John Adam Pless
Son of Peter Pless

In either Montgomery or Cabarrus County, North Carolina, John Adam Pless was born 10 Apr 1823, the son of Peter and Mary Boger Pless. Peter Pless lived in the western portion of Montgomery County that became Stanly County in 1841. John Adam Pless married first to Winna J. Murray. She died in 1843 and is buried at Flat Rock Lutheran Church. John Adam's father would later be buried next to Winna. Her stone is broken across the top corner and diagonally through the script. The following wonderful record is inscribed:

Memorial of Winna Murry
was born Dec 23 1822
was married to Adam Pless Nov 25 1841
and Died Dec 7 1843
Hence being 20 years 11 Months and 14 Days

Prior to or near the time of her death, Winna gave birth to Elizabeth M. Pless, born in 1843. She later married Daniel M. Tucker. On 30 Sep 1845, John Adam Pless married Catherine Efird in Stanly County, North Carolina. She is the daughter of Martin and Mary Coble Efird. Dated 11 May 1846, Adam Pless and wife Catherine and other members of her family sold land (1-337, Stanly Co. NC) "being the land the late Martin Efird resided on and assigned to his widow as her dower". Being a 90-acre portion of an originally larger estate, the land was sold to Daniel Efird. Situated on Long Creek, the land adjoined that of Jacob Efird, Solomon Efird, and others.The transaction was witnessed by Solomon Efird.

Though listed in the Stanly County Court records from 1847 through the mid 1850's, John A. Pless was not listed in the 1850 census. However, his eight year-old daughter Elizabeth M. Pless was listed as living at the household of Daniel Reap. Johnís Father Peter and brother Solomon Pless lived nearby. Where was John A. Pless? Could he have gone west to Arkansas to visit family?

549/552, Stanly NC
Daniel Reap 43 farmer
Mary 47
Elizabeth M. Pless 8
551-554, Stanly NC
Peter Pless 67 Farmer
Elizabeth 67
Melinda 19
Sarah 4/12 (black)
552/555, Stanly NC
Solomon Pless 24 laboror
Eliza C. 23
Julia A. 5/12

Though not listed in the 1850 census, John Adam Pless was named as executor of his father's 1854 last will and testament. Peter Pless bequeathed $200 to son Adam Pless. Adam was also bequeathed one half of all residue arising from the estate settlement. His sister Malinda was bequeathed the other half. Note that Peter Pless also bequeathed land in Arkansas. It is known that Peter had family already living in Arkansas by 1850. Had Peter also made the journey? Could John Adam Pless have been in transit on a visit to Arkansas during the 1850 census-taking period? Did he leave daughter Elizabeth M. Pless with Daniel Reap while he made the journey?

In 1860, the John Adam Pless Family was listed in the Stanly County Census as:

87-87, Stanly NC
John A. Pless 37 Farmer
Catherine 34
Elizabeth M. 17
Luther A. 14 school
Mary A. C. 12 school
Martha M. 10 school
Catherine M. 8 school
Daniel C. 6 school
Sarah E. 5
Martha H. 2 John A. Jr. 3/12

Note that 17 year-old Elizabeth M. Pless who lived with Daniel Reap in 1850 was now living with John A. Pless. Before discussing John A. Pless's second wife and family, more needs to be said about Elizabeth M. Pless. But before doing so, the reader must understand that John A. Pless left for Arkansas late in 1860. Elizabeth M. Pless remained in Stanly County, North Carolina where she married Daniel M. Tucker on 24 Oct 1865. The 1870 census lists 24 year old Daniel Tucker with with 26 year old wife Elizabeth and 2 year old son Martin L. Tucker. Born 16 Aug 1845, Daniel Tucker died 4 Sep 1872 and is buried at Flat Rock Lutheran. In 1880, Elizabeth M. Tucker is back in the home of Daniel and Mary Reap. She is listed with children Matin L. born 1867, Mary J. born 1869, and William A. Tucker born 1871. Daniel Reap died after writing a last will and testament on 30 Nov 1887. In the instrument Daniel bequeathed "to Elizabeth Melinda Tucker, widow of Daniel M. Tucker, all my property consisting of about three hundred and forty seven and one-half acres of land including all buildings. The land was situated on the west side of Cucumber Creek and ran west to Solomon Pless's land situated on Island Creek.

