John Wesley Adams, one of the foremost members of the Wichita bar and ex-state representative, was born in Ashland county, Ohio, April 22, 1859, a son of John Emmons and Frances Elizabeth (Depler) Adams. John Emmons Adams, who was a farmer, was born in Wooster, Wayne county, Ohio, May 2, 1816; removed with his family from Ohio to Iowa in 1856, and died in the latter state Oct. 7, 1875. His father, whose name was William Adams, was born Feb. 27, 1786, in the State of Pennsylvania. He died in Ashland county, Ohio, July 1, 1861. William Adams' wife was Mary Emmons, born in Scotland Sept. 7, 1791, and died in Ashland county, Ohio, Aug. 2, 1854. William Adams, together with his two brothers, John and Hugh, removed from Pennsylvania to Wayne county, Ohio, in 1815. Frances Elizabeth Depler, the mother of John W. Adams, was born in Germany, April 1, 1821, a daughter of Jacob and Frances (Oppenhouser) Depler. She came to the United States with her parents in the spring of 1831, and died at Moulton, Iowa, Jan. 17, 1871.
John W. Adams removed with his parents from Ohio to Appanoose county, Iowa, in 1861, and was there reared on a farm, up to the age of seventeen years. He received his early education in an Iowa country school and graduated in the Moulton High School. His father owned two farms, and on these young Adams labored during his youth, in the summer time when there was no school, and thus developed a strong physique which has since been invaluable to him in the pursuit of his professional calling. He became a school teacher at eighteen and taught two terms of school, one of six months and one of three months, using this profession merely as a stepping stone for the higher life work he had resolved to follow. While engaged at teaching he devoted his spare time to the study of law, and at the close of his second term of school he entered the law office of J. C. Coad, of Moulton, where he pursued his legal studies for two years. In 1881, at the age of twenty-two, he was admitted to the bar and at once began the practice of his profession at Moulton. On Jan. 1, 1887, he came to Wichita, to which place his brother, George W. Adams, had already moved from Iowa and was engaged in the practice of law. Immediately upon the arrival of John the two brothers formed a legal partnership under the name of Adams & Adams, and the firm has been in existence from that time to the presenta period of nearly a quarter of a centuryand it is not only one of the oldest and best know[sic] law firms of Wichita, but it is the only one in the city that has been constantly engaged in business during the past twenty-five years, without change of name, and they have one of the finest and most complete legal libraries in the state. Besides being a trained and successful lawyer, John W. Adams has figured conspicuously in the political history of Sedgwick county and Kansas. Scarcely had he set foot on Kansas soil when he was made assistant prosecuting attorney of Sedgwick county and served as such during 1887-88, aiding in the prosecution of 2,000 cases. In 1888 he was elected president of the Young Men's Republican Club and as such he took the club on a special train to the Republican national convention of that year in Chicago, where, 800 strong, they helped to bring about the nomination of Benjamin Harrison for the presidency. He has attended every Republican state and county convention in Kansas and Sedgwick county for more than twenty years and has helped to shape the platforms and policies of his party in both county and state. He has served three terms in the lower branch of the state legislature, having been a member from 1899 to 1905, and was the author of some of the most important legislation of that period.
On Sept. 6, 1893, John W. Adams married Miss Renetta Ross, of Wichita, a native of Quincy, Ill., who has been his loyal and devoted helpmeet. Mr. Adams has been admitted to practice in all the courts of the state and nation. The firm of Adams & Adams has been engaged in practically every important case, civil and criminal, that has been tried in Sedgwick county during the past twenty years. Mr. Adams is a member of the Sedgwick county and Kansas state bar associations, the Commercial Club of Wichita, the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, is a Thirty-second Degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Noble of the Mystic Shrine, an Odd Fellow and a Knight of Pythias. He is fond of fishing and hunting and he frequently indulges himself in the pleasures of the rod and gun. He is an excellent public speaker and a forceful advocate before a jury. Possessing a large amount of personal magnetism, his ability to win and keep friends is seldom excelled. He is also a good organizer and he possesses splendid qualifications for leadership. His residence at No. 1120 North Lawrence avenue, which he erected in 1904-5 at a cost of $15,000, is one of the handsomest private homes in the city, and it is a delight to both Mr. Adams and his excellent wife to extend here a generous hospitality to their many friends.Pages 410-412 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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