John Adams

John Adams

Second President.

Signer of the Declaration of Independence.


John Adams was a lawyer from Massachusetts. He made his name by being a law consultant and by defending British officers after the "Boston Massacre," giving them a fair defense. He was consulted when the Royal government made changes and when taxation was changed to directly tax the colonists for the king's coffers. After the Continental Congress and signing he went to France to ask for money, left France and went to the Netherlands and secured loans from the Dutch. He then served as Ambassador to Great Britain. After three years away Adams returned and was elected as George Washington's Vice President for two terms. Adams was then elected as President for one term.

After his presidency Adams lived a quiet life with his family at his home, Peacefield. He had quarreled with Thomas Jefferson and did not attend Jefferson's Inauguration. One of only three presidents to not attend their successor's inauguration. In 1812 his friend who he had been corresponding with, Benjamin Rush, encouraged him to renew his friendship with Jefferson and urged him to write. Their friendship was renewed through letters and they corresponded until they died, on the same day, July 4, 1826.

John Adam's son, John Quincy Adams, was the 6th President of the United States, the first and only father son Presidency, until the Bushs. But other Adams family members were also politicians and lawyers, following in John's footsteps.

Adams had some very challenging issues during his presidency and vice-presidency. As the first Vice-President the lines were not clear and his duties were not outlined. Following in the footsteps of George Washington as President of the United States must have been difficult. His ideas were not popular, this was probably the reason for only one term. He had difficult decisions to make and did what he had to do. I don't particularly love or agree with his ideas, but he was a brilliant man who stood strong for what for he stood for. He was responsible for choosing Thomas Jefferson to pen the Declaration of Independence. Adams knew he was unpopular with some and saw Jefferson's genius. He is definetely worth looking into more. Watch the movie. I am going to read the book by David McCullough.


Samuel Adams

From Massachusetts

Anyone heard of him?

Well, let's learn more about him.

First, lets talk about the beer. There is no actual connection between the malting company that the Samuel Adams family ran and the Samuel Adams brand beer of today. Samuel Adams father worked and owned in the malt house. They were maltsters, not brewers. Malt is need to brew beer. The Adamses did only part of the beer making. The company who now uses his name used it because of his reputation as a brewer (that was wrong) and because he was a politically influential man who also signed the Declaration of Independence.

His education was to prepare him for the ministry, like his father, in the Old South Congregation Church. He and his family were Congregationalists, a Puritan denomination. He remained failthful to his Puritan roots, but leaned towards politics as a career. He tried his hand at business but failed. During his lifetime he was never very good at the business side of things.

His political career began in Boston by simply making himself known. In 1748 he and his friends launched the Independent Advertiser, a newspaper that contained Adams' political writings. Adams worked as a Tax Collector for the colony. In the 1760s when the British deciced to tax the colonies directly, for the coffers of the King that had been depleted during the 7 Years War, Adams had a problem with this. He was a proponent of resisting any laws that encroached on constitutional rights. As things progressed Adams was more and more for independence from England. He was elected to various positions around Boston. He was the first to suggest a Continental Congress in the 1760s. He attended the Continental Congress as a delegate from Massachusetts, and convinced his cousin (John Adams) to come as well.

He was forefront in the colonies cries for independence. He was pleased with the various conolies actions of removing Royal local governments and replacing them with republican ones. He then sigend the Declaration of Independence when it was put forth.

After Independence he served in the Continental Congress until 1781, then as President of the Massachusetts Senate from 1782-1785 and 1787-1788. Following which he served as Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Massachusetts.

He was married and had 6 children, only 2 of whom survived to adulthood. His first wife shortly after the still-born birth of their sixth child. He married again but had no more children. He died in 1803 at the age of 81.

Next time: John Adams, signer and 2nd President of the United States of America.


The Men of New Hampshire

There were three men from New Hampshire. They were Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple and Matthew Thornton. Have any of you heard of them? I hadn't. But today you are going to learn more about them.

Josiah Bartlett
Handsome man? Partying type? Hehe.

He was a physician by career. When he was 21 he moved to Kingston, New Hampshire and was their only physician. He set up there and bought a farm and house. He married a cousin and they had 12 children, 3 of whom died as infants. His sons (3) and his grandsons (7) were also physicians. Family practice I guess.

