Louisa Adams

Last updated

Louisa Adams
Charles Bird King portrait of Louisa Adams.jpg
First Lady of the United States
In role
March 4, 1825 March 4, 1829
President John Quincy Adams
Preceded by Elizabeth Monroe
Succeeded by Emily Donelson (Acting)
Personal details
Born
Louisa Catherine Johnson

(1775-02-12)February 12, 1775
London, Great Britain
DiedMay 15, 1852(1852-05-15) (aged 77)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting place United First Parish Church
Spouse(s)
John Quincy Adams
(m. 1797;died 1848)
Children4, including George, John, and Charles
Signature Louisa C Adams Signature.svg

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams (February 12, 1775 – May 15, 1852), wife of John Quincy Adams, was the First Lady of the United States from 1825 to 1829. Born in London, she was the first First Lady to be born outside the United States, or the preceding Thirteen Colonies—a distinction that would not be shared until 192 years later by Melania Trump.

John Quincy Adams 6th president of the United States

John Quincy Adams was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States from 1825 to 1829. He previously served as the eighth United States Secretary of State from 1817 to 1825. During his long diplomatic and political career, Adams also served as an ambassador, and represented Massachusetts as a United States Senator and as a member of the United States House of Representatives. He was the eldest son of John Adams, who served as the second US president from 1797 to 1801. Initially a Federalist like his father, he won election to the presidency as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, and in the mid-1830s became affiliated with the Whig Party.

First Lady of the United States wife of the President of the United States

The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) is the title held by the hostess of the White House, usually the wife of the President of the United States, concurrent with the President's term in office. Although the First Lady's role has never been codified or officially defined, she figures prominently in the political and social life of the nation. Since the early 20th century, the First Lady has been assisted by official staff, now known as the Office of the First Lady and headquartered in the East Wing of the White House. Melania Trump is the current First Lady of the United States, as wife of 45th president, Donald Trump.

Thirteen Colonies British American colonies which became the United States

The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries. They declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of America. The Thirteen Colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers. They were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in Canada, the Caribbean, and the Floridas.

Contents

Early life

Adams was born Louisa Catherine Johnson on February 12, 1775, in London, the illegitimate daughter of Joshua Johnson, an American merchant from Maryland, whose brother Thomas Johnson later served as Governor of Maryland and United States Supreme Court Justice, and Catherine Newth, an Englishwoman, whose identity was long a mystery; her great-great-grandson Henry Adams joked that her existence was "one of the deepest mysteries of metaphysical theology." [1] Louisa had six sisters: Ann "Nancy," Caroline, Harriet, Catherine, Elizabeth (2nd wife of Congressman John Pope (Kentucky politician)), and Adelaide, and a brother, Thomas. She grew up in London and Nantes, France, where the family took refuge during the American Revolution.

City of London City and county in United Kingdom

The City of London is a city and county that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the agglomeration has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London; however, the City of London is not a London borough, a status reserved for the other 32 districts. It is also a separate county of England, being an enclave surrounded by Greater London. It is the smallest county in the United Kingdom.

Maryland State of the United States of America

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary.

Thomas Johnson (jurist) United States federal judge

Thomas Johnson was an 18th-century American judge and politician. He participated in several ventures to support the Revolutionary War. Johnson was the first (non-Colonial) governor of Maryland, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Johnson suffered from a myriad of health issues. He was the first person appointed to the court after its original organization and staffing with six justices. Johnson's tenure on the Supreme Court lasted only 163 days, which makes him the shortest-serving justice in U.S. history.

Marriage and children

She met John Quincy Adams at her father's house in Cooper's Row, near Tower Hill, London. Her father had been appointed as United States consul general in 1790, and Adams first visited him in November 1795. Adams at first showed interest in her older sister but soon settled on Louisa. Adams, aged 30, married Louisa, aged 22, on July 26, 1797, at the parish church of All Hallows-by-the-Tower, on Tower Hill. Adams' father, John Adams, then President of the United States eventually welcomed his daughter-in-law into the family, although they did not meet for several years. [2]

Tower Hill hill, neighbourhood and street in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Tower Hill is a complex city or garden square northwest of the Tower of London, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets just outside the City of London boundary yet inside what remains of the London Wall — a large fragment of which survives toward its east.

All Hallows-by-the-Tower Church in London

All Hallows-by-the-Tower, also previously dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and sometimes known as All Hallows Barking, is an ancient Anglican church on Byward Street in the City of London, overlooking the Tower of London.

John Adams 2nd president of the United States

John Adams was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain, and also served as the first vice president of the United States. Adams was a dedicated diarist and regularly corresponded with many important figures in early American history including his wife and adviser, Abigail, and his letters and other papers are an important source of historical information about the era.

Her parents left Europe in 1797 and went to the U.S. When her father was forced into bankruptcy, President John Adams appointed him as U.S. Director of Stamps. Her father, who suffered from mental illness, died in Frederick, Maryland, in 1802 of severe fever, leaving little provision for his family. Her mother died in September 1811, in her mid-fifties, [3] and is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery.

