Adams, William (1846–1939)

By: Richard Allen Burns

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1994

William Adams, sheep rancher and public servant, son of Robert and Sarah (Anderson) Adams, was born in Norfolk, England, on January 3, 1846. With his brother, Robert Adams, and his parents he moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1852. He began sheep ranching in partnership with Robert in 1867. The partnership operated in the Nueces River valley until 1893, when Adams moved to a large ranch near Alice that he had bought in 1891. He later moved into Alice. For sixteen years he was county commissioner of Nueces County. He became president of the Alice Cotton Oil Company and vice president of the South Texas Cattle Loan Company and the Alice Broom Corn Drying Company. He helped organize Jim Wells County in 1912 and served as ex officio county judge for a while. He married Sarah Dodson in January 1867, and after her death in 1894 he married Nina O. Young. He was the father of seven children. He died on January 12, 1939, at his home in Alice and was survived by two daughters and three sons.

James Cox, Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry (2 vols., St. Louis: Woodward and Tiernan Printing, 1894, 1895; rpt., with an introduction by J. Frank Dobie, New York: Antiquarian, 1959). Frontier Times, May 1929.
  • Peoples
  • English
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Sheep and Goat Ranchers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Richard Allen Burns, “Adams, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994