L-R: Major Mark De Zeng, Col. Julius W. Adams, and Lt. Col. Nelson Cross

Julius Adams


Julius Adams , the first Colonel of the 67th NYs, was a civil engineer by trade. Born in Boston, Mass., Oct. 18, 1812, he was the son of Eli and Sarah Delano (Swift) Adams, of Puritan and Huguenot ancestry. His father, born in Lincoln, Mass., March 16, 1770, was the fifth in lineal decent from Henry Adams, of Braintree, Mass., who emigrated from Essex, England, in 1630, with eight sons and one daughter. His mother was a daughter of Dr. Foster Swift of Boston and Deborah Delano, of Nantucket, who was the fifth in decent from Richmond Warren, of Greenwich, Kent, England, one of the passengers who landed from the Mayflower at Plymouth in 1620. The third in decent from this Richard was Mercy Warren, who was married to Nathaniel De la Nove (thenceforward known as Delano), son of Philip De la Noye, who landed from the ship Fortune in 1621.

Julius Walker Adams entered the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, in June 1830. Drawn into the field of engineering by the wave of internal improvement then sweeping over the country, he resigned from the Academy in May 1832 to join his uncle, Maj. William Whistler, as assistant engineer on the Paterson and Hudson River railroad. From this position he went as assistant engineer on the Stonington and Providence railroad and was then, successively, on the Norwich and Worcester (1836), the Western, of Massachusetts (1839); the Albany and Schenectady (1842) railroads; at the Brooklyn navy yard (1844), and at the Cochinate water works of Boston (1846). He was superintending engineer of the New York and Eire railroad (1846); chief engineer of the Central railroad of Kentucky (1852), and the Memphis and Ohio railroad (1855).

In 1857 Mr. Adams was called to Brooklyn, NY to prepare a comprehensive plan for a system of sewers for the city. Up to that time, no American town had been sewered on a general plan prepared in advance and no date existed to guide in determining the proper dimensions of sewers adapted to American climatic conditions and the habits of the people. Mr. Adams carefully investigated the whole subject and the plans devised and carried out by him have proved most effective and satisfactory.

The Civil War having interrupted this work, he entered the military service as Colonel of the 67th N.Y. volunteers in June 1861, and served in the army of the Potomac until wounded in the battle of Fair Oaks, May 31, 1862. On October 20, 1862, he resigned from the army and returned to Brooklyn. He was the chief engineer of the Brooklyn department of city works (1869-1877), consulting engineer to the New York City department of public works (1880-1888), and was a director of the Panama railroad (1888-1893).

Col. Adams has contributed many valuable reports and papers to state boards of health and to corporations. Among such may be cited his "Report on the Pollution of Rivers" to the commission on the water supply of Philadelphia in 1875; the report of a commission on the plans for sewering Providence, R.I., in 1876, and the report to the New Jersey state board of health "On the Disposal of Sewage in Cities" in 1882. In 1880 he wrote the first comprehensive treatise on the sewering of towns issued in America. This work, entitled "Sewers and Drains in Populous Districts" has passed through several editions. Col. Adams was one of the founders of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1852; was vice president (1867-1873); president (1874-1875), and was made an honorary member, Oct. 26, 1888.

On Dec. 5, 1835, he was married to Elizabeth, daughter of John and Esther (Brown) Denison, of Stonington, CT. They had five sons and three daughters. Elizabeth died in Brooklyn on April 2, 1888. Julius Adams died December 16, 1899 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn NY (gravesite #2018, sec 93).

Group photo provided by the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle PA