December 10, 2003

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

The Adams Family.

John Adams was the first inhabitant of the White House. After he decided the place was habitable he sent for his wife Abigail, who brought along their granddaughter Suzannah and their niece Louisa Smith. Their nephew William Shaw was already in residence as John’s private secretary. Thomas, the Adamses’ adult son, would also move into the home.

On the way to Washington, Abigail had stopped to see her son Charles on his deathbed. Besides the grief of losing her son, Abigail also knew it was quite probable she would not live in the White House for long. Former family friend Thomas Jefferson was challenging John for the presidency.

The same day Abigail arrived in Washington, Jeffersonian Margaret Bayard Smith also arrived. Smith would chronicle the First Family’s public and private exploits for the National Intelligencer. All social events became political targets...the Adamses’ receptions were criticized as lavish and monarchical.

When son John Quincy Adams married a French-educated and British-born woman, the press nicknamed her “Princess Royal” and used her in their attacks against the president. It was said that John was trying to marry his sons to the daughters of King George III to create a pseudo royal family in America.

Upon leaving the White House, Abigail said, “I am sick, sick, sick of public life.”

Posted by Jennifer at December 10, 2003 11:59 AM