Arthur Prince Adams’ memorial is in the Rhinebeck cemetery, Dutchess County, New York. The photograph is reproduced by kind permission of Find a Grave contributor, Beverly.
This memorial pillar is in the form of an elaborate tree trunk, with an engraved plaque hanging on a branch on one side. It reads in full: Arthur Prince Adams, 1847-1920, A Man of God. At the bottom right hand corner of the inscription is a reference to a verse from scripture – Job 14 v.7. Quoting from the King James Version Bible, it gives the appropriate tree reference: “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.”
Adams’ early career (expelled from the Methodist ministry after association with Barbour, Paton and Russell) has been detailed in A Separate Identity, pages 275-285. How he split from CTR will be discussed in the second volume. Suffice to say here is that he promoted his Universalist views through a paper The Spirit of the Word that started publication in 1885.
Adams’ career and self-view can be summed up by the census and other records of him – in 1870 and newly married he is a student. In 1880 he is a clergyman. (The 1890 census is largely missing due to a fire in 1921, compounded by a Library of Congress blunder in the 1930s). In the 1900 census Adams is a lecturer. In 1905 at the time of his second marriage, he is a minister. In 1910, he is a publisher. Finally, in 1920 he is a retired min(ister) in the census and a writer and publisher on his death certificate.
As noted above, Adams married twice. His first wife, Adeline A Shaw, gave him two children, Arthur and Charles. She died in 1902. On 2 April 1905 Arthur P married a widow, Ophelia G Burroughs Browning, daughter of the Rev. William Garritson Browning, whose gravestone proudly announced that he had been a member of the New York annual conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church for 62 years. William Garritson Browning (1825-1910) published several books, one of which (Beyond Fourscore – 1907) had a whole chapter attacking universalism and future probation. Just quoting from pages 309-310:
The relation of Universalists to the Atonement may be anything. The final and future results will be the same if what they teach is true. They make much or little, or nothing of the plan of Redemption. They may ignore it, or deny it. It makes no difference as to the outcome.
I know that there is much said in the writings of those who advocate and teach the salvation of all, about the “first fruits,” and the “little flock,” and the advantages that will come to them when they become the center of admiration and authority in the settlement of the affairs of this world. But much of this is mysticism. Some writers have a passion and faculty for finding types and allegory in the simplest statement of the facts of scripture history.
It probably made for some interesting family discussions.
Ophelia had one daughter from her first marriage, Grace T Burroughs, who likely never married and lived with them.
Ophelia lived to be 90 and died in 1946. She is buried near Arthur as are many of the Browning family, with a less impressive grave stone that looks a bit like a tree stump.
Now wouldn’t it be nice if Arthur P’s records had been inherited by Ophelia, and then on her death in 1946 by an archivally-minded branch of her family – with descendants still living. And who may one day produce more volumes of his magazine for examination. Well, one can always hope.