Placer County







            When a man, or a select number of men, has set in motion the occult machinery of business, which materializes into a thousand forms of practical utility, or where they have carved out a fortune or a name from the common possibilities, open for competition to all, there is a public desire, which should be gratified, to see the men, so nearly as a portrait and a word artist can paint them, and examine the elements of mind and the circumstances by which such results have been achieved.  The subject of this sketch finds an appropriate place in the history of those men of business and enterprise in the state of California.  His career has not been helped by accident or luck, or wealth or family or powerful friends.  He is, in the broadest sense, a self-made man, being both the architect and builder of his own future.

            Lorenzo Dow Adams is a native of Beloit, Wisconsin, born on the 5th of April, 1846.  His father, William Norton Adams, was born in Rochester, New York, and wedded Miss Mary Vine, a native of Norwich, England.  He was a carpenter, builder and millwright and in 1852 he came to California by way of the Nicaragua route.  The vessel on which he took passage sailed to Greytown, and with others he there obtained a boat and rowed up the Chagres River.  He spent a number of months at Lake Nicaragua and then came on a steamer to San Francisco, after which he went to Nevada County and engaged in mining at ten dollars a day.  He saved his money and soon sent for his family, consisting of his wife and five children, who joined him in 1857.  They made the journey by the Isthmus route and soon were established in their new home in the Golden state.  The children were:  John Quincy; Anna, now the wife of Aleck Miller; Benjamin Franklin, who is in Oregon; William Perry, who is engaged in the butchering business at Sheridan; and Lorenzo Dow.  They settled in Nevada County above the Bear River, where the father had secured a farm.  In 1874 they removed to Sheridan and engaged in the hotel business, conducting a good house at that place until 1886.  The father then went to Oregon, where he secured a claim and for a number of years spent his time in that state and in California, but he died at Sheridan in 1892, at the age of seventy-six years.  He was a very industrious and energetic man, a good citizen, a faithful husband and father, and those who knew him respected him for his sterling worth.  His wife passed away several years previous to his death.

            Lorenzo Dow Adams, whose name introduces this record, was only eleven years of age when he arrived in California.  He had attended school in the Empire state and continued his studies in Grass Valley, Nevada County.  Under the parental roof he remained until twenty-one years of age, when he began to earn his own livelihood driving a team.  A little later he began peddling in the counties of Sierra, Nevada and Placer.  This was not an independent venture, however, as he was employed by a merchant.  He worked for wages for three years and then took out a load of goods to sell on commission.  His industry and enterprise enabled him to add to his capital and in February, 1881, with the money which he had acquired through his own efforts he opened a small store in Sheridan, where he continued in business until 1888.  In August of that year he became identified with the mercantile interests in Lincoln and has since been the proprietor of a general mercantile store at this place, where, as the results of his close application to business and straightforward methods, he has met with gratifying success.  He carries a large stock of everything found in a first-class establishment of the kind and is a very popular as well as prosperous businessman of his town.  His trade is constantly increasing and has reached extensive proportions.

            Recognizing the obligations of citizenship and the responsibility that devolves upon those to whom is given the right of franchise, Mr. Adams keep well informed on political affairs and gives his support to the Republican Party.  In April, 1898, he was elected a trustee of Lincoln and was chosen by the board to act as its president, in which capacity he is still serving.  In the same year he was elected as one of the supervisors of the county and is now the incumbent in both offices.  He is very active in every enterprise intended to improve and up build the town and his official prerogatives have been exercised in support of all measures for the general good.  His is a spirit of earnest loyalty and one which has gained high commendation.  Mr. Adams also has a number of gold-mining interests both in California and Alaska, and he is also a stockholder in an oil company in Fresno County, California, and the president of the Lincoln Oil Company.

            In 1881 Mr. Adams was united in marriage to Miss Ida V. Williams, a native of Michigan Bluff, Placer County, and their union has been blessed with two sons and two daughters.  The daughters, Mabel D. and Myrtle V., are still living, but the sons have passed away, Elmer having died in infancy, while Earl Frederick died at the age of ten months.  Mr. Adams was bereft of his wife on the 16th of August, 1895.  She and her daughters were driving in a carriage when the horse became unruly and backed over a steep place, causing her death.  She was a woman of splendid attainments and of marked refinement.  She was a valued and consistent member of the Methodist Church and greatly beloved by all who knew her.  Mr. Adams was again married on the 31st of January, 1896, his second union being with Mrs. Azalia Crossman, a widow, of Sierra Valley.  By her former marriage she had a daughter, Vyone, who is now living with her and Mr. Adams.  His record is one which will bear the closest inspection.  His business affairs have ever been conducted honorably and the most envious can scarcely grudge him his success, so well has he earned it.  He is kind, unaffected and approachable, and every comer he regards as having a claim upon his courteous attention.


Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 642-644. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.




Placer County Biographies

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