John Adams
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John Adams (1735 - 1826)

President John Adams
Born in Braintree, Suffolk, Province of Massachusetts Baymap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 25 Oct 1764 in Smith home, Weymouth, Suffolk, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 90 in Quincy, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 14 Dec 2008
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The Presidential Seal.
John Adams was the President of the United States.
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Preceded by
1st President
George Washington

Preceded by
Office created
March 4, 1789
John Adams
2nd President
of the United States
Presidential Seal
1797 – 1801

1st Vice President
of the United States
Vice-Presidential Seal
1789 - 1797

Succeeded by
3rd President
Thomas Jefferson

Succeeded by
2nd Vice President

Thomas Jefferson



Notables Project
John Adams is Notable.
1776 Project
President John Adams was a Founding Father in the American Revolution.
This profile is part of the Adams Name Study.

Family of John Adams

John Adams was born on 19 October 1735 (Julian Calendar) /30 October 1735 (Modern Calendar) in Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts [1] (now Quincy, Massachusetts) to the Puritan deacon John Adams and Susannah Boylston, [2] the daughter of a prominent family. While his father's name was John Adams Sr., the younger John Adams has never been referred to as John Adams Jr.[3]

Adams married in 1764 to 20-year-old Abigail Quincy Smith in Weymouth.[4]

They had five children in ten years, and one more, a stillborn daughter, in 1777. Their first son, John Quincy Adams, would become the sixth president of the United States.[3] [2][5]

Adams' great-great grandfather, Henry Adams, emigrated circa 1636 from Braintree, England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Henry's 89 grandchildren earned him the modern nickname of "Founder of New England." In terms of contemporaries, John Adams was second cousin to the statesman and colonial leader Samuel Adams.

Adams was highly conscious of his heritage. He considered his Puritan ancestors "bearers of freedom." He also inherited a seal with the Boylston arms on it from his mother. This he loved and used frequently until his presidency, when he thought that the use of heraldry might remind the American public of monarchies.

Career of John Adams

As a young man, Adams attended Harvard College. His father expected him to become a minister. Instead, Adams graduated in 1755, taught for three years, and then began to study law under James Putnam. He had a talent for interpreting law and for recording observations of the court in action.

He became prominently involved in politics in 1765 as an opponent of the Stamp Act. In 1770, he won election to legislative office in the Massachusetts General Court. He later served as a Massachusetts representative to the First (1774) and the Second (1775-1778) Continental Congresses, as ambassador to Great Britain (1785-1788) and to the Netherlands (1782-1788), and as Vice President under George Washington from 1789 to 1797.

Adams found the role of Vice President to be frustrating. He wrote to wife Abigail that, "My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived." After George Washington stepped down, Americans narrowly elected John Adams, a Federalist, President over his Democratic-Republican opponent, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson became Adams's Vice President. In 1800, Jefferson finally won the presidential vote, and Adams retired to private life in 1801 when his term of office expired....

Retirement & Death

President John Adams retired to his farm in Quincy, Massachusetts. Here he penned his elaborate letters to Thomas Jefferson. Here on 04 July 1826, he whispered his last words: “Thomas Jefferson survives.” But Jefferson had died at Monticello a few hours earlier.[6]

In 1820, he voted as elector of president and vice president; and, in the same year, at the advanced age of 85, he was a member of the convention of Massachusetts, assembled to revise the constitution of that commonwealth. Mr. Adams retained the faculties of his mind, in remarkable perfection, to the end of his long life. His unabated love of reading and contemplation, added to an interesting circle of friendship and affection, were sources of felicity in declining years, which seldom fall to lot of any one.[7]

On 04 July 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Adams died at his home in Quincy, Massachusetts. Told that it was the Fourth, he answered clearly, "It is a great day. It is a good day." His last words have been reported as "Thomas Jefferson survives". His death left Charles Carroll of Carrollton as the last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams died while his son John Quincy Adams was president.[8]

