John Quincy Adams visits Woodstock VT

Story and photos by Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
February 21, 2011
Billings Farm and Museum, Woodstock VT

On President's day, February 21 2011, Woodstock VT was lucky to get a visit from our sixth President, John Quincy Adams (JQA) aka Jim Cooke. JQA was born July 11, 1767 and died on February 23, 1848 (163 years ago!).

Cooke brought his portrayal of  JQA, John Quincy Adams: A Spirit Unconquerable to the Billings Farm and Museum. The event was free and the theater was packed.

The audience was welcomed to the former President's final portrait sitting. Cooke reads from the diaries of JQA aquainting the audience with an intimate look at the last ten years of the President's life.

Of interest to this photographer, Adams sat for the earliest confirmed photograph still in existence of a U.S. president in 1843. The original daguerreotype is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.

When JQA and family visited Niagra Falls he was greeted with cheers from the crowds as the "Old Man Eloquent".
Adams lost his bid for re-election in  1828 to Andrew Jackson, thus becoming the first President since his
father to serve a single term. After leaving office he was elected to the House of Representatives and served 17 years.

Adams was against slavery and predicted the dissolution of the Union on the slavery issue, but he mistakenly predicted that if the South became independent there would be a series of bloody slave insurrections.

Adams fought in Congress for eight years for the repeal of the “gag rule,” which allowed the House to automatically table petitions against slavery.

 Adams had the case of a lifetime when he represented the defendants in United States v. Amistad Africans before the Supreme Court. Over two days he spoke before the judges for over eight hours. Adams won their freedom and the defendants were given a choice to stay in America or return to Africa.
From Wikipedia: On February 21, 1848, the House of Representatives was discussing the matter of honoring US Army officers who served in the Mexican-American War. Adams firmly opposed this idea, so when the rest of the house erupted into 'ayes', he cried out, 'No!' Immediately thereafter, Adams collapsed, having suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage, he died two days later.
Cooke's one-man performance was both entertaining and educational,  giving the audience a glimpse into the life of such amazing orator. Cooke recited two poems penned by Adams "To Hiriam Powers" and "Wants of Man." Adams was truly eloquent. Listening to Cooke showed that John Quincy Adams was in fact


More info about Jim Cook:

Copyright ©2011 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy

“John Quincy Adams..." is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Vermont Humanities Council. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by Speakers Bureau programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Vermont Humanities Council.

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