In 1636 Henry Adams, great-great-grand father of John, crossed the Atlantic to settle in New England, in the town of Braintree, 10 miles south of Boston. John Adams was the fifth generation of Adams that descended from Henry. His father was also John and his mother was Susan Boylston, daughter of Peter Boylston from the town of Brookline. John was born in Braintree on October 19, 1735. John was the eldest son; his younger brothers were Peter, born in 1738, and Elihu in 1742. The old John Adams was a deacon of Braintree’s First Congregational Church and a selectman for the town of Braintree. The family sought to live by Puritan tenets and attended church regularly.
Birthplace and home of John Adams
John’s father was a farmer from mid March to autumn and a shoe maker during the winter; he lived all his life in Braintree and was a well respected man. Even though he did not have a formal education, people respected him and thought of him as a wise and intelligent man with strong puritan principles. He was elected nine times as a selectman in the town of Braintree and fourteen times as a Deacon in The Braintree First Congregational Church. Deacon Adams inherited a house and a piece of land from his father; he was a hard working man whose goal in life was to provide for his wife and three sons. Over the years he saved enough money to purchase the adjacent land south of his property, about nine and a half acres. He managed the two properties as one calling them Penn’s Hill Farm. Here is where John Adams grew, free to roam around the farm. As a child he would adventure outdoors to play with other children, he liked to fly kites, play sports, hike and explore but what he enjoyed the most was shooting.
As a child JA wanted to be a farmer like his father but he had other plans for his oldest son. At the time the oldest son was the one to get a university education if it could be afforded. In deacon Adams’ family it was his brother and he planned for John to go to the best university, Harvard College, where the sons of the most affluent and influential families in Boston got an education.
At age fifteen JA got accepted into Harvard but contrary to his father’s wishes of becoming a member of the clergy, he became a lawyer.
In 1762, once John was settled as an attorney he proposed Abigail Smith but because of her young age, she was seventeen, they agreed upon a two year engagement before the weeding. In October 25th, 1764 they finally married, John was twenty eight and Abigail nineteen. They settled in Braintree in the house he inherited from his father. The following year they had their first child, a girl named Abigail who they called Nabby. Their second child, John Quincy, who was to be the sixth president of the United States, was born in 1767. John and Abigail built an admirable family under many eyes. Together they had a total of six children, one died as a baby and another was stillborn.