Pueblo County, Colorado
Contributed by Jean Griesan
Alva Adams was born on May 14, 1850 in Iowa County, Wisconsin. He was one of the oldest sons of John Adams and Eliza (Blanchard) Adams. Honorable John Adams was a prominent farmer and stockman and also a merchant. Additionally, John was also a prominent member of the Wisconsin state assembly and senate. Alva grew up in Wisconsin, attending the common schools there. He was able to attend a local college for a few months. It was said of him that “this gave the young man a thirst for learning which has resulted in his being one of the most accomplished self-educated men in the country.”
In 1871, Alva's younger brother, George, was struggling with tuberculosis. The Adams family crossed the plains by wagon, headed for the more healthful climate of Colorado for George. The journey was a tedious one, the primitive “prairie schooner,” being their method of travel. They stopped for a short time in Greeley. Alva, looking about for work, could, at first, find nothing more desirable than the laborious task of hauling railroad ties from the mountain forests for use in the construction of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad line. This occupation, however, proved to be a stepping stone to a better opening, for within a few weeks, he secured a position with C. W. Sanborn, a lumber and hardware dealer at Colorado Springs who did business with the booming railroads. This boded well with the family as they were camped nearby in Manitou Springs for George. George improved for a time, but ultimately died on September 12, 1871, at the young age of 19.
Alva and his younger brother, Billy, stayed in Colorado to seek their fortune, while the rest of the family moved back to Wisconsin. Alva continued with the hardware business in Colorado Springs. By close attention to business and strict integrity, Alva soon won the confidence of his employer. In October of 1871, the young man erected a building which would serve at once for a dwelling and a place in which to conduct the two branches of Mr. Sanborn's business. The structure was the first built upon the site of the present town of Colorado Springs. In two or three months, young Adams bought out his employer for something over $4000. In the following year (1872), he admitted J. C. Wilson to a partnership in the business, and leaving him in charge at Colorado Springs, Alva went to Pueblo and opened a branch there. Alva and Billy, Alva's younger brother by eleven years, moved to Pueblo to open this hardware store. They were in Pueblo by May 1872. After a time, the partners, Adams and Wilson, severed their connection, each retaining the store at his location; and Mr. Adams was ever after the proprietor of a flourishing business in Pueblo of which branches were early established in the San Juan district. Alva Adams opened a franchise to parallel almost every extension of the growing Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, and in a period of five years, became independently wealthy due to his business acumen. He was a thoughtful businessman and was well-liked in the community. Billy managed his brother's store in Pueblo for a short while, but decided he didn't like being confined indoors as he always liked to work with cattle and loved horses.
It was in Colorado Springs where Mr. Adams met Miss Ella Charlotte Nye, a young lady born in Bangor, Maine, who had also lived for a short while with the Greeley colony. That Miss Nye became Alva Adams' wife. They were married on October 25, 1872 in Manitou Springs, El Paso County, Colorado. Ella was born in April 1851, the daughter of Elisha and Charlotte (Thomas) Nye.
Alva Adams, a democrat, entered into the world of politics very quickly from here. In August 1873, Alva was selected to be the secretary for the Pueblo County Democratic Convention. He was a delegate to this same convention in August 1874.
In September 1874, it was newsworthy to print of Alva Adams' interest in the area around Del Norte, Colorado.
"Mr. Alva Adams showed us yesterday a remarkably rich specimen of ore from the Del Norte lead, in the Summit district, San Juan, in which he is interested. The ore is full of gold, perceptible to the naked eye. The specimen shown us weighs about twenty-six pounds, and it is claimed by competent judges to contain not less than one hundred dollars worth of gold.”
Colorado Daily Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, September 16, 1874
By January 1875, it was in the news that Alva Adams and family had sold the hardware store in Pueblo, and was headed to Del Norte to open a similar store there. They left in April to make their home there. In October of 1875, Alva and his wife, Ella, had a son, who they named Alva Blanchard Adams. (It's possible that Alva and Ella had already lost a child before this. Edna Adams was born on September 5, 1873 and died on September 28, 1873. She was buried in Pueblo in the family plot by the rest of the Adams family. Additionally, Ella reported in the 1910 census that she had had two children, and only one was still alive. No obituary could be found for Edna from 1873.)
In 1876, Alva's political aspirations continued. He was selected to a seat in the Democratic State Convention for both Conejos and Rio Grande Counties. He was elected as the secretary for this convention. He was elected to be a Representative to the Colorado State House representing Rio Grande County in November 1876. By January 1877, he was well known in the Colorado State House. The Pueblo newspaper had this to say about Alva.
About the legislature in Denver in January 1877: "...Hon. Alva Adams is the most influential talking member on the democratic side of the house, and he is a good thinker."
Colorado Weekly Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, January 25, 1877
Meanwhile, he continued his hardware store at home in Del Norte, with the help of several partners. The store was successful. The newspaper had this to say about his business.
"...The firm of Adams & Posey, in the Shaw block, is the biggest thing in the way of a hardware establishment in Southern Colorado. They have a branch house at Silverton, and the firm of Adams, Posey & Henson, at Garland, is part of the same house. They may truthfully be said to be the leading hardware dealers in Colorado. Mr. O. P. Posey gives his personal attention to the Del Norte house, while Hon. Alva Adams goes back and forth between all the houses. At present he is coaching Hon. Henry Henson at Garland in the mysteries of the hardware trade. They carry an immense stock and their trade cuts a big figure in the commerce of the San Juan country and Southern Colorado."
"Del Norte," Colorado Weekly Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, Thursday, October 4, 1877
Alva Adams continued to be enormously popular as a politician and a citizen. Here is another article about Alva.
"Hon. Alva Adams, of Del Norte, passed through this city yesterday on his way home from an extended business trip to the east in the interest of the firm of which he is the head. Mr. Adams is a representative man of the San Juan country and very popular among all classes of society there. During his absence his many personal and political friends have taken the liberty of bringing him forward as a candidate for the democratic nomination for lieutenant governor at the coming general election, and it seems to be now conceded that he is the favorite candidate for the nomination. His nomination would give the democratic ticket great strength south of the divide, and in company with Mr. Loveland would make a team hard to beat. In private life Mr. Adams' character is above all reproach, and as a rising young politician and legislator he has already shown talent of a high order. Should it be his good fortune to be elected to the position of lieutenant governor of the state he would fill it with honor to himself and those who elected him."
Colorado Weekly Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, April 11, 1878
By 1880, Alva, Ella, and young Alva B. Adams were living in Alamosa in Conejos County. Billy Adams, now going by William, was living with them, as were several of Ella's younger siblings and her young Swedish stepmother. It is believed that Ella's father had passed away by this point.
The Adams family moved back to Pueblo to a permanent residence in 1882. He opened another hardware store there. Alva ran for governor in 1885, but was unsuccessful. Still very popular with the people, he ran again in 1887. The newspapers had some very complimentary articles about Alva.
"Our Leaders. The Denver News of the 7th inst. contains the following sketches of Alva Adams, candidate for governor, and Rev. Myron W. Reed:
"Hon. Alva Adams, the gifted young democratic standard bearer for governor, was born in Iowa county, Wisconsin, May 14, 1850, and consequently is only two years older than the constitutional requirement for the office of governor. He is the eldest son of the Hon. John Adams, a prominent farmer and stockman, who has been a prominent member of the Wisconsin state assembly and senate, and who moved to the great northwest at an early day. Alva Adams came to Colorado a beardless boy, stopping first at Greeley, where failing to find employment he journeyed to Colorado Springs. Being short of means, he accepted the first employment that offered, which happened to be that of driving a team. He soon after got the position of salesman, and by close attention to business and strict integrity soon won the confidence of his employer, the latter finally selling the stock to young Adams, trusting him for a large proportion of the purchase money. The business talent of young Adams was equal to the occasion, and from that day forward his affairs were so managed until now, at the age of 36, Mr. Adams, though not a rich man, has a competency, with a credit equal to any merchant in Colorado. It was at Colorado Springs where Mr. Adams met Miss Ella Nye, a young lady from Maine, who had also lived for a short while with the Greeley colony. That Miss Nye is the present accomplished and estimable wife of Mr. Adams. The subject of this little sketch received a limited education in the common schools of Wisconsin, and had the advantages of a few months at a local college. This gave the young man a thirst for learning which has resulted in his being one of the most accomplished self-educated men in the country."
