Peacefield

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Peace Field
Old House, Quincy, Massachusetts.JPG
The Old House at Peacefield at Adams National Historical Park
Peacefield is located in Massachusetts
Peacefield
Location in Massachusetts
Location135 Adams st ,
Quincy, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°15′21.91″N 71°0′39.35″W / 42.2560861°N 71.0109306°W / 42.2560861; -71.0109306Coordinates: 42°15′21.91″N 71°0′39.35″W / 42.2560861°N 71.0109306°W / 42.2560861; -71.0109306
Built1731
Part ofAdams National Historical Park (ID66000051)
The mansion as it was in 1787 when bought by John Adams

Peacefield, also called Peace field or Old House, is a historic home formerly owned by the Adams family of Quincy, Massachusetts. It was the home of United States founding father and U.S. president John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams, and of U.S. president John Quincy Adams and his First Lady, Louisa Adams. It is now part of the Adams National Historical Park.

The Stone Library requested by John Quincy Adams is directly next door. It was built by John Quincy's son Charles, a Peacefield resident, after the deaths of the two presidents.

History[edit]

Peacefield was the home and farm of John Adams and his wife, Abigail Smith Adams. Later, it was also the home of John Quincy Adams, his wife Louisa Catherine Adams, their son Charles Francis Adams, and Charles' sons, historians Henry Adams and Brooks Adams.

The oldest portion of the house was built in 1731 by Leonard Vassall, slaveowner and wealthy owner of sugar plantations in Jamaica, and acquired by John and Abigail Adams in 1787 after its loyalist owners had abandoned Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War. The Adams were at that time still resident in London, but returned in 1788 to occupy the house and its 40 acres (16 ha) of farmland and orchards. They were disagreeably surprised by the house, however, after their years in England. The house at that time consisted of only two low-ceilinged rooms on the ground floor, two bedrooms, and an attic. Abigail Adams wrote "it feels like a wren's nest."

During the subsequent 12 years, with Adams resident in Philadelphia first as vice president and then as president, Abigail Adams attended to the house and farm. She greatly expanded it, adding what is now the right side of the front facade, with a fine hallway and large parlor on the ground floor and a large study above. The additions were built in the Georgian style with a gambrel roof creating a nearly full attic story. Adams returned to the house full-time in 1801 after his defeat for a second presidential term. His son John Quincy Adams also returned to the house at that time, after completing his ambassadorial term in Berlin. Further extensions to the house were made by his son, Charles Francis Adams.

Interior of the Stone Library, a separate structure located next to the home

The house was given by the Adams family to the United States in 1946, and is now open to the public as part of the Adams National Historical Park operated by the National Park Service. Other nearby sites include the John Adams Birthplace, John Quincy Adams Birthplace, and United First Parish Church, where both presidents and their wives are buried.

The family and the home are intertwined with the political and intellectual history of the birth of the American nation. Two older and smaller houses are located on the property, as well as the 1870 Gothic Revival Stone Library, which houses 14,000 volumes owned by John Quincy Adams. The property contains a historic orchard of heirloom apples, and formal 18th-century flower gardens.

Furnishings[edit]

The house contains a variety of valuable furnishings and artifacts which belonged to the four generations of the family that lived there. Former park superintendent Wilhelmina Harris compiled a furnishings report, an inventory of all the artifacts in the house.

Library[edit]

Notable books in the library include the Mendi bible, a gift to John Quincy Adams after the Amistad case, and a Book of Mormon given to Charles Francis Adams by Joseph Smith.[1]

Robbery[edit]

In November 1996 a robber broke into the stone library and stole several valuable artifacts including the Mendi Bible, two other bibles, and a text on fish. The artifacts were later discovered in a gym locker in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.[2]

Grounds[edit]

The property was originally a large farmland, much of which was sold by later generations who were no longer interested in farming. The Park now maintains a decorative garden which is largely restored to its appearance in the 1880s in Charles Francis Adams's era. The park grounds include the historic apple orchard behind the house, a greenhouse, and a carriage house that was used to house horses and carriages and contained an apartment for the coachman or other male servants.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Book of Mormon - Adams National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  2. ^ "NewStandard: 11/17/96". 2007-11-15. Archived from the original on 15 November 2007. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  3. ^ "The Carriage House (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved 2022-06-20.

External links[edit]