SHERMAN WOLCOTT ADAMS, LL.B., HARTFORD: 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 Herman 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 Corn. 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 detat 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.
Illustrated Popular Biography
Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding
Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.
Hartford, Conn. 1891
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