George Washington Adams was born 13 April 1801 in Berlin, Germany (Berlin, Prussia) to John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) and Louisa Catherine Johnson (1775-1852) and died 30 April 1829 Long Island Sound, United States of Apparent suicide.


George Washington Adams was the eldest son of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. He had a troubled life and died of apparent suicide at age 28.

Born in Berlin, the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, George Washington Adams was the eldest son of John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), the future sixth president of the United States, who was then serving as a diplomatic representative of the United States, and his English-born wife Louisa Catherine Adams. He was named for George Washington, the first president. His grandfather John Adams was the first Vice President of the United States and also the second President. He was born a month after his grandfather left office.

Adams graduated from Harvard University in the Class of 1821 and studied law. After briefly practicing law, he ran for state office. He was elected to the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1826 and served one year. In 1828, Adams served on the Boston City Council. He wrote a pamphlet "An Oration delivered at Quincy, on the Fifth of July, 1824."

Voyage of the Benjamin Franklin

He disappeared on April 30, 1829 while on board the steamship Benjamin Franklin in Long Island Sound during passage from Boston to Washington, D.C. He was last seen at about 2 A.M., and his hat and cloak were found on deck, leading to the conclusion that he had intentionally jumped. His body washed ashore on June 10.[7][8] Adams had left notes hinting that he intended to kill himself, and earlier on the ship he had seemed delusional, asking the captain to return to shore, and declaring that the other passengers were conspiring against him. The consensus in news accounts of the time and among historians subsequently is that he committed suicide by drowning after he jumped from the Benjamin Franklin.

Family Life

Prior to his death, Adams had a mistress, Eliza Dolph, who allegedly gave birth to a child in December 1828.

Dolph was the chamber maid to a Dr. Welch, the family's Boston doctor. She had a child in December 1828 and was moved to another location so George could visit her and the baby in secrecy. Miss Eliza Dolph became ill in March and her child was forced to be cared for by another. She remained very ill. By July 1829, "Eliza has now gained her health- lost her child- learned a lesson by experience- by my attention, been well supported through it..." according to Miles Farmer. Pages from John Quincy Adams' journal reference a letter from Dr. Storer in 1829 making him aware of certain events in George's life. Conversations held with his son Charles regarding the estate of his late son George, are also noted in his journal on June 19, 1829.


Offspring of George Washington Adams and Eliza Dolph (1810-1908)
Name Birth Death Joined with
(child) Adams (1828-1829)


Offspring of John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) and Louisa Catherine Johnson (1775-1852)
Name Birth Death Joined with
George Washington Adams (1801-1829) 13 April 1801 Berlin, Germany (Berlin, Prussia) 30 April 1829 Long Island Sound, United States Eliza Dolph (1810-1908)
John Adams (1803-1834) 4 July 1803 Washington, D.C., United States 23 October 1834 Washington, D.C., United States Mary Catherine Hellen (1806-1870)
Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886) 18 August 1807 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States 21 November 1886 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States Abigail Brown Brooks (1808-1889)
Louisa Catherine Adams (1811-1812) 12 August 1811 Saint Petersburg, Russia 15 September 1812 Saint Petersburg, Russia


Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General