John Adams was the patriarch of an impressive line of powerful politicians as well as the husband of a well-educated and outspoken woman in Abigail Adams. The family of John Adams includes his son, another John of the Adams family, John Quincy Adams, who was highly praised as Secretary of State before becoming the president himself. John Adams' family members also include his eldest daughter, Abigail Adams Smith, his second son Charles who died of alcoholism at age 30; his second daughter, Susanna; his youngest son Thomas Boylston who followed his father's footsteps into a legal career but did not fare as well; and finally his youngest daughter, Elizabeth. John Adams family history is indelibly connected to the story of America. John Adams family tree can be traced back through his father to Henry Adams, an early Puritan pilgrim who emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1638. Samuel Adams, the famous patriot, was also John Adams' second cousin and another figure in the illustrious family tree of John Adams.
John Adams' descendants include many powerful politicians from the State of Massachusetts. Charles Francis Adams, Sr. was the grandson of John Adams and the son of John Quincy Adams; he was a Congressman who was also nominated as a candidate for the Vice Presidency in 1848. The political influence of John Adams family tree descendants continued with Charles' son John Quincy Adams, Jr. who was a State Representative in Massachusetts in 1866 and, like his father, a failed candidate for the Vice Presidency. His son, Charles Francis Adams III was the Mayor of Quincy, Massachusetts in 1896 and later became the Secretary of the Navy under President Herbert Hoover in 1929. Many living descendants of John Adams retain their connection through photographs and written records of the John Adams family tree. After the death of Eugene Nickerson, a federal judge, in 2002, there are no longer any significant political figures who can claim to be John Adams descendants today.
John Adams family life was thoroughly recorded through his letters and the writing of his children. Unfortunately, John Adams was known to spend most of his time away from home. Even before the call for Revolution, his career as an attorney kept John busy following his cases around Massachusetts. Once the Continental Congress convened, he spent most of his time in Philadelphia and was absent for a number of his children's births as well as his wife's miscarriage in 1777. Even during his Presidency, the first family Abigail and John Adams led made many sacrifices for the good of the nation. John spent years in Europe and sometimes brought along some of his children to allow them international experience and an education that was still not available in the United States. John Adams and his family have been the subject of serious study as they played a central role in the early years of the United States; his daughter Abigail Adams Smith became a figure of study for medical historians after her diagnosis and botched operation for breast cancer.