Adams Timeline, List Format

Spanning the years 1735 to 1889, the Adams Timeline is a searchable collection of important events and happenings in the lives of John and Abigail Adams and their immediate family, including three succeeding generations.

Jump directly to: 1775180018251850

1735

Birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

19 October 1735: 19 October (30 October by the Gregorian calendar). John Adams at the John Adams is born in the North Precinct of Braintree, Mass. (later Quincy). Read more about John Adams at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

1744

The house of Rev. William Smith and the birthplace of Abigail (Smith) Adams, Weymouth, Massachusetts.

11 November 1744: 11 November (22 November by the Gregorian calendar). Abigail Smith is born in Weymouth, Mass. Read more about Abigail Smith at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

1751

A Westerly View of the Colledges in Cambridge in New England

1751: John Adams attends Harvard College, graduating in July 1755.

1755

August 1755: John Adams begins teaching grammar school in Worcester, Mass.

1756

August 1756: John Adams begins his study of the law in James Putnam's office in Worcester, Mass.

Return to Top

1758

November 1758: John Adams is admitted to Suffolk County Bar.

1762

1762: John Adams is admitted as a barrister before the Superior Court of Judicature.

1763

June–July 1763: John Adams publishes his first known newspaper pieces, signed "Humphrey Ploughjogger" and "U," in the Boston Evening Post and Boston Gazette.

1764

Portrait of Abigail AdamsPortrait of John Adams

25 October 1764: John Adams and Abigail Smith marry in Weymouth, Mass.

Object of the Month, March 2008: Blyth Portraits.

1765

14 July 1765: John and Abigail Adams' first child, Abigail 2d (Nabby), is born in Braintree, Mass. Read more about Abigail Adams 2d at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

August–October 1765: John Adams publishes "Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law" in the Boston Gazette.

September 1765: John Adams prepares the Braintree Instructions denouncing the Stamp Act.

Return to Top

1767

11 July 1767: John Quincy Adams, second child of John and Abigail Adams, is born in Braintree, Mass. Read more about John Quincy Adams at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

1768

28 December 1768: Susanna Adams, third child of John and Abigail Adams, is born in Boston. She lives only until 4 February 1770.

1770

January 1770: John Adams begins serving as clerk of the Suffolk County Bar Association.

29 May 1770: Charles Adams, third child of John and Abigail Adams, is born in Boston. Read more about Charles Adams at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

June 1770: John Adams is elected Boston representative to the Massachusetts General Court.

Summary of events from John Adams's autobiography.

October–November 1770: John Adams represents the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre trials.

Summary of events from John Adams' autobiography, available on the Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive.

Return to Top

1772

15 September 1772: Thomas Boylston Adams, fifth child of John and Abigail Adams, is born in Braintree, Mass. Read more about Thomas Boylston Adams at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

1774

September–October 1774: John Adams is a Massachusetts delegate to the first Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

1775

January–April 1775: John Adams publishes the "Novanglus" essays in the Boston Gazette.

12 February 1775: Louisa Catherine Johnson, future wife of John Quincy Adams, is born in London. Read more about Louisa Catherine Johnson at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

May–July 1775: John Adams attends the second Continental Congress. On 15 June, he proposes George Washington as commander in chief.

17 June 1775: Abigail and John Quincy Adams watch the Battle of Bunker Hill from Penn's Hill in Braintree, Mass.

July 1775: John Adams is elected to the Massachusetts Council and serves until April 1776.

28 October 1775: John Adams is appointed chief justice of Massachusetts. He never serves and resigns on 10 February 1777.

Return to Top

1776

February–October 1776: John Adams attends the Continental Congress.

March–April 1776: John Adams writes Thoughts on Government.

31 March 1776: Abigail Adams writes John, asking him to "Remember the Ladies" in planning the new government.

Read Abigail Adams' letter to John Adams, available on the Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive.

Dunlap's Original Printing of the Declaration of Independence

June–July 1776: John Adams serves on the committee to draft a declaration of independence and gives the principal speech in favor of the resolution for independence. The resolution is adopted 2 July.

Read Adams' handwritten copy of 28 June 1776.

June–September 1776: John Adams drafts the "Plan of Treaties," America's first blueprint for its foreign relations.

13 June 1776: John Adams is appointed president of the Board of War.

Return to Top

1777

11 July 1777: Abigail Adams gives birth to her sixth child, a stillborn daughter named Elizabeth in Braintree, Mass.

27 November 1777: John Adams is elected by Congress to be a joint commissioner to France with Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee.

1778

14 February–1 April 1778: John and John Quincy Adams sail on board the frigate Boston for France. On 8 April, they arrive at Paris and soon take up residence with Benjamin Franklin at Passy.

8 May 1778: John Adams has his first audience with Louis XVI.

1779

11 February 1779: John Adams learns that the joint commission is superseded by Benjamin Franklin's appointment as minister to France.

