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Louisa Johnson Adams

Louisa was born on February 12, 1775 in London, England. She is the only first lady that was born outside of the United States.

Her father was a merchant from Maryland. Her mother was from England.

After the American Revolution her family moved to France.

Louisa met John Quincy Adams in 1795 in London. They were married in London on July 26, 1797. She was 22. John was 30. (His mother Abigail Adams opposed the marriage. After numerous letters from John Quincy Adams she relented.) John delayed the wedding numerouse times, but finely relented.

The wedding took place in Louisa's church, "All Hallows Berkyngechirche by the Tower of London." (The locals referred to it as "All Hallows Barking.")

She was the only First Lady who was foreign-born.

There was a 200 Pound dowry that was never paid.

John became Minister to Russia. She and John moved to Russia while their sons remained in the United States. She didn't enjoy her stay in Russia.

After Russia, they moved to France. Louisa traveled over a 1,000 by coach to meet her husband in Paris. She was pulled out of her carriage by French troops and all most killed before Louisa could convince them that they were Americans.

They had four children:

  • George Washington Adams
  • John II
  • Charles Frances
  • Catherine (Died in her early years.)

Both John Quincy and Louisa worked to end slavery.

Louisa felt trapped in the White House. She referred to it as "a dull and stately prison."

Louisa might have had the smallest pets ever to live in the White House. She raised silk worms.

John Quincy Adams died of a stroke on February 23, 1848.

Louisa died four years later on May 15, 1852. She is buried next to her husband.



Visit our site on U.S. Presidents



First Ladies

Books and Websites


Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladiesby James Barber and Amy Pastan.
First Ladies: Women Who Called The White House Home (First Ladies) by Beatrice Gormeley.

Websites National First Ladies Library of Congress, Images of the First Ladies




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This page was last modified: January 25, 2012