John O. Adams

HON. JOHN O. ADAMS. Of the men who in recent years have come to the forefront in the business and official life of Ottawa County, few have accomplished such great and substantial results within so short a period of time as has John O. Adams. A resident of Delphos since 1901, this energetic and capable young man has worked his way to a substantial place in business circles, while in official affairs he has been equally energetic and successful, and in the spring of 1917 was elected mayor of the city. His record as a merchant and as a public servant has been an honorable one, marked by distinctive achievement and straightforward acceptance of his opportunities and responsibilities.

John O. Adams was born at Langley, Kansas, September 24, 1889, being a son of John R. and Mary C. (Sward) Adams, and a member of an old New England family which immigrated from England to Massachusetts during the era of the American colonies. John R. Adams was born in 1860, at Walpole, New Hampshire, where he was reared and received ordinary educational advantages. When he left his native state, in young manhood, he went to Zearing, Iowa, where for several years he followed the trade of carpenter, and in 1885 came to Kansas and settled at Langley, where he continued to follow that vocation. Subsequently he removed to Marquette, Kansas, where he established himself in the mercantile business, and succeeded in his activities there until 1901, when he came to Delphos and opened the general store that is now owned by his widow, and of which his son is the manager. Mr. Adams was successful in building up a good trade in this community, where he soon won the confidence of the people by his honorable business methods and the fairness and honesty of his transactions. From modest beginnings the enterprise grew to important proportions and under his able and energetic management became known as a desirable commercial asset. In his relations with his fellow business men Mr. Adams never took advantage of another's misfortune, and while he was alive to all business opportunities his career was singularly free from the doubtful practices of some workers in the commercial field. He died at Delphos, in 1907. Mr. Adams was a democrat, but his part in politics and public life was only a minor one, except that he took an interest in good movements, realizing their worth in the upbuilding of the community. His fraternal affiliation was with Marquette Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mr. Adams married Miss Mary C. Sward, who was born in 1866, at Galesburg, Illinois, and who survives him and still resides at Delphos. In addition to the store, which is situated on the Square, Mrs. Adams is the owner of her residence on Custer Avenue, of a farm of 160 acres located in Mitchell County, and of other property. Mr. and Mrs Adams became the parents of five children: John O.; Charles, who is the proprietor of an automobile garage at Salina, Kansas; William A., who is a veterinary surgeon of Delphos; Alva S., who resides with his mother and is a student of the Delphos High School; and Frank, who lives with his mother and is attending the graded schools.

John O. Adams was twelve years of age when brought to Delphos, and in the public schools of this city completed his primary education, being graduated from the Delphos High School in the class of 1910. Following this he was sent to Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Virginia, where he took a literary and law course, but at the time of the death of his father he returned to Delphos to take charge of the elder man's large business interests. These include holdings in several important enterprises, the store at Delphos and the farm in Mitchell County, and in superintending these matters the younger man has shown the same kind of ability and foresight that made his father so successful. An up-to-date stock is carried in the general store, carefully chosen with regard to the needs and desires of the community, and the same honorable policy that actuated the elder man's movements has succeeded in bringing prosperity to his son. In the public affairs of the city Mr. Adams has always taken a keen interest, and is known as one of the strong and forceful workers of the county democracy. After serving for several years in the Delphos City Council, where he made an excellent record for efficient service, in the spring of 1917 he was elected to the office of mayor. As the incumbent of this position he is giving the people a clean and businesslike administration and has endeavored in so far as has lain in his power to promulgate and foster civic movements for the advancement of his city. He is well known in fraternal life, being a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, past master of Delphos Lodge No. 202, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, a member of Salina Consistory No. 3, and of Isis Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of Salina; past chancellor commander of Delphos Lodge No. 74, Knights of Pythias; and past master workman of Delphos Lodge No. 128, Ancient Order of United Workmen. He also holds membership in the Commercial Club.

In June, 1916, at Valencia, Kansas, Mr. Adams was united in marriage with Miss Pansy Mitchell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell, who resides at Valencia, is a retired telephone business man, while Mrs. Mitchell is deceased.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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