Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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ADAMS, RICHARD BERNARD, lawyer, hotel owner, and Chatham postmaster, 1886-96; b. Douglastown (bap. 16 Mar 1854, 10 wks.), s/o Samuel Adams Sr and Mary Ann Daley; brother of Michael Adams and Samuel Adams; m. 1st, 1882, Mabel B. Agnew, of Fredericton, and 2nd, Josephine Beers; d. New York City, 20 Mar 1928.

Richard B. Adams graduated from the law school of New York University (LLB 1877) and was the only member of his profession on the Miramichi in his time to possess a law degree. After studying with William Wilkinson he was admitted to the bar in 1880 and opened an office in Chatham. He was active on the business front as well, and gave the family name to the Metropolitan Hotel in Chatham in 1884 when he took charge of it and renamed it Adams House. While his proprietorship was of only two years' duration, the hotel continued to be known as the Adams House for more than seventy years.

In 1886 Adams succeeded Thomas Vondy as postmaster at Chatham. Because it was felt by the residents of the town that more deserving candidates had been passed over for the appointment, public approval was denied him. He was constantly accused of practicing law at the post office, while he lost no opportunity to complain about the small salary which he was receiving for working "from 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. at the latest, till 8.30 p.m., sometimes 9 p.m.," seven days a week, all year long. Some of the statements which he made in his own defense, such as those contained in a letter published in the Miramichi Advance in 1889, were exceedingly intemperate.

When Adams finally quit as postmaster in 1896, he moved his family to New York City and entered the field of journalism. He had an editorial position with the New York Journal until 1901 and was then said to have founded a new paper called The West Side and Harlem News. He did not remain long with this publication because he stated in 1915 that he had been advertising manager of the New York World for the past eleven years. He was described in the New York Times that year as "an advertising solicitor, with an income of nearly $8,000 a year."

Adams's first wife, Mabel B. Agnew, died in 1903, at age thirty-six, leaving five children. His second wife filed for divorce in 1915, at which time it was reported that he and she had three children.


[m] Advocate 1 Mar 1882 [d] Advocate 27 Mar 1928 / Advance 8 Aug 1889; Advocate 30 May 1877, 26 May 1886, 28 Jun 1893, 6 Dec 1893, 15 May 1895, 7 Oct 1896, 13 Mar 1901, 20 May 1903, 10 Nov 1915; Advance 23 Jul 1896; Fraser (C); New York Times 5 Nov 1915; New York World 21 Mar 1928; Times 3 Oct 1879