We’re no Mother of Presidents like Ohio, but it’s not too bad a showing. I’m talking about the number of presidents that have called New England home. In fact, it only takes four of New England’s six states to match the eight presidents (that’s nearly twenty percent of them, isn’t it?) that the Buckeye State has given us. Here’s a rundown of who they are and what they’ve left behind for travelers to see.
John Adams (2nd President)
The Adams Family (no, not that Addams Family) was the first political dynasty of America. Our second president was born in 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts (which later became the town of Quincy in 1792). Adams National Historic Park in Quincy is a nearly 14 acre compound that includes the birthplace of John Adams and his later home with Abigail which they called Peacefield. Both homes and the surrounding gardens are open for tours.
Not only was John Adams the only one of our first presidents to have a son, but one of his sons also became president.
John Quincy Adams (6th President)
How about having to live up to John and Abigail Adams as parents? John Quincy Adams was born in 1767 in Braintree, and was groomed for politics from a young age. His birthplace also stands in Adams National Historic Park.
Adams wasn’t known as a great president, but interestingly he held more federal offices than most presidentsUnited First Parish Church.President, United States Senator and Representative, Secretary of State, and Ambassador. He was, in fact, one of only two former presidents to return to Washington after his presidency to serve in Congress, and was elected to eight terms in the House of Representatives where did have an excellent reputation. Both John and John Quincy Adams along with their wives are buried in Quincy in
Franklin Pierce (14th President)
The 1804 birthplace of fourteenth president Franklin Pierce in Hillsborough, New Hampshire is now under water. But at least they call it Franklin Pierce Lake and it serves his hometown as reservoir. The year Pierce was born however, the family moved to a new home which does still stand in Hillsborough as the Pierce Homestead. A later home of Pierce, the Pierce Manse, can also be visited in Concord, New Hampshire.
Pierce too wasn’t known as a great president, but there are some interesting facts about him. Like you might expect from a mid-nineteenth century Romantic, he associated with writersone of his best friends was Nathaniel Hawthorne and another friend was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. At least he had good drinking buddies. That’s probably why he died of cirrhosis.
Chester Arthur (21st President)
Vermont calls Chester Arthur the other president born in the Green Mountain State. To me this assumes that people know at least one other Vermont-born president. I know all of us UpTake readers are smart, but Americans in general…not so much. (The tag also brings to mind “the other white meat” which is not, I think, what they were going for.)
Arthur was born in Fairfield, Vermont in 1829. There was some speculation at times though that he may have actually been born in Ireland or Canada which would have made him ineligible to be president. His original birthplace in Vermont did not survive, but was reconstructed in 1950 and is a state historic site.
Calvin Coolidge (30th President)
That’s right, Coolidge is the president from Vermont. He’s also the only president to be born on the Fourth of July in 1872. His childhood home in Plymouth Notch still stands and is actually the site where the thirtieth president was sworn in by his father, a Justice of the Peace. Vice-President Coolidge had been visiting his family when he received the news by messenger that President Warren Harding died on a speaking tour in California.
Coolidge was also one of the first presidents to have an official library. The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum is found in Northampton, Massachusetts where Coolidge was once mayor and where he returned to reside after his presidency.
John Kennedy (35th President)
Kennedy might be remembered as the most popular president from New Englandand he had the accent to prove it. Just visiting Kennedy sites alone could make up a vacation.
Kennedy’s 1917 birthplace is in Brookline, Massachusetts near Boston and is preserved as a national historic site. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is nearby in the Dorchester section of Boston.
Beyond Boston, the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod served as the summer White House during Kennedy’s presidency. The six acre area includes several Kennedy family homes, but they are closed to the public. The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum however is open to the public. In Newport, Rhode Island, visitors can also enter St. Mary’s Church where John Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953.
George H.W. Bush (41st President)
The first Bush in the office of president was born in 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts. The home is private, but a stone marks the site. Shortly after George’s birth, the family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut where George was raised. The family also spent much time at the summer home of Bush’s grandfather, Connecticut Senator Prescott Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Following service in the Army during World War II and college at Yale University in New Haven, Bush and his family moved to Texas where he still resides. Bush also still owns and visits the family home in Kennebunkport several times a year.
George W. Bush (43rd President)
Like his father, “W” is better known as a Texan. But he was born in Connecticut in 1946 at Grace-New Haven Community Hospital (later Yale-New Haven Hospital). Bush moved to Texas with his family in 1948, and resides there again following the recent end of his two terms as president.
There you have itthe Presidents of the United States with roots in New England. And even though they were born in four of the six New England states, Kennedy’s wedding and Bush’s summer home get in the other two.
Despite being six states, New England is a pretty compact area. It might be kind of interestingespecially to a presidential history buff (or maybe only to a presidential history buff) to visit each of these sites. That could probably be done in just a few days time or it could take a couple of weeks if you take in other attractions. But if you come, do it in the late spring, summer or fall. It’s still pretty cold and wet here for Presidents Day in February.