The first settler of the area which became Dekalb County is said to be Adam Dale who migrated to the Smith Fork, a large westward branch of the Caney Fork River, (today at the town of Liberty) in 1797 from Worcester County, Maryland. At this date the area would have been in Sumner County, Tennessee. He was born on July 14, 1768, the son of Thomas Dale and Elizabeth Evans. He served in the Revolutionary war at the age of 13 or 14 in 1881 at Snow Mill. Much later after migrating to the area of the future town of Liberty he moved to Madison Co., AL where he died. In 1819 Adam Dale witnessed the will of William Williams in Smith County TN. Adam is on the 1820 census of Smith County TN, where Liberty was located at that time. Adam Dale's father died in the future Dekalb County in 1812.
Adam is listed as a church member beginning in 1809 at the founding of the Salem Baptist Church at Liberty in Dekalb County, Tennessee by the church minutes of that church, and served as clerk of that church from 1809 to 1816. In 1850 Adam Dale (age 81) and his wife, Mary (age 78 b. Delaware), are listed as residents in the household of his daughter, Elizabeth, and her 4th husband Willis Rout in 2 Regiment, 33, Madison County, Alabama in household 108/108 on page 371b. Adam is not named in any census to my knowledge in 1830 and 1840.
There is an Adam Dale Chapter of the DAR, named after the first settler of Dekalb County. Oddly, that chapter is in Memphis, Tennessee, a place Adam Dale never saw. They have a photo of him on display on their web site and a short biography of him, including military service, birth, migration, death and burial here:
Adam died in 1851 in Madison County, Alabama, before his wife (1859) by several years. Apparently his wife had gone to Maury County, Tennessee after Adam died, and since she had died and was buried there, his family had him removed to Maury County to be reburied in Rosehill Cemetery with her. Reportedly there is a letter written by Adam Dale in existence that gives details of all his war service. Details of his cemetery information are here. Surely there is a pension application for him? His birth and his father's birth and death are recorded in a family Bible here.
copyright David Johnson, 2008
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