William Adams, D. D., LL. D. (1807-1880)

William Adams, son of John Adams, was born at Colchester, Conn., in 1813. When an infant he was taken to Andover, Mass., where his father, who was one of the most celebrated teachers of his day, became the Principal of an academy. Trained by his father, and a protege of Professor Stuart, he had also the advantage of constant association with such men as Judson, Gordon Hall, Newell, and many others. He settled at Brighton, near Boston, where his ministry was successful. In 1840 he accepted a call to the Broome Street or Central Presbyterian Church of New York, and for many years was its most efficient and beloved pastor. A large portion of this congregation, who thought it advisable to remove to the upper part of the city, withdrew, with Dr. Adams, in 1853, and erected an elegant church edifice on the corner of Madison Avenue and Twenty-fourth Street, and became known as the Madison Square Presbyterian Church. In this edifice, for twenty years, Dr. Adams preached to large and intelligent audiences, and with marked indications of the Divine blessing upon his ministry. Having been elected President of the Union Theological Seminary, New York, he preached his farewell sermon as pastor of the Madison Square Church, on Sunday, April 19th, 1874, and his inauguration as President took place May 11th, 1874.

Dr. Adams was a finished gentleman, dignified, yet affable and approachable. In public and private his bearing was marked by an entire self-possession, and a happy adaptability to circumstances and persons. He had a genial, companionable disposition, and none but ennobling qualities of heart. He was a very superior preacher. All his sermons were able, and indicated great theological as well as literary culture. His voice was mellow, though full of compass, and his delivery and gestures were appropriate and impressive. He excelled as an extemporaneous speaker, showing a remarkable fluency of chaste, effective language. As a pastor he was greatly beloved by his people. Dr. Adams took high rank as an author. He wrote with much gracefulness and vigor, and his works reached a large circulation. Prominent among his books were "The Three Gardens - Eden, Gethsemane, and Paradise," and "Thanksgiving." In 1852 he was Moderator of the General Assembly which met in Washington, D. C. He exerted a commanding and widespread influence in the Church, by his Christian excellence, well-balanced character, intellectual force, and official fidelity.