Fort Collins Courier, Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado, October 14, 1886
"Hon. ALVA ADAMS, the democratic nominee for governor, bears the reputation of a clean, straightforward man. The fact that the press of the state all unite in bearing testimony to his good character is a good assurance, to those who cannot endorse Billy Meyer, that an opportunity is still afforded to vote for a man that, if elected, will be an honor to the office for which he has been nominated. Good citizens need not hesitate to endorse Alva Adams. - Berthoud Beacon (rep.)"
Fort Collins Courier, Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado, October 14, 1886
In 1887, Alva Adams was elected to office as governor of Colorado, at the age of 36, as the youngest governor of Colorado. His first term was moderately uneventful except for the Ute Uprising in 1887. This revolt began with a small skirmish between a Ute hunting party and a band of settlers on the Western Slope. Due to a sensationalistic press and the building tension between the Ute Indians and the settlers, this relatively isolated incident flared into an all-out war. Under public pressure, Adams sent in the Colorado National Guard to deal with the situation. Once he was able to accurately assess the reality of this relatively minor conflict, Adams pulled out the troops in order to avoid needless bloodshed, and eventually returned captured property to the Utes. During his first administration, Adams also took a controversial pro-labor stand. He was influential in passing bills establishing the Bureau of Labor Statistics and making it illegal to use children under the age of fourteen for labor. Another volatile subject was capitol punishment, which Adams was opposed to, preferring reform to what he saw as revenge. Adams personally sponsored a bill ending public executions, and played an integral part in ending corporal punishment practices at State institutions. The press appears to have loved him, and he remained enormously popular in the southern part of Colorado.
"Governor Alva Adams has been kept busy during the past few weeks delivering public addresses, and it is safe to say that no executive the Centennial State has yet had compares with the present one in oratorical ability. He is a clear thinker and expresses himself in faultless English. Governor Adams is making a splendid record and honors the party that placed him in power."
"Muldoonisms," Montezuma Millrun, Montezuma, Summit County, Colorado, July 9, 1887
During this term when he was governor, Alva's younger brother, William Adams, began to serve in the Colorado State Legislature, first as a Representative and then later as a Senator for a number of years. He also served as governor of Colorado from 1927 through 1931.
Alva took a number of years off from politics after being governor from 1887 through 1889. In 1889, he returned to Pueblo and helped to organize the Pueblo Savings and Trust company. He was president of that institution until the time of his death. He was interested in other business ventures as well, including being one of the directors of the International Trust Company of Denver. In 1896, Adams was the “president” of the San Juan Hardware Company. Likely this was his company with other managers in other communities. Alva ran the Pueblo division. In June of 1897, Alva was serving as president of the State Board of Land Commissioners.
Alva Adams ran again for governorship in 1897 and won. Unlike his first term, Adams' second term was very contentious. The first problem that the Adams administration inherited was the Leadville strike of 1896. As a result of the 1893 depression and the abandonment of the silver standard, there was an agreement between the Western Federation of Miners and the mine managers that wages would be reduced in order to keep the mines open. This delicate labor pact began to disintegrate in 1896 when a few mine owners began to raise wages while others continued to rely on the 1893 pact to increase their profit margin. The miners' union, fresh from a victory against Cripple Creek mine owners in Teller County, demanded that they be offered a uniform wage of three dollars. The owners chose not to honor this request which resulted in the workers going on strike, the mines closing, and a total of 2,300 men put out of work. The outgoing Governor McIntire sent in the National Guard to stop the violence that had erupted and to set up non-union miners to open up the mines again. As soon as Adams took over his new gubernatorial post, he met immediately with the union leaders, local residents, miners, and mine owners in an attempt to hammer out some type of compromise. While discussions, special commissions, investigations, and conferences were utilized, nobody seemed to be able to find anything the two sides wouldn't reject. Although Adams ordered the withdrawal of the troops, the miners lost their battle for increased wages. Adams continued to support the idea of arbitration which was, in his view, more effective than military intervention. He sponsored the creation of the State Board of Arbitration in 1897 which successfully ended numerous labor conflicts.