A pair of deeds add a bit more information to the identity of Daniel Reap. First, as dated 1 Jan 1889 and recorded 4 Dec 1905, Daniel Reap sold 36 5/8 acres to E. F. Hunneycutt. The land adjoined that of E. B. Smith and others and was situated between the Big Lick-Gold Hill Road and the Charlotte Road. Gold Hill? There is a Gold Hill in Rowan County, but was there a place more local that was known back then as Gold Hill? Following this deed, on the same page in the deed book (32-557, Stanly Co. NC), Daniel Reap and Elizabeth M. Tucker sold an 11 3/4-acre tract to Eli F. Hunneycutt. This transaction was made on 25 Jul 1891 and was also recorded on 14 Dec 1905. Witnesses were J. M. Harward and I. C. Corzine.

The children of Daniel M. and Elizabeth Melinda Pless Tucker are:

A. Martin Luther Tucker b. 1867 married 28 Feb 1902 Hettie Howard.

B. Mary Jane Tucker b. 1869

C. William A. Tucker b. 1871


On 1 Sep 1860, John A. Pless of Stanly County NC sold his 119 acre holdings (6-43, Stanly Co. NC) to Sidney Smith. Adjoining the lands of Jesse Morton, Gideon Morgan, and others; the deed also mentions it was next to "the Austin House". Witnessed by A. Honneycutt, the transaction was not recorded until February 1864, being late in the civil war. John A. Pless and family left Stanly County for Pope County Arkansas.

The following sketch on this family can be found in a book written by Oscar Ogburn Effird. Entitled THE HISTORY and GENEALOGY of the EFIRD FAMILY and written 1964, the book is a wonderful source for many who lived in Stanly County, North Carolina. The sketch is as follows:

Catherine and Adam lived in Stanly Co., N.C., until 1860, at which time they decided to move to Arkansas, and in the fall of 1860 they started by wagon on this long and tiresome journey. They crossed the Mississippi River at Memphis, Tenn., on Nov. 6, 1860, the day Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. Their journey led them to Pope Co., Ark.

After they arrived in Arkansas, they purchased a tract of land on the Arkansas River about two miles south of Russellville in Pope Co., Ark. They hoped to purchase additional fertile land and established themselves there, but shortly afterwards the Civil War broke out and this changed their plans.

Adam was loyal to the Union cause but was too old for military service. Their home was on the main highway through Arkansas, and consequently was not a safe place for him and his family. For this reason he moved his wife and family to a mountain about twelve miles northwest of Russellville, Ark.

During the Civil War, Adam and his oldest son, Luther Alexander, went to Little Rock, Ark., and worked in a Union hospital until the end of the War. After the close of the Civil War, he and his son returned to their family on the mountain and Adam established his permanent home there. Later, this mountain was named Pless mountain in honor of the family, and still bears this name.

Catherine was a fine Christian wife and mother. Her granddaughter, Ilah Pless Fox, recalls the high praise that her husband always had for her. One of the greatest disappointments of her life was that her children grew up without the influence of the Lutheran Church, which she loved so dearly. Although there was no Lutheran Church in her community, there were religious services conducted by ministers of different denominations in the Mt. Springs schoolhouse which she and her husband attended regularly, but neither she nor her husband ever transferred their membership from the Lutheran Church.

Catherine's prayer book, which she used so regularly, is now in the family of her granddaughter, Ilah Pless Fox.

In 1884, the year of Catherine's death, Ausburg Lutheran Church was organized near their home and Adam became a charter member of this church. Subsequently, Mt. Carmel Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in the vicinity and Adam attended this church when there was no service at the Lutheran Church, but he always remained loyal to his church. Although he did not speak German, he understood enough of it to enjoy the services when they were conducted in German. After his health would not permit him to attend his church, the minister would come to his home and administer communion to him.

Catherine was a practical and intelligent woman with a keen mind and always enjoyed discussing theology with the visiting minister. Also, she was a good neighbor and often helped in taking care of the sick. It was difficult to get a doctor at that time, and in her community. She had a good practical knowledge of the medicinal qualities of herbs, which she used frequently, and her husband said that her use of herbs was quite effective in minor illnesses.

The Pless family is a prominent and influential family in Arkansas. Mr. G. R. Turrentine, President of the Arkansas River Valley Historical Association of Russellville, Ark., wrote that, "The Pless family is a substantial family and has made a contribution to the community."

