Hon. Frederick Ray Adams, probate judge of Will County, is among the distinguished jurists and public officials
of Illinois. He was born at Towanda, McLean County, 111., Feb. 1, 1884, the son of William Benjamin and Jennie
Louise (Harper) Adams.
William Benjamin Adams was born at 106 North Broadway, Joliet, Aug. 18, 1859, a son of Micajah L. and Mary (Banker)
Adams, early settlers of Joliet. He died May 12, 1927, and his widow resides at 201 Richmond Street, Joliet. She
was born March 3, 1864, the daughter of William and Jane (Hughes) Harper. The Harper family were early settlers
of Chicago, William Harper having been master carpenter in the employ of the Illinois Central Railroad for over
46 years. William Benjamin Adams was interested in grain inspecting when a young lad and continued at this occupation
for a number of years in the employ of Carpenter & Marsh. After this department was placed under state control,
he engaged in the railroad business with his father in law in Chicago, and later returned to Joliet, where he became
identified with the American Steel & Wire Company. He left this firm about 1907 to go with the Southern Steel
Company at Ensley, Ala., where he remained for several years. He later returned to Joliet, where he was connected
with the Joliet Wall Paper Mills until his death. There were four children in the Adams family: Frederick Ray,
the subject of this sketch; Myrtle Louise, born Feb. 25, 1886, was married July 17, 1908, to J. W. Lorraine, lives
at San Francisco, Calif.; Hazel Irene, born May 31, 1891, married William LaFontaine, lives at 201 Richmond Street,
Joliet; and Roland Harper, born March 1, 1898, died Dec. 27, 1905.
Frederick Ray Adams acquired his early education in the public schools of Chicago and Joliet. He also attended
Joliet Township High School, Putland's Business College, and the Hamilton College of Law, Chicago. He was obliged
to start to work when 16 years old, having entered the employ of Ferdinand Schroeder as grocery clerk and delivery
boy. He spent one year as driver for the Wells-Fargo Express Company, worked in the freight department of the Michigan
Central Railroad from 1902 until 1907, served as traffic manager for the Southern Steel Company, Birmingham, Ala.,
in 1907, and the following year collected taxes in the spring for William C. Brockman, and the balance of the year
had charge of the tract indexes in the abstract offices of Charles F. Goodspeed. In the spring of 1909 he collected
taxes for David R. Davis, and was also employed in the blast furnace office of the Illinois Steel Company until
June 1, 1909, when he entered the Will County National Bank. He resigned as auditor of that institution Dec. 1,
1918, and accepted the office of assistant to the probate judge, Samuel J. Drew, of Will County. He held this office
until Jan. 1, 1924, when he resigned to enter into active practice, having formed a partnership with Albert F.
Krusemark, Edward Gorey, and the late Eneshia Meers. Mr. Adams continued in the practice of law until May 1, 1926,
when he was appointed by Governor Small to the office of probate judge of Will County to succeed the late Judge
Samuel J. Drew. He took office Dec. 1, 1926, as probate judge elect and is now serving in that capacity. He was
admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Illinois in 1916.
On Sept. 26, 1906, Mr. Adams married Miss Hattie Irene Darragh, of Joliet, the daughter of Thomas Alexander and
Minnie Louisa (Mather) Darragh. Mr. Darragh was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland, and emigrated to America
when ten years of age. His wife was born at Hillsboro, Ohio. Mr. Darragh lives with his daughter at 513 Plainfield
Road. His wife died Jan. 31, 1924, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Joliet. To Mr. and Mrs. Adams have been born
three daughters: Dorothy Louise, born Jan. 11, 1910, a senior in Joliet Township High School; Lois Jane, born July
24, 1913, a freshman in Joliet Township High School; and Ruth Harriet, born July 4, 1915, attends Farragut School.
Judge Adams is a Republican and has served as city treasurer of Joliet. He and his family hold membership in the
Presbyterian Church. His fraternal affiliations are: Matteson Lodge, No. 175, A. F. & A. M.; Joliet Chapter,
No. 27, R. A. M.; Joliet Council, No. 82, R. and S. M.; Joliet Commandery No. 4, K. T.; Ansar Temple, A. A. O.
N. M. S., Springfield; Joliet Lodge No. 296, B. P. O. Elks; Modern Woodmen of America; Kiwanis Club; Joliet Country
Club; and Chamber of Commerce. He is identified with the Illinois State Bar Society, Will County Bar Society, and
American Bar Association.
History of Will County, Illinois
By: August Maue
Historical Publishing Company
Will County, Il
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