Captain John Quincy Adams
Captain John Quincy Adams, a U.S. Naval officer and a relative of the country’s sixth president, would have a great impact on the second and third generations of the Rosencrantz family. Adams was married to Caroline Ripka’s sister and thus was John Rosencrantz’s brother-in-law by marriage.
During the 1850s, George Rosencrantz worked for Adams as a bookkeeper in Philadelphia. The relationship, however, was contentious. In April 1853, Adams wrote to George: “If you could get a position as a salesman and make your own way, it would be decidedly better than a poor book keeper and more likely to advance your interests.” He offered to help George obtain a position, but to no avail. In April 1856, George sued Adams for $200, which he claimed had been owed to him since the previous December. Adams replied:
Mr. Tarbell informed me you had written him concerning a note I owe you. The last time I saw you over three months since, the understanding was, you were to assist me in some matters and an arrangement would be made with you, for a settlement of said note. Instead of doing so I get a note from a lawyer intending to commence an action, also I hear of your abusing me in all directions.
Now I will ask, if in your calm, better judgement, I have deserved this at your hands. What has influenced you in this course, I know not.
Is an intimacy and friendship of years to end thus? Have I during that time, acted the part of a friend towards you, have you so expressed yourself to me personally and within many letters to that effect?
The meanest being on Earth having human form is entitled to defense, if it has been defamed. . . . I ask you in candour and sincerity, if the manly course would not be an explanation, for you must be labouring under wrong impressions or else your whole nature is changed, you cannot be George Rosencrantz as I have known you. . . . Years ago when I was prostrated in Body and Mind from many circumstances, that are fresh in my memory, you were there; how I endeavoured since to repay these acts of kindness and friendship, your heart can answer. . . . You have your reasons, I ask what they are.
Despite the friction with George, Captain Adams remained close to the Rosencrantzes. In 1868, Elijah’s son Will gained admission to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, possibly with Adams’s help. In 1871, Will’s brother John, who showed a marked lack of interest in school and in the jobs he had held, responded positively to an to accompany Adams, who had been given command of the new U.S. Navy ship the Iroquois, on a cruise around the world as his secretary.
For the one-hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1875, Philadelphia hosted centennial events. Bess and other members of the Rosencrantz family were active participants. Through Captain Adams, Bess (who was looking after the now widowed Adams’s children, Allen and Florence), received many invitations to shipboard parties. She attended socials and dances on the U.S.S. Potomac and the U.S.S. Congress, as well as on other ships. When Bess returned to The Hermitage for the summer, she brought Adams’s son Allen with her.
Return to Third Generation