Harry M. Adams March 30, 1927 - December 31, 1931
Born January 3, 1867 at Comanche, Iowa. Mr. Adams entered railway
service in 1880, with the St. Louis & San Francisco as a messenger
at Cherryvale, Kansas. He later held various positions in station
service on the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf and the Southern
Kansas, and in 1886 was made chief clerk in the general baggage
department of the Southern Kansas. On June 1, 1887, he became
cashier in the local freight office of the same road at Cherryvale,
Kansas, and on October 15, 1887, became chief clerk in the general
baggage department of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company. From
December, 1889, to June 1, 1890, he was consecutively division
baggage agent and advertising agent of the Union Pacific at
Portland, Oregon. From June 1, 1890 until June 10. 1893, he was
baggage agent of the United Storage and Baggage Transfer Company at
the same city, following which he spent a year in South America. On
March 1, 1894, he entered the traffic department of the Oregon
Railway & Navigation Company as ticket clerk at Seattle, Washington,
following which he was consecutively clerk in the general traffic
office at Portland, traveling freight and passenger agent, chief
clerk in the general freight department and general agent. On May
15, 1902, he was promoted to assistant general freight agent, with
headquarters at Portland, Oregon, and on June 18, 1905, left the
Oregon Railway & Navigation Company to become assistant traffic
manager of the Great Northern, with headquarters at Seattle,
Washington. From December 1, 1907, to June 30, 1910, he was general
freight and passenger agent of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle at
Mr. Adams became the first traffic manager of Western Pacific, serving in that capacity from July 1910 until March 1914. On August 1, 1913, he was also appointed freight traffic manager of the Denver & Rio Grande. In May, 1914, he resigned as freight traffic manager of the Denver & Rio Grande. He then became the general traffic manager of the Missouri Pacific and the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern beginning in March, 1914. He was then promoted to vice-president in charge of traffic of the reorganized Missouri Pacific, though he continued to have headquarters at St. Louis, Missouri.
On January 11, 1918 he was appointed Director of Inland Traffic, later called the Inland Traffic Service, for the United States Army Quartermaster Corps. By General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 35 (1919) The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, presented the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Mr. Harry M. Adams, a United States Civilian, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility as Director of Inland Traffic Service, War Department. His responsibilities have been great in supervising the utilization of railroad facilities and the immense movement of troops and supplies during World War I. His excellent judgment and marked ability have contributed materially to the successful and orderly movement of troops and supplies to the ports of embarkation and for the Army overseas.
He was also awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor as described here: Mr. Harry M Adams, director of Inland traffic. For exceptionally meritorious and conspicuous service with the Army of the United States as director of inland traffic. His responsibilities have been great in supervising the utilization of railroad facilities and the immense movement of troops and supplies during the war. His excellent judgment and marked ability have contributed materially to the successful and orderly movement of troops and supplies to the ports of embarkation and for the Army overseas.
Mr. Adams advanced to the peak of his career in April, 1927, when he became president of the Western Pacific and guided that road through a four-year period of expansion, including the building of a line connecting it with the Great Northern. Previously, he had been vice-president of the company after serving as vice-president of the Missouri Pacific and the Union Pacific.
A railroader for 62 years, he retired from railroading and the Western Pacific on January 1, 1932. He made his home at the Hotel Claremont in BerkeIey, California having previously resided at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.
At the age of 65, the retired president of the Western Pacific Railroad died suddenly in Berkeley on July 30, 1932 from a heart attack. Although he had been troubled for some years with a heart ailment, he had been considered in fair health since his retirement, it was stated. He was survived by his widow, Josephine Moore Adams. They had no children.
Funeral services were conducted in Oakland on August 1st with interment in the family plot at Riverview Cemetary in Portland, Oregon.