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AfriGeneas Western Frontier Forum

California Pioneer Certificate

Hello All,

This is to inform you that cousins Norman K. Adams, Jr. & Art Thomas have submitted applications and been accepted into the Sacramento, CA Society of California Pioneers.

They submitted the name of their 2nd great-grandfather, William Francis Adams, Sr. the first child and oldest son of Lewis & Susan Adams, born 1817 in Urbana, OH. William had reportedly gone to California in the late 1850's as the driver of a wagon in a wagon train.

To become members of the Society proof was required to show that William Adams was a resident of California prior to 10 May 1869 when the trans-continental railroad was completed making travel to California less dangerous. And that we (Norman & Art), were indeed descendants of William Francis Adams.

Documentation included records from the 1861 & 1868 Sacramento City Directories reflecting Adams presence at the Golden Eagle Hotel as a "job waggoner".
Newspaper articles from the Sacramento Daily Union with Adams shown on the Sacramento City Tax List. The 1864 Estate Settlement papers filed in Champaign Co., OH which stated "William Adams of California paid $3,000 cash in hand" to his siblings for their share of the Lewis Adams property located in Concord Twp., Champaign County, OH.

Other documentation showed William Adams on the 1870 Federal Census living in the 2nd Ward of Sacramento, his death notice 27 Aug 1871 in the Sacramento Bee, his funeral notice, service at the Shiloh Baptist Church and burial site record in New Helvetia Cemetery.

Thanks to AAGGMV member Peggy Allen who resides in the Sacramento area we have photos of the re-internment burial site of William Adams in the East Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Sacramento. William Carson, a genealogy friend from Los Angeles, CA sent us the photocopies of the pages found in the 1861 & 1868 Sacramento City Directory from the LA Public Library. Mrs. Mary Thames of Scaramento, another genealogy friend furnished the death notice and initial burial information on William Adams.

We have now confirmed the story of William Adams's presence in California during the period stated. We are still searching for the "wagon train" information. Patience, Perserverance and Persistence has brought us this far and we KNOW that information will be forthcoming. Also, this is a good example of networking with folks residing in the areas where your ancestors were located and we are very thankful and grateful to them.

Art Thomas


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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