“We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.”
— Abigail Adams
Abigail Smith was born on this day in Weymouth, Massachusetts, in 1744. Today is the 268th anniversary of her birth.
Abigail was literally born in a church. Her father, Reverend William Smith was the pastor at the North Parish Congregational Church, her mother, Elizabeth Quincy Smith was first cousins to Dorothy Quincy Hancock (John Hancock’s wife). Reverend Smith believed in reason and morality and he imparted those lessons to his daughters Mary, Elizabeth and Abigail. Her mother home schooled the girls with the aid of her extended family’s libraries. The girls studied English and French literature, philosophy, history, and the Bible. Abigail
“was a keen political observer, prolific writer…” [abigailadams.org]
Abigail’s third cousin John Adams visited the Smith’s with his friend Richard Cranch. Cranch was engaged to Mary Smith, the eldest Smith sister. Adam’s was just a country lawer, and Abigail’s mother didn’t approve of him as a suitor, but the couple prevailed.
On October 25, 1764 Abigail married John Adams, a Harvard graduate pursuing a law career. Their marriage was one of mind and heart, producing three sons and two daughters, and lasting for more than half a century. [Ibid]
As a young married couple they lived on the farm John inherited, Braintree. Later they moved to Boston. She stayed in Massachusetts when John went to Philadelphia to participate in the Continental Congress (1 & 2), travelled abroad as an envoy, and served in elected office.
Abigail struggled alone with wartime shortages, lack of income, and difficult living conditions. She ran the household, farm, and educated her children. Abigail’s letters to John were strong, witty and supportive. The letters, which have been preserved, detail her life during revolutionary times, and describe the many dangers and challenges she faced as our young country fought to become independent. Most of all, the letters tell of her loneliness without her “dearest friend,” her husband John. [Ibid]
She joined John in Paris in 1784 and travelled with him to England the following year. In 1800 she became the First Lady to preside over the White House as John Adams became the second President of the United States. (The Capitol had recently been moved to Washington DC).
When John Adams lost his bid for a second term he and Abigail moved back to Braintree …”and for 17 years enjoyed the companionship that public life had long denied them.” [Ibid]
Abigail Adams died on October 28, 1818. She was a woman …
often ahead of her time with many of her ideas. She opposed slavery, believed in equal education for boys and girls, and practiced what she learned as a child – the duty of the fortunate is to help those who are less fortunate. [Ibid]
- Thought of the Day 10.30.12 John Adams (PART ONE) (ritalovestowrite.com)
- Thought of the Day 10.30.12 John Adams PART TWO (ritalovestowrite.com)