“We turn now to the vignette engraving. For our information on these matters we are indebted to the Honorable John Quincy Adams. He traces back the existence of this house only as far as the Revolution. Perhaps the registry of deeds would afford an earlier account. At that time it was owned by one Leonard Vassal Borland [actually his father, John Borland, who died in Boston in 1775]. He was a refugee; the estate was confiscated, and his family withdrew. The Honorable Judge Cranch, then a citizen of Quincy, was one of the commissioners for managing the confiscated estates; and while in his hands, Major General Joseph Palmer, of the Massachusetts militia, made the house his headquarters. Other individuals occupied the place till 1787, when a son of Mr. Borland [Leonard Vassall Borland] returned and recovered it. The regular forms of confiscation had not been complied with, and he sued out and took possession of it. He gave the deed, dated twenty-sixth September, 1787, by which it passed into the hands of John Adams. The estate comprised between eighty and ninety acres of land, and was sold for six hundred pounds lawful money. It was purchased by Dr. Tufts, of Weymouth, for John Adams, who was then in England. He returned in June, 1788, passed a few days with his family at Governor Hancock's, in Boston, came out to Quincy, and went into his house while still the workmen were repairing it. One old barn was standing, which was taken down by him. He erected the two
stables, and an addition was made on the right end of the house in the year 1798. The house has been twice on fire — in the year 1804 or 1805, and in September, 1821, when it narrowly escaped entire destruction.
“The vane which is seen on the mound in front of the house was placed there by President Adams senior, a few years before his death. It had been on one of the old churches of the Congregational Society with which he worshipped until the church was struck by lightning; and from his love of the relics of antiquity he had it placed where he could see it from the window of his chamber. It is supposed that the house was built about the year 1730.”