Alvah Ray Adams was born on July 23, 1886 near White Springs, Suwannee County, Florida. He was the son of Benjamin Luther Adams (born on October 19, 1855 and died on January 11, 1936), and Mary Martha Mickler Adams (born June 30, 1855 and died on October 13, 1921). He moved with his parents and siblings to Hortense, Brantley County (old Wayne), Georgia around 1900. He died on April 3, 1968 in Brunswick, Georgia.
Alvah was married to Nora Myrene Middleton, born May 17, 1889 in Hortense on May 12, 1909, and she died in Brunswick on April 19, 1971. She was the daughter of William Dilworth Middleton (born on April 3, 1851 and died on July 14, 1916), and Martha Matilda Horton Middleton, born on November 25, 1854 and died on May 8, 1903. They are all buried in the Hortense Cemetery.
Before Alvah and Nora were married, he taught school in Hortense, having attended a session or two at the University of Georgia in Athens. Nora was one of his pupils, being one of the older girls in the one-room schoolhouse. After her schooling was completed, Nora helped her father operate his general store, located in Hortense. After she and Alvah were married, they both worked there and eventually became the owners.
The Hortense Post Office was located in the store and Alvah was appointed Postmaster on October 29, 1909. Nora's father had served in this capacity twice, first, from December 27, 1894 until March 8, 1898, and again from February 4, 1902 until Alvah's appointment. Alvah was Postmaster until June 17, 1926, when he gave it up to accept a rural mail carrier's position that had become available.The Post Office was then moved to another location in Hortense.
Alvah carried the mail throughout Brantley County, and his last route was to Atkinson, Waynesville, Mt. Pleasant, Browntown, and Fendig. This was 61 miles of dirt roads, all but one little strip of paving from Atkinson to Waynesville, and very wearing and tearing on his car. The World War II years were very hard on him, because he had great difficulty getting parts for his car, and getting a new car was next to impossible. Everything was being manufactured for the war effort. Many times his car would break-down on the route and some kind farmer would hitch his team of mules to the car and pull him in, often getting home after dark. However, he served his patrons, as he called them, well for many years, and I am told they loved him very much and he loved them in return.
Nora continued to operate the store known as Adams Mercantile Company, while rearing a family of eight children, born to her and Alvah. I am told that their store was completely demolished by fire two times in their lives together. The last one they built was of brick. Nora also boarded many of the young teachers who came to teach there, because she and Alvah had built a two-story house to accommodate their large family. There were four bedrooms upstairs, and she would often put four of the young women in one room. If necessary, she would have a couple of them double up with her own daughters. She would do almost anything to provide for the teachers because without them, the school at Hortense would have surely been closed. She and Alvah were very strong believers in the importance of an education for their children and others in the area. Teachers from Nahunta, Hickox, and Hoboken stayed with them over a period of years, as well as other Georgia towns.
Alvah and Nora were strong believers in religion also, and together helped build and maintain churches throughout their lives. Nora personally raised much of the money that went into the little brick church at the Hortense Cemetery, where her and Alvah's funerals were conducted, as many others have been. She kept very carefully notebooks of those who contributed from $1.00 to $100.00, and when enough money was finally raised to begin the construction, she personally laid the cornerstone. I believe this was in the late 40's. Homecomings were held there every third Sunday in April for many years, and families with roots in old Wayne County came from all over Georgia and Florida for this happy occasion, reuniting with their kith and kin. Wooden tables were erected outside under the trees to hold all the cakes, pies, fried chicken, potato salad, and other goodies that the ladies in Hortense had prepared.
Nora and others worked for days getting ready for Homecoming. Houses were cleaned, yards were swept, the church cemetery was weeded and raked, the church was gone over with a fine tooth comb, fresh flowers were placed in the Sanctuary and on the graves of their loved one's. This was a very exciting time for everyone, because it was about the only time folks got to visit with their relatives back in Hortense throughout the year. This was a chance to visit the graves of their ancestors also, and for many of them, this was very important.
Hortense also played host to many families who came there for two weeks in August for Camp Meeting and I believe these meetings are still held there every August. They are held in the Tabernacle built long ago on the outskirts of Hortense. Services were held throughout the day and I'm told many young people have met their future spouses at Camp Meeting. Many young people from all over participated in the old days and the Adams family always did as well. Many visiting ministers and their families were invited for meals in their home, most of which was prepared by Nora and her daughters. Sometimes, Nora was able to hire a cook, and when her children were small, she had a housekeeper, because she was operating the store. She always had a cook when the teachers stayed there, because she fed them three meals a day.
The first six of the Adams children were born in old Wayne County (now Brantley). The last two, three if we count Ernestine, who was stillborn, were born in Brantley. They are:(1) Clester Winton was born on September 13, 1910 (See family story). (2) Lorenzo Dow Adams was born on June 22, 1913 (See family story). (3)Ronald Fletcher Adams was born on July 23, 1915 (See family story).(4) Martha Claire Adams O'Quinn, born on August 21, 1917. See family story. (5) Wilma Ray Adams Brown was born on September 22, 1919 (See family story).(6) Naomi Maxine Adams was born on September 7, 1921 (Note: Maxine said her birth certificate says she was born in Wayne, rather than Brantley).Naomi Maxine was educated in Brantley county and Valdosta State. She was married briefly to Charles Benjamin Adams from Jacksonville, Florida. There were no children from this marriage, and Maxine returned home and taught school in Hortense and Jesup for a number of years. She is a published poet and currently resides in Hortense, Georgia. (7) Jean Adams Walker and her twin sister Ernestine were born on August 6, 1927. Ernestine did not survive and is buried in the Hortense Cemetery beside her parents. (See Jean's family Story). (8)Grayson Rodney Adams was born on May 5, 1931. He was educated in the Brantley and Wayne County schools and the University of Georgia. He also attended the Medical College at Augusta. He married Marianne Lehr on May 15, 1970, and they had one child, Geoffrey. Marianne died of cancer on September 25, 1985, and Rodney married Mary Thoma Adams who had one child, Margaret from a previous marriage. They reside in Kensington, Maryland. Grayson owned and operated a garage and service station in the Washington D.C. area until he retired. He and his employees rebuilt older models of foreign cars.