Twice my 5th great aunt, Sarah (Eve) Adams intrigues me and I keep coming back to her. Maybe it’s the romantic account of her courtship with her husband. Perhaps it’s the dramatic story of having to cross the Atlantic alone after the death of her husband and brother during the War of 1812. It could be the pretty profile drawing of her. It might be the care she showed for others. It could be all those things, but I think I’ve found a new reason.
While Sarah never had any children of her own, she spent much of her life caring for siblings, nieces and nephews, including my 3rd great-grandmother, Elizabeth Longstreet.
After her mother died in 1821, Sarah helped care for her younger siblings still at home and probably had a hand in managing the house. Her sister later said that she was a second mother to the younger siblings.
When Sarah’s sister, Henrietta, and her husband Gilbert Longstreet moved to more rural areas for his work with the Postal Service, they left their three oldest children — Aphra, Hannah, and Elizabeth — in Augusta for their education. Sarah, along with her sisters Catherine and Maria, each took in one of these nieces. It’s unknown at this time if any legal adoption was executed, but as an eleven-year-old, Hannah wrote to Maria’s mother-in-law, Mary (Adams) Bones, addressing her as grandmother and signing her name “Hannah Longstreet Bones.”
Henrietta contracted consumption around 1833 and returned from rural life to live with Sarah at their father’s summer home. Sarah cared for her sister as her life dwindled. Henrietta died the same year. The older girls continued to live with their aunts and Sarah took on the two younger children, Emma and Anderson.
As I read through some letters recently discovered, it’s clear a strong network of aunts, uncles, and cousin existed among the Eve sisters, their spouses, and their children. Catching glimpses of the relationships between Sarah and her nieces and nephews helped me understand more clearly that Sarah was a second mother to Elizabeth Longstreet, making her my adopted 4th great-grandmother.