Served on the Iowa Supreme Court from January 1, 1876, to December 31, 1887. For four years he was Chief Justice.
Born in Windsor County, Vermont, in 1826, he belonged collaterally to the same family as did Samuel Adams, of Revolutionary War fame. His uncle, Alvin Adams, was the organizer of the Adams Express Company. He was graduated from Dartmouth college and later from the Harvard Law School. In 1854 he came to Dubuque where he began the practice of law.
He had been for some years a professor before coming to the bar. In one way or another he was constantly engaged in educational work and for many years was a regent of the State University of Iowa.
Justice Adams died in Dubuque in 1890.