Tag Archive | John Adams

Circus Trip 2018: John Adams

Day 58, Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Adams National Historical Park, Quincy, Massachusetts

Quincy, Massachusetts was the Adams’ family hometown for multiple generations.  As a result, there are multiple sites with Adams history, aside from the John Adams National Historical Park, where a history nerd like me can literally walk in the footsteps of two of our nation’s Presidents.

John and John Quincy Adams and their families both attended the United First Parish Church, a Unitarian church.  The church first gathered in 1636 as a branch of the Church of Boston, which was founded in 1633.  First Parish then became an independent church in 1639.  It was originally founded as a Puritan church, but became a Unitarian parish in 1750.

Both Adams were lifelong members of the congregation, and their tombs are beneath the church; they share a crypt with their wives Abigail and Louisa Catherine.  In addition, the Patriot John Hancock was baptized here.

I visited the church and the docents were happy to show me around.  I got to sit in the Adams pew, where John Adams and his family sat whenever they attended.  They also took me downstairs to the crypt to view John and John Quincy Adams’ tombs.  It was so humbling to sit where these Presidents sat and pay my respects at their graves.  I was all alone with the docent, and she was kind and knowledgeable, and even offered to take my picture in the pew!

Outside, the town cemetery contains the graves of many more Adams family members, including John Adams’ grandparents.  When I got on the road and headed out that day, I was happy to have spent some time with these important historical figures!

Oh, and just so you know, today – July 11 – is John Quincy Adams birthday! 

Circus Trip 2018: Adams NHP

Day 58, Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Adams National Historical Park, Quincy, Massachusetts

Our second President John Adams lived almost his whole life in Quincy, Massachusetts.  Which makes it easy for a person who wants to see most of the homes a President has lived in, in one tour!  In actuality, Adams was born in 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts, but the part of Braintree where he was born eventually became Quincy.

The Adams National Historical Park contains an incredible amount of Adams family history, and in a small area around Quincy.  The visitor’s center is downtown, and from there you can book a trolley tour that takes you to the John Adams birthplace home, the John Quincy Adams birthplace home where John and Abigail raised their family, and finally, Peace field, the home that John and Abigail purchased as their retirement home.  The tours are on hiatus due to COVID, so you can come along on mine!

The John Adams Birthplace home is a saltbox style home, originally built in 1681.  It was purchased in 1720 by John Adams’ father, Deacon John Adams, and John was born there in 1735.  It is the first stop on the tour, and you get to go inside and check out the first floor rooms.  There is such history here!

The John Quincy Adams Birthplace home is also a traditional saltbox style home, originally built in 1663, and purchased by John Adams’ father in 1744.  John Adams inherited it when his father passed in 1661, and moved Abigail to this home, right next door to his own birthplace home.  Their son, John Quincy Adams, was born in this home in 1767.  John Adams also drafted the Massachusetts State Constitution from this home in 1779.

In 1787, John and Abigail Adams purchased Peace field, a home that was to be their retirement home, and moved there in 1788.  It was built originally in 1731, and at that time consisted of two first floor rooms, two bedrooms and an attic.  John and Abigail had purchased it sight unseen while they were living in London, after the loyalist owners left Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War.  Abigail was dissatisfied by the home, and set about enlarging it.  Now, Peace field is much larger than the other homes, and more modern.  Four generations of the Adams family lived here, from from 1788 to 1927.  The home was donated to the Park Service in 1946. 

The homes are all incredible, but one building on this tour really takes the cake.  The Stone Library was built in 1870; it was stipulated in John Quincy Adams’ will in 1847.  It took his son Charles another 23 years to finish it, but now about 10% of the books it contains belonged to John Adams, and the majority were from John Quincy Adams’ collection.  The Adams family children between 1870 and 1927 were able to use the library to read and write, and at least four books were written here.  Charles Francis Adams wrote portions of the ten volume, Diary of John Adams, the twelve volume, The Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, and The Letters of Abigail Adams in this library, and his son, Henry Adams worked on his History of the United States here too.

What a wonderful tour to see these historic sites!