Biography of Capt. William E. Adams

Capt. William E. Adams, attorney at law, Charleston; was born in Bedford Co., Tenn., Oct. 15, 1830, being the son of John J. and Martha (Gammell) Adams, who came to Coles Co. in December, 1830, settling in what is now Pleasant Grove Tp., on the farm where his father still resides; he made his home at his father’s until about 1855, when he engaged in buying and herding stock, and driving it to Wisconsin; he continued in this business until 1860. He was married in August, 1859, to Miss Olive A. Holton, of Blue Mounds, Wis., and has a family of five children – John H., Jennie M., Sarah S., Willie and Helen. He had previously read law and been admitted to the bar, and, in 1860, located in Mattoon and entered upon the practice of his profession; in August, 1862, he enlisted in the 123d Ill. Vols., and on the organization of the regiment was chosen Captain of Co. I; he participated in the battles of Perryville, Ky., Milton, Tenn., Chattanooga and Chickamauga, after which, his regiment, having previously been attached to Wilder’s Brigade of Mounted Infantry, pursued Gen. Wheeler, who was then making a raid on the rear of Gen. Rosecrans’ army; his regiment had a severe engagement at Farmington, Tenn., in which the Colonel was killed and fully half of Capt. Adams’ company either killed, wounded or taken prisoners, and where the Captain himself was wounded; after participating in the capture of Atlanta, his regiment was remounted at Louisville, Ky., and proceeded thence to Selma, Ala., and, after the capture of that city, to Montgomery, Columbus and Macon, Ga.; a portion of his command assisted in the capture of Jeff. Davis, the President of the defunct Confederacy. Returning in July, 1865, he was elected in the fall of that year Clerk of the County Court of Coles Co., and re-elected in 1869; on the expiration of his term of office in 1873, he was elected County Judge, serving till 1877, since which he has been engaged in the practice of law. He was for three years a member of the City Council, and is the present Secretary of the Coles County Old Settlers’ Society.


Chapman Brothers Portrait and biographical album of Coles County, Illinois Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887.

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