US History: Two Things You Didn’t Know

I’ll bet you didn’t know that life was hard for Louisa and John Adams. Yes, the same John Quincy Adams who became president. Though they came from prominent families, John and Louisa Adams were like many young couples, they were not rich. John served as a United States minister to European countries that paid their foreign ministers well. While these other European ministers lived in elegant homes and gave lavish parties, John and Louisa were expected to do the same but on a much smaller income. They must have mastered the skill of a tight budget and what my father used to call, “puttin’ on the dog.”

Another bit of history you may not have known is that when the British came to burn the White House down, in 1814, in retaliation for American troops burning the British Colonial capital of Upper Canada, “York,” they found the White House empty but the dining table was set for forty people. The food in the kitchen was still warm.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry and the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy. Available here:

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Suellen Ocean

With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University, Suellen Ocean does her writing from the hills of Northern California. She began writing professionally for print and radio broadcasting in the late 1980's. Her first self-published book led to her becoming "officially" published, when in 1998 she was asked to participate in the anthology, "The Simple Life" through Berkley Books, New York. She is the author of sixteen books on diverse subjects.

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