George Washington Adams

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For George Washington Joshua Adams, see George J. Adams.
For other people named George Adams, see George Adams (disambiguation).
Portrait by Charles Bird King.

George Washington Adams (April 12, 1801 – June 9, 1829) was the eldest son of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. He had a troubled life and died of apparent suicide at age 28.[1]

Biography[edit]

George Washington Adams was the eldest son of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, and his wife Louisa Catherine Adams. George was named for the first U.S. president, George Washington, which angered the boy's grandfather John Adams, who took umbrage at his son noting the first president over himself for the naming of his first-born.[2]

Adams graduated from Harvard University Class of 1821 and studied law. After briefly practicing law, he ran for state office. He was elected to the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1826. He wrote a pamphlet "An Oration delivered at Quincy, on the Fifth of July, 1824".

He took his own life on June 9, 1829 jumping from the Benjamin Franklin in Long Island Sound during passage to New York City. His body washed ashore on June 13, 1829.[3] Historians believe that he committed suicide.

Health[edit]

Adams had a troubled life. Although he never married, he had a reputation as an alcoholic and womanizer. He was said to be predisposed to gloom and paranoia, a combination that would likely be classified as depressive illness.

Family[edit]

Prior to his death, George Washington Adams had a mistress, Eliza Dolph, who allegedly gave birth to a child in December 1828 {birth not confirmed}.

Dolph was the chamber maid to a Dr. Welch, the family's Boston doctor. She had a child in December 1828 and was moved to another location so George could visit her and the baby in secrecy. Miss Eliza Dolph became ill in March and her child was forced to be cared for by another. She remained very ill. By July 1829, "Eliza has now gained her health- lost her child- learned a lesson by experience- by my attention, been well supported through it..." according to Miles Farmer.[4] Pages from John Quincy Adams' journal reference a letter from Dr. Storer in 1829 making him aware of certain events in George's life. Conversations held with his son Charles regarding the estate of his late son George, are also noted in his journal on June 19, 1829.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Shepherd, Jack, Cannibals of the Heart: A Personal Biography of Louisa Catherine and John Quincy Adams, New York, McGraw-Hill 1980
  2. ^ Ellis, Joseph J. First Family: John and Abigail Adams. New York: Random House, 2010: 217. ISBN 9780307389992
  3. ^ Shepherd, Jack, Cannibals of the Heart: A Personal Biography of Louisa Catherine and John Quincy Adams, New York, McGraw-Hill 1980
  4. ^ Excerpt from Report of a Trial: Miles Farmer, vs Dr. David Humphreys Storer, April 1830