There seems to be a little confusion about "Devil Bill."He was first married to Polly Long in Mercer County.His second wife was Rebecca Lawrence, born at Lawrence Station in what is now Boyle County, near Danville.There has been no marriage record found for Bill and Rebecca.This is because, unknown to Rebecca, Polly was still living when he "married" Rebecca.When Polly took him to court for Bigamy, Rebecca had to testify that she was not married to him, even though that damaged her own reputation.She told family members that she had to testify that way, otherwise he would have been sent to prison and her children would have had no one to support them.Rebecca was totally innocent and truly believed he was free to marry, and no doubt Polly was innocent too. Of course, after some time this became a common-law marriage and the earlier unpleasantness was forgotten.While Rebecca no doubt had a very difficult life with Bill, she remained a sweet-tempered lady and beloved mother to her many children. She had a beautiful obituary in the Danville paper upon her death, probably written by her son Jones Adams.
William did not live in Logan County.That must have been a totally different William Adams and the information in Calico's history of Garrard County is wrong.
William and Rebecca moved to Rockcastle County between 1820 and 1830.They lived on what was then the Mt. Vernon-Crab Orchard Road, now the "Old Brodhead Road," where he owned extensive property and a large number of slaves.His property can be seen now from the Mt. Vernon "by-pass," approximately across the road from the Rockcastle County High School.The old house is still standing and the cemetery is near-by, where Rebecca and "Devil Bill" are buried. (Another piece of mis-information - he is definitely not buried on Sugar Creek in Garrard Co.) I would love to "dig him up" since one of the stories told me as a child was that after he had been dead for a number of years, one of his former slaves was also dying.He said he had a confession to make."When the old master died," he said, "the family went back to the house and left us to cover up the grave.We turned him upside-down so he would be headed in the right direction."
While Bill may have claimed to have visited his cousin, John Quincy Adams, in Washington, he probably never visited Washington at all and he certainly was not related to J.Q., except with the idea that anyone with the same surname would be a "cousin."He did ask for help from the president at the time, John Tyler, for the release of his son Allenswoth from a Mexican prison after the Texas-Santa Fe expedition, but I doubt he traveled to Washington to do that.If he did, however, he could have visited J.Q. Adams who was serving in the Senate.
Devil Bill was my great-great grandfather, through his son Allensworth (even more of a character), my grandmother Lucy Owsley Adams, my father William Russell Ramsey, and me.