Baker Adams Scholarship

BAKER ADAMS
1907 – 1997

The Adams family name has been a long time Georgetown family dating back to the early founders of the town. There are Adamses listed as volunteers in the Revolutionary Army in 1775. The Adamses were prominent businessmen in early Georgetown. As early as 1780, Captain Benjamin Adams (a distant relative) was tanning and currying leather at his home on the old Salem Road, now Central Street. Baker Adams’ grandfather, Cornelius G. Baker, along with H. E. Harriman, owned and operated a successful shoe company. The company was located on Elm Street and provided shoes for Essex County. The businessmen of Georgetown had a reputation of being the “sharpest traders in northern Essex County.”

Baker Adams was born on February 17, 1907, the only son of Clarence C. and Cornelia (Baker) Adams. They resided at 150 Elm Street in Georgetown. In addition to the shoe business, the family raised their own vegetables and maintained a variety of animals (chickens, hens, sheep and cats). The Adams family was very close knit, emphasizing a strong work ethic and service to the community. Education was a high priority in the Adams family. Cornelia served on the Georgetown School Committee from 1919 to 1927, which was prior to the suffrage movement.

As a child, Baker attended the Central School located in what is now Town Hall, and graduated in 1923 from the Perley Free (High) School. He continued his education at Tufts University, graduating in 1927, and entered Harvard Law School, graduating in 1931.

Baker Adams practiced law in Boston from 1932 until 1937, while living at home with his parents. He commuted by train to the city from Baldpate Station, located on Nelson Street, where his uncle was the stationmaster. (The Baldpate Station was demolished in 1942.) In 1939, Baker joined a law firm in Haverhill and maintained a private practice in Georgetown.

As did his ancestors, Baker Adams had a strong sense of honor and duty. He joined the United States Army in 1942, becoming one of the first graduates from the Judge Advocate General School at the University of Michigan in 1943. He served in the Judge General Department with the 10th Air Force for two years in the China-India-Burma theater.

Upon returning from the war, Baker rejoined the law firm in Haverhill and Georgetown. He lived once again at 150 Elm Street, caring for his mother until her death in the mid 1950’s. Baker Adams lived life to its fullest. He gladly exchanged his business attire for his flannel shirt and overalls at day’s end. He sought refuge in raising the family animals and maintaining the large vegetable garden. His frozen vegetables and canned fruits were well known among the residents in town.

Baker Adams was a well-respected attorney in the Georgetown/Haverhill area. He was meticulous and professional in everything he undertook. This was most evident in his attire, always wearing a dark suit and tie. It was well known throughout the area that he would handle your taxes for $5 and draft and execute wills for $25. Baker never missed a morning coffee break at ten o’clock at his favorite local establishment.

In addition to a robust law practice, Mr. Adams held many offices. He was Trustee and Executive Officer of Citizens Cooperative Bank in Haverhill, Officer of the Haverhill Cooperative Bank and Trustee of the Georgetown Savings Bank. Baker Adams’ community involvement grew throughout the years, as evidenced in the many Town offices he held:

    • Selectman
    • Trustee of the Georgetown Peabody Library
    • Finance Committee Member
    • Town Moderator for 25 years
    • Member in good standing of the Odd Fellows
    • Fifty year member of the Masonic Temple
    • Member of the Grange
    • Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars

Baker Adams was a direct and plainspoken person, always advocating for the local person, never underestimating an individual’s ability or desires.

In 1972, Baker Adams retired from the law firm in Haverhill. He remained at 150 Elm Street, focusing his time on his animals and gardens (most memorably his collection of African violets), as well as his community involvement in Georgetown. In 1995, he suffered a stroke and died in 1997 at the age of 90.

As he did throughout his life, Baker Adams continued his legacy of community service by donating 12.5 acres of land to the Town of Georgetown to be added to the State Forest located off of East Street. Mr. Adams also donated a Trust Fund to the Georgetown School Committee, to be used for scholarships for local students. Baker Adams’ contribution to the Town of Georgetown began at the turn of the century and continues on into the millennium.