17 June–3 August 1779: John and John Quincy Adams sail from Lorient to Boston on board the French frigate La Sensible.

August 1779: John Adams proposes founding the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; it is incorporated in 1780. Adams serves as president from 1791 to 1813.

September–October 1779: John Adams drafts the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, which is adopted on 25 October 1780.

27 September 1779: John Adams is appointed to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain.

John Quincy Adams diary 2, 1780, inside back cover.

15 November 1779: John, John Quincy, and Charles Adams sail for France on La Sensible.

8 December 1779: A leak forces La Sensible to put into El Ferrol, Spain. John, John Quincy, and Charles Adams travel across northern Spain to France, arriving in Paris on 9 February 1780.

Return to Top

1780

19 April–14 July 1780: John Adams composes A Translation of the Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe . . . into Common Sense and Intelligible English. It is published in Amsterdam in November and in London in January 1781.

20 June 1780: Congress commissions John Adams to raise a loan in the Netherlands.

July 1780: John Adams writes what becomes known as "Letters from a Distinguished American"; they are published in London in 1782.

27 July–10 August 1780: John, John Quincy, and Charles Adams travel from Paris to Amsterdam.

4 October–27 October 1780: John Adams writes 26 letters to Amsterdan lawyer Hendrik Calkoen in an effort to explain the origins, progress, and nature of the American Revolution to the Dutch people.

29 December 1780: John Adams is commissioned by Congress to conclude a commercial treaty with the Netherlands.

Return to Top

1781

11 January 1781: John Quincy and Charles Adams enroll at the University of Leyden.

2 May 1781: John Adams presents a memorial to the States General of the United Provinces calling on it to recognize and conclude a commercial treaty with the United States and then publishes the memorial as a pamphlet in English, French, and Dutch.

15 June 1781: Congress revokes John Adams' commissions to negotiate Anglo-American peace and commercial treaties and creates a joint commission consisting of Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and Thomas Jefferson to negotiate a peace treaty.

July 1781: John Adams briefly returns to Paris to discuss the proposed Austro-Russian mediation of the war and rejects American participation unless there is prior recognition of American independence.

7 July–27 August 1781: John Quincy Adams accompanies Francis Dana to St. Petersburg, where he serves as Dana's secretary and interpreter.

Object of the Month, September 2007: Francis Dana's letter to John Adams, 28 August 1781.

12 August 1781: Charles Adams leaves the Netherlands for America on board the South Carolina.

John Adams' letter to Charles William Frederic Dumas, 18 October 1781.

August–October 1781: John Adams is seriously ill in Amsterdam with a fever.

John Adams' letter to Charles William Frederic Dumas: 18 October 1781.

Return to Top

1782

Friesland medal, commemorating first Dutch province to recognize the United StatesReverse of Friesland medal, commemorating first Dutch province to recognize the United States.

19 April 1782: The States General of the Netherlands recognizes American independence.

22 April 1782: John Adams presents his letter of credence as minister plenipotentiary from the United States to William V, stadholder of the Netherlands.

12 May 1782: John Adams takes up residence in the Hôtel des Etats-Unis at The Hague, the first American legation building in Europe.

11 June 1782: John Adams signs a contract with a syndicate of Amsterdam bankers for a loan of five million guilders.

8 October 1782: John Adams signs a treaty of amity and commerce with the Netherlands.

30 October 1782: John Quincy Adams leaves St. Petersburg for the Netherlands. He travels through Finland to Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Hamburg, and arrives at The Hague on 21 April 1783.

30 November 1782: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay sign the preliminary peace treaty between the United States and Great Britain in Paris.

Return to Top

1783

July–August 1783: John Adams visits The Hague and returns to Paris with John Quincy Adams.

First page of the Anglo-American peace treaty.Last page of the Anglo-American peace treaty.

3 September 1783: John Adams signs the definitive peace treaty between the United States and Great Britain.

September–October 1783: John Adams has a second serious fever.

October–September 1783: John and John Quincy Adams travel to England where they visit London, Oxford, and Bath.

1784

9 March 1784: John Adams concludes a second Dutch loan in Amsterdam to save American credit.

May–June 1784: Congress elects John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson commissioners to negotiate treaties of amity and commerce with European and North African nations.

20 June 1784: Abigail Adams and her daughter, Abigail 2d, sail from Boston to England, arriving in London on 21 July.

30 July 1784: John Quincy Adams joins his mother and sister in London. John Adams arrives a week later.

Numbers 43-47 Rue d' Auteuil, the Adams home in Auteuil.

August 1794–May 1785: John, Abigail, Abigail 2d, and John Quincy Adams reside at Auteuil, near Paris.

Return to Top

1785

John Adams's commission from Congress.

