Jefferson County Historical Society

Home - Biographies Menu


William J. Adams, a native of Reynolds County, Mo., was born on the 4th
of July, 1849 and is the youngest of fourteen children born to William
and Mary (Parker) Adams, who came from near Nashville, Tenn., to Missouri
in 1821, locating in Reynolds County.  William Adams resided in Reynolds
County until shortly before the breaking out of the late war,
when he went to Texas and remained until the cessation of hostilities,
when he returned to Missouri, where he died in 1866, at a ripe old age.
When William J. was but seven years of age his mother died, after which
he lived with his elder sister for a number of years.  His education 
was that usually obtained in the common schools and, being homeless, he
was compelled to work during the summer, attending school only during
the winter. At the age of twenty-five he was united in marriage to 
Miss Sally S. Puckett, the event taking place near Festus, April 22,
1873. She is a daughter of Robert and Eliza (Silvan) Puckett, and was
born August 24, 1852. They have had four children, only two of whom
are living: William Herbert, born January 31, 1874; Robert Lasey, born 
May 10, 1875.  The deceased are Allen Nelson, born August 1, 1880 died
April 20, 1881; and Julia Ester, born December 26, 1883 died December
22, 1887.  In 1872 Mr. Adams established a hack line from Bailey Sta-
tion to Crystal City, which venture was made with but a small capital,
but proved remunerative to such a degree that the proceeds enabled him
to purchase forty acres of land on the present site of Festus. This
tract, which was heavily timbered, Mr. Adams cleared, and in 1876 sold
the first business lot in what is now the town of Festus to T. J. Loveless,
who established a retail grocery thereon.  After this he disposed
of several other lots to those desirous of engaging in business, the 
proceeds of which he devoted to improvements, and has built several
commodious residences. The development of the town was so rapid that
in 1885 he was induced to erect a commodious hotel building, the Adams
House, which he still owns and has the management of. He is also the
owner of three houses and lots in town.  At present he is a member of
the board of aldermen, and at one time served as school director.  He
and wife are members of the old school Presbyterian Church. In matters
political he has always voted the Democratic ticket, but is liberal