The Adams County Historical Society is a non-profit organization that was established in 1952 to celebrate the history of Adams County and its communities, protect the county’s artifacts, explain the history of Adams County as well as the towns and cities located within its boundaries and provide access to research assistance to genealogists and historians.
Adams County, located in southeastern Washington, is the 14th largest county in the state and covers 1,925 square miles. It is bounded by Lincoln County on the north, Whitman to the East, Franklin to the south and Grant on the west. Samuel A. Wells, known as “Adams County’s first politician,” went to Olympia as an earnest lobbyist financed by his neighbors and talked the territorial legislature into carving both Adams and Franklin Counties out of the vast realms of Whitman County. The act creating Adams County (population 150) was approved Nov. 28, 1883.
The first white settlers began arriving in 1869. Two years later, the rail arrived. Success in wheat farming was noted in 1897, with the first successful harvest in 1898. By the early 1900s, Ritzville - the county seat – was the largest inland wheat exporter in the world. Adams County started as an agriculturally based area and continues as an ag-based county today with dry-land based crops and irrigated farming. Today, Adams County is one of the largest wheat producers in the state.
The county’s population in 2012 was 19,005 based on the U.S. Census Bureau. There are five incorporated cities in the county – Hatton, Lind, Othello, Ritzville and Washtucna.
Whether you are a current resident of Adams County, a descendant of past generations, an interested history buff or genealogist, we invite you to become a member of the Adams County Historical Society, make genealogical inquiries, make historical research inquiries and share stories about Adams County’s past. For more information about joining the Society, click on the “membership” webpage.