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New paper recycling wagon for Uncle Willie

New paper recycling wagon for Uncle Willie

Aug. 15, 1934: William “Uncle Willie” Adams, a 97-year-old Civil War veteran, is presented with a new wagon by city officials and Fullerton Mayor W.L. Hale, left.

“Uncle Willie” had lost his old wagon and almost gave up gathering old newspapers. Civic leaders and the local newspaper presented him with a new wagon, allowing Adams to resume his recycling effort.

This photo accompanied a story in the Aug. 16, 1934, Los Angeles Times reporting:

“Uncle Willie” was born in New York in 1837, came around the Horn when he was 15 in his father’s ship to San Francisco and has been in California on and off ever since. He made five trips around the world.

He has lived in a little shack on West Santa Fe street for twenty-one years. It has one window, a short stovepipe and a horseshoe over the door.

He says he has been shot thirty-one times and has been scalped. He was with the reinforcements sent to Gen. Custer twelve hours after the warrior had made his last stand.

He also says he was drafted as a scout in a Louisiana regiment, was on the wrong side and can’t get a pension. After the battle of Gettysburg, “Uncle Willie” declares he was in prison sentenced to be shot at sunrise but two hours before sun-up he overcame and killed his mounted guard and escaped on his horse.

“Uncle Willie” says he always was “tough.”

The April 29, 1941, Los Angeles Times reported “Uncle Willie” died the day before at the age of 103. Although the 1934 story had his last name as “Adams,” later Los Angeles Times stories spelled his last name “Addames.”

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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