James Aug 13 1833 63 years
Elizabeth Oct 6 1838 61 years

Toboyne ADAMS Halbert Oct 14 1860 50-10-16
Mary Jul 13 1859 58-9-6
James Mar 23 1841 70 years
wf. Frances Sep 18 1851 in 76th year
c/o James and France
Britania Apr 13 1844 36 years
Eleanor Apr 28 1841 38 years
Nancy Jan 12 1853 53 years

Toboyne ADAMS Robert A Oct 28 1871 c 63 years
wf Mary Jul 10 1864 in 60th year

Toboyne ADAMS John J Apr 25 1892 49-1-2
Thomas Feb.

Toboyne ADAMS R. Cochran May 4 1847 Aug 14 1914
wf. Sarah J Apr 29 1853 Nov 5 1931


United congregations consisting of Centre & Upper (Blain).
The Perry Historians

Unless otherwise stated names given are usually part of the Centre Presbyterian
Church Congregation.

29 Jul, James Ardery and Catherine Adams d/o Robert both of Upper Sherman
1786 27 Apr, Thos. Caskadden and Elizabeth Adams
1790 – 21 Jan, Thomas Adams and Jean Morrow
1791 – 17 Feb, John Clark and Sarah Adams
1792 5 Apr, Thos. Barrett of Tuscorora and Catherine Adams
1792 – 17 Apr, Joseph McIntire and Anne Adams
1792 – 11 Oct, Wm. Patton of Big Spring and Elizabeth Adams
1793 – 28 Mar, Geo McElwain of Big Spring and Mary Adams



The information below comes from History of That Part of The Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys, Embraced in The Counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Volume II; Philadelphia; Everts, Peck & Richards; 1886; Page 963.

 Notes on Toboyne Township:   Among early warrants for land in Toboyne were:  John Wilson, 200 acres in 1755; John Rhea, 100 acres in 1767; John Thomas, 113 acres in Horse Valley, in 1765; William Wallace, 292 acres in 1765; John Watt, 209 acres in 1766 and 150 in 1767.  On this latter tract the first gristmill in what is now Toboyne Township was built in 1800, by Samuel Leaman.  Other early warrants were granted to John Glass, William Adams, John Jordan, Archibald Watts, John Farrier, Patrick and John Culbertson and Robert McKee.  Although the warrant of John Wilson, dated in 1755, is the earliest on record, yet there must have been others, as Wilson’s lands are described as being “bounded by those of John Watt, Joseph McClintock, Brown’s Run, Robert Morrow and Anthony Morrison.”

Some of the earlier homes were equipped with portholes, for use in case of an Indian attack. One of these was the house on the Thomas Adams farm, near New Germantown, in Toboyne Township, now owned by Milo N. W’illhide, its location being just south of Sherman’s Creek. – From Page 102 – History of Perry County

Robert and William Adams – Enlisted in Revolutionary war in Perry (then part of Cumberland) County 1777 in the Fifth Company.— Captain, Frederick Taylor; First Lieutenant, Daniel Hart; Second Lieutenant, Matthew McCoy; Ensign, Thomas Watson. – From Page 175 – History of Perry County

James Adams – Enlisted in war of 1812 in Captain David Moreeand’s Company.

Friday, November 17, 1820. The governor this day appointed and commissioned the following named persons to the office of justice of the peace in and for the districts hereafter mentioned in the county of Perry, that is to say : David Bloom, Robert Adams, and Jacob Bargstresser for the district composed of the township of Toboyne, in the said county, lately district number ten, in the county of Cumberland – Page 215

The first board of Perry county commissioners was composed of Robert Mitchell, Thomas Adams in 1821. Page 213

Toboyne Township was early an important location for tanneries.  The Adams tannery, located about two miles south of New Germantown, was the first one, being built before 1814, in which year Thomas Adams was assessed with it.  In 1824, it was burned to the ground.  It was assessed in 1835 in the name of James Adams, and was operated until about 1840. 

The above information was extracted from the book, History of Perry County Pennsylvania; H. H. Hain; Harrisburg; 1922

I’m wondering of these Adams could be some of the same that were in GUilford prior to the Seven Years War and moved to Toboyne when they came back to the area because there was an economic incentive to do so – for instance 100 Acres of land a piece – D.S.

Index to Will Book A – 3/18/1820 –  4/1835
Perry County, PA

ad = letters of administration
w = will
Adams, Mary ad 23
Adams, Thomas w 324
Adams, William 521

Wills: 1750 – 1825: Cumberland Co, PA

ADAMS, ABRAHAM. September 26, 1803. G. 4-6. willbkg.txt
ADAMS, JAMES. March 20, 1815. H. 316-317. willbkh.txt
ADAMS, JEAN. March 19, 1807. G. 200. willbkg.txt
ADAMS, ROBERT. October 21, 1802. F. 328-329. willbkf.txt
ADAMS, SAMUEL. March 13, 1823. I. 294-296. willbki.txt
ADAMS, THOMAS, Senr. 13 February 1782. D. 79. willbkc-d.txt
CULBERTSON, AGNESS. 20 February 1805. G. 107. willbkg.txt
CULBERTSON, JOHN. May 18, 1785. E. 46-47. willbke.txt
CULBERTSON, SAMUEL. April 4, 1807. G. 227. willbkg.txt
CULBERTSON, WILLIAM. April 20, 1785. E. 21. willbke.txt

This group above may include some of the Toboyne Adams too as Perry was part of Cumberland as was Franklin.


Almost every Adams mentioned in the wills I found for Perry County, PA are found in the following History of Perry County:

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