Friday, June 1, 2012

What Do I Know

James Lawrence Adams was born between the years 1869-1872 to Dr. James William Adams and Mary I. Cox. He lived in the Des Moines area from birth through 1900 and was the younger of two children.  His older sister, Katie, was born in Michigan. Their father attended medical school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

In 1900 James married Edna J. Brass in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The newlyweds lived with his parents in Prairie City, Des Moines Township. The young couple had one son, James Lyman Adams, who was born on 4 March 1905 is Des Moines, Iowa. Sometime between 1905 and 1910 the young family moved west to Long Beach, California.

In 1910, James Lawrence Adams and family resided at 1132 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach, California. James worked as an accident insurance agent. Just for fun, I performed a Google search and found the home. This multi-family residence built in 1923 is located in downtown Long Beach.

Details of James Lawrence's life during the years from 1910- 1926 remain a mystery. During that time, his marriage to Edna Brass failed. James Lyman graduated with a law degree from Stanford University and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1929. In 1930 James Lyman, lived with his paternal grandmother, Mary Adams nee Cox. Mary is eighty-two years of age and James is twenty-five. Grandmother Mary Adams nee Cox passed away in 1931 and in 1933 James Lyman Adams wed Helene M. Rapp. Where is James Lawrence Adams for all of this?

At some point James Lawrence made his way to Chicago. It is here he met Charlotte Ludiger. This was a first marriage for Charlotte Ludiger. The 1930 census records report she was married at the age of 24; which suggests a marriage year of 1924. Charlotte Jane Adams was born in 1926.

From this point on, James lived at 5550 Kenmore Avenue in Chicago. His occupation is reported to a salesman of stocks and a racetrack employee. Charlotte Jane reports that her father gambled. He was known to bet on racehorses at all the Chicago area racetracks.

James Lawrence made friends with celebrities and would bring home personalized autographs of famous people for his little girl. Her collection includes autographs from Judy Garland, Jimmy Durante and Uncle Al Jolson just to name a few. A Chicago Tribune sports writer wrote about James Lawrence Adams saying “Old Doc Adams” just sits around mumbling. I have not yet found the newspaper article.

During those World War II years, James Lawrence Adams would invite servicemen home for dinner.

James Lawrence came from a highly educated family. He was a stickler about school and good grades. He wanted Charlotte Jane to be well educated. Charlotte Jane desired to attend Northwestern University and become a doctor. Of course, she wanted to live on campus and James Lawrence told her no. She could get her education but had to come home at night.

He then suggested that nice Catholic College down the road. It was supposed to be a good school for girls. Charlotte Jane Adams enrolled in Mundelein College just a bus ride down from their apartment. Mundelein College later became Loyola University located along Lake Michigan’s shore in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Charlotte Jane Adams never met her paternal grandparents. She recalls her father telling her that his father passed away from throat cancer. He told her he grew up in a small town in Iowa and that he had a sister. He never spoke about his mother. He also told her about his son Jimmy. During the war, Jimmy had an important job with the government. When Jimmy passed through Union Station in Chicago, he would go meet him.

James Lawrence’s life was in Chicago. He was an aging man with a young family. He gave the following advice to his daughter, Charlotte Jane. Be Good. Be Kind. Stay with your mother and her family. He was thinking of her future.

On July 4th, 1945, James Lawrence Adams did not wake up from his night rest. His passing was a shock to the family. His wife ran across the street and fetched the doctor. This seemingly active and healthy man was pronounced dead at home.

Women made their condolences to the family. No men attended his funeral as they were away serving in World War II. His death certificate reports his burial on 6 July 1945 in Graceland Cemetery, but his final resting place is at Memorial Gardens, Skokie, Illinois.

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