Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

ADAMS, PHELPS R (1844-1932)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 28, 1929)

Photograph of Phelps R. Adams
Phelps R. Adams

Nineteen Survivors of the Early Wars Will Be Guests of Honor this Memorial Day

"No, not lucky enough to be in any actual conflicts, but we were lined up in battle formation only to see the opposition scatter faster than it had come", says Phelps R. Adams of 18 Caledonia street with the 138th Illinois Infantry Regiment fighting the guerrilla war bands. "These bands were mostly plunderers, small in number and hard to catch."

The most exciting time: "The company was on a train homeward bound when the engine and tender left the rails. This was in a very swampy section. Some ties had been piled on the tracks and the guerrilla rioters were in ambush among the swamps. Owing to the fact that the train did not go along with the engine the guerrillas did not open fire. Had the train been wrecked it would have meant sure death to many, as the guerrillas did not take prisoners. Neither side fired, but there were many tense moments."

Comrade Adams is 85 years old and was 19 when he enlisted.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (September 5, 1929)

Civil War Veteran Loses Pension Check

Charles [Phelps] R. Adams, a Civil War veteran living at 18 Caledonia street reported to the police yesterday that his pension check, amounting to $72, which he had signed and placed in an envelope to cash, had been lost. Anyone who finds it will confer a big favor on the aged war veterans by notifying him or taking the check to the police department to be returned to him. It is a loss that he can ill afford.

Santa Cruz Evening News (May 30, 1930)

GAR Well Represented

Phelps R. Adams, 18 Caledonia street was born June 4, 1844, near Galesburg, Ill., and enlisted at Galesburg, May 13, 1864. He served in the 138th Illinois Infantry.

His regiment was assigned to do guard and patrol duty at Fort Leavenworth, KA. Later his company and another were selected to guard small towns in western Missouri against the inroads of guerrilla bands such as Quantrell's, Bill Anderson's and others. These two companies under Gen. Curtis patrolled the Missouri river from St. Joe on the west to Independence on the east.

"While we were never drawn into battle with the enemy we were many times within an hour or two of the enemy in their flight and near Kansas City a sanguinary battle as fought and the enemy under Gen. Price retreated toward the south and dispersed," related Mr. Adams. "Our regiment was then sent to patrol and guard the Iron Mountain railroad. This was the last of our activities."

Santa Cruz Sentinel (April 29, 1932)

Rev. P.R. Adams Died Yesterday at His Home Here

Rev Phelps R. Adams, a well-known clergyman and also a veteran of the Civil War, died yesterday at his home in this city. He was 87 years of age and was born in Illinois.

Rev Adams was born at Galesburg and graduated from the Lombard University in the city of his birth. At the age of 18 years he enlisted in the 168th Illinois Infantry and served in the western division, along the Mississippi River during the war. He was always interested in the G.A.R. and for many years was a member of Wallace Reynolds Post G.A.R. He was ordained as a minister of the Congregational church and preached in Iowa. At the advice of a physician he came to California. For over 40 years he has resided here and, until his death retained his faculties. Few were as young in spirit as Rev. Adams. Shortly after his arrival the Advent Christian church was without a pastor and he served that church for some time, very acceptably. He spent many years at Bonny Doon where he had a farm. Here he organized a Congregational church of which he was pastor for may years. He was a deep student of the Bible.

Surviving him is the widow, Mrs. Agnes Adams, sons, Everett Adams and Arthur Adams of Riverbank, and daughter, Mrs. Blanche Hicks.

Funeral services are to be held Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock at the C.C. Chase mortuary. Rev. Heber St. Clair Mahood of the First Congregational church will officiate.


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