24 February 1785: John Adams is named the first U.S. minister to Great Britain.

12 May 1785: John Quincy Adams leaves Paris, returning to Boston on 25 August after spending a month in New York City.

26 May 1785: John, Abigail, and Abigail Adams 2d arrive at London.

1 June 1785: John Adams is presented to George III.

23 June 1785: Abigail and Abigail Adams 2d are presented to King George III and Queen Charlotte.

Letter from Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, summarizing the presentation.

Abigail Adams 2d's comments on the king and queen.

2 July 1785: John, Abigail, and Abigail Adams 2d move into the first American legation in London, a house in Grosvenor Square.

5 August 1785: John Adams signs a treaty of amity and commerce with Prussia.

17 August 1785: Charles Adams is admitted to Harvard College; he graduates in 1789.

Return to Top

1786

25 January 1786: John Adams signs a treaty of peace and friendship with Morocco.

15 March 1786: John Quincy Adams enters Harvard College as a junior; he graduates in 1787.

March–April 1786: Thomas Jefferson visits John Adams in London to negotiate commercial treaties with Tripoli, Portugal, and Great Britain. While there, he tours English gardens with Adams.

12 June 1786: Abigail Adams 2d marries William Stephens Smith in London. Read more about William Stephens Smith at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

30 August 1786: Thomas Boylston Adams is admitted to Harvard College; he graduates in 1790.

August–September 1786: John Adams visits the Netherlands with Abigail to exchange ratifications of the treaty with Prussia.

September–October 1786: John Adams begins A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States, which he finishes, in three volumes, in 1787.

Return to Top

1787

2 April 1787: William Steuben Smith, the first child of Abigail Adams Smith and William Stephens Smith, is born in London.

May–June 1787: John Adams visits Amsterdam to secure a third Dutch loan.

June–July 1787: In London, John and Abigail Adams care for Thomas Jefferson's daughter Mary and her companion, the slave Sally Hemings, who are en route to live with Jefferson in Paris.

Peacefield

July–September 1787: John and Abigail Adams arrange for the purchase of the Vassall-Borland house (the "Old House") in Braintree, which is now part of Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Mass.

October 1787: At his request, Congress recalls John Adams from his diplomatic missions.

Return to Top

1788

20 February 1788: John Adams has a farewell audience with George III.

Diplomatic medal of the States-General of the United Provinces of Holland given to John Adams.

February–March 1788: John Adams makes his last visit to Holland to contract a fourth loan.

April–May 1788: Abigail Adams Smith and William Stephens Smith return to America and settle in New York.

April–June 1788: John and Abigail Adams return to Massachusetts and move into their new home, now part of Adams National Historical Park.

9 November 1788: John Adams Smith, second child of Abigail Adams Smith and William Stephens Smith, is born in Jamaica, Long Island, New York.

Return to Top

1789

Federal Hall, The Seat of Congress

March 1789: John Adams is elected the first vice president of the United States. He is introduced to the Senate on 21 April in New York City.

July 1789: Charles Adams begins studying law in New York City in the office of Alexander Hamilton; he later transfers to the office of John Laurance.

1790

May 1790: John Adams begins serial publication of "Discourses on Davila" in the Gazette of the United States; the series continues until April 1791.

7 August 1790: Thomas Hollis Smith, third child of Abigail Adams Smith and William Stephens Smith, is born in Jamaica, Long Island, New York, but lives only until 8 July 1791.

Bush Hill, Near Philadelphia

November 1790: John and Abigial Adams move to the new U.S. capital, Philadelphia.

Return to Top

1791

May 1791: John Adams is elected president of the Academy of Arts and Sciences; he serves until 1813.

8 June–27 July 1791: John Quincy Adams publishes the "Publicola" essays in the Boston Columbian Centinel, attacking Thomas Paine's Rights of Man and criticizing Thomas Jefferson's support of Paine.

1792

22 February 1792: Braintree's North Parish incorporates as the town of Quincy, Mass.

August 1792: Charles Adams obtains his certificate to practice law.

December 1792: John Quincy Adams protests Boston's anti-theater ordinances in articles signed "Menander," which are published in the Boston Columbian Centinel.

Return to Top

1793

February 1793: John Adams is reelected vice president.

April–May 1793: John Quincy Adams publishes the "Marcellus" essays in the Boston Columbian Centinel, defending American neutrality.

July 1793: John Quincy Adams delivers his first 4th of July oration in Boston.

November–December 1793: John Quincy Adams publishes his "Columbus" essays in the Boston Columbian Centinel, denouncing the diplomatic mission of France's Edmond Charles Genet.

December 1793: Thomas Boylston Adams is admitted to the bar in Philadelphia, after studying for three years in the office of Jared Ingersoll.

Return to Top

1794

30 May 1794: President George Washington appoints John Quincy Adams resident minister to the Netherlands.

Miniature of John Quincy AdamsMiniature of Thomas Boylston Adams

September–October 1794: John Quincy Adams sails to England with Thomas Boylston Adams, whom he names his secretary.

