The Reverend Samuel Adair is most often a footnote in historical records as “John Brown’s brother-in-law” and is given scant attention after a brief discussion of his relationship with John Brown.

However, Reverend Samuel Adair was a complex man who was a minister first and an abolitionist second. He worked tirelessly to teach others the teachings of Jesus Christ in Kansas Territory, and later in nascent Osawatomie and its surrounding communities.

Reverend Adair’s diary reveals that he was deeply concerned about the spiritual welfare of the early settlers of Osawatomie and the surrounding area, and he worked tirelessly to teach others about the Christian faith.

Indeed, the primary reason that he came to Osawatomie was to serve God as a missionary, for he wrote in his diary on September 10, 1854, while still living in Lafayette, Ohio: “I have spent this day also in Lafayette. On last Sabbath, I did know wether I should spend to day in this place or not, but gave encouragement that if I did, I would preach. I have so done, and now expect to preach no more in this place, or to this people forever. My expectation now is to go as a Missionary of the A.M.A. to Kansas. I can but feel that the hand of the Lord is visibly in it. He gave me I think a desire to go-gave my wife the same-opened the way-has removed one obstacle after another so that duty appears plain. As to what is to be met with- I expect trials. Bur where shall I go that I shall not find them? Indeed, they are part of our inheritance in this world as saints if we are faithful.”

Reverend Adair’s faith in God was strong, and his Christian faith gave him the strength to come to Osawatomie amidst the maelstrom of ideological discord and guerilla war that was flooding Kansas Territory due to the cultural conflicts over the slavery issue in the United States during the 1850s.

He stated, “If God go with us, I feel that we have nothing to fear. If he go not with us, I wish not to go, hope he may in some way prevent us from going. Reverend Samuel Adair, like most all the individuals who came to Osawatomie, had a strong faith that motivated them to overcome the fear of the dangers that awaited them in Kansas Territory, and still proceeded to come to Osawatomie.

Reverend Samuel Adair was primarily motivated by a desire to win the souls of Native Americans and the settlers of the new community of Osawatomie and its environs.

He stated in his diary before coming to Osawatomie on September 10, 1854: “But these people I must meet at the judgment. O that they may all be found on the right hand of the Judge. I sometimes fear that the blood of some might be found on my garments. God grant that may all yet be brought to the foot of the cross.”

Grady Atwater is site administrator of the John Brown Museum and State Historic Site.

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