|Full Name||Adam Cartwright|
|Family|| Abel Stoddard† (grandfather) |
Ben Cartwright (father)
|Romances|| Lotta Crabtree|
Laura Dayton (former fiance)
|Children||A. J. Cartwright|
|First Episode|| A Rose for Lotta (Bonanza)|
Pilot: Part 1 (Ponderosa)
|Last Episode|| Patchwork Man (Bonanza)|
|Portrayed by|| Pernell Roberts|
Adam Cartwright was born in 1830, the first son of Ben Cartwright and Elizabeth Stoddard in New England. He is good with a gun, mature and responsible, and generally looked upon for decision making during crisis by his two younger brothers Hoss and Little Joe in the absence of his father.
The firstborn son of Ben Cartwright and his first wife, Elizabeth Stoddard, in New England, Elizabeth died within hours of Adam's birth. Ben took his infant son and headed West to fulfill a promise he had made to his late wife. They traveled through Ohio, Illinois, (where Ben met and married his second wife, Inger Cartwright when Adam was five) Missouri, Nebraska (where Hoss Cartwright was born and Inger died) California, and onto Nevada, where Ben began to build the Ponderosa for himself, Adam, and Hoss. Ben would meet and marry Marie Cartwright on a trip to New Orleans before he brought her back to his ranch to be a step-mother to his boys. Joseph Cartwright was born on the Ponderosa when Adam was probably the age of twelve. Marie died when Joe was five, and Adam possibly seventeen. Adam went back to Boston for college at the age of eighteen, where he studied engineering and architecture, which enabled him to help design and build the Ponderosa house. He was the only Cartwright son to have that kind of education.
Adam left the Ponderosa to live on his own, though no one really knows where he went. Some say he became a sailor like his father and grandfather before him, while others say he went to Europe, because Joe once said he got a letter saying "Adam was having a nice, cold winter in Paris".
Adam married an unknown woman and would later have a son named A.C.