|Birth: ||Jan. 1, 1922|
|Death: ||Dec. 20, 2005|
CONCORD -Awarded the (male) Citizen residing in Concord the longest on Sept. 1, 1998 during Concord Community Days, Jay Adams deserves a place in the history column. Adams has a history rooted in Concord for years. Jay's uncle Wade Adams fought in the Spanish American War, his grandfather served in the Civil War and his great-grandmother Artemisia Messenger was the first child of a settler born on Little Mountain. All three are buried in the Concord Cemetery. Artemisia's grandfather Isaac Messenger served in the Revolutionary War and moved to the Concord area in 1820. His wife Ann is the oldest person buried in the Concord Cemetery at the age of 101.
Born on New Years Day 1922, Jay Adams recalled this story as told by his parents. "My dad called the doctor to say it was time for my mom to deliver. We had the only telephone on Prouty Road; it was one of those old fashioned wood ones on the wall with a crank on it. Years ago, when a call came for anyone on road, they had a dinner bell outside and had a different number of rings for different neighbors; they rang it three times for one neighbor and 2 times for another, and so on. Then that neighbor would come over and call back whoever had called them. "Well, my dad phoned and arranged to meet the doctor at the corner where the Dinner Bell Restaurant is now. It was a wintry day and the roads were all icy. It was so slippery that, as they drove the horse and buggy up Murray Hill, just north of Prouty Road on Ravenna, the horse couldn't get his footing to climb the hill. So my dad had to get out and lay down a rug under the horse's feet at each step. They made it up the hill, continued, met the doctor who had driven his car to meet them, and went on into Painesville to the Lake County Hospital.
It was a wooden structure back then, which has been torn down." Adams grinned and shook his head, patting Sandy, his 16 year old collie - shepherd cross and thinking about what that day must have been like. Jay's father, Martin G. Adams, was born in Concord on October 8, 1875 and his mother, Ethel May Brewster Adarns, was born Nov. 28, 1888 and grew up in Madison. They were married in 1912. The family lived on Prouty Road between Ravenna and Auburn Roads where they had a farm with horses, cows and chickens and raised crops. Martin was a carpenter, a Concord township trustee and served on the Concord school board where he met his second wife, Ethel May, who taught at Judd' s Corners School, located at the intersection of Concord-Hambden and Girdled Roads. Martin's fIrst wife, Cora A. Tyler, and mother of sister, Wadena and brothers Raymond and Lysle,-had died. Martin and Ethel May had two sons, Robert and Harold before Jay was born. Robert died at the age of 4. "1 never knew Robert, he was gone before I was born."
The family moved to a farm on Ravenna Road south of the center of town when Jay was 4 years old. He remembers summers swimming at Chair Factory Falls and what was called "the Point" a little further downstream on Jordan Creek. "The Point was a little deeper hole, we used to swim and play down there quite a bit, swing on the grapevines across the creeks and stuff," Adams laughed. "Back in those days, ya know, you had to make your own entertainment. That was back in the thirties, times were hard, so all the kids would go down together."In the wintertime, we'd go down here in the pasture and sled ride and ski, and there's a pond right down here on Ravenna Road, a little dip in the road just past the stone school house, on the left, where we used to sweep the snow off the ice and skate there. "There was a guy who lived next door who used to take the box off his vehicle, I think they had an old Model A or something, and they brought the kids home from school. Well, in the winter they put the box on a bobsled and they had a team, so my buddy and I, we'd hop on that back runner and we'd ride on the back. When we got to our houses we'd hop off." He attended elementary school at the newly opened Concord School, a larger brick building on Ravenna just up the road from the farm. When asked if he got into any trouble or took part in any pranks in school he had this to say. "I guess I can tell you this one without getting in much trouble now. Years ago, we used to cut up the canning jar rubbers, and there were big rubber bands that came on meat. The boys would take them to school to shoot. Well, one day I let one go and it made a big curve and hit George Washington's picture right under the eye and it stuck there for years. And when my daughter went to school there she saw it there! She used to always tease me about that. They finally took the picture down and put it away somewhere," but no one ever removed the piece of rubber stuck to Washington ' s face. "I guess nobody ever noticed it and I didn't get caught at it either."
