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Pastel portrait of John Adams (1735-1826) by Benjamin Blyth (1746-1787?). This portrait was made circa 1766, shortly after John Adams married Abigail Smith.
John Adams was born in Braintree on 19 October 1735. He graduated from Harvard College in 1755, taught school and studied law in Worcester, Massachusetts, and returned to Braintree in 1758 to practice law. He married Abigail Smith on 25 October 1764 and lived in Braintree. John Adams pursued his law career until his activities in politics and government took him away from Massachusetts. As a member of the Continental Congress, a peace commissioner, the first United States minister to England, first vice-president and second president of the United States, John was away from home for extended periods, leaving Abigail the responsibility for managing the family farm and caring for their four children. Because of John's long absences, a frequent exchange of letters was essential and nearly 1,200 letters between the two survive to this day. After one term in office, Adams was succeeded as president by Thomas Jefferson. John Adams retired from public life to his farm in Quincy. He died on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1826.