Tags: Presidential History | John Quincy Adams | pets

First Pets: Four-legged or Feathered Friends of President John Quincy Adams

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Nov 2015 05:06 PM

Pets of all shapes, sizes, and origins have occupied the White House at one time or another. One of the most interesting animal guests lived in the White House during the presidency of John Quincy Adams: an alligator.

The son of John Adams, the second U.S. president, John Quincy Adams started playing crucial roles in national politics at a relatively early age, according to White House Historical Association.

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Born in 1767, Adams was 29 when his father became the nation's leader in 1796. However, according to the White House, his political career was well under way even before this: when he was just 26, he was made the minister to the Netherlands and subsequently moved on to the Berlin Legation. In 1802, Adams was elected to the Senate and, in 1808, President James Madison named him minister to Russia. Under President James Monroe, Adams served as secretary of state. Finally, in 1824, after a rather controversial election, Adams became the sixth president of the U.S.

While living in the White House with his wife, Louisa, and two sons, Charles and George, President Adams had one of the most infamous pets in the home's history: an alligator. A gift from the Marquis de Lafayette, the Presidential Pet Museum reported that Adams graciously accepted the unorthodox present and gave it a home in the unfinished East Room.

The gator spent most of its time in a nearby bathtub, scaring unsuspecting maids and serving as one of Adams' favorite party tricks. He was always sure to show White House guests the alligator and enjoyed seeing their reactions. The alligator lived in one of the White House bathtubs for several months before being relocated to a different home.

The unusual pet lends an extra bit of humanity to this great historical figure.

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Pets of all shapes, sizes, and origins have occupied the White House at one time or another. One of the most interesting animal guests lived in the White House during the presidency of John Quincy Adams: an alligator.
John Quincy Adams, pets
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2015-06-03
Tuesday, 03 Nov 2015 05:06 PM
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