Adams' daughter Bonnie verified the story, noting that it happened in Mrs. Mordoffs 4th grade class, by whom Jay and later his two children were taught. When Adams was 12 years old he worked in nearby rose fields and when he was a little older, he helped farmers put up hay in the summer and such. "I got $1.50 a day and my dinner for helping them out in the summer. I worked on the farm next door, here, for $30 a month and my board." He graduated from Harvey High School with the Class of 1940. "Then I went to The Rayon." Adams was 18 when he started working for IRC Fibers, or better known as 'The Rayon' in Painesville Township. There he started out as a 'bobbin boy' and later bid on a job and became a 'fixer', one that repairs and maintains the machinery in the factory. " After about a year and a half, Uncle Sam called me." He was among the first group of 20 year olds to be drafted from this area. Adams got up and went off in search of something and came back with an old book. "November 28, 1942 we left my draft board in Willoughby and we headed to Camp Perry on the train. My brother came from New York and my mother and father were there to see me off at the train station. There's the picture at the train station the day I left." He had proudly opened the book and pointed to a photo. The book was full of personal memories of his army days. On the front cover of the somewhat tattered album were the dates 'Nov. 28,1942 Drafted' and 'Nov. 10,1945 Out,' handwritten.
At Camp Perry , Ohio, they processed the recruits. They wanted Adams to join the paratroopers. "I said, 'No, I don't think sol"' He laughed. Paul Spear of Leroy left at the same time Adams did, went to Camp Perry , after which they got on a train to St. Louis. There they split up. Spear went to Ft. Riley and Adams headed to boot camp at Ft. Leonardwood. After boot camp, Adams was to ship out to Seattle, Wash., but he became ill and had to be hospitalized. Instead, when he got well, the army sent him to Camp Beal, Calif., near Sacramento. The men there were in basic training, but since Adams had already trained, he was given a 14 day furlough, during which he came all the way back to Ohio by train and then returned to Beal. "The trip was three days and four nights on the train." Adams was assigned to the Army Engineering Corps 37th Combat Battalion, andwas assigned duty as a dozer driver. It was Mayor June, Adams couldn't remember for sure, when they wet across the country from California to Ft. Pierce, Florida. "We carried all our equipment on train flat cars." In Florida he took amphibious training, followed by amphibious maneuvers training in the bay near Norfolk, Virginia.
From there they went to Camp Pickett, Virginia, on to Camp Miles Standish, Mass., and finally to Boston, got on the ships and headed overseas. It was October 1943. "It was one of the biggest convoys that ever went across the ocean, I think. That's all you could see, were ships beside you, in front and behind you, and everywhere."When they got to England, all the ships went to different ports. Adams' ship went to Swansea, Wales. Flipping pages in the album once again, Jay stopped at a picture, pointed and smiled. "This is a picture of a couple girls I used to go with when I was in Swansea,Wales." The photo was dated May 1944, just shortly before the invasion. While there, the troops practiced for the invasion. They loaded all their equipment onto LST's, landing ship transports, and sailed around England to a beach. "1 never knew it at the time, but a U-boat sank some of our ships when we went around (the island). I think there were 300 lost. It only came out in the last several years." After a short reflection he continued. "I saw (General) Eisenhower there (at the practice beach). I was walking downthe road carrying a case of dynamite and he went by in a staff car. I didn't have to bother to salute him though," Adams chuckled. After the practice the troops returned to the camp. There they loaded up and went around to Portsmouth and Weymouth, England, to a staging area where they loaded up on LCT's, landing craft transports. They set out for the invasion of Normandy, but had to turn back because the channel was so rough. They called off the first try .
On June 6, D-Day, when they set out across the channel headed to Normandy for the second time, the water was still very rough and Adams' D7 dozer had to be strapped down so that it wouldn't be thrown into the side of the LCT and break a hole in the wall. "1 was supposed to make the second wave, but didn't make it because we got drove off too many times. Some of my outfit made it, and some were a little later like I was. On our boat there was one officer and myself from our group. They split up the engineers and the signal corps because if they were all on one boat and they got annihilated, why that would take out too many guys that trained for a certain job. "We got drove off several times: shelled off, stuck on sand bars and everything else." There were five dozers with drivers in the company and one relief driver, with drivers operating on 12 hour shifts, around the clock. When they landed on Omaha beach, Adams and the officer with him climbed up on a cliff where they were to meet the rest of the outfit. Adams' assignment was to begin digging gun replacements with the dozer. After about a week or so, they began to clear mine fields. "The man that made the first pass with his dozer through the mine field and across the beach received the Distinguished Service Cross. Another driver came up on the beach and an 88 came in under him and blew up the bottom of his dozer, but he heard it coming, so he and his assistant jumped off. He's still alive today."