6 November 1794: John Quincy Adams presents his credentials at The Hague.

1795

28 January 1795: Caroline Amelia Smith, fourth child of Abigail Adams Smith and William Stephens Smith, is born in New York.

29 August 1795: Charles Adams marries Sarah Smith, sister of William Stephens Smith, in New York City. Read more about Sarah Smith at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

Return to Top

1796

30 May 1796: President George Washington appoints John Quincy Adams minister plenipotentiary to Portugal, but Adams never serves under this appointment.

8 August 1796: Susanna Boylston Adams, first child of Charles Adams and Sarah Smith Adams, is born in New York City.

December 1796: John Adams narrowly defeats Thomas Jefferson for the presidency.

1797

4 March 1797: John Adams is inaugurated second president of the United States.

1 June 1797: President John Adams appoints John Quincy Adams minister plenipotentiary to Prussia.

May–July 1797: President John Adams appoints the first peace mission to France to resolve the issue of America's rights as a neutral maritime power during the Anglo-French war.

20 June 1797: John Quincy Adams presents his letter of recall to the Dutch governement.

Miniature of Louisa Catherine Adams

26 July 1797: John Quincy Adams marries Louisa Catherine Johnson in London.

October–November 1797: John Quincy, Louisa Catherine, and Thomas Boylston Adams travel from London to Berlin.

Return to Top

1798

March–April 1798: President John Adams declares a state of quasi-war with France and publishes the XYZ papers showing French attempts to bribe American diplomats.

May–June 1798: President John Adams proposes and Congress approves the creation of the Department of the Navy.

July 1798: President John Adams signs the Alien and Sedition Acts.

8 September 1798: Abigail Louisa Smith Adams, second child of Charles Adams and Sarah Smith Adams, is born.

30 September 1798: Thomas Boylston Adams departs Berlin to return to the United States, arriving in Quincy, Mass. on 12 February 1799. He practices law in Philadelphia from 1799 to 1803.

Return to Top

1799

February 1799: President John Adams appoints a second peace mission to France, which is dispatched in October.

11 July 1799: John Quincy Adams signs a treaty of amity and commerce with Prussia.

Fall 1799: John Quincy Adams begins translating Christopher Martin Wieland's epic poem Oberon; he completes it in 1801.

1800

May 1800: President John Adams dismisses Secretary of War James McHenry and Secretary of State Timothy Pickering for opposing his peace policy.

23 July–24 September 1800: John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams travel through Silesia. He describes their journey in letters to Thomas Boylston Adams, which are soon published in Philadelphia's Port Folio.

September 1800: Alexander Hamilton attacks the Adams administration in his Letter... concerning the Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq.

October 1800: American diplomats conclude the Convention of Mortefontaine with France, ending the quasi-war and the Franco-American alliance of 1778.

1 November 1800: John Adams becomes the first president to live in the President's House in Washington. Abigail joins him mid-month.

30 November 1800: Charles Adams dies in New York City.

December 1800: President John Adams is defeated for reelection.

Return to Top

1801

January–February 1801: President John Adams appoints Federalists to judicial posts, including John Marshall as Supreme Court chief justice.

February 1801: President John Adams has John Quincy Adams recalled from Prussia.

View of the home of John Adams in Quincy.

4 March 1801: Thomas Jefferson becomes the third president of the United States; John Adams retires to his farm in Quincy, Mass.

12 April 1801: George Washington Adams, the first child of John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams, is born in Berlin. Read more about George Washington Adams at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

July–September 1801: John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams return to America and take up residence in Boston.

Return to Top

1802

April 1802: John Quincy Adams is elected to Massachusetts State Senate.

5 October 1802: John Adams begins his autobiography; he continues it until 1807.

November 1802: John Quincy Adams is defeated in a run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

1803

February 1803: John Quincy Adams is elected by the Massachusetts legislature to the U.S. Senate.

4 July 1803: John Adams 2d, the second child of John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams, is born in Boston. Read more about John Adams 2d at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

November 1803: John Quincy Adams breaks with Massachusetts Federalists to support the Louisiana Purchase.

Return to Top

1805

Portrait of Ann Harrod Adams

16 May 1805: Thomas Boylston Adams marries Ann Harrod of Haverhill, Mass., in Haverhill. Read more about Ann Harrod at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

August 1805: John Quincy Adams is appointed the first Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard; he begins lecturing on 11 July 1806.

1806

29 July 1806: Abigail Smith Adams, first child of Thomas Boylston Adams and Ann Harrod Adams, is born in Quincy, Mass.

1807

July–August 1807: John Adams writes 10 letters to Mercy Otis Warren, protesting her treatment of him in her History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution.

18 August 1807: Charles Francis Adams, third child of John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams, is born in Boston. Read more about Charles Francis Adams at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

December 1807: John Quincy Adams is the only Federalist senator to support President Thomas Jefferson's embargo bill.

