CHARLES W. ADAMS for sixteen years a well-known harness maker in the borough of Washington, and since 1890 a prominent real estate dealer and insurance broker, is a Virginian by birth, having first seen the light on May 10, 1840.
His father, Charles Adams, also a native of Virginia, a miller by trade, married Charlotte, a daughter of James Yates, also of that State, and they had three children, our subject being the only survivor, the other two having died when young. The father departed this life in 1843, aged forty-three years, and the widowed mother continued to reside in Virginia until her son, Charles W., was about eleven years old. She passed from earth in 1868 in Marion County, W. Va., at the age of sixty-three years.
Charles W. Adams received a limited education at the public schools of the neighborhood of his home, but being fatherless had to commence work very early in life. When eleven years old he entered upon a three years' apprenticeship to the harness business Taylor county, Va., and before finishing, attended school for a time, but in this essential his opportunities were or necessity much circumscribed. His mother was not exempt from toil either, for, having lost the greater part of her means through becoming security for others, she had to seek employment in order to support herself and son during his boyhood days. After finishing his trade, Mr. Adams moved to Marion County same state, where, as already related, his mother died. In 1863 he was married to Sarah Weddle whose parents were of Wheeling, W. VA. and three children came to this union: Alice and Louisa, now living in Washington, and one that died in infancy. In 1882, while residing in Washington, the mother was called to her long home, at the early age of thirty-five years. In 1867 Mr. Adams moved with his family to Wheeling, W, Va., where he carried on a harness business for his own account until 1874, in which year he came to Washington, Penn., and embarked in the harness trade, which he carried on with satisfactory success until 1890 when he sold out and engaged in his present real-estate and insurance business.
Under the President's call, in 1863, for "more men" to suppress the Rebellion, Mr- Adams enlisted in Company E, Sixth West Virginia Cavalry, and served in Virginia and West Virginia to the close of the struggle. He participated in many engagements, but was never wounded, though he had a narrow escape from capture on November 28, 1864 when he was obliged to swim the Potomac to save from falling into the hands of the enemy. Along with him was a personal friend, James A. Taggart, who was a better swimmer; Mr. Adams struck a stiff, current and thought he would drown before getting out of it, so called to his comrade, who was swimming ahead of him, for help. Taggart responded by turning back, with true patriotic friendship, but by dint of much struggling our subject succeeded in reaching the shore, where, thoroughly exhausted he laid down among some weeds, while the enemy passed by fortunately without seeing him. His wife was with him up to the time of his plunge into the river and she fell into the hands of the Confederates, who, after searching her trunk, released her without further molestation. Poor Taggart died of "spotted fever" while in the service. At the close of the war Mr. Adams was sent to the plains of Nebraska and Colorado, on Indian service, and in this as in his war experiences, he escaped injury of any kind. In 1866 he returned to West Virginia, and in l867, settled down to his trade in Wheeling, as above narrated. In 1884 Mr. Adams married, for his second wife, Alice Weddle, sister to his first, and by this union two children were born, viz: Charlotte, in 1885, and Charles W., in 1891. Our subject is a member of the G. A. R, W. Ternplcton Post, of Washington, also of the I. O. O. F. He and his wife are members of the First M. E. Church.
Text taken from page 1146 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
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