Was Adams scared? "Petrified," was his complete answer. The mines they cleared on the beach were small, meant to injure when stepped on by the troops. As the dozer blades pushed along, digging slightly into the sand, they would detonate the mines at the blade without damage to the dozer or driver. Besides clearing the beach, the unit winched items onto the beach from landing crafts, pushed ships back into the channel after the tide left them beached, leveled areas for operations, built a stockade for POW's and developed the WW2 Normandy American Cemetery seen in so many photographs, the thousands of graves with crosses for the fallen. The unit prepared airstrips with metal interlocking plates and continued inland helping to rebuild roads and bridges, including the German Audubon, for the troops' use as they crusaded across France and Germany. Adams remembers using his dozer to push iron bridge sections over river gorges where the previous bridges had been destroyed in battle. "They would build several sections ( of the iron structure) and I would be way back at the end, and I would push a little."
Pointing to the photo of the Bailey Bridge he showed the iron structure cantilevered over the gorge below, with a great length of the bridge structure resting on the ground to act as a counterbalance. Sgt. Spears, standing at the edge of the gorge, directed Adams with signals regarding how much to push the bridge structure ahead. "If I made a mistake and pushed too far with the dozer, why, the whole thing would be down in the drink." When Adams wasn't operating his dozer, he drove message center in his jeep. When he encountered a blown out road, if the bank wasn't too deep, he would drive down in and out the other side. Laughing, he remembered a dirty trick he pulled as he passed by an Englishman in his jeep stuck in the river. "Hi, limey!" he shouted as he waved and flew by and up the other bank. He laughed.
There had to be a little humor now and then. Adams' troop began their trip home, across Germany, Belgium, Holland to Marseilles, France, in October 1945. From there they sailed the Mediterranean, which was just as smooth as glass, he recalled. When they passed around the Rock of Gibraltar and reached the Atlantic they found rough seas. "That ship was a rockin ' .They said it had a 27 degree tilt." Adams motioned the rolling with his hand. Most of the men got sick. The trip lasted 11 days and 11 nights much of it in rough seas. They came back a single ship, all alone, just like ". ..a cork in the ocean. " They put in at Staten Island, New York. Just ahead of them was an aircraft carrier that, due to the storms, lost the front of the ship's landing deck which was left hanging. From there Adams went to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, and then Indian Town Gap, Penn. Adams was discharged on Annistice Day, Nov. 11, 1945, and he returned home. In all, Adams received the Presidential Citation, the Good Conduct Medal, the Victory Medal and the Bronze Star. Back in Lake County, now nearly 24 years old, he resumed his position at The Rayon, and there, in December, met his wife, Helen Marie Rosencrans They were married the following June. When working second shift at Rayon, he picked up a part-time position, mornings, with the Concord road department, maintaining roads, cemeteries, parks, ditching and snow plowing- ."The same complaints the public has now, they had back then. And some of the same ones that complained to us are still around, complaining and nit-picking. 'You got snow in my driveway' they'd say. There's no way out of it: if their drive is open when you come down there with the snow, why the snow just takes right off, off of your blade, right into their drive."
Adams was also one of the early members of the Concord Fire department, a full volunteer unit started in 1948 when a home across from the existing fIfe house burned. At the time, some homes had a separate fire telephone. When a resident dialed the fire line, the women at home would answer, obtain the address of the fire and then call out to a list of volunteers from their personal phone line. The first man to the fire house would post the address of the fire on the blackboard and sound the fire siren. Residents had to listen closely to tell the difference between the fire siren and the air raid siren, since the two were similar . Ernie Spear was the first fire chief, and also the road superintendent. Cliff and Don Webster and Bob Welk also volunteered, as identified in an early photo with the first grass fire truck, a Model A Ford with a 250 gallon water tank. The men gave it their all, but sometimes most of the structure was lost. "Well, at least we saved the basement, " they would all joke.
Jay and Helen lived in the second floor apartment of his father's house for $30 per month rent, plus board, where they raised their children. Kenneth Scott was born Feb.17, 1948 and Bonnie Marie came on Jan. 6,1951. While they lived there, Jay and his wife built their own home next door, a humble ranch with a cozy wood burner in the living room and lovely built-in shelving and woodwork. They moved into their new home in 1954. Jay and his first wife divorced in 1970. By that time their children were grown and their son, Kenneth, who had been named after an army buddy of Adams, had served in Viet Nam and returned.