Return to Top

1808

January 1808: John Quincy Adams attends the Republican caucus to select presidential nominee.

8 June 1808: John Quincy Adams resigns his seat in the U.S. Senate after the Massachusetts legislature elects his successor six months before the normal election.

Abigail Adams's pocket.

9 June 1808: Elizabeth Coombs Adams, second child of Thomas Boylston and Ann Harrod Adams, is born.

Object of the Month, December 2009: Abigail Adams' pocket, passed down to Elizabeth Coombs Adams.

1809

1 April 1809: John Adams begins a series of letters of reminiscence to the Boston Patriot, which he continues until May 1812.

25 April 1809: Abigail Brown Brooks, future wife of Charles Francis Adams, is born in Medford, Mass. Read more about Abigail Brown Brooks at the Adams Biographical Sketches.

April–June 1809: John Quincy Adams' critical review of the Works of Fisher Ames appears in the Boston Patriot. This review constitutes his final break with Massachusetts Federalism.

27 June 1809: President James Madison appoints John Quincy Adams minister plenipotentiary to Russia.

4 August 1809: Thomas Boylston Adams, Jr., third child of Thomas Boylston and Ann Harrod Adams, is born.

Portrait of Louisa Catherine AdamsPortrait of John Quincy Adams

August–October 1809: John Quincy, Louisa Catherine, and Charles Francis, sail to St. Petersburg, where John Quincy presents his credentials as minister plenipotentiary in November. They are accompanied by Louisa's younger sister, Catherine Johnson, and John Quincy's nephew, William Steuben Smith, who serves as his private secretary.

JQA Twitter project: the line-a-day diary entries of John Quincy Adams, beginning with his journey to Russia on 5 August 1809.

Return to Top

1810

1810: The Harvard lectures delivered by John Quincy Adams between 1806 and 1809 are published as Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory.

1811

22 February 1811: At Abigail Adams' request, President James Madison appoints John Quincy Adams an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He declines the position.

June 1811: Thomas Boylston Adams is appointed chief justice of the Massachusetts Circuit Court of Common Pleas for the Southern Circuit.

22 June 1811: Frances Foster Adams, fourth child of Thomas Boylston and Ann Harrod Adams, is born; she dies 4 March 1812.

12 August 1811: Louisa Catherine Adams, fourth child of John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams, is born in St. Petersburg, Russia; she dies 15 September 1812.

Return to Top

1812

1 January 1812: John Adams resumes his correspondence with Thomas Jefferson; it continues until their deaths.

1813

17 February 1813: William Steuben Smith marries Catherine Maria Frances Johnson, the sister of Louisa Catherine Adams, in St. Petersburg; they have two children who die in infancy.

26 May 1813: Isaac Hull Adams, fifth child of Thomas Boylston and Ann Harrod Adams, is born.

14 Aug 1813: Abigail Adams Smith dies of breast cancer in Quincy, Mass.

1814

January 1814: John Quincy Adams is appointed to head the commission to negotiate an Anglo-American peace treaty.

28 April–24 June 1814: John Quincy Adams travels alone from St. Petersburg to Ghent to negotiate an Anglo-American peace treaty. His meetings with British commissioners begin on 8 August.

11 September 1814: Caroline Amelia Smith marries John Peter de Windt; they have 12 children.

23 October 1814: Abigail Louisa Smith Adams marries Alexander Bryan Johnson in Utica, New York; they have 10 children.

24 December 1814: John Quincy Adams signs the Treaty of Ghent with Great Britain, ending the War of 1812.

Return to Top

1815

Louisa Catherine Adams's French Passport

12 February–23 March 1815: Louisa Catherine and Charles Francis Adams travel overland from St. Petersburg to join John Quincy Adams in Paris; her recollections of this trip published in Scribner's Magazine in 1903.

28 February 1815: John Quincy Adams is commisioned envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain.

25 May 1815: John Quincy Adams' entire family is reunited in London.

3 July 1815: John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and Albert Gallatin sign the Commercial Convention that first establishes American diplomatic equality with Great Britain.

16 December 1815: John Quincy Adams, sixth child of Thomas Boylston and Ann Harrod Adams, is born.

Return to Top

1817

5 March 1817: President James Monroe appoints John Quincy Adams secretary of state.

14 May 1817: John Quincy Adams presents his letter of recall as minister to Great Britain; he travels with his family from London to Quincy, Mass., arriving in August.

3 August 1817: Susanna Boylston Adams marries Charles Thomas Clark in Quincy, Mass.; they have one child, Susanna Maria Clark.

28 August 1817: George Washington Adams enrolls at Harvard; he graduates in 1821.

September 1817: John Quincy Adams assumes his post as secretary of state.