Catherine and Adam reared a family of eleven children, all of whom have done well. She d. July 14, 1884, near London, Ark.; Adam lived to the remarkable age of one hundred and four years and died Dec. 7, 1927. Both are bur. in East Point, Ark.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Pope County. Traveling north beyond Russellville on Hwy. 333, the road rose gently among the hills and most beautiful pastures I have ever seen. Though growing up in the city, and not knowing well of such matters, my mother could not get over the plumpness of cattle that ranged the land. This was truly a working farming community. But yet, here and there wellheads dotted the landscape. The discovery of natural gas in the region indiscriminately brought wealth to some. Turning left, we drove down Pless Community Road. Maybe two miles later, the road dead-ended at Pless School Road. There across the street, was situated the Pless Community Building. In earlier days the simple wood frame building served as the local schoolhouse.

Returning back to Hwy. 333, we continued north. Not more than a mile later we reached the top of Pless Mountain. Also known as the community of Augsburg, the Lutheran Church sits proudly at the summit. We stopped there and marveled at all the German names in the cemetery. Across from the church, we took several photographs of the road as it wound back down off the mountain. We met with descendant Betty Burnett who again led us over the mountain. We shared good times comparing notes on our family histories. Maybe four miles from Augsburg, Betty guided us to the land where John Adam Pless once lived. Now a working farm, she told of hundreds of wagons once pulled up around the old home place. They carried people from near and far to join others celebrating John Adam Plessís 104th birthday. She allowed me to copy the photograph at the top of this page that marks this wonderful event.

Catherine Efird Pless died 14 Jul 1884. Less than a year after the above photo was taken, John Adam Pless died 7 Dec 1927. They are both buried at East Point Baptist Church not far from Pless Mountain:

The children of John Adam and Catherine Efird Pless are:

A. Luther Alexander Pless Born 31 Jul 1846 died 28 Feb 1889 buried East Point, he married Susan Jane Womble. She is the daughter of Josiah and Elizabeth Brown Wamble.

B. Mary Ann Catherine Pless Born 12 Mar 1848 died 1 Jun 1925, married 20 Mar 1869, Harper Shields Taylor. The son of Jack Taylor, he was born 29 Mar 1843 in Lawrence Co. TN and died 8 Jan 1911 in Pope County AR. Both are laid to rest at Rushing Cemetery, Piney Ark.

C. Martin Melankton Pless Born 26 Dec 1849 in Stanly County NC, he married 16 Sep 1874 Sarah Elizabeth Nordin in Pope County AR. She is the daughter of John William and Maryline Cates Nordin. Martin died 21 Mar 1931 bur. Morden Cem. Sarah is buried at East Point.

D. Catherine Magdeline Pless Born 19 Aug 1851 in Stanly County NC. She married first William C. Rye born 6 Nov 1880 and died 6 Nov 1880. She married second 30 Oct. 1889 Davis S. Carothers.

E. Daniel Christopher Pless Born 2 Sep 1853 in Stanly County NC. Daniel married 26 Apr 1879 in Pope Co. AR to Martha Ellen Burris. Daniel died 14 Oct 1882.

F. Sarah Isabel (Jane)Pless Born 7 Mar 1855 in Stanly County, NC.

G. Martha Henretta Pless Born 2 Oct 1857 in Stanly County NC. She married 2 Oct 1879 John Thomas Shoptaw in Pope Co. AR. He is the son of John and Elizabeth Shinn Shoptaw. Martha died 28 Aug 1951 and John in on 2 Oct 1937. Both are buried at Booher Cem.

H. John Adam Pless, Jr. Born 23 Dec 1862 in Stanly County NC, he married 16 Apr 1893 in Pope Co. AR to Mary Eliza Bonds, daughter of James Clark and Lavina Rye Bonds. John Jr. died 3 May 1944 and is laid to rest at North New Hope Cemetery in Pope County AR.

I. Laura Jane Pless Born 23 Dec 1862 and died 5 Dec 1908. She is laid to rest at East Port Cemetery near London, Pope Co. AR. Laura Jane married 13 Mar 1881 Joe Preston Martin, son of Jasper and Martha Johnston Martin.

J. William Franklin Pless Born 5 May 1866 died 7 Mar 1948 and buried at Price Cemetery in nearby London AR. He married 11 Jan 1892 Texanna Kyker in Pope Co. AR.

K. Dora Alice Pless Born 4 Jan 1869. She married 12 Dec 1887 in Pope Co. AR John Amos Moore, son of John Thomas and Sarah Dorcas Isabell Moore. Dora died 4 Jan 1898 and John on 21 Apr 1932. Both are buried at Piney, AR.


Adam's father, Peter Pless
Adam's grandfather, Christopher Pless
Go to the Table of Contents