He was the son of Adelbert Ames and grandson of Benjamin Franklin Butler, both whom were Union Army generals, he was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, August 22, 1871. Ames attended the public schools and Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H. and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1894. He resigned from the United States Army after appointment as second lieutenant to the Eleventh Regiment, United States Infantry; took a postgraduate course at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was graduated in 1896 as a mechanical and electrical engineer.
Ames engaged in manufacturing; served as a member of the common council of Lowell in 1896; enlisted during the Spanish-American War and was commissioned lieutenant and adjutant of the Sixth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry; appointed acting engineer officer of the Second Army Corps under General Graham, in addition to his duties as adjutant. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in August 1898; served as civil administrator of the Arecibo district of Puerto Rico until November 1898.
Ames became a member of the Massachusetts house of representatives 1897-1899; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-eighth and to the four succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1903-March 3, 1913); was not a candidate for renomination in 1912; resumed manufacturing pursuits; president of United States Cartridge Co., and treasurer of Heinze Electrical Co. of Lowell; at time of death was treasurer and a director of Wamesit Power Co. of Lowell, Mass.; director of Union Land and Grazing Co., Colorado Springs, Colo., and vice president and a director of Ames Textile Corp., Lowell, Mass.; died in Tewksbury, Mass., November 6, 1954; interment in Hildreth Family Cemetery, Lowell, Mass.