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John Quincy Adams II
Adams as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives

In office
1865, 1867, 1870, 1873
Personal details
Born (1833-09-22)September 22, 1833
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died August 14, 1894(1894-08-14) (aged 60)
Quincy, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Frances Cadwallader Crowninshield
(m. 1861)
Children 5, including George and Charles III
Parents Charles Francis Adams
Abigail Brown Brooks
Alma mater Harvard University
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States United States Army
Union Army
Rank Union Army colonel rank insignia.png Colonel
Battles/wars American Civil War

John Quincy Adams II (September 22, 1833 – August 14, 1894) was an American lawyer, politician, and member of the Adams political family.

Early life

Adams was the son of Charles Francis Adams (1807–1886)[1] and Abigail Brown Brooks (1808–1889).[2] His siblings were Louisa Catherine Adams (1831–1870), Charles Francis Adams Jr. (1835–1915), Henry Brooks Adams (1838–1918), Arthur Adams (1841–1846), Mary Gardiner Adams (1845–1928), and Peter Chardon Brooks Adams (1848–1927).[3][4]

He was the paternal grandson of the 6th United States president, John Quincy Adams (his namesake), and the great-grandson of the 2nd president, John Adams. His maternal grandfather was shipping magnate Peter Chardon Brooks (1767–1849).[3]

He graduated from Harvard University in 1853, studied law, attained admission to the bar, and practiced in Boston. He later established an experimental model farm near Quincy, Massachusetts.


During the Civil War he served on the staff of Governor John Albion Andrew with the rank of colonel.[5]

Adams served in several local offices in Quincy, including town meeting moderator, school board chairman and judge of the local court. He was elected to the Massachusetts state legislature as a Republican, but soon switched to the Democratic Party because of his dissatisfaction with Republican Reconstruction policies.[6] In addition to serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1865, 1867, 1870 and 1873, he was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Governor of Massachusetts in every year from 1867 to 1871. (Governors served one year terms until 1918.)

Adams received one vote for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States at the 1868 Democratic National Convention.[7] In 1872, the faction of Democrats that refused to support Horace Greeley, the fusion candidate of Democrats and the Liberal Republican Party, nominated Charles O'Conor for president and Adams for vice president on the "Straight-Out Democratic" ticket. They declined, but their names remained on the ballot in some states.[8][9][10]

Illustration accompanying Adams's biography in 1913's Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, Volume 1

In 1873, he was the unsuccessful nominee for lieutenant governor.[11] After losing an election for lieutenant governor in 1876, Adams refused most further involvement in politics, though he was considered by Grover Cleveland for a cabinet position in 1893.[12] In 1877, he was made a member of the Harvard Corporation.[13]

Personal life

In 1861, Adams married Frances "Fanny" Cadwalader Crowninshield (1839–1911),[14] daughter of George Crowninshield (1812–1857) and Harriet Sears Crowninshield (1809–1873) of the politically powerful Crowninshield family. Fanny was the granddaughter of former United States Secretary of the Navy under presidents Madison and Monroe, Benjamin Williams Crowninshield.[15][16]

  • John Quincy Adams Jr. (1862–1876), who died young.
  • George Caspar Adams (1863–1900), who was the head coach of the Harvard University football program.[17]
  • Charles Francis Adams III (1866–1954), who served as Secretary of the Navy, and who married Frances Lovering.[18]
  • Frances "Fanny" C. Adams (1873–1876), who died in childhood.
  • Arthur Charles Adams (1877–1943), who served as vice president of the Adams Trust Company, the Colony Trust and the New England Trust Company.[19]
  • Abigail "Hitty" Adams (1879–1974),[20] who married Robert Homans in 1907.[21]

Adams died at age 60 in Wollaston, Massachusetts on August 14, 1894. He was buried at Mount Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy.[22] His widow died in 1911, and left an estate worth $1,200,000 to their three surviving children.[23]


Through his daughter, Abigail, he was the grandfather of George Casper Homans (1910–1989), a sociologist and the founder of behavioral sociology and the Social Exchange Theory.[24][25]


