Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Other Adams Family

John Adam's birthplace in Braintree (now Quincy) Massachusetts
My first Adams hero was not John, but Abigail. She was strong, intelligent and an able partner to her strong willed and opinionated husband. I do not believe John Adams would have been such a mighty force for good in our nation without her. I loved the tour of John's birth home as well as the small home next to it where John and Abigail spent the first 10 years of their married life.

After serving in England as ambassadors for 4 years,  the Adams purchased a larger home and property and called it Peacefield, in honor of the peace after the Revolutionary war. Four generations of Adams would live here and then it was eventually donated, complete with original furnishings to the United States government. It is now maintained and operated by the National Park Service.

There is a separate ivy covered brick building that houses a library, built by Charles Adams. Charles was John's grandson and the son of John Quincy Adams. He became wealthy the old fashioned way by marrying a rich woman. He built this beautiful library to house his father's extensive book collection, as well as his own.

Charles was very interested in world religions and had many volumes about the subject. Before I could ask, our guide told us about Charles traveling to Nauvoo where he spent hours speaking to Joseph Smith about the Mormon religion. Joseph gave him Emma's own Book of Mormon. When we asked if we could see it, the guide pointed it out, lying open on the library table. He was not allowed to handle it, but showed us copies of the spine where Emma's name is engraved, and the fly leaf where Joseph wrote a message and signed his name.

The front entrance of Peacefield
The reason our Mormon history trail began in Boston is rather obvious. The restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ could not have begun in any other environment. The freedoms recognized by wise men like John Adams, and established by the constitution, were the soil in which the church eventually flourished.

After the tour, we returned again to Peacefield to walk the grounds and explore this building

Carriage house built by Charles Adams
One of the most touching stories about John Adams takes place on his deathbed. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had a long and complicated relationship. They worked together closely in the early days, writing the constitution, but then fell out during the tempestuous years when each was President. In their last years they were reconciled and fast friends, leaving a treasure trove of correspondence to each other.

Unbeknownst to John, Thomas Jefferson died just an hour before he would,  on an auspicious anniversary, July 4, 1826. John was unresponsive for some time,  and then rose up in his bed and said "Jefferson lives!"

As our national park guide took the four of us around this carriage house in a personal tour, I was able to tell him what I believe, and that is that John Adams saw his dear friend Thomas Jefferson's spirit - recognized him and knew that not only did Jefferson live beyond the veil, but that he would too. My guide said, "Well, that's an interesting thought."

CONFESSION: I couldn't help myself and touched the handle of John Adams cane. Sorry not sorry

1 comment:

  1. This was one of my most favorite places I ever visited when living in Boston. The library was inspiring. Enjoy your travels!