County sheriff was dedicated to his job and his community | PostIndependent.com
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County sheriff was dedicated to his job and his community

Frontier DiaryWilla SoncartyRegistrar, Frontier Historical Society and MuseumGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietyFrancis (Frank) W. Adams served for seven years as Garfield County sheriff and three years as Garfield County commissioner. He was known as a man dedicated to his office, his community, his business and beliefs, and worked untiringly to uphold all.
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“Frank W. Adams, the New Castle mascot, walked boldly into the sheriff’s office, sniffed the air, received with a bow the keys from Bob Ware and assumed an air of authority that would drive terror to the hearts of evildoers.”- Glenwood Post, Jan. 15, 1898 Francis W. Adams possessed all the skills necessary to make him a success. He was affable, confident, intelligent and driven. All of these qualities made him an accomplished businessman, law officer and politician.Born in September 1855 and reared in Missouri, Adams displayed his independence early, coming to Colorado at the age of 20. By the early 1880s he had chased his fortunes to Leadville. Along with his fellow miners, he hoped for a big strike. However, with substantial riches remaining elusive, he worked as a teamster freighting goods and supplies.Adams relocated to Garfield County in 1885, settling in what would become New Castle. He replaced the quest for silver with the development of coal. He and a partner from Aspen first opened what would become the Vulcan Mine southeast of New Castle. After selling his interests in the Vulcan, Francis Adams – more commonly known as Frank Adams – purchased a New Castle hardware store. He not only sold the necessities required to make frontier life civilized, but also was an ardent community supporter. It did not take long for Adams and his reputation to gain recognition beyond New Castle’s boundaries.County politics called to Adams in 1897. A staunch Republican, he was nominated to represent his party in the race for Garfield County Sheriff. He won this first election handily. Persons committing all types of crimes crossed paths with Sheriff Adams. Odds on their escape were not in their favor. Adams was so committed to his job that he cut short an 1899 San Luis Valley duck hunting trip so he could participate in the apprehension of jail escapees from Rio Blanco County. However, dealing with criminals was often easier than dealing with the politics of his office. Adams battled with the Garfield County Commissioners over janitorial services and physical control of the courthouse. He warred with his own party to gain nomination to a second term of office. In all cases, he stubbornly and eloquently held his ground. His tenacity and popularity earned him seven years as Garfield County Sheriff.Adams was elected Garfield County Commissioner but died in 1918 one year short of completing his first four-year term. Adams, the man of conviction, was buried in New Castle’s Highland Cemetery. “Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448.


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