In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Although in his personal sentiment a strong abolitionist, he was politically “sitting on the fence.” He knew that he was an unpopular President and it would take only a little provocation to start the Civil War he feared was coming. There was, in the end, little Abe could do to prevent this, as shortly after his inauguration South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union thus causing a domino effect until the Southern Confederacy had formed. It is important to note this time in our history as it was America’s defining moment. It was the time in which the crucible of freedom played out its most important act, when the notion that “all men are created equal” was put to the test.
George W. Adams was a great supporter of the Union cause. It is known that he gave a great deal of money to the government during the 1860's. It is rumored that the doors of Prospect Place were open to any Union officer or man in transit in this part of the country and that there may have been plans for the home to become a regional headquarters of the Union Army in the event of a Confederate invasion of Ohio. Luckily Ohio was safe, for the most part, from the Confederacy, but Ohio and Dresden did more than their share to preserve the Union and ensure freedom in America. A trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, or any other Civil War battlefield cemetery will show more than a small number of grave markers proudly displaying “Ohio” as the state of the soldier who departed the field in such honor as death for his country.
The Civil War finally ended after more blood had been spilled on our own soil than could have been believed in 1861. Battle after bloody battle had destroyed the lives of so many Americans both north and south in order to prove America a free nation. In the new age to come the South would be reconstructed and the wounds of our people would start to heal. Never again would one man hold another in fetters in America. Slavery was dead. This did not end the struggle of the African American for civil rights nor did it end bigotry and intolerance but it was a beginning down that road. Some historians say that we still fight the Civil War to this day, with words and ideas instead of guns and cannon.
The celebration in Dresden, mostly paid for by George W. Adams, was said to have lasted for nearly two weeks. The jubilation which this community greeted the end of the war was without equal. The joy over the end of the war was tempered for our community soon thereafter though, as the news of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln reached Ohio. This tragedy saddened a nation which was left to take solace in Mr. Lincoln’s words written after Gettysburg, “that the dead should not have died in vain, that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
For the Adams family the years after the war were good. Anna, the eldest daughter, married William Cox, Jr., a young man from the River Dale mansion next door. River Dale was originally built by Jonathan Cass, a Revolutionary War veteran from New Hampshire and had been sold to the William Cox family in the early 19 th century. William Cox, Sr., was an Irish born English Army officer who had given up his commission in order to move to the United States for freedom and opportunity.
George became involved the last years of his life in the railroad industry. He became the director of the Steubenville and Indiana Railroad and was both the owner and director of the Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley Railroad until his death on August 31, 1879.
After the death of George W. Adams his 14 million dollar estate was divided among his family. His wife Mary received seven million dollars and moved to Zanesville (where she was from). She lived in the Italianate home which currently houses the “Baker Reality Company” (1146 Maple Avenue). The youngest son, John, moved with his mother. The remaining seven million dollars was divided equally among the children, each receiving one million dollars. Prospect Place was inherited by Anna and William Cox. Sophia, another sister, lived for a time in the home with her sister Anna.
A family photograph from the 1890s taken in the Library.
Top row from left: George Cox, William Cox, Jr., Unknown child, Anna Adams-Cox and Unknown child.
Second Row from left: Unknown woman, Mrs. William Cox, Sr., Mary J. Robinson-Adams, Unknown woman.
Bottom Row: Sophia Adams, Unknown woman.
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History of Prospect Place