Friday, June 1, 2018

a visit to John Adams' homes

I almost forgot to post about my trip to see John Adams. A few of us went; it was a clear day, which was good.

You first go to a visitors' center where you can buy things, but they want you to watch a short film first. Many of the actors from the miniseries did the narration.  Then you wait for the trolley to come.

It runs on the road, not on tracks but it had lots of charm. We traveled for five minutes or so and ended up at an intersection and there, near these busy streets, was the house where he was born.

Seventy five feet away, the house where he and Abigail settled after marrying, and where John Quincy was born. (the 5th photo down)  If you've ever been in one of these old, New England homes, you'll be able to guess what they looked like inside: very spare and simple.

I confess I was more interested in looking and listening than in taking pictures.

After John and his wife came back to Boston from Europe where he'd been our first ambassador to Great Britain, they wanted a larger house, and that's where the trolley took us next.

He named it Peacefield. Wisteria was blooming everywhere! And lilacs. 

I've never seen wisteria up close. Inside, we saw John's study - his own spectacles were there, but the rooms were roped off, so we couldn't get close. I would have liked to have seen those. The wing chair where he had a stroke and died a few days later was there, and in a bedroom, the bed where Abigail had died of typhoid.*

There was another building on the property where John Quincy kept his library and other important things from his father. The desk at which John wrote his defense of the British officers accused in the Boston Massacre:

And a very special Bible, given to John Quincy in gratitude for defending the slaves aboard the Amistad who mutinied.

on the table 

Back at the gift shop, I was glad to see many books on the era of the Revolutionary War, and nice things to buy, not junky stuff. It was a good day.

*In the morning when I was getting dressed that day, I had the radio on. The news: "In Quincy Mass., in a daycare center, a child has been found to have typhoid fever." How strange to hear on that day, when I'd never been to Quincy before.

John Adams died fifty years, to the day, after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, a few hours earlier. It was July 4th, 1826.


  1. What a fascinating day out! Your photos are lovely - especially the ones of Peacefield and the wisteria. How strange that you should hear of the child with typhoid fever in Quincy on that day!

  2. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. I loved every word and photo. It looks like you had a lovely day. ♥

    Peacefield is a wonderful moniker for a home. I notice that it seems more well-furnished than the home where John Adams was born. I love touring old houses throughout New England, and I often wonder if they really were so Spartanly furnished when they were being lived-in, or if now, as museums, some of them just don't have the funds to find good period furniture for them, or there aren't good pictorial representations of the interiors to work from, and the curators don't want to make a representational mistake.

    That is really something about the typhoid fever--it's strange that you heard the news story on the day of your trip, and even stranger that a child would have typhoid fever in Quincy today.

    I didn't know that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the same day--July 4th--fifty years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. I find it hard to ignore coincidences like that! Surely, they point to some Great design.

    1. Thank you, Susan! The furniture at Peacefield was their actual furniture, or all owned by John Quincy and others in the family. The earlier houses just had period furniture, nothing owned by the Adamses. Yes, those early homes were spartan! By the time they were at Peacefield they had lived in Europe and were ready for something a little more grand, but not too much. :) Some of the pieces were purchased abroad and brought over (but on sale, and not-quite-in-style anymore).
      Apparently, John's last words were something like: "Jefferson lives!", but he didn't know that Jefferson had died earlier that day. Certainly, they both loved their country so much that God took them both on that important date.