Oscar Dunreath Adams was born 19 May 1835 in Newport twp., Orleans co., Vermont, to Abial Abbott and Irene (Gray) Adams. After his education in the local schools, he attended Derby Academy, graduating in 1855. He taught until 1856, and then took a job clerking in a store at Derby Center, later moving to Troy, Vermont. In 1864, he went to Springfield, Massachusetts, and set up shop selling produce. He was passionate about fly-fishing for trout.
He married Martha/Marietta Lane, and they had one child, Bertha. Martha died on 26 Feb 1907, and Oscar died on 13 Sep 1925.