Presidential Notes: Louisa Catherine Adams?

his First Lady lived through deaths of a son and daughter. She lived through political bitterness, but she managed to overcome each tragedy. Inforfmation on her life and influence.

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams was a woman who knew several cultures. It was as though they existed within her very nature. Certainly, two cultures did, that of the English and the Americans. She took a great liking to the French culture as well.

Perhaps this First Lady's interests were so versatile because of her birth in another country. Or, perhaps it was because she was born in 1775, in London, to an English mother, Catherine Nuth Johnson and an American father, Joshua Johnson, who was born in Maryland. Also, her father served as United States consul.

While growing up she experienced great pleasures in reading and writing. These were her all time favorite pastimes. Louisa's choices in reading material were French and English literature. Louisa Adams lifted many a spirit. She loved to add spice to one's life through story telling.

Louisa was only nineteen years old whe she met John Quincy Adams in London. Adams enjoyed her story telling and beauty so much that he fell in love with her. Three years later, Adams learned that he was to be on duty in Berlin. He and Louisa did not want to part with each other, so they married. Louisa followed her husband to Berlin.

In 1809, John began servings as Minister, and was called to Russia. Louisa again went with him, leaving her two older sons to be educated in America. However, she did take Charles Francis to Russia. He was merely two years old at the time.

Any notable glory of the tsar's court was scattered by Louisa's struggle in this frigid country. Though she was quite accustomed to different cultures, she was completely unfamiliar with the Russian culture, plus she felt strained on such limited funds. Louisa Adams had bouts of poor health. While in Russia, her health interfered with various events and activities. Her life progressively worsened. Louisa gave birth to a daughter who soon died during infancy.



In 1814, Louisa was thrilled that she would be taking a forty-day trip with her husband. She was ecstatic when she learned John would be going to London, for peace negotiations. This would allow her time to visit with her family.

When Adams was appointed to Secretary of State by Monroe, Louisa and John moved to Washington. Louisa's drawing room became a central area that notables utilized. Louisa loved beautiful music. Anytime one visited the Adams, they were certainly subjected to lovely melodies extending from Louisa's drawing room. She made such great strides in entertaining other folks.

Louisa decided to give a ball in honor of General Andrew Jackson. Relatives moved in with her for a few days to help make accessories for this elegant and high-spirited occasion. At this time, her husband was an awe-struck rival of General Jackson. When the ball began, Mrs. Adams and General Jackson bowed to guests as they entered the room. It was during those years that hand shaking was out of the question.

Louisa was even more fragile when 1825 presented the White House to the Adams. Her poor health increased the struggle to move into the Presidential Mansion. In addition to her poor health, there was political bitterness saturating Washington's air, and it did not appear to be moving out of the capital, at least, for a while.

Eventually, Louisa fell in love with Washington, D. C. She gained great comfort within herself through the love and support that evolved from the people. However, Louisa sometimes suffered bouts of depression. When low spirits entered her life, she'd retreat to her drawing room to be alone. It was in her drawing room that she would compose

music and play her harp. Relief from depressive moments often times evolved within her while in that room. Gladly, she'd resume offering love and support to her husband and family.

Beginning in 1831, John Q. Adams started serving in the House of Representatives. While a Congressman, the Adams celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. While in his seventeenth year of serving as Congressman, John Q. Adams died suddenly while in the Capitol. The year was 1848.

Thereafter, Louisa lived for several years, but her depressions extended for longer periods of time. In 1851, Louisa Catherine Adams was buried by her husband's side in the family church at Quincy, Massachusetts.

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