Kurt's Historic Sites

Charles Francis Adams

Charles Francis Adams III

Interment Location Visited  
Quincy, MA June 10, 2019  

Photographed August 4, 2022.

The more recent member of the Quincy Adamses to hold a presidential cabinet post was Charles Francis Adams III. CFA III, who was secretary of the Navy during Herbert Hoover’s administration, is laid to rest in Mount Wollaston Cemetery. His great-grandfather, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, is entombed a few streets away at the United First Parish Church.

The former Navy secretary is laid to rest beside his wife, Frances Lovering. Several other relatives such as his grandparents, Abigail Brooks and the original Charles Francis Adams, are buried in an adjacent section to the south.

Photographed August 4, 2022.
Photographed August 4, 2022.

Charles and Frances Adams’s headstones are made of slate, a material commonly used in New England burial grounds. The inscriptions on the pair’s markers are relatively minimal: they include their names, birth and death dates, and the locations of those events. Faint wreaths are carved above the inscriptions and fit nicely into the rounded shape of the tombstones’ tops.

Before he served in the cabinet, Charles Francis Adams III was an attorney, a mayor, and president of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He held lofty positions with numerous businesses and banking institutions, and for three decades he was the Harvard University treasurer. In the sailing world he is most noted for his successful defense of the America’s Cup as the skipper of the vessel Resolute in July 1920.

Photographed June 10, 2019.

Fast Facts

Born: August 2, 1866 in Quincy, Massachusetts

Spouse: Frances Lovering Adams (m. 1899-1954)

Political Affiliation: Republican Party

Served in Cabinet of: Herbert Hoover

Cabinet Position: Secretary of the Navy

Died: June 10, 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts

Age: 87

Interment: Mount Wollaston Cemetery, Quincy, Massachusetts

"We of the navy do not rate efficiency by size or length. We do not believe that the bigger the navy, the better, necessarily. Our task is to give a justified sense of security to the nations. Therefore, a navy adequate for defense is what is required, comprising a fleet of warships well-organized, well-equipped, well-trained, and of sufficient size to carry on those operations and maneuvers which will develop the personnel and train the fleet to the minute. But we do not wish a fleet larger than is necessary for national security."
- Charles Francis Adams III
relating details from the London Naval Conference, to which he was a delegate, in a speech broadcasted to Americans via CBS Radio, March 2, 1930



Photographed August 23, 2022.

Adams was among the 18 enshrinees who comprised the 1993 inaugural class of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame. His plaque is mounted to the wall in the Sailors section of the hall, which is located within the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island. Adams was the first amateur to skipper an America’s Cup defender, and the dedication on his plaque proclaims he was “[w]idely respected as America’s best helmsman, amateur or professional[,] after Charlie Barr’s death in 1911[.]” Barr, who skippered the revered Reliance made by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company for the 1903 Cup series, was also inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1993. Others with that prestigious first-year honor included Dennis Connor, Ted Turner, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, and Gertrude Vanderbilt.

Sources Consulted and Further Reading

Herreshoff Marine Museum. “ACHoF Inductees.” Accessed September 10, 2022. https://herreshoff.org/achof/inductees/.

Herreshoff Marine Museum. “Charles Francis Adams III.” Accessed September 10, 2022. https://herreshoff.org/inductees/charles-adams/.

Naval History and Heritage Command. “Charles Francis Adams, III.” January 3, 2018. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/research-guides/modern-biographical-files-ndl/modern-bios-a/adams-charles-francis.html.

New York Times. “Adams Asks Backing For Navy On Radio.” March 3, 1930, 4. https://www.nytimes.com/1930/03/03/archives/adams-asks-backing-for-navy-on-radio-appeals-for-public-approval-of.html.

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