William Zimry “Buckskin Bill” Adam

William Zimry “Buckskin Bill” Adam

Gilroy, Santa Clara County, California, USA
Death 29 Aug 1964 (aged 85)
King City, Monterey County, California, USA
Burial Monterey County, California, USA
Memorial ID 21553478 · View Source
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William Zimry 'Bill'/'Will' Adam was the son of John and Mahalia Adam and the grandson of William Thom Adam and Margaret (Thomson) Adam. William Thom Adam was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland and was from the McDonald Clan.
William was born in Gilroy and moved to southern Monterey Co., Ca., near Hesperia when he was seven, on a ranch his father homesteaded in 1886.
"We came over the old San Juan grade, and we passed through the old village of Natividad where we joined the road south, now 101. A four horse wagon brought us to this land," he said. In addition to Bill, riding in that wagon were his father, mother, brother, uncle and grandmother.
He remembered Jolon, near the Hunter Liggett Military reservation as a thriving community of three stores, two saloons, a dance hall, livery stable and two hotels. This was the gateway to the Los Burros Mining District and the merchants were doing a thriving business with the miners. It also was a stage stop.
After marrying Rosetta 'Rosie' Doty on Christmas Day of 1899 when he was nineteen years old, 'Buckskin Bill' as he was called, settled down and had two children, Velma in 1901 and Donald in 1904.
It was a hard time to maintain a subsistance living as a vegetable farmer in the early 1900's. Bill and his dad, John, peddled their food, but their takings were meager. Velma can remember the first day they received a bean harvest from down south. The family stayed up cooking 'til midnight, they were so excited. Another residue of his early poverty was Bill's dislike of turkey. He wouldn't eat it, in fact. Too often in his younger days, he had to eat rabbit just to stay alive and turkey tasted too much like rabbit for Bill's palate and memory.
For many years, Bill served as a Justice of the Peace. He was well known for his sense of fairness and commitment to justice. He is remembered as having said that 'he didn't care whose toes he stepped on - he would do the right thing'. One sampling of this sort of innovative sentencing was when a man had to clean up a whole block for punishment. His sense of fairness and integrity made him very well thought of.
One event happened when Bill was recruiting men to work on a road crew. One man asked what he would get paid and on hearing the sum, answered, 'I can get more than that and stay home'. This sampling of the new 'welfare' system convinced Bill that it would be the ruination of the country.
At the age of 82, he was as alert as most men fifty years his junior. He had twinkling eyes and a full head of dark brown hair. Only his moustache was graying and his memory was sharp. He didn't plan on running for re-election when his term expired, because justices of the peace have to be too nosy to suit him. "I have lived on the same ranch for 75 years. In most of that time," he said, "I have stayed home and minded my own business. But since I have been Justice of the Peace, I have been sticking my nose into everybody's business, and I don't like it."
Bill Adam was a man who worked hard. He was not afraid of a rough life and was often found in situations which demonstrated his tough spirit and his liking of the outdoor life. He got his nickname when he was 19 or 20. He was sawing wood when his boss asked him if he was getting tired and wanted to eat lunch. 'I'm not tired and I'm not hungry', he said. The boss quipped, 'You are as tough as buckskin.' They called him Buckskin Bill ever since.
Bill Adam worked hard, both physically, for his livelihood and artistically. Both he and his cousin, Bill A., played their fiddles together at many a family gathering. Buckskin Bill and Fancy Bill would arrive together, then tune up their instruments in preparation for giving their audience what would be a delightful cultural experience.
Buckskin spent a good many years as a teamster, driving four, six and eight horse teams. For a time, he drove the stage coach from Pleyto to Bryson, a nine mile haul.
From 1902 to 1904, he drove a four horse wagon from the Pine Mountain Quicksilver Mine to San Simeon, a distance of some twenty miles. During WWI, the neighboring Oceanic mine produced 100 flasks of quicksilver a month, most of which was sold to the Chinese who converted it to vermilion, using it to paint vases and other objects of art.
Buckskin was also a construction boss for the county highway department for 10 years.
Bill Adam was a strong, civic-minded citizen and he was also a strong family man. This was clearly demonstrated by his devotion to his grandmother, Margaret. He spent a lot of his time visiting with her and helping her. It is a fact that one Sunday morning, he walked past the Baptist Church on his way to visiting Grandmother, carrying a shotgun. The Church ousted him from their rolls for this irregularity and from then on, Bill referred to this church group as 'Hard Shell Baptists'.
His visits with Margaret resulted in one very valuable result - She passed on many irreplaceable stories about her life. These stories he later passed on to his daughter, Velma, who remembered a few of them in her writings.
One great tragedy occurred in 1916 when Bill and Rosie's son, Donald, died at age twelve. He had been sickly for some time, but still his loss was keenly felt. Twelve years later, Rosetta died of cancer and Bill eventually, in 1942, married a distant cousin who was also widowed, Ebeth Easton White. This marriage was very successful in many ways. Both Bill and Ebeth loved music. He played the violin and she played the piano. Ebeth once again was able to live in the country and often went horseback riding with Bill's daughter, Velma.
In the early 60's, when Bill was in his early 80's, his home burned down, destroying a lifetime's collection of objects and family papers. Of irreplaceable value was a book he was writing about his family.
When asked about his health, at age 82, he said, "I don't even know that I've got a body. I never have an ache or a pain." However, Bill developed a heart condition which deteriorated to the point that he was forced to leave his home in Hesperia, which was next to his daughter Velma's, and was placed in a rest home in King City. There, he died in 1964 and is buried in the Pleyto Cemetery.

In the 1880 U.S. census, 11 month old William 'Adams', b. in June in CA., was living in Gilroy, Santa Clara, CA. with his
27 yr. old father, John T. 'Adams', a farmer, b. in UT.
19 yr. old mother, Mahaley J. 'Adams', b. in CA.
24 yr. old uncle, James R. 'Adams', a farmer, b. in CA.
57 yr. old paternal grandmother, Margaret 'Adams', b. in Scotland.
John and Margaret's parents were all born in Scotland.
Mahaley's parents were both b. in MO.

In the 1900 U.S. census, 20 yr. old William G. (Z.) Adam, b. Jun. 1879 in CA., was living in San Antonio twp., Monterey, CA. with his
22 yr. old wife, Rosetta Adam, b. Oct. 1877 in CA.
William and Rosetta had been married less than a year.
William's father was b. in UT. and his mother in CA.
Living next door were his:
46 yr. old father, John T. Adam, a farmer, b. Nov. 1853 in UT.
40 yr. old mother, Mahala Adam, b. Apr. 1860 in CA.
17 yr. old brother, John R. Adam, b. Oct. 1882 in CA.
10 yr. old sister, Ruby P. Adam, b. Mar. 1890 in CA.
William's uncle, James R. Adam, a farmer, b. Jul. 1855 in CA., was living on the other side of William.
John T. Adam's parents were both b. in Scotland.
Mahala's parents were both b. in MO.
John T. and Mahala Adam had been married for 22 years. She was the mother of 4 children, 3 still alive by this census.

In the 1910 U.S. census, 30 yr. old William B. (Z.) Adam, a farmer on a truck farm and employer, b. in CA., was living in a mortgaged farm he owned at Sanmiguel and Pleys (Pleyto) Road in San Antonio, Monterey, CA. with his
32 yr. old wife, Rosette G Adam, b. in CA.
8 yr. old daughter, Velma A. Adam, b. in CA.
5 yr. old son, Donald R. Adam, b. in CA.
William's parents were both b. in CA.
Rosette's father was b. in CA. and her mother in IN.
This was a first marriage for William and Rosette. They had been marr. for 10 years. Rosette was the mother of two children, both still alive by this census.

In his Sept. 12, 1918 WWI Draft Registration card, 39 yr. old William Zimry Adam, a self-employed farmer, b. Jun. 26, 1879, was married to Rosette Grace Adam, living and working in Pleyto, Monterey county, CA.
He was described as tall and slender, with gray eyes and brown hair.

In the 1920 U.S. census, 40 yr. old (head of household) William Z. Adams, a self-employed farmer engaged in general farming, was living on a farm he owned free and clear in Pleyto, Monterey, CA. with his
42 yr. old wife, Rosette G. Adams, b. in IA.
68 yr. old mother-in-law, Theresa A. Doty, b. in IN.
72 yr. old father-in-law, Charles G. Doty, a general farm laborer, b. in IA.
William's father was b. in UT. and his mother in CA.

On Feb. 6, 1928, William's wife, Rosetta, died.

In the 1930 U.S. census, 50 yr. old widower, (head of household) William Z. Adam, a foreman in the road construction industry, b. in CA., was living in a home (not a farm) in owned in San Antonio, Monterey, CA. with his
52 yr. old unmarried cousin, William A. Adam, a laborer in the road construction business, b. in CA.
William Z. Adam's father was b. in UT. and his mother in CA.
William A. Adam's father was b. in Scotland and his mother in England.

In the 1940 U.S. census, 60 yr. old widower, William 'L.' (Z.) Adam,
a self-employed poultryman, b. in CA., was living on a farm he owned in San Antonio, Monterey, CA. with his
57 yr. old brother, John Adam, a mail carrier on a route, b. in CA.
57 yr. old sister-in-law, Mary Adam, b. in MN.
All three were living on a farm in a rural area of CA. in 1935.
The highest grade William and John had completed was 7th. Mary has gone as far as 9th grade.
William worked 50 hours in the week prior to the census and 52 weeks in 1939. Because he was self-employed, his income was listed as 0 - and he had no income from other sources.

According to his 1942 WWII Draft Registration card, 62 yr. old William Zimry Adam, b. Jun. 26, 1879 in Gilroy, CA., was living and working in Bradley, Monterey, CA.
The person who would always know where he lived was his daughter, Velma Dayton of Bradley, CA.

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  • Maintained by: Chloé
  • Originally Created by: CJBiller
  • Added: 14 Sep 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 21553478
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Zimry “Buckskin Bill” Adam (26 Jun 1879–29 Aug 1964), Find a Grave Memorial no. 21553478, citing Pleyto Cemetery, Monterey County, California, USA ; Maintained by Chloé (contributor 47159257) .