Frederick, Maryland City in Maryland, United States

Frederick is a city in, and the county seat of, Frederick County in the U.S. state of Maryland. It is part of the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area. Frederick has long been an important crossroads, located at the intersection of a major north–south Indian trail and east–west routes to the Chesapeake Bay, both at Baltimore and what became Washington, D.C. and across the Appalachian mountains to the Ohio River watershed. It is a part of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of a greater Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area. The city's population was 65,239 people at the 2010 United States Census, making it the second-largest incorporated city in Maryland, behind Baltimore. Frederick is home to Frederick Municipal Airport, which accommodates general aviation, and to the county's largest employer U.S. Army's Fort Detrick bioscience/communications research installation.

Rock Creek Cemetery cemetery in Washington, D.C., United States

Rock Creek Cemetery is an 86-acre (350,000 m2) cemetery with a natural and rolling landscape located at Rock Creek Church Road, NW, and Webster Street, NW, off Hawaii Avenue, NE, in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C., United States. It is across the street from the historic Soldiers' Home and the Soldiers' Home Cemetery. It also is home to the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. On August 12, 1977, Rock Creek Cemetery and the adjacent church grounds were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Rock Creek Church Yard and Cemetery.

John Quincy Adams and Louisa Adams had the following children:

George Washington Adams American politician

George Washington Adams was an American attorney and politician. He was the eldest son of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. Adams served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and on the Boston City Council. He died of an apparent suicide at age 28.

John Adams II second son of U.S. President John Quincy Adams and Louisa Adams

John Adams II was an American government functionary and businessman. The second son of President John Quincy Adams and Louisa Adams, he is usually called John Adams II to distinguish him from President John Adams, his famous grandfather.

The Smolenskoye Cemetery is a Lutheran cemetery on Dekabristov Island in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is one of the largest and oldest non-orthodox cemeteries in the city. Until the early 20th century it was one of the main burial grounds for ethnic Germans.

Married life, death

Louisa was sickly, plagued by migraine headaches and frequent fainting spells. She had several miscarriages over the course of her marriage. Having grown up in London and France, she found Massachusetts dull and provincial, and referred to the Adams family home as being "like something out of Noah's Ark". Nevertheless, she developed a warm affection for her father-in-law, and despite occasional differences, a deep respect for her mother-in-law Abigail Adams, whom she later described as "the guiding planet round which we all revolved".

Abigail Adams 2nd First Lady of the United States (1797–1801)

Abigail Adams was the wife and closest advisor of John Adams, as well as the mother of John Quincy Adams. She is sometimes considered to have been a Founder of the United States, and is now designated as the first Second Lady and second First Lady of the United States, although these titles were not used at the time.

She left her two older sons in Massachusetts for education in 1809 when she took two-year-old Charles Francis Adams to Russia, where Adams served as a Minister. Despite the glamour of the tsar's court, she had to struggle with cold winters, strange customs, limited funds, and poor health. An infant daughter born in 1811 died the next year.

Louisa Adams' successor Pat Nixon acquired a portrait of the First Lady that now hangs in the White House. Pat Nixon Adams portrait C6394-04a.jpg
Louisa Adams' successor Pat Nixon acquired a portrait of the First Lady that now hangs in the White House.

Peace negotiations called Adams to Ghent in 1814 and then to London. To join him, she made a forty-day journey across war-ravaged Europe by coach in winter. Roving bands of stragglers and highwaymen filled her with "unspeakable terrors" for her son. The next two years gave her an interlude of family life in the country of her birth.

When John Quincy Adams was appointed James Monroe's Secretary of State in 1817, the family moved to Washington, D.C. where Louisa's drawing room became a center for the diplomatic corps and other notables. Music enhanced her Tuesday evenings at home, and theater parties contributed to her reputation as an outstanding hostess.

The pleasures of moving into the White House in 1825 were dimmed by the bitter politics of the election, paired with her deep depression. Though she continued her weekly "drawing rooms", she preferred quiet evenings of reading, composing music and verse, and playing her harp. As First Lady, she became reclusive and depressed. For a time, she regretted ever having married into the Adams family, the men of which she found cold and insensitive. The necessary entertainments were always elegant and her cordial hospitality made the last official reception a gracious occasion although her husband had lost his bid for re-election and partisan feeling still ran high.

In his diary for June 23, 1828, her husband recorded her "winding silk from several hundred silkworms that she has been rearing," evidently in the White House. [5]

She thought she was retiring to Massachusetts permanently, but in 1831 her husband began seventeen years of service in the United States House of Representatives. The untimely deaths of her two oldest sons added to her burdens.

"Our union has not been without its trials," John Quincy Adams conceded. He acknowledged many "differences of sentiment, of tastes, and of opinions in regard to domestic economy, and to the education of children between us." But added that "she always has been a faithful and affectionate wife, and a careful, tender, indulgent, and watchful mother to our children."

