Early Residents of Monrovia

Russell D. Adams


Birthdate: October 1849

Birthplace: Walled Lake, Oakland County, Michigan

Occupation: Doctor

Properties Owned: 113 N. Primrose Avenue

Russell D. Adams was the son of  William R. Adams, a farmer, and wife Clarissa.  William, originally from Ohio,  was a merchant in 1850 living in Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York.  Clarissa Adams was born in Pennsylvania.  An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County incorrectly states both parents as being from New York.  An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County also indicates that William and Clarissa moved to Michigan around 1826 to start a general store, but 1850 census records show William R. Adams living in Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York, being a merchant.  An Illustrated History further states that William R. Adams retired in 1868 and moved to Illinois where he died in 1869.

William’s son Russell D. Adams was born in October of 1849.  An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County gives the following information:

    Russell D. Adams was born in Walled Lake, Oakland County, Michigan.  He received a good education as a boy and then was sent to Syracuse, New York for high school.  He took two years out of his studies to serve as a medical steward in the United States Navy.  From there, he went to Michigan State University.  He graduated from Long Island College Hospital with a medical degree.  In Bloomington, Illinois in 1868, he married Miss [Callie] Ellis, a native of Ohio. Callie Ellis was born in May of 1840 in Ohio, according to census records.  Other records show that Callie and Russell were married in 1868 in Ohio.  Their first child, Jennie G. Adams was born in November 8, 1868, in Bloomington, Illinois.An Illustrated History continues reporting that Dr. Adams and his family moved to Skiddy, Morris County, Kansas, in 1873 where he had a successful practice for several years. However, census records state that a son, Charles E. Adams, was born in Kansas in 1871, so he must have arrived earlier than Illustrated History states.  Other records show the Adams, along with his mother-in-law Rebecca Ellis,  living in 1875 and 1885 (Rebecca Ellis had died before the last date) in Rolling Prairie, Morris County, Kansas.Charles E. Adams doesn’t appear in any other census records after 1885.  A daughter Alice was born in May of 1879 (census records).  Another daughter Frances was born in 1884 (census records).  In 1885, Dr. Adams and his family went to Council Grove, Kansas, to continue his practice.  While in Kansas, Dr. Adams was active in politics in and served in the Kansas State Legislature.  But he didn’t like the climate so in 1888, he came to Alhambra, California, reports An Illustrated History.In 1893, Dr. Adams moved to Monrovia form partnerships with other doctors, one of whom was Dr. Pottenger.  He moved into a house at 113 N. Primrose Avenue (at that time it faced Foothill and the address was 201 W. White Oak Avenue), which had been the house of a doctor, John Taylor Stewart.Dr. Adams was active in civic affairs.  He was on the first school board in 1887 along with Prof. J.G. Cross (USC) and J.J. Renaker.  He was on the building committee for the Monrovia Baptist Church’s new building, located at the northwest corner of Palm and Encinitas Avenues and was also a staunch Republican (History of Monrovia).Dr. Adam’s daughter Frances (Frankie), graduated from Monrovia High School in 1902.  Alice, Jennie, and Frank never married and continued to live in the White Oak house after their father’s death on June 11, 1917.  Sometime in the early 20s, they moved to 327 N. Myrtle.  Frank worked as a teacher at Orange Avenue School, Jennie was a dressmaker who worked from the house, and Alice apparently kept house from them.  An interesting fact in the 1930 census has Alice being the head of the family though she was younger than Jennie, didn’t work, and Jennie had previously been listed as head of the household. Jennie died on September 16, 1954.  Her obituary states that though she had been deaf since the age of two, she played the organ for her church.  The obituary also says that she was an avid hiker who belonged to a hiking club and climbed to the summit of Mt. Whitney when she was 82 years old.  It also states that she had no survivors, so Alice and Frances must have predeceased her.  No reliable information on death dates could be found for Alice, Frances, or Mrs. Adams.  None of the Adams family was buried in Live Oak Cemetery.


Harvey, J.W., ed. Monrovia Messenger Illustrated Souvenir Edition. Monrovia: J.W. Harvey, 1887. Print

State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn: Long Island Coll. Hosp., 1864, (G)Census Records Data 1900, 1910, 1870 (in Bloomfield Michigan)