President John Adams

Compiled by D. A. Sharpe



President John Adams, the second President of the United States, is the husband of Abigail Smith, a 30th cousin, three times removed to me.  Refer to Abigail's notes in this record for more details. Abigail also is the 13th cousin, three times removed to our first President, General George Washington.  Described another way, John Adams is the husband of 10th cousin, Anna Tyng (1640 - 1709) -3x removed of husband Ellen Newton of stepdaughter of 6th great granduncle of mine.

"Learned and thoughtful, John Adams was more remarkable as a political philosopher than as a politician. ‘People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity,’ he said, doubtless thinking of his own as well as the American experience.


"Adams was born in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Braintree, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, in 1735. A Harvard-educated lawyer, he early became identified with the patriot cause; a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, he led in the movement for independence.


"During the Revolutionary War, he served in France and Holland in diplomatic roles, and helped negotiate the treaty of peace. From 1785 to 1788 he was minister to the Court of St. James's, returning to be elected Vice President under George Washington.   On September 27,1779, Adams was named to negotiate the Revolutionary War's peace terms with Britain.


"Adams' two terms as Vice President were frustrating experiences for a man of his vigor, intellect, and vanity. He complained to his wife, Abigail, ‘My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.’


"When Adams became President, the war between the French and British was causing great difficulties for the United States on the high seas and intense partisanship among contending factions within the Nation.


"His administration focused on France, where the Directory, the ruling group, had refused to receive the American envoy and had suspended commercial relations.


"Adams sent three commissioners to France, but in the spring of 1798 word arrived that the French Foreign Minister Talleyrand and the Directory had refused to negotiate with them unless they would first pay a substantial bribe.  Adams reported the insult to Congress, and the Senate printed the correspondence, in which the Frenchmen were referred to only as "X, Y, and Z.


"The Nation broke out into what Jefferson called ‘the X. Y. Z. fever,’ increased in intensity by Adams's exhortations.  The populace cheered itself hoarse wherever the President appeared.  Never had the Federalists been so popular.


"Congress appropriated money to complete three new frigates and to build additional ships, and authorized the raising of a provisional army. It also passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, intended to frighten foreign agents out of the country and to stifle the attacks of Republican editors.


"President Adams did not call for a declaration of war, but hostilities began at sea. At first, American shipping was almost defenseless against French privateers, but by 1800 armed merchantmen and U.S. warships were clearing the sea-lanes.


"Despite several brilliant naval victories, war fever subsided.  Word came to Adams that France also had no stomach for war and would receive an envoy with respect. Long negotiations ended the quasi war.


"Sending a peace mission to France brought the full fury of the Hamiltonians against Adams.  In the campaign of 1800 the Republicans were united and effective, the Federalists badly divided.  Nevertheless, Adams polled only a few less electoral votes than Jefferson, who became President.


"On November 1, 1800, just before the election, Adams arrived in the new Capital City to take up his residence in the White House. On his second evening in its damp, unfinished rooms, he wrote his wife, 'Before I end my letter, I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it.  May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.'


"Adams retired to his farm in Quincy.  Here he penned his elaborate letters to Thomas Jefferson.  Here on July 4, 1826, he whispered his last words:  'Thomas Jefferson survives.'  But Jefferson had died at Monticello a few hours earlier."





John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later became a President of the United States.  They each died on the same day, July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after they signed the Declaration of Independence.  Adams ran against Thomas Jefferson for President and won by three electoral college votes.  The second time Adams ran for President, he lost to Jefferson.



Adams was the first President to live in the White House.  At the time, it was called the “President’s House.”  It became known as the White House, because of its color.  The name became official in 1901.


John Adams had a strong view of the value of the Bible:


“Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited … What a Utopia --- what a Paradise would this region be.  The Bible is the best book in the world.”


Source:  John Adams, “The Works of John Adams,” ed Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Charles Little and James Brow, 1850), Vol II, pages 6-7, diary entry for February 22, 1726 AND Adams, “The works of John Adams,” Vol. X, page 85, Letter to Thomas Jefferson on December 25, 1813.


Genealogical Relationship Chart of John Adams to D. A. Sharpe






Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe

805 Derting Road East

Aurora, TX 76078-3712



Here I am with United States Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, who at the time of this photo was Texas Senator Hutchison.  We were enjoying social life at the 2001 Texas State Society’s Black Tie & Boots on the evening prior to Inauguration of President George W. Bush.  My wife, Suzanne, was on Hutchison’s Dallas County Election Committee in 1992 in Hutchison’s first campaign for U.S. Senate. Hutchison was the first woman elected to the United States Senate from Texas.