John Adams Genealogy

The Family History of John Adams | John Adams Genealogy

John Adams was one of the giants among American patriots in the events leading up to and during the American Revolution. In addition to serving as our nation’s second President, he served as our nation’s first Vice President under George Washington. John Adams was born to John Adams, a cordwainer and farmer, and Susanna Boylston on October 19, 1735 in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Historical Society | Adams Family Tree

Adams Family Tree

He was the eldest of three sons. His father was a deacon in the local Congregational church and was also at times the town’s tax collector, selectman, constable, and lieutenant of the local militia. His father was a descendant of Henry Adams, a prominent early settler of New England who emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636 (and who is also the ancestor of presidents Millard Fillmore, Calvin Coolidge, and William Howard Taft).

He also was descended from both John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, Mayflower passengers, as well as another prominent New England settler, Henry Squire from whom presidents Millard Fillmore, Calvin Coolidge and William Howard Taft are also descended. He shares a common Cogswell ancestry with presidents Calvin Coolidge and John Quincy Adams. Finally, he is the first President whose son, John Quincy Adams, was also elected President.

John’s mother, Susanna Boylston Adams, was born 5 March 1708 in Brookline, Massachusetts. She His mother, Susanna Boylston Adams, was a descendant of the Boylstons of Brookline. After the death of her first husband, Susanna married Lt. John Hall. She died 17 April 1797 in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Susannah’s grandfather, Thomas Boylston (1615-1653), left England for America in 1635, where he settled in Watertown, MA and married Sarah (last name unknown). Thomas and Sarah were the parents of another Thomas (1644-?), who married Mary Gardner (1648-1722), daughter of Thomas Gardner. Their child, Susanna’s father Peter Boylston (1687-1743), married Ann (or Anna) White.

Young John Adams was educated at Harvard College; he practiced law in Boston and developed a reputation as a political theorist and writer. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congress from Massachusetts, and was one of those who drafted the Declaration of Independence. He was elected to the post of Vice President under George Washington, and served two terms. He was elected President in 1796, but was not elected to a second term. One of his major accomplishments was the resolution of the “Quasi War” with France, an undeclared war lasting from 1798-1800.

Adams Family History

The Adams family in America stems from the emigrant Henry Adams, who married Edith Squire and settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His many children emigrated with him, including a son Joseph.

Joseph Adams (1626-1691) married Abigail Baxter of Boston in 1650; they were the parents of a second Joseph (1654-1705), who married three times. His first wife, Mary Chapin, died in 1687; the following year he married Hannah Bass (1662-1705), the daughter of John and Ruth Alden Bass. Joseph’s third wife, after the death of Hannah, was Elizabeth Hobart.

Joseph and Hannah Bass Adams were the parents of John Adams, Sr. — often called Deacon John, the father of President John Adams. Through Ruth Alden Bass, the Adams’ were descended from Mayflower Pilgrims John and Priscilla Alden.

John Adams and Abigail Smith

On October 25, 1764, John Adams married Abigail, the daughter of Reverend William Smith and his wife Elizabeth Quincy Smith. She was born in Weymouth, MA, in 1744, where her father was a Congregationalist minister. Abigail’s mother, Elizabeth Quincy, was born in 1721 in Braintree, MA, the daughter of John Quincy and Elizabeth Norton. John Quincy was Speaker of the Massachusetts Assembly and part of the Governor’s council.

John and Abigail’s Descendants

Abigail gave birth to six children, of which four grew to adulthood. Their children were:

Abigail “Nabby” (1765-1813), who married William Stephens Smith and had four children: William Steuben Smith, John Adams Smith, Thomas Hollis Smith, and Caroline Amelia Smith.
John Quincy (1767-1848), who became the sixth U.S. President and married Louisa Catherine Johnson. They had four children: George Washington Adams, John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, and Louisa Catherine Adams.
Susanna (1768-1770)
Charles (1770-1800), who married Sarah Smith and had two children: Susanna Boylston Adams and Abigail Louisa Adams.
Thomas Boylston (1772-1832), who married Ann Harrod and had seven children: Abigail Smith Adams, Elizabeth Coombs Adams, Thomas Boylston Adams, Isaac Hull Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Joseph Harrod Adams.
Elizabeth (stillborn 1777)

Abigail Smith Adams died at their home in Quincy of typhoid fever on October 28, 1818. Her husband died at Quincy on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. They are buried beside each other in a crypt at the United First Parish Church (also called the Church of the Presidents) in Quincy.