  1. Donald, David (26 March 1961). "It Wasn't Easy to be an Adams; A Member of a Great but Unpopular Clan, C.F. Adams Ably Served the Union Cause Charles Francis Adams, 1807–1886. By Martin B. Duberman. Illustrated. 525 pp. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. $7.50. To Be an Adams". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  2. John Quincy Adams: A Life. Harlow G. Unger, p. 270-271.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Whittier, Charles Collyer (1907) (in en). Genealogy of the Stimpson Family of Charlestown, Mass: and allied lines. Press of D. Clapp & Son. p. 52. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  4. "Charles Francis Adams.". The New York Times. 22 November 1886. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  5. The Letters of William Lloyd Garrison: To Rouse the Slumbering Land, 1868-1979, by William Lloyd Garrison, 1981, page 218
  6. Newspaper article, Massachusetts Politics: John Quincy Adams Accepts the Democratic Nomination for Governor, New York Times, October 10, 1867
  7. CNN web page, All The Votes...Really, a list of individuals who received convention votes for president or vice president prior to 1996
  8. Newspaper article, John Quincy Adams; His Acceptance of the Louisville Nomination -- Why Democrats Cannot Support Greeley and Preserve Their Self-Respect, New York Times, September 13, 1872
  9. Editor's Historical Record, Harper's New Monthly magazine, November, 1872
  10. Newspaper editorial, The Presidential Election, Lewiston (Maine), Evening Journal, October 28, 1872
  11. "John Quincy Adams Dead | Was a Lineal Descendant from Two Presidents. | The Son of Charles Francis Adams, the Great Diplomat, He Became a Vigorous Supporter of Lincoln -- After the War Was a Democrat -- Held Various Offices -- In Later Years He Lived in Retirement in the Country.". The New York Times. 15 August 1894. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  12. Newspaper article, Cabinet Possibilities: John Quincy Adams and Isidor Straus Talked Of, New York Times, February 7, 1893
  13. Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920) "Adams, John Quincy (2d)" Encyclopedia Americana 
  14. "Obituary Notes | Mrs. Fanny Crowninshield Adams". The New York Times. 18 May 1911. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  15. Harrison, B.. The Family Forest Descendants of Lady Joan Beaufort. Millisecond Publishing Company, Inc. p. 3023. Retrieved 2014-10-04. 
  16. Browning, Charles Henry. Americans of Royal Descent: A Collection of Genealogies of American Families Whose Lineage is traced to the Legitimate Issue of Kings. Philadelphia: Porter & Costes, 1891, ed. 2, pp. 68 – 69.
  17. "Obituary Notes | George Caspar Adams". The New York Times. 14 July 1900. Retrieved 12 September 2019. 
  18. "C. F. Adams is Dead; Headed U. S. Navy | Hoover Cabinet Aide, 87, Was Banker, Philanthropist and Civic Leader in Boston | Noted As Yachtsman | While at Helm of Resolute, He Defeated Shamrock IV – Won 3 Cups in Year". The New York Times. 12 June 1954. Retrieved 8 March 2017. 
  19. "Arthur Davis | Brother of Navy Ex-Secretary, Kin of Presidents, Was Banker". The New York Times. 20 May 1943. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  20. Whitman, Alden (6 February 1974). "Abigail Adams Homans of Presidents' Family Dies; Deft Deflator". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  21. "Homans -- Adams.". The New York Times. 11 June 1907. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  22. John Quincy Adams II at Find a Grave
  23. "Estate of Mrs. F.C. Adams.; Widow of John Quincy Adams Leaves $1,200,000 to Three Children.". The New York Times. 8 June 1911. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  24. Bell, Daniel (1992). "George C. Homans (11 August 1910–29 May 1989)". American Philosophical Society. pp. 586–593. 
  25. "George Homans, 78, Sociologist And Harvard Professor Emeritus". The New York Times. 31 May 1989. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 

External links

  • Wikisource-logo.svg "Adams, John Quincy, 2d". New International Encyclopedia. 1905. 

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