"He saw around him that prosperity and general happiness, which had been the object of his public cares and labours. No man ever beheld more clearly, and for a longer time, the great and beneficial effects of the services rendered by himself to his country. That liberty, which he so early defended, that independence, of which he was so able an advocate and supporter, he saw, we trust, firmly and securely established. The population of the country thickened around him faster, and extended wider, than his own sanguine predictions had anticipated; and the wealth, respectability, and power of the nation, sprang up to a magnitude, which it is quite impossible he could have expected to witness, in his day. He lived, also, to behold those principles of civil freedom, which had been developed, established, and practically applied in America, attract attention, command respect, and awaken imitation, in other regions of the globe; and well might, and well did he exclaim, 'where will the consequences of the American revolution end!' "If any thing yet remains to fill this cup of happiness, let it be added, that he lived to see a great and intelligent people bestow the highest honor in their gift, where he had bestowed his own kindest parental affections, and lodged his fondest hopes. "At length the day approached when this eminent patriot was to be summoned to another world; and, as if to render that day forever memorable in the annals of American history, it was the day on which the illustrious Jefferson was himself, also to terminate his distinguished earthly career. That day was the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. "Until within a few days previous, Mr. Adams had exhibited no indications of rapid decline. The morning of the fourth of July, 1826, he was unable to rise from his bed. Neither to himself, or his friends, however, was his dissolution supposed to be so near. He was asked to suggest a toast, appropriate to the celebration of the day. His mind seemed to glance back to the hour in which, fifty years before, he had voted for the Declaration of Independence, and with the spirit with which he then raised his hand, he now exclaimed, 'Independence forever.' At four o'clock in the afternoon he expired. Mr. Jefferson had departed a few hours before him." -- Daniel Webster in section "Retirement and Death". p9, John Vinci, "Biography of John Adams,"

"They, (Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson,) departed cheered by the benediction of their country, to whom they left the inheritance of their fame, and the memory of their bright example. If we turn our thoughts to the condition of their country, in the contrast of the first and last day of that half century, how resplendent and sublime is the transition from gloom to glory! Then, glancing through the same lapse of time, in the condition of the individuals, we see the first day marked with fulness (sic) of vigor of youth, in the pledge of their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, to the cause of freedom and of mankind. And on the last, extended on the bed of death, with but sense and sensibility left to breathe a last aspiration to heaven of blessing upon their country; may we not humbly hope, that to them, too, it was a pledge of transition from gloom to glory; and that while their mortal vestments were sinking into the clod of the valley, their emancipated spirits were ascending to the bosom of their God!" -- son John Quincy Adams.[7]

His crypt lies at United First Parish Church (also known as the Church of the Presidents) in Quincy, Massachusetts. Originally, he was buried in Hancock Cemetery, across the road from the Church. [9][10]


Adams County, named to honor President John Adams, can be found in twelve U.S. states: Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.



  1. Records of Town of Braintree 1640 to 1793 (Edited by Samuel A. Bates)(Randolph, Mass.: Daniel H. Huxford, Publisher. 1886) (Free e-book Also available at Google Books) p. 772
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Norfolk > Braintree > Births, marriages, deaths 1640-1761 vol 1 > image 104 of 132; town clerk offices, Massachusetts. Vol. 1:202.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Family Search Tree with 109 sources
  4. NEHGS, compiler, Vital Records of Weymouth, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston, MA: Stanhope Press, 1910), Vol. 2:11. "Adams, John [int. of Braintree] and [int. adds Mrs.] Abigail Smith, Oct. 25, 1764."
  5. "Massachusetts Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910," database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2018), John Adams, Late President U.S., 04 Jul 1826; citing Quincy, Norfolk, Massachusetts, reference p58; FHL microfilm 1,987,016.
  6. Frank Freidel and Hugh Sidey, "“The Presidents of the United States of America, John Adams, [1] White House Historical Association, Copyright 2006.
  7. 7.0 7.1 John Vinci, "Biography of John Adams,"
  8. Ferling, John Adams: A Life (2010) p444
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "John Adams," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. [2]
  10. Find A Grave, database and images (accessed 07 May 2018), memorial page for John Adams (30 Oct 1735–4 Jul 1826), Find A Grave: Memorial #6, citing United First Parish Church, Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave.