On March 19,1973 Adams married Helen Marie Combs, who died on Oct. 21, 1992. In total, Adams worked for The Rayon for 33 years, including his military time. When he quit working there, he went to work full time for the Concord road department, in 1973, and retired as Assistant Road Supervisor in 1988 after a total of 18 years of service including part-time and full time. His volunteer time with the fIfe service amounted to 23 years and he served under three chiefs, Ernest Spear Sr ., John Harter and Robert A. Welk. IRC Fibers, The Rayon, closed its doors in 1980. In 1991 Adams received the Concord Citizen of the Year award, presented during the Concord Community Days ceremonies. His brother Harold was there for the presentation. "Mom and Dad would be proud of you, " Harold told Jay. It meant a lot to hear his brother say that, because he had been told he'd never amount to anything by his siblings.
In 1998 he received the citizen residing in Concord the longest award. This and other plaques hang in his "trophy gallery," he calls it, at his home. Along with these, there is a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol given by Congressman Stanton and a resolution of recognition for Adams' service to the country , state and township from the State of Ohio given by Representative Troy. An army buddy recently sent him an embroidered throw with the emblem of their unit, the 37th, which was a surprise and treasure. Today you may find Adams relaxing in his home with his 16 year old shepard collie mix, Sandy, but he remains active.
His son Kenneth remained a bachelor, worked for Lubrizol and is living in Hartsgrove. His daughter Bonnie received her Bachelor degree in Communications and later obtained a teaching certificate. She is a substitute teacher, is pursuing her Masters degree and has done much research on Concord, area cemeteries and her family history .She married Dr. Harry Walker and they have a son, Harry, who is a senior at Riverside High School and has been accepted to Ohio Northern University .
What has Jay been up to? He flew to Alaska in August 93 and 94 with his son and a few other men where he had the chance to fish for salmon and see some great scenery . He has attended his army reunions in at least seven different states including Texas, Arizona, Nebraska, North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. And he has taken bus tours to Gettysburg, Washington D.C., West Virginia and Hershey, Penn. Adams used to visit his brother Harold in New York, but he passed away in 1997. "I'm the last one," he sighed remembering his family, then chuckled, "the last of the Mohicans." Adams is an active member and trustee at the Concord Alliance Church and says the pastor there is young, but preaches a great sermon. The Judd's Corners Schoolhouse where Adams' mother taught is now a private residence, and the old Stone Schoolhouse is being restored for its historical significance.
The farm where Adams lived from 1926 until 1954 was torn down when Quail Hollow began to develop the golf course, and has since been built up into a new housing development. Chair Factory Falls and Jordan Creek remain in their wild state for the most part, and the brick elementary school building that Adams and his children attended is now the Painesville Township School Maintenance Center. Perhaps one of the most moving statements Adams made may change the view of personal histories. "I always thought things would remain as I knew them. I never thought to ask my dad a lot of questions until he was gone and I wished I had spent more time talking to him about his life. And I've forgotten a lot."
MAYFIELD -- Jay S. Adams, age 83, of Concord Twp., died Tuesday, December 20, 2005, at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield. He was born January 1, 1922, in Painesville, the son of Martin G. and Ethel May (Brewster) Adams.
Mr. Adams served in the Army during WW II. He was awarded 4 Battle Stars, a Bronze Star, ETO Ribbon, Presidential Citation, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Medal and a Victory Medal. He was part of the Arrowhead Invasion of Omaha Beach on "D" Day, and he was in Tom Brokaw's introduction to the book "Voices of War".
He was employed with Concord Twp., Road Dept., for 33 years retiring as an Assistant Road Supervisor. He was a Firefighter for Concord Twp., for 23 years, a mechanic for the former IRC Fibers in Painesville Twp., and was a member of Concord Alliance Church, where he was a very active member.
He is survived by a son, Kenneth Scott Adams of Hartsgrove; a daughter, Bonnie Marie (Dr. Harry) Walker of Painesville; grandchild, Harry Walker Jr.; special friend, Ferne Speck; former wife, Helen Marie Adams.
He is preceded in death by several nieces and nephews; second wife, Helen Marie Combs; brothers, Robert Adams, Ray Adams, Lyle Adams and Harold Adams; sister, Wadina Wrate; parents, Martin G. and Ethel May (Brewster) Adams.
Martin G Adams (1875 - 1954)
Ethel May Brewster Adams (1883 - 1959)
Helen Marie Combs Adams (1922 - 1992)*
Wadena I Wrate (1902 - 1986)**
Robert Brewster Adams (1913 - 1918)*
Jay Selden Adams (1922 - 2005)
Created by: dran
Record added: Sep 09, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 76239652