Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams (February 12, 1775 - May 15, 1852) was the wife of President John Quincy Adams and served as the First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1825 through March 4, 1829. She is the only First Lady to have been born in a foreign country.
Louisa Catherine Johnson was born in London, England to American-born merchant Joshua Johnson and his English wife, Catherine Nuth Johnson. Louisa was the second of nine children; she had seven sisters and one brother. Her father served as U.S. Consul in England after 1790. The Johnson family moved to Nantes, France in 1778 due to the American Revolution.
She was educated at a Roman Catholic convent school in Nantes from 1781 through 1783, where she learned to speak French proficiently. She also learned how to play the harp and piano as well as sing. She attended an English boarding school from 1783 through 1789, where she studied mathematics, philosophy, embroidery, needlework, stitching, and drawing. She and her sisters were brought home around 1789 and tutored privately until 1793.
Louisa followed the Roman Catholic faith while the family lived in France. When the Johnson family returned to England, they worshiped at an Anglican church. Louisa was baptized into the Episcopal faith in 1837.
Marriage and family
Twenty-seven year old John Quincy Adams met Louisa in 1794 at a party held at her family home in London. Although they became engaged in 1796, Adams had many reservations, in part due to his mother, Abigail Adams reminding him about how poor choices would affect his future. During the year they were engaged, Adams wrote several harsh letters to his fiancée about her expected behavior as his future wife.
Louisa Johnson and John Quincy Adams married on July 26, 1797 in London. John Adams had been president for four months by then, and the marriage of his son to a British-born woman attracted media attention in the U.S.