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Below is a family biography included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1898.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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LYMAN ADAMS, cashier of the First National Bank of Marathon, and an old and respected citizen of that village, whose business interests place him among the most prominent men of the county, was born October 31, 1825, in the town of Marathon, about one and one-fourth miles south of the village, where he now lives. His parents were Moses and Ann (Lockwood) Adams, and he traces his ancestry through eight generations to Henry Adams of Braintree, now Quincy, Mass.

This ancestor of our subject settled in the vicinity of Braintree, Mass., in 1634, only fourteen years after the Mayflower landed on that “stern and rock-bound coast.” His descendants in a direct line to Lyman Adams, whose history claims our attention, were as follows: Edward, eighth son, born in 1630, settled in Medfield, Mass.; Henry, born in 1663, settled at Canterbury, Conn., and died in 1747; Joseph, born in 1706, settled at New Marlboro; Moses, born in 1748, was a soldier of the Revolution, and died at Valley Forge in 1778; Moses, born about 1771, the grandfather of our subject; and Moses, the father of Lyman.

Moses Adams, Sr., the grandfather, was born in the vicinity of Lenox, Berkshire County, Mass., but about 1800 removed to what is now Lisle, Broome County, N. Y., where he was for a time engaged in mercantile pursuits. In that county, in the year 1802, occurred the birth of Moses Adams, Jr. The last-named, the father of our subject, was “bound out ” at the age of eight years, and lived with his guardian with the exception of a few years until that gentleman’s death, although the period of his bondage expired some years prior to the death of the man who had reared him from childhood. When his benefactor died, Moses Adams was willed the farm, all the farming utensils, and one-half of the stock on the estate. Until 1861, our subject’s father continued to follow agricultural pursuits on this farm, and then removed to the town of Marathon, where he died January 21, 1890. He was originally an adherent of the Whig party, but upon its disruption, he became a Republican, and ever afterward evinced a lively interest in the success of the latter organization. He served as assessor and supervisor of his town a number of years. His marriage with Ann Lockwood, daughter of Moses Lockwood, resulted in the birth of four boys and three girls, namely: Lyman, the subject of this writing; Mary Ann, the widow of Charles Brink, resides in Marathon; Evaline resides in Cortland — she married Benjamin B. Woodworth, now deceased; Carlos C. of Marathon; Helen, the wife of E. D. Robie, a retired United States naval engineer, who resides in Washington, D. C.; John Q.; and Walter of Syracuse, N. Y.

Lyman Adams received a common school education in the town of Lisle, Broome County, N. Y., where he remained under the parental roof until he was twenty-two years of age. He then taught school for three months, and went into a store in Broome County as a clerk, remaining in clerical positions in Broome County about ten months. In 1849, he came to Marathon, and clerked about five years. In October, 1853, he went into a general mercantile business with R. P. Burhaus, which partnership continued about one year, when Anson Peck’s name was added to the firm; this arrangement was satisfactory for about two years, when Mr. Burhaus went out of business, after which the business was conducted under the firm name of Peck & Adams, each partner owning a one-half interest in the concern. In 1860, James H. Tripp was taken into the firm, the firm name being changed to Peck, Adams & Tripp. After a short time, the partners closed out the business, and dissolved the partnership, Mr. Adams accepting a position in a bank at Canandaigua, N. Y. After a year’s residence in that town, our subject and Mr. Tripp, who had also been employed in the same bank in Canandaigua, returned to Marathon, and leased the old store room, where they conducted a mercantile business until 1883, when they closed out the business. Prior to 1883, they had jointly conducted a private banking business with very flattering success. It became apparent at this time to Messrs. Adams and Tripp, that the growth and development of Marathon warranted a banking institution that was larger in scope. They accordingly set about organizing a bank, and merged their own banking business in the new institution. In 1884, the First National Bank of Marathon started in its career, with Mr. Tripp as its president, and Mr. Adams as its cashier, which officers still continue to hold the same positions. Mr. Adams has distinguished himself in business as a shrewd, practical, and conservative man, whose judgment has not failed him at critical moments. His record has been honorable, his word as good as gold, and his integrity unquestioned. He has ever been quick to see the main chance in business, and has accumulated a handsome competency by the most open methods. Mr. Adams is a Republican in his politics, but has given little more attention to matters of that import than the average man, who thinks more of his business than a doubtful career in office. He has served as supervisor of the town for two years.

