Adney was fifteen when his mother took him and his sister Mary Ruth to live in New York City. One of the tenants in Mrs. Adney’s boarding house was Minnie Bell Sharp from Woodstock, NB. She studied piano and voice in the city.
Adney and Minnie Bell were married September 12, 1899 at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock. It was one of the largest, best-attended weddings anyone could remember. Both Adney and Minnie Bell were well known local celebrities, he for his articles published in national magazines and she for her performances and teaching skills with piano and voice. They had one son, Glenn.
Minnie Bell in 1919 ran for Parliament when it was still illegal for women to do so. She ran several more times in 1921 and 1925, after the law had been changed, but she never came close to being elected.
Tappan Adney’s Father-in-law was Francis Peabody, a horticultural pioneer and innovator; the orchards had once been the largest in New Brunswick and among the largest in Canada.
A fire in 1881 destroyed the Sharp family home and many of the barns, sheds and tools used in the orchard business. The fire losses were not covered by insurance, so chunks of the orchards, including valuable nursery stock, had to be sold to rebuild the family home.
Adney became entangled in a prolonged battle with other growers on the question of whether Sharp deserved credit as the discoverer of the famous New Brunswicker apple variety. He defended his late father-in-law and ultimately won the argument, but at the expense of time and effort that could have gone to rebuilding the business.
After ten years of effort Adney was unsuccessful in reestablishing Sharp’s orchard business.