The family of this name is of Scotch origin, and but for a lucky accident involving both tragedy and romance, there would be no descendants of this name to tell the tale.
James Adams, when a small boy, was of the party emigrating to America, and when coming across the Atlantic, fell overboard.
He was rescued from the water by Edmund Kinsey, who leaped after the child and saved him at a risk of his own life.
This boy settled in Ohio, and eventually became prominent as an educator, serving for a number of years as a county school examiner.
In course of time he married and reared a family, one of his sons, John H.
Adams, being born at Cummingsville, Ohio, and educated at Farmer's College.
He spent most of his life in agricultural pursuits and became quite influential as a citizen, being elected Trustee, County Commissioner and County Treasurer, also serving frequently as administrator of estates.
Eventually he removed to Bartholomew County, where he married Amanda
Graves, whose parents were North Carolinians, her birth occurring at Columbus, Indiana.
After their migration to this state, her father's mother, generally called "Granny" Graves, obtained fame for longevity, having reached the age of one hundred and two years at the time of her death.
Her son, Nathan Graves, who was Amanda Graves' father, was a wealthy land owner in Bartholomew County and part of his estate included the present site of Columbus.
John H. and Amanda (Graves) Adams had six children, of whom four are living.
Clarence W., who married Nettie Jenkins, of St. Paul, Indiana, is a druggist at Columbus, having one child named
Marie. Katie, the second child, has been dead for several years.
Ida is the wife of B. W. Perkins, superintendent of gas works at Altoona, Pennsylvania, and has a daughter named
Ida. Charles G., formerly a druggist at Columbus, died in 1905. Cora, widow of
Mr. Arnold, is a resident of Columbus.
Edmund Kinsey Adams, sixth of the family, was born in Bartholomew County, Indiana, August 14, 1852.
He was named in honor of the brave sailor whose heroism saved Mr. Adams' grandfather from death in the ocean at the time of the accident above described.
He grew up on a farm and attended school "between times", but at an early age his ambition was shaping itself for a professional career.
Buying a scholarship in the Hartsville College, amounting to two dollars and fifty cents a term, he entered upon his minute count.
Renting a little room and stocking it with a few books and other meager belongings, he kept "bachelor's hall" on the most economical plan, his larder being eked out by an occasional basket of cooked food sent by his good mother.
After a year of this life, the expenses for which amounted to fifty dollars, he went through the necessary examination for a teacher's license, received a two-years' certificate and at seventeen we find him the presiding genius in one of the county schools of Shelby County.
His career in the field of pedagogics extended over seven years, but meantime he was keeping up his studies at college and altogether completed a course of four years at Hartsville.
March 1, 1874, he entered the law office of Hord & Blair, at Shelbyville, where he prosecuted his studies with the diligence and energy that have characterized all his work.
In a short time he began practice in a small way, being compelled to provide for expenses by teaching another long term of school.
This school was in the southern limits of Shelbyville, and he was made flattering offers by patrons and trustee to continue teaching, but seeing his capabilities Alonzo Blair urged him to continue in the law.
Mr. Adams feels much gratitude to the great lawyer for his advice and financial assistance in the time of need, attributing much of his early success to the benefits thus received.
From Mr. Hord and Mr. Blair he obtained that thorough training and preparatory drill which are indispensable to the making of a good lawyer.
When Mr. Blair died in 1880, he left one hundred and twenty court docket cases to be disposed of; Mr. Adams was employed in these cases, and this was the beginning of one of the most lucrative law practices ever enjoyed by a Shelbyville practitioner.
No young man ever took quicker advantages of opportunity or more fully requited those who employed him, as his energy was boundless, his mind bright and his equipment unsurpassed.
After Mr. Blair's death he remained alone for three years and then formed a partnership with the late
Judge O. J. Glessner and L. J. Hackney. Judge Glessner retired at the end of three years and the firm was continued for ten years as
Adams & Hackney, when Mr. Hackney was elected Circuit Judge to succeed
Judge Kendall M. Hord, the latter took the vacancy in the law firm which has since become famous as
Hord & Adams. They have held the boards for twenty years, during which time they have been on one side or the other of almost every important case tried in Shelby County, besides much business at other county seats and the state capital. As Mr. Adams has been doing business for thirty-four years in the same office, he is inclined to think that he
h olds the record in this line as a legal practitioner. He wisely decided in early life to keep out of politics, and despite his prominence and popularity has stubbornly refused office with the exception of such places as membership of Council and School Board, which were rather thrust upon him than sought by him.
He filled these places, however, with his usual good judgment and conscientiousness and left behind him an unstained record for fidelity in discharge of duty.
While able and successful in all lines of the law, Mr. Adams is especially strong as a trial attorney, his forte being skillful conduct of criminal cases, in which he has few equals either before jury or court.
Among his cherished souvenirs is a rare old English work bequeathed him by his great-uncle.
It is a law3 dictionary, bound in full leather and published in 1732. It was originally owned by F. G. Adams, his grandfather's brother; it was edited by Giles Jacob and is said to have been used in Parliament as an authority on the English law.
The argument of cases included in its pages were compiled by Chief Justice Holt, of the King's Bench, about three hundred years ago.
Mr. Adams' paternal ancestors were all men of abstemious habits, never using liquor or tobacco in any form and they were also men of unusual mentality, strength of character and fondness of learning.
Mr. Adams' hard work and ability have not gone unrewarded, as he has much to show of this world's goods as the result of his lifelong activities.
He owns three hundred acres of fine farming land in Shelby County, and considerable property in the city of Shelbyville and at Indianapolis.
He is attorney for the Farmers' National Bank and local counsel for the Shelbyville Street Railway Company, and the Indianapolis Terminal Car Company.
Hord & Adams represent the fourteen manufacturing and furnishing companies of Shelbyville.
The firm owns a fine law library of one thousand volumes, and Mr. Adams has in his private library a choice selection of four hundred fifty standard works.
December 29, 1880, Mr. Adams married Nellie, daughter of
Stephen and Teresa (Blankenship) Ludlow, a prosperous family of Shelby County.
Mr. Ludlow was a gentleman of the old school, a great reader, and entertaining talker.
His people were Ohioans, and his brother, John Ludlow, was banker at Springfield.
Mrs. Adams is a full cousin of the wife of ex-Governor Bushness, of Ohio. Miss
Ethel, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adams, married Dr. B. G. Keeny, of Shelbyville, a graduate of Bloomington University, and son of ex-State Senator
George W. Keeny, of Rising Sun, Indiana. Doctor Keeny, besides a regular course at the Cincinnati Ohio Medical College, followed by graduation, also took a post-graduate course in the Hospital of Medical Surgery in London, England.
Doctor and Mrs. Keeny have one son, born August 11, 1908.
Though reared in the Methodist church, Mr. Adams and family attend the Presbyterian Church and their hospitable home is headquarters for all that is best and brightest in Shelbyville's society.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, pgs. 361-364
Contributed by Melinda (Moore) Weaver.
Edmund K. Adams. — The subject of this sketch is descended
from an old Scotch family, several representatives of which emigrated in an early day to Ireland, the latter country being the nativity of
James Adams, the grandfather of Edmund K. James
Adams came to America in Colonial times, and often participating
in the struggle for independence, settled in Pennsylvania, where he
married and where he remained until after the birth of John H. Adams,
father of subject, when he emigrated to Ohio. John H.
Adams, at the age of thirty years, came to Indiana and settled in Bartholomew County, where he subsequently married
Amanda, daughter of Nathan and Jane Graves, who bore him six children,
the subject of this sketch being the second in number. Edmund K.
Adams was born on the 14th day of August, 1852, and spent the
years of his youth upon his father's farm, obtaining a rudimentary
education in the meantime by attending such schools as the country
afforded. In the fall of 1869, he entered the Hartsville University
where he pursued his literary studies until the spring of 1874,
spending a portion of his vacations in the meantime as teacher in
the counties of Shelby, Bartholomew and Johnson, in all of which
he held first-class certificates of qualifications as an instructor.
Early in 1874 he conceived the idea of preparing himself for the
legal profession, and at once entered as a student the law office of
Messrs. Hord & Blair, of Shelbyville, a law firm of superior
abilities, and at that time possessing one of the most extensive
practices in Southern Indiana. Under the instruction of these able
tutors, he applied himself arduously until the spring of 1877, at
which time he was admitted to the bar, and at once entered upon
the active practice of his profession. He continued the practice
alone until December, 1879, when he united in a co-partnership
with Hon. O. J. Glessner and L. J. Hackney, which at once took
rank as one of the strongest and most successful law firms in Shelby
County. Since 1883, Mr. Adams has been senior member of the
firm of Adams & Hackney, and is justly accorded a place among
the most efficient and painstaking as well as one of the most successful lawyers in the southern part of the State. He is a
Democrat in politics and a member of the Masonic Fraternity, having
identified himself with the order in 1884. December 29, 1880, he
was united in marriage with Miss Nellie Ludlow, of this county,
daughter of Stephen and Teressa (Blankenship) Ludlow. Mrs.
Adams was born November 17, 1861. Mr. and Mrs. Adams have
one child — Ethel.
The History of Shelby County, Indiana, "Shelbyville Sketches", Chicago: Brant & Fuller, 1887,
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming