“Thomas Jefferson Survives”. These were the dying words of late American Statesman- John Adams. He was the second president of the United States. He breathed his last on 4th July 1826, at the ripe age of 90 years old. It is worthy of note that his friend, former vice president, Thomas Jefferson, who succeeded him as the third president of the United States, also died the same day, which interestingly happens to be the Independence Day celebration of the US.
Strangely, when John said those last words, (“Thomas Jefferson Survives”) he had no idea that Jefferson had passed on five hours earlier at the age of 83 years. Many people have been wondering if its fate or providence that made these two friends and presidents die on such a notable date. Although some dismiss it as coincidence, others have the notion that there’s more to it. Let’s find out more about President John Adams and how he died.
Who is John Adams?
John Adams was born on 30th October, (or October 19th by the Julian Calendar), 1735. His birthplace was in Braintree, Massachusetts. He was the first son of John Adams Sr. and Susanna Boylston and had two younger brothers Peter and Elihu. His father who was a farmer was also a deacon in their local congregational church. Besides, he was a lieutenant in the military who later earned his living as a cobbler. Being Puritans, John knew what was expected of him. Hence, his father inspired him to do more. Being the eldest child, he had no other option than to acquire formal education.
He started his academic journey at a private elementary school for boys and girls, passed through Braintree Latin School, where he was taught Latin, Logic, and Arithmetic. While there, John Adams developed a hatred for education, opting to be a farmer like his father, hence he started ditching classes, but his father compelled him to be there.
In 1751 when he was 16, he entered into Harvard University. He was mentored by Joseph Mayhew. Under the mentorship of Joseph, he studied and developed a voracious appetite for the works of ancient scholars like Plato, Cicero, Tacitus, and others. He graduated in 1755 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
As time went by, John Adams decided to be a lawyer, as against his father’s wish of him becoming a clergy. In 1756, he became a law student under James Putnam, a renowned lawyer in Worcester. Two years later in 1758, he obtained his Masters of Arts degree from Harvard University and was subsequently called to the bar, having completed his studies under James.
In the later years of the 1750s, John Adams met and fell in love with Hannah Quincy. He was a few moments away from engaging her when they were interrupted by friends and the moment was lost.
In 1759, the distinguished lawyer and writer met Abigail Smith through his friend, Richard Cranch, who will later turn out to be his brother-in-law. John Adams became close to Abigail, and despite the opposition of Abigail’s mother, he got married to her on 25th October 1764. Their marriage was blessed with six children – Abigail (1765), John Quincy, who later became president (1767), Susanna (1768), Charles (1770), Thomas (1772) and Elizabeth, who was born a stillbirth in 1777.
His wife, Abigail Smith who is widely known as Abigail Adams was his confidante, and his advisor through his tenure as the Vice-President and President.
When did John Adams Die?
The former attorney and second President of the USA, John Adams breathed his last on the 50th independence anniversary of the United States. With a dying, last words reported as “Thomas Jefferson survives” unknown to him, his friend and former political rival had died five hours before he echoed his name. He died in Quincy, on 4th July 1826, in his country home, at about 6:20 PM. As of the time of his death, his son was the serving president.
How did He Die?
Having lost his wife, Abigail to typhoid fever on 28th October 1818, the days became a bit troubled for John. Even though the year 1824 was filled with excitement, because it was the year his son John Quincy became the president. He couldn’t hide his excitement.
The founding father of the US had Thomas Jefferson as his vice president but he ousted him (John Adams) from office when he vied for the second tenure to become the third President of the USA. Thus their rivalry began, with back and forth slandering, that his one-time friend turned foe politically.
Eventually, their sour relationship was mended by their mutual friend Benjamin Rush after their retirement from active politics. The two once sworn enemies mended fences and began repairing their friendship. Strangely but true, they even took their last breath five hours apart on July 4th, 1826. Weird and strange.