PLATTSBURGH — When Vincent Puliafico first volunteered for the Battle of Plattsburgh Association a decade ago, he never imagined his personal appearance would play a major role with the museum.
Puliafico, who has since become an expert on the Treaty of Ghent — which effectively ended the War of 1812 — bears a striking resemblance to John Quincy Adams, a major player in the treaty signed on Dec. 24, 1814.
In fact, a lot of his friends and acquaintances call the resemblance to the former president of the United States “uncanny.”
“I was a docent at the BOPA Interpretive Center, where we had pictures on the walls describing the Treaty of Ghent,” Puliafico said of his first contact with the image of Quincy Adams.
“Someone noticed it and said, ‘Hey, you look a little bit like that guy.’”
Puliafico decided to put the resemblance to use and went to a seamstress in town, who created an outfit representing the time period so he could play the role of Quincy Adams for special occasions with the War of 1812 museum.
The seamstress worked from a blown-up image of Quincy Adams that portrayed the historical figure during the peace treaty.
“She called the likeliness ‘scary,’” said Puliafico, who happens to be an inch shorter than Quincy Adams but shares a fairly high-pitched voice with the son of America’s second president, John Adams.
He took the similarity in appearance one step further and began to research Quincy Adams’s life and his relationship to the Battle of Plattsburgh and the Treaty of Ghent.
Quincy Adams, who was president of the United States from 1824 to 1828, was the foreign minister to Russia from 1809 to 1814 and actually had very little to do with the War of 1812.
But when officials began treaty discussions with England in Ghent, which is modern-day Belgium, Quincy Adams was chosen as the only active foreign minister at that time.