Most African-American migrants to the steel mills of Gary, Indiana, came from the Middle and Deep South. James H. Adams was born in Wilson County, but his family migrated to Mississippi in the 1890s. More than 20 years later, he joined the Great Migration stream north.
On 4 January 1880, Arnley Adams, 23, married Sarah Atkinson, 18, at Handy Atkinson‘s in Wilson County.
In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Arnol Adams, 24, and wife Sarho, 18. [Next door: Arnold Adams‘ widowed mother and siblings, farmer Spicy Adams, 39, and children Frank, 19, Carline, 15, James, 12, Calvin, 8, Albert, 6, and Dora, 1.
In the 1900 census of Beat #3, Coahoma County, Mississippi: farmer Arnold Adams, 42, and children James, 21, Bettie, 16, John, 13, and Rosa, 7. All were born in North Carolina except Rosa.
In the 1910 census of Beat #3, Bolivar County, Mississippi: farmer Arnold Adams, 54, and sons James, 30, and John, 22. All were described as widowers.
In 1918, James Adams registered for the World War I draft in Bolivar County, Mississippi. Per his registration card, he was born 15 September 1876; lived in Boyle, Bolivar County; was a farmer; and his nearest relative was Ida Adams.
In the 1930 census of Gary, Lake County, Indiana: at 2201 Madison, steel plant laborer James Adams, 48, born in N.C.; wife Ida, 46, born in Mississippi; and grandchildren Ida, 12, born in Mississippi, and Raymond, 5, born in Indiana.
In the 1940 census of Gary, Lake County, Indiana: on West 22nd Avenue, steel mill laborer James Adams, 59, born in N.C.; wife Ida, 46, born in Mississippi; and grandson Raymond, 15, born in Indiana.
In 1942, James Henry Adams registered for the World War II draft in Gary, Indiana. Per his registration card, he was born 15 September 1881 in Wilson, North Carolina; lived at 320 West 22nd Avenue; his contact was John Mason; and he worked for C.I.S. Mill, Gary.
James H. Adams died 18 April 1953 in Gary, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 September 1881 in North Carolina to Arnold Adams and Sarah Atkinson; was a widower; lived at 320 West 22nd Avenue; and was retired. [Sister] Rosie Bentley of Chicago was informant.