Her husband died at the United States Capitol in 1848. She remained in Washington until her death of a heart attack on May 15, 1852, at the age of 77. The day of her funeral was the first time both houses of the United States Congress adjourned in mourning for any woman. [6] She is entombed at her husband's side, along with her parents-in-law President John Adams and first lady Abigail Adams, in the United First Parish Church in Quincy, Massachusetts.

First Spouse coin

External video
First Lady Louisa Adams.jpg
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg First Lady Louisa Adams, CSPAN [7]

The First Spouse Program under the Presidential $1 Coin Act authorizes the United States Mint to issue 1/2-ounce $10 gold coins and medal duplicates [8] to honor the first spouses of the United States. Louisa Adams' coin was released May 29, 2008.

Family tree

Writings

Related Research Articles

Martha Washington 1st First Lady of the United States

Martha Washington was the wife of George Washington, the first President of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington served as the inaugural First Lady of the United States. During her lifetime she was often referred to as "Lady Washington".

Charles Francis Adams Sr. American historical editor, politician and diplomat

Charles Francis Adams Sr. was an American historical editor, writer, politician, and diplomat. He was a son of President John Quincy Adams and grandson of President John Adams, about whom he wrote a major biography.

Elizabeth Monroe American politician

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe was the First Lady of the United States from 1817 to 1825, as the wife of James Monroe, President of the United States. Due to the fragile condition of Elizabeth's health, many of the duties of official White House hostess were assumed by her eldest daughter, Eliza Monroe Hay.

Presidential $1 Coin Program

The Presidential $1 Coin Program was the release by the United States Mint of $1 coins with engravings of relief portraits of U.S. presidents on the obverse and the Statue of Liberty on the reverse.

Mule (coin) numismatics

In numismatics, a mule is a coin or medal minted with obverse and reverse designs not normally seen on the same piece. These can be intentional or produced by error. This type of error is highly sought after, and examples can fetch high prices from collectors.

Adams National Historical Park

Adams National Historical Park, formerly Adams National Historic Site, in Quincy, Massachusetts, preserves the home of Presidents of the United States John Adams and John Quincy Adams, of U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, Charles Francis Adams, and of the writers and historians Henry Adams and Brooks Adams.

United First Parish Church church in Quincy, Massachusetts, United States

United First Parish Church is a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Quincy, Massachusetts, established as the parish church of Quincy in 1639. The current building was constructed in 1828 by noted Boston stonecutter Abner Joy to designs by Alexander Parris. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark on December 30, 1970, for its association with the Adams family, who funded its construction and whose most significant members are interred here.

Peacefield building in Massachusetts, United States

Peacefield, also called Old House, is a historic home formerly owned by the Adams family of Quincy, Massachusetts. It is now part of the Adams National Historical Park.

John Quincy Adams II United States politician

John Quincy Adams II was an American lawyer, politician, and member of the Adams political family.

Abigail Adams Smith Daughter of John Adams

Abigail "Nabby" AmeliaAdams Smith was the daughter of Abigail and John Adams, founding father and second President of the United States, and the sister of John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States. She was named for her mother.

<i>John Adams</i> (miniseries) 2008 American television miniseries chronicling US President John Adamss political life

John Adams is a 2008 American television miniseries chronicling most of U.S. President John Adams's political life and his role in the founding of the United States. Paul Giamatti portrays John Adams. The miniseries was directed by Tom Hooper. Kirk Ellis wrote the screenplay based on the book John Adams by David McCullough. The biopic of John Adams and the story of the first 50 years of the United States was broadcast in seven parts by HBO between March 16 and April 20, 2008. John Adams received widespread critical acclaim and many prestigious awards. The show won four Golden Globe awards and 13 Emmy awards, more than any other miniseries in history.

Charles Adams (1770–1800) Son of John and Abigail Adams

Charles Adams was the second son of President John Adams and his wife, Abigail Adams.

Thomas Boylston Adams was the third and youngest son of the 2nd president of the United States, John and Abigail (Smith) Adams.

The Quincy family was a prominent political family in Massachusetts from the mid-17th century through to the early 20th century. It is connected to the Adams family through Abigail Adams.

Second Lady of the United States wife of the Vice President of the United States

The Second Lady of the United States (SLOTUS) is the informal title held by the wife of the Vice President of the United States, concurrent with the vice president's term of office. This title is less commonly used than the title First Lady of the United States.

References

  1. Louisa Thomas, Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams (2016), pp. 46-53
  2. Lewis L. Gould, American First Ladies: Their Lives and Their Legacy (2014), pp. 45–48
  3. O'Brien, Mrs. Adams in Winter, 249
  4. O'Brien, Mrs. Adams in Winter, 248–52
  5. Diary (New York: Longmans, Green, 1929) p. 380
  6. "Louisa Adams – First Ladies". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
  7. "First Lady Louisa Adams". CSPAN. March 18, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  8. U.S. Mint: First Spouse Program. Accessed June 27, 2008. "The United States Mint also produces and make available to the public bronze medal duplicates of the First Spouse Gold Coins."

Further reading

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Elizabeth Monroe
First Lady of the United States
1825–1829
Succeeded by
Emily Donelson
De facto