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Comments: 34

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Statue on Hancock-Adams Common, Quincy Center, Quincy, Massachusetts You are welcome to use any of my photos in Wikitree profiles and FreeSpaces.
posted by Anonymous Reed
edited by Anonymous Reed
I've uploaded photos I took of the Adams birthplaces to

John Adams birthplace

posted by Anonymous Reed
edited by Anonymous Reed
Thanks for this. I found it odd that there was no mention of his exceptional correspondence with his wife, which is, however, well documented in her profile.
posted by Jennie Stein
Adams-54200 and Adams-10 appear to represent the same person because: Duplicated profile of the US President John Adams.
posted by Jo Fitz-Henry
Adams-53475 and Adams-10 appear to represent the same person because: Same
posted by Mr. Fitzgerald
Adams-53475 and Adams-10 appear to represent the same person because: This is a previously rejected match. Obviously the same person. Please merge.
posted by Joel Bridgham
Shouldn’t our great second President actually be “John Adams Jr.” or wasthat not an acceptable term at the time? The family certainly made sure of a distinction. When he named his son John Quincy Adams, however.

Al Finch

posted by [Living Finch]
John Adams, the second US President was never referred to as "Junior". Interestingly, though, after his birth, his father was referred to as John Adams Sr.
posted by Robin Lee
Men have to share their entire name with their son or father to be Jr and Sr. If they were both "John Quincy Adams", it would be correct.

My Grandfather, Great Grandfather, and Uncle (all unfortunately deceased, I know we do not discuss living people) are all " John Roy Wilson ", so they were Sr. Jr, and " III". The thing that I often find amusing and relevant, hopefully, is that in my Grandfather's first marriage, his wife did not like the middle name "Roy". So their is also " John Wilson ", but with a different middle name, he's not "3" :)

posted by AmyLynn Hunt
I think you are confused. This President was not John Quincy Adams, nor was his father. Only his son was John Quincy Adams.
posted by Robin Lee
Locally, John Adams Sr. was known as Deacon John Adams. It was really common in New England to distinguish people of the same name and town by referring to their position in the church or militia. If ever you see someone referred to as Captain John_____ , then a later reference to Deacon John _____. They may be father and son, or nephew and uncle, or some other combination.
posted by Anonymous Reed
Adams-36515 and Adams-10 appear to represent the same person because: Adams-10 is the same petson but with much more complete information.
posted by [Living Finch]
Added birth & marriage sources to bio.
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Birth and marriage dates in the data have no corresponding statement and citation in the biography.
posted by Anne B
Adams-34661 and Adams-10 appear to represent the same person because: 34661 intended to be same as 10
posted by Marj Adams
that he was John and not Samuel Adams. In 1783 there was talk of him becoming Ambassador to the British Court and Abigail begged him to say no to the appointment. She missed him and had many years not being with him. She was 39 and felt old as her health was starting to become an issue. She was terrified to travel across the sea, he plead in September of that year to come to him. She found out he was commisioned to the position and had started having health issues himself so she gave in and decided to go to him. On June 18, 1784 she said goodbyes at her home and on the 20th, her ship sailed with her, Nabby and their 2 servants. July 20, 1784 the ship hit British soil.

Source: McCullough, David, "John Adams", pgs 237 - 478, Thorndike Press, Waterville, Maine

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
and the United States. He took John Quincy (his son) and a servant and they set off to France. Abigail did not go to see them off, they said what they needed to at their home. and many did not know of the appointment until after the ship left U.S. soil. The weather was horrible that morning in February of 1778. It turned out to be a pretty bad trip. April 4th they had landed and gone about 50 miles. The 5th brought another 100 miles and on the 6th of April he wrote how he loved the beauty all around him. The only draw back he saw was the large amount of beggars swarming everywhere. They finally arrived in Paris on the 8th of April 1778. Some citizens were disappointed...
posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
In November 1777 he had gotten to be home and spent a couple weeks with his family. He felt that he was letting his family down. He was not taking interest in his children's education as much as he wanted and they were starting to run shorter on money. He planned to just stay home and tend to his family. However, this did not end up happening. Elbridge Gerry informed him that he was to take over for Silas Deane as Commissioner to France. Silas had been accused of questionable conduct and being tried for it. November 27th he was named a Commisioner to work iwth Franklin and Arthur Lee in France. They wanted to negotiate an alliance between France...
posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
Adams-29853 and Adams-10 appear to represent the same person because: based on the dates, this is intended to be the second president of the United States....but, no middle name is proven
Find A Grave Memorial# 6 Burial: United First Parish, Church, Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA Plot: Basement crypt
posted by Andrea (Stawski) Pack
Could there be a way in this profile to collect students of John Adams? I recently found Horatio Nelson Brinsmade who was Adams' student.