ROBERT LEROY ADAMS
is a man of unusual enterprise and initiative and has met with such marvelous good fortune in his various business projects that it would verily seem as though he possessed an “open sesame” to unlock the doors to success. Self-made and self-educated in the most significant sense of the words, he has progressed steadily toward the goal of success until he is now recognized as one of the foremost business men and citizens of Herrin, Illinois, where he has long been the efficient incumbent of the office of city engineer.
At Crab Orchard, Illinois, May 2, 1882, occurred the birth of Robert L. Adams, whose forefathers have been residents of Williamson county since the ante-bellum days. His father, Robert Adams, was born in Kentucky, and was brought to Illinois as a child by his parents. He grew up in the vicinity of Herrin's Prairie, where the modern metropolis of Herrin has sprung up. William Adams, grandfather of Robert L. of this review, was a farmer in the locality of Crab Orchard during the greater part of his active career and he died in 1895, at the age of sixty-eight years. William's children were: Robert; Mrs. Lizzie Toler, of Carbondale, Illinois; Mrs. Delia Chapman, of Herrin, Illinois; Mrs. Dora Reed, of Herrin; Mrs. Dell Cox, of Carterville, Illinois; Curt, who died unmarried; and Mrs. Beulah Brown, whose death occurred in 1895.
Robert Adams passed an uneventful boyhood and his early educational training consisted of such advantages as were afforded in the schools of the locality and period. He is yet an active farmer and conservative citizen of the vicinity of Crab Orchard, where he is a man of prominence and influence. He married Sarah A. Scobey, a daughter of John and Amanda (Pulley) Scobey, both pioneers in this section of Illinois from Tennessee. The Scobey children were: Mrs. Hannah Mosley, of Williamson county; Mrs. Robert Adams; Freeman and Edward H., farmers in Williamson county; and Mrs. Eva Fuller and Bert Scobey, of this county. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Adams are here mentioned in respective order of birth: J. Prentiss, deputy clerk of Williamson county; William W., a traveling salesman for a Little Rock, Arkansas, concern; Frank, an employe of the state in the hospital at Jacksonville; Robert LeRoy, the immediate subject of this review; and Harry, who remains at home with his parents.
To the public schools of Williamson county Robert Leroy Adams is indebted for his preliminary educational training, At the age of eighteen
years he began teaching school and he followed that occupation for a period of five years, during which time he was also a student in the Southern Illinois Normal University, at Ava, and in the historic academy at Crab Orchard. His attention was finally directed to civil engineering as a profession and in order to familiarize himself with the details of that line of work he entered the service, as a helper, of the firm of Hutchinson & Jacob, the scene of his early activities being in the Crab Orchard section. Eight months were spent in the employ of the above concern and at the expiration of that period Mr. Adams began to work for his old employer, T. W. Jacob. During the following two years he applied himself to the work at hand and during that period mastered mining engineering. He became associated, in the engineering field, with W. T. Pierce, a noted engineer at Herrin. When Mr. Pierce lost his life in a mine accident, in December, 1909, Mr. Adams succeeded to his business, to which he has devoted his time and attention during the intervening years to the present, in 1912.
In his profession Mr. Adams occupies a broader field than that pertaining to mining alone. Demands are constantly being made upon him in connection with surveying, running land lines, establishing corners, platting township additions and establishing grades for city improvement. He is engineer for a number of corporations engaged in mining coal in Southern Illinois and has held the office of city engineer of Herrin for some years. As city engineer he prepared the plans for the city water plant and supervised its installation in 1911. He came to Herrin in 1906 and has thoroughly entered into the spirit of town-building both as a private citizen and as an official of the corporation. In politics Mr. Adams is aligned as a stalwart in the ranks of the Republican party and while he is not an active politician he is always ready to respond to the call of his home town for the furtherance of progress and improvement. He resides in the Fourth ward and represents it as a member of the board of education.
On May 29, 1903, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Adams to Miss Maude Simmons, a daughter of the later William and Mary (Cruse) Simmons. Mr. and Mrs. Adams are the fond parents of two children, Beatrice and Justin. Mr. and Mrs. Adams are honored and respected citizens of Herrin, where their exemplary lives have gained to them the love and admiration of all with whom they have come in contact.