JOSEPH ADAMS FAMILY
Elder Nephi Jensen, with other early Elders, made several key acquaintances while canvassing Coffee County during the Summer of 1899. The energetic young Utahan could not have known the full significance of his first conversation with Joseph Adams as it was taking place, but he certainly knew within a few days that a convert had been made:
"Yesterday's stay at our friend's, Bro. Adams's place
resulted in making us quite intimate with the folks.
They had almost commenced to
calling us home folks."
Nephi Jensen Journal, Vol. III, 28 Jun 1899.
Adams had attended a meeting at the home of his son-in-law, Ben Irwin Spivey, a few nights before.
There, Jensen and his companion spoke at length about their faith in the Restored Gospel -- a term with which Adams was not familiar, but which commanded his interest and curiosity. Returning home afterward, he confided in his wife, Annie, that he had been quite moved by the preaching of the Elders, and was highly impressed by their intelligence and enthusiasm. Within the next few weeks, he had developed a sudden, but firm belief in the messages and missions preached and practiced by these young, yet unwaveringly sure and confident preachers from the West. Shortly thereafter, he informed the Elders of his intent to join the Church and, in breaking quite noticeably from his normally cautious, unhurried disposition, he expressed to Elder Jensen his desire to be baptized as soon as possible.
Annie & Joseph
On the morning of 15 October 1900, Joseph Adams waded into the chilly water of the Satilla River with Elder Adam Rufus Brewer, of Utah, who baptized him as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Watching from the other side of the river were family, friends, and others who were merely curious, having never seen a Mormon religious service, and almost certainly having heard varying descriptions of the Church, and of its rites and rituals, typically ranging from accurate to absurd. Adams was an early and enthusiastic leader within the Church and became a lifelong supporter of its regional efforts. Many of Adams's descendants remain prominent members of local LDS congregations.
Baptism of Joseph Adams
15 October 1900, Upper Satilla River
Though rarely excitable or overly emotional, Joseph Adams seems to have maintained the same sense of eagerness in faith throughout life as he displayed while waiting for baptism, and certainly never wavered in his support and contribution to the Church. He died at his home near Cumorah Church on 25 May 1917, effectively ending the founding era of that congregation. He was buried in the Cumorah Church cemetery, and memorialized at a massive funeral gathering which drew attendance from across South Georgia and North Florida. His impact and influence in the regional Church cannot be overemphasized.