16 December 1817: Joseph Harrod Adams, seventh child of Thomas Boylston and Ann Harrod Adams, is born.

Return to Top

1818

July 1818: John Quincy Adams opposes the censure of Andrew Jackson for invading the Spanish province of Florida without authorization.

20 October 1818: American commisioners in London, under the direction of John Quincy Adams, sign the Convention of 1818 with Britain, clarifying America's northern boundary, fishing rights, and commerce.

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams on the death of Abigail Adams

28 October 1818: Abigail Adams dies in Quincy, Mass.

1819

22 February 1819: John Quincy Adams signs the Transcontinental Treaty with Spain (the Adams‐Onís Treaty), by which the United States extends its boundaries (in Oregon) to the Pacific Ocean and acquires the territory of Florida.

27 August 1819: John Adams 2d enrolls at Harvard; he is expelled from the university in 1823.

Return to Top

1821

22 February 1821: John Quincy Adams submits to the Senate his Report on Weights and Measures, recommending uniform standards of measurement.

Portrait of Charles Francis Adams

28 September 1821: Charles Francis Adams enrolls at Harvard; he graduates in 1825.

4 July 1821: John Quincy Adams addresses the House of Representatives, declaring the United States' anticolonial principles in relation to Latin America.

1822

September 1822: John Quincy Adams publishes a defense of his diplomacy at Ghent, The Duplicate Letters, the Fisheries and the Mississippi, in response to the criticism of fellow negotiator Jonathan Russell.

1823

2 December 1823: President James Monroe announces his famous doctrine on American foreign policy, which is largely the work of John Quincy Adams.

Return to Top

1824

8 January 1824: John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams host their famous ball for Andrew Jackson on the ninth anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.

17 April 1824: John Quincy Adams concludes a Convention with Russia, establishing 54°40' as the northern limit of the American sphere of influence and insuring the later incorporation of Oregon territory into the United States.

5 October 1824: George Washington Adams is admitted to the Suffolk County Bar and begins practicing law in Boston.

November 1824: John Quincy Adams runs second to Andrew Jackson in the national election for president; no candidate receives a majority vote.

1825

Portrait of John Quincy Adams.

9 February 1825: John Quincy Adams is chosen president by the House of Representatives; he is inaugurated as the sixth president of the United States on 4 March.

9 February 1825: President John Quincy Adams' ambitious "Lighthouses of the Skies" message to Congress recommends a department of the interior, a naval academy, a national university, a national astronomical observatory, nationwide internal improvements for transportation, and uniform laws on bankruptcy, weights and measures, militia, and patents for inventions.

Return to Top

1826

1826: Congress opposes President John Quincy Adams' and Secretary of State Henry Clay's energetic Latin American policy.

Thomas Jefferson's last letter to John Adams

4 July 1826: John Adams dies in Quincy, Mass. on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the same day Thomas Jefferson dies at Monticello.

1827

5 February 1827: President John Quincy Adams asserts federal authority over the state of Georgia to protect land claims of Creek Indians.

2 June 1827: Louisa Catherine Adams anonymously publishes "Mrs. J. Q. Adams" in Mrs. A. S. Colvin's Weekly Messenger.

August 1827: Charles Francis Adams begins to read law in Daniel Webster's office in Boston. He is admitted to the Suffolk County Bar on 6 January 1829, and begins practicing law in Boston.

Return to Top

1828

Silhouettes of extended family of John Quincy Adams

25 February 1828: John Adams 2d marries Mary Catherine Hellen in the White House.

May–June 1828: President John Quincy Adams wins congressional approval for a program of internal improvements (including construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal) and a protective tariff.

November 1828: John Quincy Adams is defeated for reelection by Andrew Jackson.

1829

February 1829: John Quincy Adams composes "A Reply to the Appeal of the Massachusetts Federalists," in support of the principle of federal union.

30 April 1829: George Washington Adams dies in a jump or fall from a steamer in Long Island Sound.

3 September 1829: Charles Francis Adams marries Abigail Brown Brooks at Medford, Mass.

October–November 1829: John Quincy Adams dedicates a memorial to John and Abigail Adams in the Stone Temple (First Parish Church) in Quincy, Mass.

Return to Top

1830

1 November 1830: John Quincy Adams is elected to the US House of Representatives from Massachusetts' Plymouth district; he is reelected until his death.

1831

February–April 1831: John Quincy Adams composes the epic poem Dermot MacMorrough, or The Conquest of Ireland.

30 May 1831: Abigail Smith Adams, daughter of Thomas Boylston and Ann Harrod Adams, marries John Angier in Quincy, Mass.

13 August 1831: Louisa Catherine Adams 2d, first child of Charles Francis and Abigail Brooks Adams, is born in Boston.

1832

12 March 1832: Thomas Boylston Adams dies in Braintree, Mass.

Return to Top

1833

28 April 1833: Susanna Boylston Adams, daughter of Charles and Sarah Smith Adams, marries a second time to William R. H. Treadway in Utica, New York.

