Samuel Barnard Adams papers
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Samuel Barnard Adams papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Adams, Samuel Barnard, 1853-1938.
Title: Samuel Barnard Adams papers
Dates: 1871-1923
Extent: 0.65 cubic feet (1 box, 1 oversize folder)
Identification: MS 1559

Biographical/Historical Note

Samuel Barnard Adams was born on September 8, 1853, in Savannah, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1872 and was admitted to the bar the following year. He practiced law in Savannah and was City Attorney for more than twenty years. Adams also filled an unexpired term on the Georgia Supreme Court in 1902. In July 1877, Adams was involved in a duel with another Savannah attorney, Rodolph Rufus Richards. The challenge was issued by Richards as he felt that he had been dishonored by Adams. Neither man was harmed in the exchange of shots; they both signed a settlement apologizing to each other. Adams was forced to leave Trinity United Methodist Church due to his involvement in the duel. He then joined Wesley Monumental Church where his future father-in-law, Reverend Alexander M. Wynn was the minister. Adams married Annie J. Wynn (1851-1938) of Savannah on December 19, 1877. They had seven children. Annie died on June 7, 1938 and is buried in Bonaventure Cemetery. Samuel B. Adams died on March 20, 1938 and is buried in Bonaventure Cemetery.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains documents relating to the life of Samuel B. Adams. The majority of the collection relates to a duel that Adams fought with Rodolph Rufus Richards. Also included are certificates from the University of Georgia, documents allowing Adams to practice law, a certificate appointing Adams to serve as an Interim Justice on the Georgia Supreme Court, speeches made by Adams, and a printed copy of a paper he presented to the Georgia Bar Association entitled "Lynching and Its Remedy" (1916). There are also two photographs and numerous newspaper clippings concerning Adams, his brother A. Pratt Adams, and other family members.

Index Terms

Adams, Alexander Pratt, 1852-1892.
Adams, Samuel Barnard, 1853-1938.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Dueling--Georgia--Chatham County.
Georgia. Supreme Court.
Hollis, Edward C., 1854-1879.
Letters (correspondence)
Meldrim, Peter Wiltberger, 1848-1933.
Richards, Rodolph Rufus, 1845-1923.
Smith, Barnard.
Speeches (documents)

Administrative Information

Custodial History


Preferred Citation

[item identification], Samuel Barnard Adams papers, MS 1559, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information



Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List




11Document allowing Samuel Adams to practice law in Georgia, March 21, 1873; certificate allowing Samuel Adams to practice law in Georgia, December 16, 1874; certificate allowing Samuel Adams to practice law in the Fifth Circuit, Southern District of Georgia, April 10, 1876; certificate allowing Samuel Adams to practice law in the Fourth Circuit of the District of South Carolina, May 10, 1893; telegraph from Samuel Lawrence, adjourning District Court, June 19, 1871; letters 1 through 8 regarding disagreement between Samuel B. Adams and R.R. Richards, July 6 - July 8, 1877 (compiled)
2Letters 1 through 8 regarding disagreement between Samuel B. Adams and R.R. Richards, 1877 July 6 - July 8
3Letters 9 through 17 between Peter W. Meldrim and E.C. Hollis, seconds in duel, (compiled), 1877 July 9
4Letters 9 through 17 between Peter W. Meldrim and E.C. Hollis, seconds in duel, 1877 July 9
5Articles of Agreement, as to time, place, distance, weapons, etc. of duel, 1877 July 8
6Duel settlement
7Memorandum by Peter W. Meldrim regarding the duel between Samuel Adams and R.R. Richards
8Letters regarding Samuel Adams' dismissal from Trinity Church as a result of the duel
9"American Oratory," speech by Samuel Adams, 1898 April 21
10"Lawlessness," speech by Samuel Adams at 25th Annual Meeting of the Georgia Bar Association, 1908 May 29-30
11Samuel Adams' response to toast of Robert Bums, St. Andrews Society, 1912 January 25
12Samuel Adams, hearing transcript, 1912 October 12
13"Lynching and Its Remedy," speech by Samuel Adams, presented to Georgia Bar Association, 1916 June 3
14Speech to University of Georgia graduating class, 1923 June
15"Georgia. The State We Live In," speech by Samuel Adams, presented to the St. Andrews Society, undated
16"Obedience to Law," speech
17"Negro Relations," speech
18Political speech, discusses Governor Hoke Smith, undated
19Speech about Bishop Pierce; and response to a toast
20Speech to Georgia Historical Society entitled "Progress"
21Aesop's Fable's, 1881 July 30
22Program from dinner honoring Peter W. Meldrim, December 28, 1914, at the DeSoto Hotel, Savannah, Ga.
23Newspaper clippings regarding Samuel Adams' appointment to Georgia Supreme Court
24Newspaper clippings, including obituaries of family members
25Correspondence from Barnard Smith, London, England, regarding property claim, 1873; 1876
26Miscellaneous papers (2)
11Encapsulated document from folder 30. Letter dated May 23, 1872 addressed to "My dear cousin" and regarding the importance of religion and relating news of family and friends
1212 certificates of merit from the University of Georgia, 1871-1872
13Membership certificate for Phi Kappa, 1872 August
14Appointment to Interim Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1902 September 8
Wax seal is attached to this document.