His political career began in 1765. He was elected to the colonial assembly. Two years later he was made colonel of his county's militia and appointed Justice of the Peace. In 1774 his house was burned down, most likely because of his "treasonous" acts against the crown. He was elected as a delegate in 1775. For a while he was the only one from New Hampshire who attended. Good man. He was the second to sign the Declaration on August 2. After Independence he served in local courts and was appointed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, although he wasn't a lawyer. In 1788 he was the Supreme Court Justice. That same year he went to the Continental Congress again for the ratification of the Constitution. In 1792 he became New Hampshire's Governor and he died in 1795, a year after he finished his term as governor.

Our next man:
William Whipple

He was a soldier and sailor. When he finished with his sailing days he became a merchant in the shipping business.

He began participating in local politics after he finished his sailing. He was married in 1770/71 (unknown). I can't find children listed anywhere. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776 and served through 1779. Until his death in 1785 he served as a General in the Battle of Rhode Island. After the military he was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in New Hampshire. He was making rounds in November of 1785 and passed out and died of heart problems while riding his horse. A man who might not have been prominent except for the Continental Congress and Declaration of Independence.

Man number three:
Matthew Thornton

He was a surgeon born in Ireland whose family immigrated when he was three.

An Irishman. He's the first we've seen who wasn't born on colonial soil. As a surgeon he was appointed to the New Hampshire Militia. He was part of the body that drafted the new government for the state after the Royal Government was dissolved. He was an Associate Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court and President of their House of Representatives. He was elected to the Continental Congress shortly before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He retired from his medical profession in 1780 and became a political essayist. He died in 1803 while visiting his daughter. Wikipedia says his descendants live in North and South Carolina.

There you have the good men of New Hampshire who supported Independence. That is now 4 of our 56 signers. Tomorrow is Samuel Adams, from Massachusetts. I think I'm just going to do him tomorrow. He is very important to the history of beer.


Tidbit Reborn

Last week I watched the HBO Series "John Adams." It's a wonderful film. It's very inspiring to watch. I hope to be able to read the book soon. This film has spurred me to learn more about the 56 men who were part of the continental congress that signed the Declaration of Independence.

Wikipedia has a page that lists all the men who signed. I don't know anything about most of them, except which state they came from as listed on the Wikipedia page. I think I need to learn more about them. What do you say? I am going to group them by state or focus on individuals who played a role in other ways.

Today's Man: President of the Congress, from Massachussetts

John Hancock. I think most people know that "John Hancock" is synonymous with "Signature." But besides his signature on the Declaration, Who was he? Why was he there? He was a very wealthy man, maybe one of the wealthiest in the colonies, who made his fortune in shipping and transporting and by inheriting the shipping company from his uncle. He was a Harvard Graduate in Latin. A rather educated man. He began in politics after starting a friendship with Samuel Adams. (More on him later.) It is thought that Adams recruited Hancock for his wealth and general likability. He was elected the Third President of the Continental Congress. He was elected because of his ambiguous stand in regard to party lines and preference for Loyalty or Independence. While serving as President it is said that he hired clerks at his own personal cost to help take notes and record the proceedings of the congressional meetings.
He was married and had two children. Niether of his children lived to adulthood, so there are no direct descendants of John Hancock. Bummer. He was probably the only man to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4. The first copy was presented, accepted, signed by Hancock and then sent to the printer and circulated. His name was printed on the circulated copies. Thus, his name was the first, and only for a while, name connected with the treasonous act of declaring independence. After serving in the Continental Congress he served as Governor of Massachussetts for the rest of his career. He died in 1793 at age 56.
From the bottom of my heart, Thank you Mr. Hancock for being part of that amazing time!!
Tune in tomorrow for our next Founding Fathers! The men of New Hampshire!


Returning Tomorrow..

Tuesday Tidbit - Summer Style.


So sorry

So Long. I've been rather busy and a bit overwhelmed recently. Here are pictures from our trip to Disneyland with our friends. We had a fantastic time. The weather was perfect and the company just as good. It felt good to take a vacation with my husband. I think he enjoyed it too. We did do California Adventure too, I just didn't take hardly any pictures there.