22 September 1833: John Quincy Adams 2d, second child of Charles Francis and Abigail Brooks Adams, is born in Boston.

1834

23 October 1834: John Adams 2d dies in Washington.

1835

27 May 1835: Charles Francis Adams 2d, third child of Charles Francis and Abigail Brooks Adams, is born in Boston.

December 1835: John Quincy Adams is appointed chairman of a House special advisory committee regarding the $500,000 bequest of James Smithson to establish the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

Return to Top

1836

26 May 1836: The U.S. House of Representatives passes a gag rule against antislavery petitions without allowing John Quincy Adams to speak in opposition to it. Adams begins a nine-year fight to have the rule removed.

July 1836: John Quincy Adams votes against U.S. recognition of Texas; President Andrew Jackson recognizes Texas independence in March 1837.

4 July 1836: Abigail Louisa Smith Adams Johnson dies.

1837

14 December 1837: Lt. Thomas Boylston Adams Jr. dies of a fever at Fort Dade, Florida, during the Second Seminole War.

1838

16 February 1838: Henry Brooks Adams, fourth child of Charles Francis and Abigail Brooks Adams, is born in Boston.

16 June–9 July 1838: John Quincy Adams delivers a speech in the House on the freedom of petition and debate, forcing a delay in the efforts to annex Texas as a slaveholding state.

Return to Top

1839

December 1839: John Quincy Adams saves the House from anarchy by assuming the chair during a deadlock over its organization.

1840

1840: Charles Francis Adams publishes the Letters of Mrs. Adams, a volume of Abigail Adams' correspondence.

May–June 1840: John Quincy Adams composes the poem "The Wants of Man," which first appears in print in the Albany Evening Journal, 3 September 1841.

November 1840: Charles Francis Adams is elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives; he serves in the state legislature until 1845, leading a small antislavery faction.

1841

Amistad Argument, 1841.

24 February–1 March 1841: John Quincy Adams successfully defends the Amistad African captives before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read Kale and Kinna's letters to John Quincy Adams, featured in January 2003's "From Our Cabinet."

23 July 1841: Arthur Adams, fifth child of Charles Francis and Abigail Brooks Adams, is born in Boston; he dies 9 February 1846.

Return to Top

1842

25 January 1842: The House of Representatives considers a motion to censure John Quincy Adams for presenting extreme antislavery petitions.

2 February–7 February 1842: John Quincy Adams presents his defense and the motion for his censure is tabled.

13 September 1842: Marian Hooper, future wife of Henry Adams, is born in Boston.

1843

October–November 1843: John Quincy Adams travels to Cincinnati, Ohio to dedicate a new astronomical observatory.

1844

3 December 1844: In John Quincy Adams' last great triumph, the U.S. House of Representatives drops its gag gule, thus restoring the freedom of petition and debate in Congress.

Return to Top

1845

February 1845: John Quincy Adams' efforts to prevent the annexation of Texas defeated.

4 February 1845: Abigail Smith Adams Angier, daughter of Thomas Boylston and Ann Harrod Adams, dies in Medford, Mass.

19 February 1845: Mary Adams, sixth child of Charles Francis and Abigail Brown Brooks, is born in Boston.

1846

1846: Charles Francis Adams edits the Boston Whig and becomes a leader of Massachusetts' "Conscience Whigs."

May 1846: John Quincy Adams votes against the declaration of war with Mexico.

20 November 1846: John Quincy Adams suffers a cerebral hemorrhage in Boston.

Return to Top

1848

21 February 1848: John Quincy Adams collapses in his seat in the House of Representatives and is carried to the Speaker's Room, where he dies on 23 February.

24 June 1848: Brooks Adams, seventh child of Charles Francis and Abigail Brooks Adams, is born in Quincy, Mass.

November 1848: Charles Francis Adams runs as vice presidential candidate of the Free Soil Party, an alliance of antislavery Whigs and Democrats.

1849

28 April 1848: Louisa Catherine Adams suffers a stroke; until her death, she is cared for by her niece and daughter-in-law Mary Catherine Hellen Adams.

1850

1850: Charles Francis Adams begins publishing The Works of John Adams, a 10-volume edition of letters and papers, with a biography of his grandfather, completing it in 1856.

12 May 1850: William Steuben Smith dies.

Return to Top

1852

15 May 1852: Louisa Catherine Adams dies in Washington.

18 May 1852: Congress adjourns for Louisa Catherine Adams' funeral; she is buried in the Congressional Cemetary on 18th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

28 July 1852: Caroline Amelia Smith de Windt, daugher of Abigail Adams Smith and William Stephens Smith, dies.

16 December 1852: John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams are reinterred in the crypt of the Stone Temple (First Parish Church) in Quincy, Mass., beside John and Abigail Adams.

