Adams, Alvin(1804–87) businessman; born in Andover, Vt. Orphaned as a child, he began working odd jobs at age 16. In 1840 in New York City he formed Adams & Company, an express package business between Boston and New York City. The company prospered, buying routes in New England (1841) and in the west and south as far as St. Louis (1842), eventually opening 35 offices in California (1849). In 1854 the Adams Express Company incorporated and expanded to Europe.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.