About John Hicks "J. H." Adams
John Hicks "J.H." Adams (1820-1878) - Born in Edwardsville, Illinois in 1820, Adams helped his father in his castor oil factory as he was growing up. He attended college at Shurtleff College, in Upper Alton, Illinois before serving in the Mexican War in 1847-48. When the news of the discovery of gold in California reached Illinois, Adams headed west with his wife and two children, first settling in Placerville. A couple of years later, in 1853, he moved his family to Santa Clara County, where he worked a farm near Gilroy. A decade later, he was elected sheriff of Santa Clara County and moved once again to San Jose. He held this office for three successive terms and retired in March 1876.
While in office he acquired a reputation as a brave and efficient officer and a shrewd detective and aided in the capture of Tiburcio Vasquez, the notorious bandit of California. At some point, he was made a U.S. Deputy Marshal for the western district. In this capacity he was traveling in Arizona with Deputy Marshal Jack Finley, chasing Mexican bandits. On September 2, 1878, both Adams and Finley were killed by the bandits near Davidson's Canyon, Arizona. The suspects were chased into Mexico and apprehended but never tried or convicted in connection with either murder.