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Sherman Wolcott Adams

Attorney-at-Law; President Board of Park Commissioners.

Sherman W. Adams was born in Wethersfield, Conn., May 6, 1836, and is a son of the late Welles Adams of that place. The latter was descended from Benjamin Adams, an early, but not one of the earliest, settlers of the township. The subject of this sketch is also descended from Ens. William Goodrich, Ens. John Nott, John Robbins, "Gentleman," Michael Griswold, Gov. Thomas Welles, and other pioneer settlers of Wethersfield; and from Henry Wolcott, the Windsor settler. His education was obtained in a common school (in the section now known as South Wethersfield), in the academy of the town, and in a select school or "institute" at Cornwall, Conn. His early life was partly spent upon his father’s farm, and partly in a general "store" in Wethersfield belonging to his father. It was while in the latter occupation that he turned his attention to the study of law. His legal studies were pursued in the offices of the late Thomas C. Perkins and Heman H. Barbour; after which he studied at, and was graduated from, the Law School of Harvard University, taking the degree of LL.B. in the class of 1861. In March, 1862, he received from Secretary Welles a commission as acting assistant paymaster in the Navy; reported at once to Com. Hiram Paulding at the navy yard, Brooklyn, for duty on board the gunboat Somerset. The vessel proceeded to the gulf and was attached to the eastern gulf squadron. Here Paymaster Adams remained until June, 1864, on the same gunboat. At that date, being much worn down, he was relieved, and came north to settle accounts, and also to regain his impaired health. In October, 1864, he called upon Secretary Welles and tendered his resignation, which was accepted.

Returning to his profession in 1865, Mr. Adams has continued in practice ever since in Hartford, with the exception of one year, 1868-9, spent in Europe. While there, he devoted special attention to the study of the French and German languages, and translated and published Eugene Ténot’s narrative of the coup d’etat of 1851. He has also made occasional translations from the German, Spanish, and Italian languages, and has paid some attention to the Dutch, Portuguese, and Danish. He is also fond of studying the natural sciences, more especially botany.

Mr. Adams has been much of a delver in matters of local history, having written many articles in that line. He is the author of several chapters in the Memorial History of Hartford County. He is a member of the National Historical Association, and of the Connecticut Historical Society, having been one of the officers of the latter institution for some years, and compiled the pamphlet recently issued by its authority.

While republican in politics, Mr. Adams has never been an active politician. Nevertheless, he represented his native town in the legislature of 1866, when he introduced a proposed constitutional amendment, providing for a sole capitol for this state. It passed, but barely failed to receive the requisite two-thirds majority in the following year. He is the author of some of the laws of this state, of which, perhaps, the most important is the "judgment-lien" law. He is also author of the resolution providing for a topographical survey of the state, passed in 1889. Beginning in 1877, he was for six years associate judge of the Hartford police court. Since 1884 he has been president of Hartford’s park commissioners, and was the active member of the commission for the erection of the Memorial Arch. While not robust in health, he has never ceased to be active in some useful labor. He is unmarried.

SourceIllustrated Popular Biography of Connecticut - 1891 Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding Hartford Conn.  Press of the Case, Lockwood and Brainard Company 1891

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