Adams' challenges did not end with the withdrawal of National Guard troops from Leadville. When President McKinley announced that America was at war with Spain on April 28, 1898, Governor Adams became the first Colorado Governor called upon to mobilize and lead the state during a national war. The President requested that Adams provide one regiment of infantry and two troops of cavalry. Housing for the troops became a problem, however, since the federal army would not provide barracks. As a result, the troops were stationed at Camp Adams in City Park; a site that worked well despite incredibly poor weather conditions and tensions created by the choosing of officers. Three weeks after the declaration of war, the mobilized, equipped, and trained Colorado troops went to the Philippines to defend the honor of the country. Since the federal government did not finance the troops, and the legislature was out of session, Adams raised $26,000 in private money to finance "the splendid little war." Governor Adams went so far as to personally purchase each soldier's identification tags.
Alva Adams' term of governorship was over in 1899. He returned to Pueblo, where he continued to run his hardware business. He lived with his wife, Ella, and his only child, Alva B. Adams. By 1900, his son was 25, and had become a lawyer. Additionally, they had several servants who lived with them as well.
In 1902, the huge Arapahoe County (near Denver) was going to be separated out into several counties to form several more manageably sized counties. The voters approved the formation of a new county, and this new county was named Adams County after Alva Adams, who was ever-popular.
After another hiatus from politics, Adams ran in what would become the most corrupt election to ever haunt the Colorado ballot box. During the election of 1904, the Democratic Party allegedly committed voting fraud in Denver and the surrounding urban areas. The Republican Party was said to have committed voting fraud in the populous mining and corporately dominated towns. In one Denver precinct, 717 Democratic ballots were cast, while the district only had 100 legal voters. Likewise, many mine owners forced thousands of immigrant workers to vote for Governor James H. Peabody or lose their jobs. One Republican officer of the Denver Union Water Company publicly boasted, "We rule...the people have nothing to do with nominations and elections. We rule and we're going to continue to rule." Despite these presumptions, Democrat Adams was elected governor, while Republican Jesse McDonald became Lieutenant Governor. Once the Legislature came into session in 1905, however, party fighting became so blatant that it risked making the Colorado General Assembly a laughing stock. After much argument and accusations of election fraud, the predominately Republican legislature agreed that neither Adams nor Peabody should be governor. Instead, Jesse McDonald took the oath, stepping up from his position as Lieutenant Governor. While Alva Adams ran again in 1906, he lost. After this fall from grace in 1904, Adams pursued his banking, mercantile, and Masonic interests back in Pueblo.
In these later years, Alva began extensive traveling. His last trip abroad included a visit to the islands of the Pacific, China, and Russia. This trip happened shortly before the outbreak of World War I.
In 1910, Alva was living in Pueblo with his wife, Ella, his son, Alva B. Adams, and his son's wife, Elizabeth. Additionally, they had three servants living with them.
By 1920, Alva and Ella were living in a very nice home on West Orman Avenue in Pueblo. His son, Alva B. Adams, and his family continued to live with his parents, Alva and Ella Adams. Alva B. and Elizabeth now had four children, two sons and two daughters, including a son named Alva B. Adams Jr. In addition, they had three servants living with them.
In early October 1922, Alva went to live in a sanitarium in Battle Creek in Calhoun County, Michigan. He had long suffered from chronic diabetes, and he began to suffer heart troubles because of this troublesome disease. His wife, Ella, accompanied him to Michigan. He died of heart disease there on November 1, 1922. His body was returned to Pueblo, and he was buried in Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo. He was a beloved figure across the state.
"Death of Alva Adams. Ex-Governor Alva Adams died Wednesday noon at Battle Creek, Mich., of heart disease.
Mr. Adams was elected governor of Colorado in 1887-1897 and 1905. For many years he was one of the leading Democrats of the state. He was an able man and stood high in all circles, whether political or otherwise."
Longmont Ledger, Longmont, Boulder County, Colorado, November 3, 1922
Closer to home, several articles appeared in tribute to Alva Adams, a Pueblo community man and former governor of Colorado.
“ALVA ADAMS WAS BORN IN WISCONSIN – Came to Colorado When of Age For Benefit of Brothers Health.
Alva Adams was born in Iowa County, Wisconsin, May 14, 1850. His parents John Adams and Eliza (Blanchard) Adams, were natives respectively of the states of Kentucky and New York. About 1842 they settled in Wisconsin, where the father followed both the agricultural and mercantile vocations. Alva Adams was reared in his native county, and received a fair education in the public schools. The college training so much coveted by ambitious youths, fortune denied him yet lacking it he proved himself still able to achieve a highly honorable career. He was but just of age when he came to Colorado, the ill health of a brother having been the occasion of the family's removal to this climate. The journey was a tedious one, the primitive “prairie schooner”, being their method of travel. They tarried at Greeley in the northern part of the state, and Alva, casting about him for work could at first find nothing more desirable than the laborious task of hauling railroad ties from the mountain forests for use in the construction of the Denver and Rio Grande line. This occupation however, proved a stepping stone to a better opening for within a few weeks he secured a position with C. W. Sanborn, a lumber and hardware dealer at Colorado Springs. While in this employ, the young man erected a building which would serve at once for a dwelling and a place in which to conduct the two branches of Mr. Sanborn's business. The structure was the first built upon the site of the present town of Colorado Springs. In two or three months young Adams bought out his employer for something over $4000 giving his notes for the amount in lieu of cash and took his place among the responsible business men of the State. In the following year – 1872 – he admitted J. C. Wilson to a partnership in the business, and leaving him in charge at Colorado Springs, came to Pueblo and opened a branch here. After a time the partners severed their connection, each retaining the store at his end of the time; and Mr. Adams has since been the proprietor of a flourishing business in Pueblo of which branches were early established in the San Juan district. Always an ardent Democrat, Mr. Adams was speedily drawn into being but twenty three when he was made a trustee of South Pueblo. At twenty six he was elected to represent Rio Grande County in the State Legislature and his service was notable for the strength with which he opposed measures contemplating an unwarrantable expenditure of funds. Mr. Adams was first nominated for Governor in 1884 but his election was this time defeated. Two years later however, he was the successful candidate by a majority of nearly two and a half thousand. In 1896 he was a second time elected Governor, he being, with the single exception of F. W. Pitkin, the only citizen of the State ever recalled to the duties of its highest office. His two administrations as chief executive were characterized by the same careful guardianship of the public finances as that advocated by him while in the Legislature. Under his critical eye, special appropriation bills were subjected to a rigid law of “survival of the fittest,” only such as were obviously beneficent ever gaining his sanction to live. Governor Adams enjoyed the reputation of being a “safe man,” which means that he was neither unduly venturesome nor conservative to the point of repressing progress. Between these harmful extremes he occupied the happy middle ground of the well balanced and trustworthy citizen. Mr. Adams devoted himself assiduously to his business when not occupied with official work, and his industry has netted him a substantial fortune. He has a private library of 3500 volumes, traveled extensively, and acquired a wealth of general information and culture which reduced to a minimum the disadvantages of a curtailed school training. And indeed, the kind of education which is the result of large contact with men and affairs, should perhaps, be rated higher than any amount of mere book learning because of its more vital connection with the development of character and the determination of conduct, and Alva Adams possessed the order of mind which readily absorbed valuable lessons from all kinds of experience, and indicated such accumulated virtue thru the common lift of which he formed an important factor. Mr. Adams married Elle Nye in October 1872.”
Pueblo Chieftain, November 2, 1922
“STATESMAN DIES IN SANITARIUM IN BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN – Went There Three Weeks Ago – Was Thrice Governor, a Banker, Statesman, a Scholar and Prominent in Masonic Circles.
Alva Adams is dead
His soul goes marching on.
Three times Governor of Colorado, ranked among the first citizens of the state, banker, statesman, thinker, Inspector General of the Colorado jurisdiction of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and one of the builders of Pueblo and one of the city's staunchest supporters. Alva Adams died about noon yesterday in Battle Creek, Michigan where he went three weeks ago to a sanitarium. Death was due to heart trouble caused by chronic diabetes from which Mr. Adams had long been a sufferer. Mrs. Adams was with him at the time of his death and the word was received in Pueblo in a telegram to their only son, Alva B. Adams. The body will be brought to Pueblo for burial, but definite funeral arrangements have not been made. Gov. Adams was 72 years old at the time of his death. He had been a permanent resident of Pueblo since 1882 when he came here from Alamosa and open a hardware store which is still in existence but which is now known as the Holmes Hardware company of which the governor had a half interest at the time of his death.
His life reads like a romance. Born on a Wisconsin farm and without the advantages of a college education, he rose to a place in the hearts of Coloradoans, second to none. He rose to a place of prominence as a deep thinker and ranked among the most learned men of the country and besides accumulated a modest fortune by his honest business dealings.
He brought a brother, suffering from tuberculosis to Colorado in 1872. They traveled overland in a prairie schooner. They tarried a short time in the Greely region and then went to Manitou where they camped out for the benefit of the brother's health. Later Alva secured employment hauling ties from the mountains to the right of way where the Denver and Rio Grande railroad was being constructed. This lasted but a short time for he became acquainted with a lumber and hardware dealer and obtained employment in this business. Adams erected a small building on the present site of Colorado Springs and there housed the stock and conducted the store. Then he purchased the business from his employer and later took a partner. Leaving the partner in charge of the business, Adams came to Pueblo in 1873 and opened a hardware store. He did not stay long here but sold off part of his stock and moved the remainder to Del Norte long before the railroad entered that region. His store was successful and when the railroad entered Fort Garland, Adams moved his store to that point and later to Alamosa.
He established branches in Telluride, Durango, Gunnison and Quray. He came to Pueblo the second time in 1882 and opened the hardware store that later was to become one of the largest in Colorado. In 1889 he helped to organize the Pueblo Savings and Trust company and was president of that institution until the time of his death. He was interested in other business ventures and was the oldest living director in point of continuous service of the International Trust company of Denver.
Despite business, Mr. Adams had time for other things. He was always an ardent Democrat and soon entered politics. While always mindful of the necessity of making a living, Mr. Adams found time for reading and study to overcome the deficiency caused by the lack of a college education in his early life.
In politics he has quite a record.
When 26 years old he was elected a member of the state legislature from Rio Grande county. In 1884 he was candidate on the Democratic ticket for governor but was defeated. He ran again in 1886 and was elected. He ran a second time in 1896 and won the election.
In 1904 he was a candidate again and apparently won the election. However a contest was brought by James Peabody, the Republican candidate and the matter finally was placed in the hands of the state legislature. The legislature ruled against Adams, ousted him and seated Peabody with an agreement that Peabody should resign and let Jesse McDonald, the lieutenant governor on the Republican side, take the place of governor. This was after Adams had served about three months of his term.
As a man of letters, Gov. Adams was widely known. His library was probably the largest private collection of books in the state. The governor was familiar with the contents of all of the books and not only did he widen his knowledge from the books he read but traveled extensively in the past 25 years, visiting many foreign countries and being a keen observer, learned much of the habits and customs of people in all sections of the world.
As a speaker, Gov. Adams was a powerful and convincing orator. He was on the programs of most of the prominent events in Pueblo as well as in the state.
Years ago he was made a 33rd degree Mason and upon the death of Senator Henry M. Teller, Mr. Adams was made inspector general of the Colorado district of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rites of Freemasonry.
