Biography of William Leroy Adams

A native of Connecticut but during the greater part of his life a resident of Providence, the late William L. Adams was for many years one of this city’s leading hardware and electric supplies merchants. He enjoyed a very high reputation, based on his unusual business and executive ability, on the progressiveness of his business methods and on his consistent adherence to the highest business principles. He was prominently active in Masonic affairs, a member of several country clubs, helpfully interested in religious work, and, though he never sought or held public office, always willing to support enthusiastically and energetically all movements and enterprises tending to advance the welfare of Providence, its people, and its institutions.

William L. Adams was born at Phoenixville, Connecticut, April 1, 1869, a son of Augustus and Ruth (Miller) Adams. He was educated in the public grammar and high schools and, having graduated from the Providence High School, he became associated with the firm of Belcher & Loomis, well known Providence hardware merchants. In 1901, together with Charles Dudley, Fred Clark, and Clarence Angell, he organized the Union Hardware & Electric Supply Company, becoming head of the electric department of this concern, taking a very active part in its management and development and sharing largely in making it one of the most successful and important of its type in Providence. In 1911 Mr. Adams founded the Union Electric Supply Company, of which he served as treasurer until his death. For many years prominently active in Masonic affairs, he was a member of several Masonic bodies, including Orpheus Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; the Royal Arch Chapter; Calvary Commandery, Knights Templar; and Palestine Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. An enthusiastic golfer, his membership in the Wannamoisett Country Club and in the Rhode Island Country Club made it possible for him to indulge frequently in his favorite sport. He was very much interested in everything pertaining to the development of the radio and was regarded as an expert in this field, this interest dating back to the early days of radio development, being indicative of his progressiveness. Keen in his judgment of men and affairs, he was just in all his dealings. His pleasing personality and his innate kindliness, which showed in his sparkling eyes and in his pleasant countenance, not only gained him a host of loyal friends, but also made him a delightful member of many social gatherings. His religious affiliation was with the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church of Providence.

Mr. Adams married Isabel Sanborn, a daughter of Evander Sanborn, of Eden, Vermont. Mr. and Mrs. Adams had no children.

William L. Adams died at his home in Providence December 6, 1929. His death, of course, was a great shock and represented an irreparable loss to his wife, to whom he was deeply devoted. And his death was also greatly regretted by a large circle of friends and by the community in general. Mr. Adams will long be remembered in Providence as one of its most upright and substantial business men, as a public-spirited and patriotic citizen, and as a man of high ideals and fine principles.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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