Samuel Adams Heritage Society

The Family of Prominent Politicians

The Adams family was among the early settlers in the British colony to set roots in this new land of opportunities. Henry Adams emigrated from Somerset, England in 1638, he had 10 children. Three of his sons were involved in politics. Lt. Thomas Adams served in the Massachusetts Government Council, Cap. Samuel Adams served in the Massachusetts General Court and John Adams I was a Massachusetts Selectman. John Adams I was the grand father of Deacon Samuel Adams. Little did he know that two members of his family would become presidents of the United States.

During the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century the Adams became a prosperous and prominent family through business and politics. There were two branches of the family, the one that settled in the city of Boston where Samuel Adams was born and the other branch in Braintree related to John Adams.

Deacon Samuel Adams was a successful businessman, selectman and representative to the General Court, he paved the road and influenced his son to understand politics. Samuel Adams Jr. had such passion and strong opinions and consequently influenced his cousin John Adams to get involved in politics. Two members of the Adams family became presidents of the United States. The first was John Adams, Samuel’s second cousin who became the second President of the United States. The second Adams to become president was John Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams, the sixth President.

This list covers six generations of members of the Adams family. One characteristic in common besides having a career in politics or assuming positions of power in business is that they all attended Harvard University.

  • Samuel Adams Sr. (Sept. 1665-1748)
    Justice of the peace, selectman, and representative to the General Court (Colonial government). Married to Mary Fifiled.
  • Samuel Adams (Sept. 1722- Oct. 1803)
    Son of Samuel Adams Sr. Attended Harvard College class of 1740. One of the founding fathers of the Nation, served in the First and Second Continental Congress. Governor of Massachusetts from 1794 to 1797.
  • John Adams (Oct. 1735 – July, 1826)
    Born in Braintree, Massachusetts. Samuel Adams’ second cousin. Attended Harvard College class of 1755. From 1789 to 1797 he served for two terms as George Washington's Vice President. Second President of the United States, elected from 1797 to 1801. Married to Abigail Smith.
    • John Quincy Adams (July 1767 – Feb. 23, 1848)
      Born in Braintree, Massachusetts. Son of John Adams and Abigail Smith. Attended Harvard College 1788. Served as Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President James Monroe from 1817 until 1825. Elected sixth President of the United States from 1825 to 1829. Married Louisa Catherine Johnson.
      • George Washington Adams (April 1801 – April 1829)
        Eldest son of John Quincy Adams. Attended Harvard College class of 1821. Elected to the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1826. Died at the early age of 28 of apparent suicide.
      • Charles Francis Adams I. (August 1807 – November 1886)
        Second youngest son of John Quincy Adams. Attended Harvard College class of 1825. Elected in 1841 to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Served in the State Senate from 1844 to 1845. In 1858 was elected to the US House of Representatives. From 1861 to 1868 served as an ambassador to the UK. Married Abigail Brown Brooks, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Boston.
        • John Quincy Adams II (September 1833 – August 1894)
          Oldest son of Charles Francis Adams I and grandson of John Quincy Adams. Harvard College graduate class of 1853. Elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1866. Married Frances Cadwalader Crowninshield.
          • Charles Francis Adams III (August 1866 – June 1954)
            Son of John Quincy Adams II. Nephew of Charles Francis Adams II. Great grandson of John Quincy Adams. Harvard University graduate class of 1888. Mayor of Quincy, Mass. 1896-1897. Secretary of the Navy 1929-1933. Married Francis Lovering.
            • Charles Francis Adams IV (May 1910 –January 1999)
              Second child and only son of Charles Francis Adams III. Harvard graduate class of 1932. He served as the first president of the Raytheon Company between 1948 and 1960, and from 1962 to 1964. Chairman between 1960 and 1962 and from 1964 until 1972.
        • Charles Francis Adams II. (May 1835 - May 1915)
          Second oldest son of Charles Francis Adams I and grandson of John Quincy Adams. Harvard University graduate class of 1856. Served as trustee in Harvard University. Historian. Colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War. President of Union Pacific 1884 to 1890. Married Mary Elizabeth Ogden.
          • John Adams (1865-1964)
            President of Adams Securities. Married Marion Morse.
            • Tomas Boylston Adams (1910-1997)
              Candidate for US Senate 1966. Delegate to Democratic National Convention 1972.
        • Henry Brooks Adams (February 1838 - March 1918)
          Charles Francis Adams’ fourth child and third son. Harvard graduate class of 1898. Private Secretary to his fat


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