He was possessed of great literary ability and his prepared speeches were models of English. He wrote a book dealing with career of Napoleon and the work is characterized as a wonderful study of the great Frenchman. He delighted to speak of Colorado and its wonderful opportunities and among his greatest speeches was one on “Apples and Alfalfa.”
On his last trip abroad he visited the islands of the Pacific, China and Russia, and it was during this trip that he wrote the will of Madame Nordica, the famous singer. She was taken ill while a passenger on the steamer on which Governor Adams was traveling and he drew up the legal document disposing of her property. This was just before the outbreak of the World War. Not until the death of the famous singer was it disclosed that Governor Adams had drawn the will, this work having been near the coast of Java.
Governor Adams was a nationally known Democrat and personally acquainted with the foremost Democrats. During the Wilson administration it was reported several times that he was under consideration for a place in the cabinet. When President Wilson appeared in Pueblo on the memorable tour which resulted in the collapse of president, Governor Adams presided at the meeting in Memorial Hall. He was a warm friend of William Jennings Bryan and when Bryan appeared here several years ago he was a guest at the home of Governor Adams. Practically every prominent Democrat who came here to speak was entertained by the former governor.
Mr. and Mrs. Alva B. Adams left at midnight last night for the east to meet Mrs. Adams and bring the body of the former governor back to Pueblo.”
Pueblo Chieftain, November 2, 1922
Ella Adams, the widow of Alva, continued living in Pueblo with her family. She appears in the 1930 census as a widow there, with four servants, including a nurse and a chauffeur. She was stricken with pneumonia in May of 1931, and died on May 6, 1931. Stories of her death follow.
“Mrs. Alva Adams, Widow of Former Governor, Succumbs.
(Shown) Mrs. Ella Adams, widow of former Governor Alva B. Adams, who died late Tuesday night following an attack of pneumonia. Prominent in social circles for many years, Mrs. Adams was widely known, and her passing will be mourned by a legion of friends throughout Colorado.
Mother of Sen. Adams Dies After Attack of Pneumonia.
Mrs. Ella Charlotte Adams, widow of former Governor Alva Adams, died at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday at the family residence, 103 West Orman avenue, following an illness of one week.
Born in Bangor, Maine, Ella Charlotte Nye came west as a young woman. She became the wife of Alva Adams in 1871, the ceremony being performed in Manitou.
She is survived by a son, Sen. Alva B. Adams, and by two elder brothers, Dr. W. W. Nye, of Hiawatha, Kan., and A. F. Nye, of San Bernardino, Calif.
Services will be held Thursday afternoon from the family residence.”
Pueblo Chieftain, Wednesday, May 6, 1931
“Mrs. Ella Adams is Laid To Rest.
While distinguished friends and relatives gathered to pay their last tributes, funeral services were held for Mrs. Ella Charlotte Adams, wife of Former Governor Alva Adams, at the family residence, 103 West Orman avenue, Rev. Ellis V. Kuhns and Dr. J. F. Keating officiating.
Gov. W. H. Adams, brother-in-law of the dead woman, was among the mourners, as were many other high state officials.
Pallbearers were Dr. William Senger, Thomas A. Duke, Robert H. Gast, Walter K. Dudley, Mahlon Thatcher, Dr. John G. Wolf, Frank E. Parks and Fred B. Orman.
Flower bearers were Edward McCabe, W. C. Smart, George H. Sweeney, George D. Meston, Samuel D. Trimble, John Holmes, Dr. Fritz Lassen, and Dr. Herbert A. Black.”
Pueblo Chieftain, May 8, 1931
1. Federal census records from 1850 from Penobscot County, Maine.
2. Federal census records from 1850 and 1860 from Iowa County, Wisconsin.
3. Federal census records from 1860 and 1870 from Henry County, Illinois.
4. Federal census records from 1870 from Dane County, Wisconsin.
5. Federal census records from 1880 from Conejos County, Colorado.
6. Federal census records from 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 from Pueblo County, Colorado.
7. Biography of Alva Adams by Jason Brockman from the Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives, Biographies of Governors, from website: http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/govs/adams.html.
