Search billions of records on


 Biographies Index  



California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Elmer Freeman Adams

The ability to step out of the beaten paths and take advantage of opportunities toward which the multitude do not gravitate, has undoubtedly been the cause of the prosperity which has come to Mr. Adams, who is well known throughout Sonoma county as a manufacturer of commodities made from paper, such as egg case fillers, berry boxes, butter cartons, egg cartons, shoe boxes, paper dishes and chicken boxes. The chicken box manufactured by Mr. Adams is an improvement over the old-fashioned wooden box formerly used in the shipment of day-old chicks by express from the numerous hatcheries that form so large a part of the business activity in Petaluma and the surrounding country, an innovaton which has been well received, in that it is filling a long-felt and needed improvement, and shippers and users generally are sincere in their praise of Mr. Adamsí welcome invention.

A native of the middle west, E. F. Adams was born in Cook county, Ill., January 16, 1864, the son of Orville and Effie (Bliss) Adams, who had passed the greater part of their lives in that section of the Union. Although he was reared in a farming community Mr. Adams was not attracted to farming as a life calling, having an adaptation rather for business life, and in following this natural bent he not only made a success of his undertakings financially, but he has also been congenially employed, which is half of the battle of life. During young manhood he learned the paper-making trade in Illinois, serving an apprenticeship in mills in Marseilles, and after following the business there for some time, accepted the position of superintendent of the egg-case filler and paper-box department of the Crescent Paper Company, in Marseilles, and remained there until 1904, when he became associated with the Howe & Davidson Company of the same place, and remained with the latter company until coming to the west. It was with the practical experience of several years that he came to California in 1906 and established the business of which he is today the proprietor. His entire capital at that time was only $700, so is equipment at first was small and unpretentious, but the excellent trade in egg-case fillers and paper boxes which he soon built up, enabled him to extend and enlarge his equipment, until he now has a finely equipped plant, all of the best and most approved machinery having been installed. As he is a natural mechanic and an inventor of no mean ability, he is constantly on the alert to make improvements and the strip machine in use in his plant was the first and most important of these innovations. By its use he can make egg-fillers of any size, and the output has also been materially increased, ninety cases of ten thousand fillers being an average nine-hour day output since its invention and installation. Subsequently he installed an automatic filler machine which has a capacity of twenty-eight thousand eight hundred fillers in twenty-four hours. In the box manufacturing department he has the latest machines for the purpose. Taken all in all Mr. Adams has given the manufacturing interests of Petaluma a lively stimulus since he came to the town in 1906, and every year adds to his influence as citizen and upbuilder of the community. At the present time (1911) he gives employment to thirty people, and the annual pay-roll of the manufactory amounts to $10,000. His trade is not limited to the county or state in which he resides, but extends to Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska and Honolulu.

Mr. Adamsí marriage was celebrated in Illinois in 1889 and united him with Miss Susie Tice, a native of that state. Four children have been born of their marriage, Claud, Wallace, Howard and Gladys. Being what is justly termed a self-made man Mr. Adams certainly deserves the prosperity which he now enjoys. In his political views he is thoroughly independent, preferring to vote for the man and the principle rather than for the party. Fraternally he holds membership in the Odd Fellows organization. He is an active member of the Merchants Association and the Chamber of Commerce. While a resident of Marseilles, Ill., he was an active member of the Howe & Davidson Fire Company, of which he was captain.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011