Doc’s father, Daniel Adams MD (1773-1864) was born in Townsend, Massachusetts and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1797 and from the second class of Dartmouth Medical School in 1799. As well as being a practicing physician, he was a farmer, an author of widely used arithmetic and geography textbooks (the former was in use from 1801 to c.1864), a deacon of his Congregational church, choir master, a member of the New Hampshire Legislature, president of the New Hampshire Medical Society, and an early and frequent orator in support of temperance and abolition. In 1800, he married Nancy Mulliken (1789-1851) of Townsend, Massachusetts, daughter of Isaac Mulliken, a physician who served as a surgeon with the Continental Army in 1775. In 1813, Daniel and Nancy moved to Mont Vernon, New Hampshire and would live there until 1845 when they retired to Keene, NH. From the 1907 History of Mont Vernon:
A prominent citizen of Concord…Whenever the town of Mont Vernon was mentioned… would scowl and express himself thus: Mont Vernon! Mont Vernon! It was nothing but a community of savages before the advent of Dr. Adams, whose coming brought civilization into the town.
Doc’s older brother, Darwin, was born in 1801, followed by two girls (one died in infancy, the other died at age 10 when Doc was 6). Daniel Lucius (Doc) was born in 1814 followed by Doc’s sister, Nancy, in 1821. It is not known where Doc received his earliest schooling but by 1827, at age 12, Doc was enrolled and boarded at the Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire. By late 1828 (or early ’29) he was attending the Mt. Pleasant Institution in Amherst, Massachusetts.