8. Biography of William H. Adams by James O. Chipman from the Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives, Biographies of Governors, from website: http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/govs/whadams.html.
9. “Colorado Marriages, 1858 – 1939,” an index compiled by the Denver Public Library in conjunction with the Colorado Genealogical Society in 2004.
10. “Colorado's Historical Newspaper Collection,” provided online by the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Historical Society at http://www.cdpheritage.org/collection/chnc.cfm.
11. “The Democratic Convention,” Colorado Daily Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, August 10, 1873.
12. “We are pleased to learn…,” Local News, Colorado Daily Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, May 14, 1874.
13. “At a primary meeting of the democrats…,” Local News, Colorado Daily Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, August 13, 1874.
14. “Mr. Alva Adams showed us…,” Local News, Colorado Daily Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, September 16, 1874.
15. Advertisement for Alva Adams & Co., Colorado Daily Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, September 17, 1874.
16. Advertisement for Alva Adams & Co., Colorado Daily Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, October 20, 1874.
17. “We learn that Mr. Alva Adams…,” Local News, Colorado Daily Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, January 8, 1875.
18. “Alva Adams, of the firm of Alva Adams & Co…,” Local News, Colorado Daily Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, April 17, 1875.
19. “Ho! For San Juan Mines!,” advertisement for the toll road from Del Norte to Lake City, Colorado Daily Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, August 20, 1876.
20. Democracy, Colorado, Democratic State Convention,” Colorado Weekly Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, Thursday, September 7, 1876.
21. “Colorado's First Vote,” Colorado Weekly Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, Thursday, November 2, 1876.
22. “From Denver. The Legislature – The Revenue and School Laws,” Colorado Weekly Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, Thursday, January 25, 1877.
23. “Del Norte,” Colorado Weekly Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, Thursday, October 4, 1877.
24. “Hon. Alva Adams, of Del Norte…,” Colorado Weekly Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, Thursday, April 11, 1878.
25. “Alamosa,” Colorado Weekly Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, Thursday, July 25, 1878.
26. “Our Leaders,” Fort Collins Courier, Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado, October 14, 1886.
27. “Hon. Alva Adams,” Fort Collins Courier, Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado, October 14, 1886.
28. “Muldoonisms,” Montezuma Millrun, Montezuma, Summit County, Colorado, July 9, 1887.
29. “Governor Adams,” Aspen Weekly Times, Aspen County, Colorado, January 5, 1889.
30. Advertisement for San Juan Hardware Company, Daily Journal, Telluride, San Miguel County, Colorado, March 28, 1896.
31. “Alva Adams,” Castle Rock Journal, Castle Rock, Douglas County, Colorado, October 30, 1896.
32. “Fifty ($50.00) Dollars Reward Will be Paid for Conviction of Parties Cutting Timber From State and School Lands,” Colorado Transcript, Golden, Jefferson County, Colorado, June 2, 1897.
33. History of Adams County through Adams County, Colorado government website, provided online at http://www.co.adams.co.us/index.cfm?d=standard&b=3&c=71&s=245&p=587.
34. Burial records from Roselawn Cemetery, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, provided online at www.roselawnpueblo.com/genealogy/.
35. “Statesman Dies in Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan,” Pueblo Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, November 2, 1922.
36. “Alva Adams Was Born in Wisconsin, Came to Colorado When of Age For Benefit of Brother's Health,” Pueblo Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, November 2, 1922.
37. “Death of Alva Adams,” Longmont Ledger, Longmont, Boulder County, Colorado, November 3, 1922.
38. “Mrs. Alva Adams, Widow of Former Governor, Succumbs,” Pueblo Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, Wednesday, May 6, 1931.
39. “Mrs. Ella Adams is Laid To Rest,” Pueblo Chieftain, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, May 8, 1931.
to the Pueblo County Index Page.
Please e-mail comments and suggestions toKaren Mitchell.
|© Karen Mitchell |