The Valley of Heart's Delight


BIO- Pen Pictures, page 275

CAPTAIN THOMAS B. ADAMS owns a five acre orchard property on Race Street, on "Sansevain Villa" tract, in the Willow District.

This place he bought and took possession of in February, 1885, the orchard having just come into bearing at that time. The buildings and improvements have all been made by Captain Adams. The fruit trees are now in a very thrifty condition, and comprise white cherry, apricot, and egg plum trees in about equal numbers. In the season of 1887 (the first year in which the orchard was in full bearing), $1,000 was realized from the entire crop. In the same season, the fruit from one-half of an acre of white cherry-trees was sold for $490. These facts are mentioned to give an idea of the thriftiness of this young orchard.

The subject of our sketch was born in Washington County, Maine, in 1836. He commenced a seafaring life as a sailor boy in the merchant marine, and from this position was promoted rapidly, reaching the honorable position of master mariner at the youthful age of twenty-two years. He has navigated every sea known to commerce, and for over twenty years has been in the pacific trade.

At Eastport, Washington County, Maine, in 1865, he was united in marriage with Miss Annie A. Chaloner, who was a native of Lubec of the same county. The family home was established at Trescott, Washington County, and retained until, in 1873, they removed to Calais, Maine. There they resided for four years, when they came to San Francisco, which city was their home until, as before stated, they became residents of Santa Clara County.

The captain had visited this coast before 1875, in command of merchant vessels from New York City. The last ship he sailed in the Atlantic merchant marine, the Hesperus, was lost on the passage from St. Mary's, Georgia, to the Rio de la Plata. Clearing from St. Mary's March 9, 1875, she encountered a gale in mid-ocean, and foundered, though kept afloat by the most strenuous exertion on the part of the captain and his crew. She was abandoned 350 miles north of the Bermuda Islands, the crew being rescued by an Australian bound vessel, and later transferred to a Norwegian steamer. This vessel landed them at Havre, France, whence by a sail vessel they reached New York. By this misfortune Captain Adams was quite a heavy loser, being impoverished to the extent of $8,000. It caused not only financial trouble, for the great mental strain, the suffering, and responsibility, brought the first gray hairs to his head. Soon after, the captain, in obedience to a summons by telegraph, came overland to San Francisco, and took command of the W. C. Parks, a vessel in the Honolulu trade. Since that date he has sailed as master of different vessels in coasting and foreign trade from San Francisco, and thus called the Pacific Coast his home for two years before he brought his family from the East.

Captain Adams enjoys the reputation of being one of the most successful ship masters living, and has always had the confidence of his employers. Though he has a home where life can well be passed pleasantly, his long life on the ocean has weaned him from the plodding one of a landsman. His seasons for rest and recruiting his energies are spent in his pleasant home, but his vocation is still that of a thorough seafaring man. His only child, Annie Louise, born in September, 1868, is yet at her parental home.

Captain Adams is identified with the Republican party. He is interested in the Masonic fraternity, being a member of Washington Lodge, F. & A. M., of Lubec, Maine.

SOURCE:  Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H.S.
Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.- transcribed by Roena Wilson


SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORY- The Valley of Heart's Delight