Dudley Warren Adams (1832-1897)

Inducted 1970


Dudley Warren Adams was born in Winchendon, Massachusetts, on November 30, 1832 to Joseph Boynton Adams and Hannah Whitney Adams. A direct descendent of Henry Adams. At the age of four, his father died and Adams moved with his mother and siblings to a farm where he spent the rest of his childhood. He lived in an area where farming meant the tilling of rather poor soil and the likelihood of the bountiful herbs and generous crops were rare. His mother educated him at home and when they could afford it he went to district school. His mother later married Morace Whitcombe of Winchendon. To further his education, Adams began teaching in order to be able to take academic courses.

At the age of twenty-one, Adams migrated west, becoming one of the first settlers of Waukon, Allamakee County, Iowa. While in Iowa, he became involved in both city and county affairs. He learned surveying, went into the nursery business, and became the country’s first tax assessor. For about ten years he served his neighbors in several offices of assessor, president of the District School Board, township trustee, county supervisor, chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, and held various other public trusts. He became the Republican candidate for the State Senate from his district at the age of thirty-two, but was not elected. Two years later he was elected to the Board of Supervisors of the county, and soon after was elected chairman of the board. He served in this position for three years and then resigned.

His love for horticulture showed early, and in 1854 he was chosen as president of the newly organized Allamakee County Agricultural Society, becoming its youngest president. He remained involved in the organization throughout his life. Not long after he became secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Iowa.

After the Civil War he became a top promoter of the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. His area of the Grange was called the Waukon Grange. Founded in 1867, the Grange is a fraternal organization for American farmers that encouraged farm families to band together for their common economic and political good. He was elected December 23, 1869 as the first, but temporary, secretary. And in 1871 he became the Master of the Iowa State Grange. In 1873, he was elected Grand Master of the National Grange. At the time he was elected, there were only about 1,200 subordinate groups. Three years later there were nearly 2,200 Granges distributed over the states and territories. While a leader within the Grange movement, Adams worked tirelessly to advance the cause of farmers, especially in the area of railroad regulation, and these efforts paid off with the passage of some of the first railroad regulating legislation in Iowa and the nation. In 1873 the Grange nominated him for governor but he refused to run against the republican nominee.

Adams first came to Florida in 1875 seeking relief from a bronchial ailment. Building a cabin in rural northwest Orange County, near the eastern shore of Lake Beauclaire, he remained there until 1882. He planted a large orange grove and fruit trees, and soon after they were established a village called “Lake Ola” grew around it. Upon the suggestion of his sister-in-law, Bessie Heustis, the name of the village was changed to “Tangerine.” He also named the nearby lake, Lake Angelina, for his younger half-sister Angelina Whitcombe.

He organized the Tangerine Development Society in 1885, and dedicated a community school in 1886. With a few friends in 1888, he organized the Florida State Horticultural Society in Ocala. He and his friends laid the foundation of the society that is seen as one of the most influential horticultural bodies in the South. He was elected its first president and held the position until his death.

He always championed the Florida Citrus Industry and was put in charge of one of the first Florida Citrus exhibits at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the first of its kind held anywhere in the world. He was a firm believer in advertising and promoting Florida citrus. He was appointed to a committee to publish a booklet about Orange County, which was to be distributed at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta in 1895. He passed away two years later on February 13, 1897, in Tangerine, Florida.

Ashleah Zigmond