Biography of John Adams


"He means well for his country, is always an honest man, often a wise man, but sometimes, and in some things, absolutely out of his senses."

Benjamin Franklin, 1783

John Adams was born on October 30, 1735, (new style) in Braintree, (now known as Quincy) Massachusetts on the family farm. John was named after his father, a deacon of the church. His father was also, at times, the town's tax collector, selectman, constable and lieutenant of the militia. His father's occupation was farming. The senior Adams was John's role model in life. John's father passed away in the flu epidemic of 1761.

Of all the famous people in the Adams' life, comparatively little is known about John's mother, Susanna Boylston Adams. She was known to have a fiery temper. She remarried in 1766 to Lt. John Hall. Apparently, John did not get along with his stepfather. Susanna Adams died in 1797, while John was serving his first year as President.

John had two younger brothers, Peter and Elihu. John Adams was the second cousin of Samuel Adams, fellow revolutionary and John was the third cousin to his future wife, Abigail Smith.

Growing up, John took advantage of the freedom given by his parents. In his autobiography, John wrote that he cared little for school and enjoyed all types of outdoor activities. John's favorite activity was hunting. After a while, John began to bring a gun along with him to school. This way he could begin hunting even before he got home from school!

Soon, his parents began to worry that John was wasting his gifted intellect. His father asked him at age ten, "What would you do, child?" John answered back, "Be a farmer." The next day John's father took the boy to fields and worked him as hard as any adult. The night after young John came back tired, sore, and covered in dirt, his father asked John, "Well, John, are you satisfied with being a farmer?" His father, hoping he had taught his son a valuable lesson, was surprised by the answer. "I like it very well, Sir."

This was one of the first cases of John's stubbornness, which he possessed throughout life.