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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Adams, Junius Greene

by Artus Monroe Moser, 1979

8 Feb. 1884–4 Jan. 1962

Junius G. Adams. Image courtesy of Town of Biltmore Forest. Junius Greene Adams, attorney and cattleman, was born in Statesville, the son of Joseph Shephard Adams and Sallie Greene Adams, a native of Greensboro. They were descendants of a long line of English and Scottish forebears, some of whom settled in the Piedmont section when it was being taken up by the first pioneers. The elder Adams, a successful lawyer and jurist, died in 1911 while presiding at a term of the superior court at Warrenton.

Junius G. Adams was educated in the public schools of Asheville, at Mooresville High School, and at The University of North Carolina, where he studied law. He was admitted to the North Carolina bar in 1906 and began to practice in Asheville in the firm of Adams and Adams with his father and brother, John S. Adams. From 1910 through 1914 Adams served as judge of the Asheville police court. Four years later his practice in Asheville was interrupted when, during World War I, he joined the army. From 1918 to 1919 he served as a judge advocate, and later as legal adviser to the director of Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division of the General Staff, and later still as executive secretary and counsel of the U.S. Liquidation Commission in Paris and special commissioner for the liquidation of the Third Army in Coblentz. Returning to active practice as a member of the Asheville bar in 1920, he became known as a lawyer of unusual and outstanding ability, particularly in business law and civil actions.

Adams played a vital role in the growth and development of the economic, social, and cultural life of the western North Carolina mountain region. He was closely identified with the activities of two outstanding benefactors who contributed greatly to the economic progress of the area: the family of George W. Vanderbilt, the owners and developers of the vast and multiple interests of the Biltmore Estate (when Adams first became associated with the Vanderbilt Estate, Biltmore House and Gardens were relatively unknown); and E. W. Grove, the owner and builder of Grove Park Inn and Grove Park, an outstanding residential area, and of many of Asheville's commercial structures. Adams also served as counsel for the Buncombe County Sinking Fund Commission from its organization in 1937 until his death. The objective of this body was the long-term funding of the Asheville and Buncombe County bond indebtedness brought into default by the depression of the 1930s.

Adams was nationally known in agricultural activities. He was president of the American Jersey and Cattle Club from 1943 to 1946 and headed the Purebred Dairy and Cattle Association in 1949–50. As a result of his interest in dairying, Adams in 1952 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Agriculture degree by North Carolina State University at Raleigh, at the same time that Dr. Carl A. Schenck, founder of America's first forestry school, at the Biltmore Estate, was presented the honorary degree of Doctor of Forestry.

In Asheville Adams was a founder and first president of the Civitan Club and a member of the Masonic Order and the Biltmore Forest Country Club. He held membership in the Southen Society of New York, in the Army and Navy Club of Washington, D.C., and in the Dairy Shrine Club of Biltmore. He was a vestryman of All Souls Episcopal Church at Biltmore and a trustee of the Asheville School for Boys. He belonged to the American Bar Association, the American Judicature Society, and the Lawyer's Club of New York.

Adams married Helen Barber of Galena, Ill., in 1907. They had three sons, two of whom survived him. Junius G., Jr., and Joel B. Adams were long associated as members of the North Carolina bar, while the third son, Stephen S., lived for some time in Atlanta. Junius G. Adams, Sr., died of a heart attack at the age of 77, and after services at All Souls Episcopal Church at Biltmore, his body was taken for burial to the cemetery of the Calvary Episcopal Church at Fletcher.

A portrait of Judge Adams was commissioned by the Dairy Shrine Club of Waterloo, Iowa, in honor of his work and outstanding leadership in the dairy industry and in connection with the "Hall of Fame" award in that state. Another large portrait was commissioned for Junius G. Adams, Jr., and hangs in his home.


Junius G. Adams, Jr., personal recollections (2 Jan. 1975).

Asheville Citizen-Times, 19 July 1959, 29 July 1959, 5 Jan. 1962, 24 Sept. 1962, 28 Sept. 1962.

Francis J. Hazel, "A Eulogy on Judge Junius G. Adams at Meeting of the Buncombe County Bar Association, October 1, 1962" (North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville).

Additional Resources:

The Biltmore Millions, North Carolina History, UNC:

Charles N. Parker, Architect for Junius Adams house, NCSU:

Douglas Swaim, ed., Cabins and Castles: The History and Architecture of Buncombe County, North Carolina (1981).

Biltmore Forest, Our History, Our Lives:

National Register of Historic Places form for Junius Adams House:

James W. (Red) Hoyle Sr. Oral History, Dorothy Joynes for Voices of Asheville Oral History Collection, University of North Carolina at Asheville: 

Image Credits:

Junius G. Adams. Image courtesy of Town of Biltmore Forest. Biltmore Forest, Our History, Our Lives:

Origin - location: