John Adams House


Michael Benton, Contributor

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john adams houseIn the home state of John Adams, Massachusetts, there are numerous monuments to America's earliest patriots, but there are also many of their homes. In John Adams hometown, Quincy, Massachusetts (still the north precinct of Braintree, MA when he was born), there is an area designated as the Adams National Historic Park which is maintained by the National Park Service. In this park is the Old House, also known as Peacefield, John Adams' home. The house was originally built in 1731 by a sugar-planter from Jamaica, but the John and his wife Abigail Adams were able to acquire it in 1787 after the loyalists who previously owned it fled the state during the Revolution. To say it was John Adams' homestead is incorrect, but it did serve as a farmhouse for his family. The home was passed down through generations of Adams including John Quincy Adams, Charles Francis Adams, Henry Adams and Brooks Adams. The house was donated to the United States government by Adams descendants in 1946 and was soon open to the public.

From John Adams' house, Boston is only ten miles away. He spent a lot of time in the city during the early years of his political career and had returned to Massachusetts in 1787 for a short time while serving in a diplomatic role in Europe. It was only two years later, after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, that Adams was elected the first Vice President of the United States and required to move to Philadelphia. His family joined him there but he often vacationed at his home in Quincy. He was known to spend a lot of time at home during his presidency as the White House was only just under construction. As the second President of the United States, he had the privilege of being the first to live in the White House. On their way to the White House, John Adams and his family famously lost their way through the woods in Washington, D.C. and it was hours before they found their official new home. After losing in his bid for re-election in 1800, Adams retired from politics and soon moved back to Peacefield.

When it first became John Adams' house, Braintree was still the name of the town. Soon after, however, the north precinct was incorporated into a new town named after a local family from which Abigail was descended. Quincy, MA was named after a powerful political family with roots going back to the earliest pilgrims. The Adams' eldest son, John Quincy Adams, had double the heritage of political success and fully lived up to expectations. He was Secretary of State under the Monroe Administration (writing much of the Monroe Doctrine) and was elected the sixth President of the United States in 1824. His son, Charles Francis Adams, utilized the treasure of recorded writings and letters from John and Abigail Adams to publish the first biography of John Adams as well as a compilation of the couple's personal letters.