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Louisa Adams

Louisa AdamsAKA Louisa Catherine Johnson

Born: 12-Feb-1775
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 15-May-1852
Location of death: Washington, DC
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, First Unitarian Church, Quincy, MA

Gender: Female
Religion: Unitarian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: First Lady

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Wife of US President John Quincy Adams

Born, raised, and married in London, Louisa Adams was the only First Lady born outside America. She met John Quincy Adams when he was sent to England on a diplomatic mission, and they married shortly after his father, John Adams, became President. Their marriage was stormy, and her mother-in-law, Abigail Adams, reportedly disapproved of her.

She accompanied her husband to diplomatic postings in Germany and Russia, and lived with him in Washington while he served in the Senate and as Secretary of State. Her husband said that she provided encouragement when he occasionally doubted his political fortunes, and she offered so much advice during his presidential campaigns that she was occasionally called his "campaign manager". After he won the Presidency, however, she complained that he had next to no interest in her advice at matters of governance. She spoke out occasionally against slavery and in favor of women's rights.

She was a polite and gracious hostess at social events, but she suffered from severe depression. She endured fourteen pregnancies, nine ending with miscarriages. Of her five children, one was born dead and another was chronically ill, dying before her first birthday. She described the White House as "my prison", and preferred to spend as much time as possible alone, reading or playing her harp. She often said, "Under all circumstances we must never desert ourselves."

John Quincy and Louisa Adams' son, Charles Francis Adams, was a US Congressman and an early, passionate advocate for the end of slavery. Their grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Jr., was President of the Union Pacific railroad in the late 19th Century, and another grandson, Henry Adams, became a prominent historian.

Father: Joshua Johnson (US diplomat, b. 25-Jun-1742, d. 21-Apr-1802)
Mother: Catherine Nuth Johnson (b. 1751, m. 1769, d.)
Sister: Nancy Johnson Hellen (b. circa 1773, d. 30-Dec-1810)
Brother: Thomas Baker Johnson (b. 1778, d. 14-Oct-1843)
Sister: Harriet Johnson Boyd (b. circa 1784, d. 1850)
Sister: Carolina Johnson (b. 1786, d. 1862)
Sister: Adalaide Johnson (b. circa 1780, d. 1877)
Sister: Catherine Maria Johnson Smith (b. 1788, d. 1869)
Sister: Hannah Johnson Baldwin (d.)
Sister: Elizabeth Johnson Pope (b. 1786, d. 1818)
Husband: John Quincy Adams (dated 1794-97, m. 26-Jul-1797, d. 23-Feb-1848)
Son: George Washington Adams (b. 12-Apr-1801, d. 30-Apr-1829 suicide)
Son: John Adams (b. 4-Jul-1803, d. 23-Oct-1834 alcoholism)
Son: un-named (b. 1806, d. 1806)
Son: Charles Francis Adams (US Congressman, b. 18-Aug-1807, d. 21-Nov-1886)
Daughter: Louisa Catherine Adams (b. 1811, d. 1812)

    Proxy Baptism: Mormon per 17-Aug-1991 Salt Lake Tribune article
    Risk Factors: Depression

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