Mr. Adams married as his first wife Ruth Squires, a daughter of William Squires of Marathon, by whom he had one son, Edgar L., the proprietor and publisher of the Marathon Independent, of whom more is given a little farther along. Mr. Adams’ second wife was Louisa M. Denton, a daughter of William L. Denton, and they have one daughter, Augusta D.

Edgar L. Adams was born April 27, 1857, in the village of Marathon, and in the schools of the village received a common school education. The Marathon Independent was established in July, 1870, and in April, 1871, Mr. Adams entered the office to learn what there was to learn of the newspaper business, remaining there one year. While in the newspaper office, he came to realize his deficiency in the matter of an education, and so for a year and a half he assiduously attended school, and labored earnestly to improve himself. In the fall of 1872, desiring some sort of employment, he became a clerk in the store, that was kept by his father and Mr. Tripp; the work, however, proving uncongenial to him, he in 1874 returned to the office of the Independent, and worked on that paper until April, 1876, when he entered the employ of B. B. Jones of Cortland, this county, his intention being to become local editor of the Democrat, but in June of that year, he returned to Marathon and took charge of the Independent, the proprietor, Wallace Kelley, failing in health. In December, 1876, the paper was sold, and Mr. Adams was employed as editor of the paper by the proprietors, Messrs. Brooks & Day, until May 1, 1878, when he purchased the interests of Mr. Day, and the firm continued as Brooks & Adams one year, when Mr. Adams bought Mr. Brooks’ interests, and, with the exception of a short period, has been editor and proprietor ever since. For a time he was connected with the Sunday Times of Syracuse, having leased the Independent from 1880 to 1885. Mr. Adams did considerable humorous paragraphic work; in this connection we note the review given him by Brick Pomeroy, editor of Pomeroy’s Democrat, in an article, entitled “The Humorous Writers of America.” Mr. Pomeroy goes on to review Bill Nye, Eugene Field, C. B. Lewis of the Detroit Free Press, Alex. E. Sweet of Texas Siftings, Sam Small, A. M. Griswold, and of Mr. Adams says, “The Marathon, N. Y., Independent is another paper, whose editor has brains, sense, wit and ambition. Ed. L. Adams is its editor, and he is fast making his paper noted in causing people to inquire as to the size and whereabouts of Marathon. His paper is largely quoted, as its paragraphs are unusually pointed, witty and close-fitting. Almost any man can write a long article, but it takes a good man to let go, when he has said enough.”

In addition to his newspaper interests, Mr. Ed. L. Adams is closely connected with Marathon’s progress and prosperity in other ways. He is a stockholder in the First National Bank of Marathon. He was one of the organizers of the Climax Road Machine Company, was for three years its vice-president, and still holds a good-sized block of the company’s stock. He is a Democrat in his political preferences, and takes an active part in town and county politics. He has served as a member of the Democratic County Committee, and in 1895 was the nominee of his party for the Assembly. He was president of the village of Marathon in 1894 and 1895. He frequently represents his district in conventions, and is very influential throughout the county in a political way. He was a member and secretary of the board of education of Marathon for six years. He is a member of Thermopylae Lodge, No. 438, F. & A. M., of Marathon, and has been a member and president for three years of the Marathon Hose Company. He was united in marriage, May 13, 1879, to Ella V. Courtney, and they have a very pleasant home, which is the gathering-place for a large circle of warm friends.

As one of the leading citizens of Cortland County, representing large financial and commercial interests, Lyman Adams is entitled to the fullest recognition in this Book of Biographies, and we accordingly present on a preceding page his portrait*, executed from a recent photograph.

*A portrait was included in the original printed volume.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published in 1898. 

View additional Cortland County, New York family biographies here: Cortland County, New York Biographies

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