James H. Adams

James H. Adams was the first casualty of the Korean War for Stephens County.

The Adams family were share croppers and farmers before Uncle Sam drafted the oldest son for the Korean War, and subsequently had all five serve the nation at some time in their lives. The eldest son, James H., was the only one to make the ultimate sacrifice, dying in battle in 1951.

While all the brothers served in the Military except one due to Polio, they wanted to highlight James as he was the first casualty for Stephens County according to his now 82 year old brother Ernest Adams.

“When they brought my brother’s (body) back — they put him on a ship out there, it was about 300 of them on it.” he said. “Then they loaded him on a boxcar, like a piece of farm machinery, shipped it to Duncan. My dad, my uncles and us other boys had to go down and unload him off of the train. His coffin was in a wooden box, covered in a flag — we had to load him on to the hearse and they took him down to the funeral home. There wasn’t a soul from Duncan there, just us. There wasn’t a soul from Duncan at his funeral like the mayor or any of them.”

There was one person who wanted to honor James.

“One man came out to our house and talked to mama and daddy about putting his name on the American Legion Hut — the Dobbs-Adams,” Ernest said. “He had that fixed up and put on there, that was Mr. Woolsey, that owned Woolsey’s Store.”

James was a farmer through and through according to Ernest.

“He would have farmed after he got out because that’s what he loved to do,” he said. “He started farming when he was in the eighth grade, and he left school in the eighth grade and was farming. We had a small acreage and then when he was drafted we had 300-some acres we were farming.”

Something that stuck with Ernest isn’t the happiest of memories.

He and his brother Bill started and ran Adams Garage and one day a man came in for some work. As Ernest was making an estimate for parts and labor, the man said something he’s never forgotten.

“I started figuring the job and he said ‘Don’t figure the parts — there’s a man here that gives me the parts because I kept his sons out of the Army’” he said. “And that’s the worst thing I ever had to happen, especially when it was the people who were your friends. It was very distasteful, as a matter of fact I told him to take his car and go on down the street with it.”

Ernest said serving in the Army gave him and his brothers a big opportunity.

“It really did but I wouldn’t want to go through it again,” he laughed.