1853

4 October 1853: Lt. Joseph Harrod Adams, son of Thomas Boylston and Ann Harrod Adams, dies of a fever while on Commodore Matthew Perry's expedition to Japan; he is buried in Macao, China.

Return to Top

1854

1854: John Adams Smith dies.

October 1854: Lt. John Quincy Adams, son of Thomas Boylston and Ann Harrod Adams, is lost at sea with U.S. frigate Albany.

13 April 1854: Louisa Catherine Adams 2d, daughter of Charles Francis and Abigail Brooks Adams, marries Charles Kuhn.

Photograph of Henry Adams

31 August 1854: Henry Adams enters Harvard College; he graduates in 1858.

1858

November 1858: Charles Francis Adams is elected to Congress as a Republican; he is reelected in 1860.

Return to Top

1861

20 March 1861: At the urging of Secretary of State William Seward, President Abraham Lincoln appoints Charles Francis Adams minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain.

29 April 1861: John Quincy Adams 2d marries Frances Cadwallader Crowninshield; they have 6 children.

1 May–13 May 1861: Charles Francis and Abigail Brooks Adams sail to England with their children, Mary, Brooks, and Henry (who serves as his father's private secretary).

16 May 1861: Charles Francis Adams presents his credentials as minister to Great Britain, just as Britain recognizes Confederate belligerency and declares its neutrality.

December 1861: Charles Francis Adams 2d receives a commission as first lieutenant, First Regiment of Massachusetts Cavalry Volunteers; he sees action at Antietam (1862) and Gettysburg (1863).

Return to Top

1863

5 September 1863: Charles Frances Adams writes to Britain's foreign minister Lord John Russell regarding the imminent sailing of new British-built ironclad rams for the Confederacy, stating that "It would be superfluous in me to point out to your lordship that this is war." Britain agrees to seize the ships and strictly observe its neutrality.

1864

July 1864: Charles Francis Adams 2d is commissioned lieutenant colonel, Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, a regiment of free black soldiers.

1865

July 1865: Charles Francis Adams 2d is discharged from the Union Army with brevet rank of brigadier general.

November 1865: John Quincy Adams 2d is elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Republican; he is elected as a Democrat in 1867, 1870, and 1873.

8 November 1865: Charles Francis Adams 2d marries Mary Hone Ogden in Newport, Rhode Island.

Return to Top

1867

1867: John Quincy Adams 2d receives his first nomination as Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts; he is nominated every year through 1871.

1868

April–May 1868: Charles Francis Adams resigns his post and presents his letters of recall as minister to Great Britain.

1869

July 1869: Charles Francis Adams 2d is appointed to the newly created Massachusetts Board of Railroad Commisioners; he serves as chairman of the board 1872–1879.

1870

13 July 1870: Louisa Catherine Adams Kuhn dies in Italy.

September 1870: Henry Adams accepts positions as assistant professor of history at Harvard and editor of the North American Review; he resigns in 1877.

Return to Top

1871

Charles Francis Adams portrait.

August 1871: President Ulysses S. Grant appoints Charles Francis Adams to the Anglo-American commission to settle the Alabama claims, which Adams successfully negotiates in Washington, London, and Geneva, in 1871 and 1872.

1872

March– May 1872: Charles Francis Adams' supporters in the Liberal Republican movement back his candidacy for president, a nomination won by Horace Greeley.

27 June 1872: Henry Adams marries Marian (Clover) Hooper in Beverly Farms, Mass.

1874

1874: Charles Francis Adams begins publishing the Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, completing it in 12 volumes in 1877.

1876

August–November 1876: Charles Francis Adams becomes the Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, but is not elected.

Return to Top

1877

20 June 1877: Mary Adams, daughter of Charles Francis and Abigail Brooks Adams, marries Henry Parker Quincy in Quincy, Mass.; they have 2 children.

1880

Henry Adams seated at desk in study, writing, in light coat.

March 1880: Henry Adams' novel Democracy is published anonymously.

1884

21 January 1884: Susanna Boylston Adams Clark Treadway dies in Baltimore.

March 1884: Henry Adams's second novel, Esther, is published under the pseudonym Frances Snow Compton.

June 1884: Charles Francis Adams 2d is elected president of the Union Pacific Railroad; he serves until November 1890.

Return to Top

1885

6 December 1885: Marian Hooper Adams dies in Washington after swallowing cyanide.

1886

June–October 1886: Henry Adams and American artist John La Farge visit Japan.

Charles F. Adams and Abigail Brooks Adams on piazza at Old House in Quincy.

21 November 1886: Charles Francis Adams dies in Boston.

1889

6 June 1889: Abigail Brooks Adams dies and is buried next to her husband at the Mount Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy, Mass.

7 September 1889: Brooks Adams, son of Charles Francis and Abigail Brooks Adams marries Evelyn Davis.

Return to Top
Top of page & Navigation
Top of page & Navigation