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RESTORE THE FOUNDATION FRIDAYS – Abigail Smith Adams – (1744-1818)

16 Jun

Abigail Adams

If there has ever lived a strong, intelligent, and persevering woman, it was Abigail Adams. Abigail Adams began life as Abigail Smith, born in Weymouth, Massachusetts on November the 11th, 1744 to Reverend William Smith and Elizabeth Quincy.  William Smith was the reverend of the First Weymouth Church.  Abigail was raised simply without a lot of pretentiousness. Like most women of her era, she had no formal education. But, because she had a clergyman father, she had an extensive library she and her siblings could use. He shared with his children the love of reading and learning. Although she was not formally educated, she was a brilliant woman. She was educated at home and was devouring books about theology, arithmetic, political philosophy, and much, much, more. Abigail had a very sharp intellect, which made her an excellent match and partner to her future husband, John Adams, George Washington’s successor as second President of the United States, and lawyer. As Abigail grew, her passion for learning really flourished. By the time she was an adult, she was one of the best read women of her time.

Abigail married John Adams in 1764 and the couple lived at John’s farm in Braintree, Mass., which was later named Quincy. After John’s law firm had taken off and become prosperous, they moved to Boston, Mass. In ten years the couple had five children. Abigail, Amelia, (future president) John Quincy Adams, Susanna Boylston, Thomas Boylston, and a daughter named Elizabeth, who was still-born.

Abigail, was very outspoken and strong woman. If ever there was a woman who emulated the Idiom “show me a strong man, and I’ll show you the woman who supported him”, it was Abigail. She was John’s anchor and rock. Abigail always asked of John that he think of her as his equal (which was progressive for the era), and they would talk at great length of the law, politics and the issues of the day. John respected her as his equal, and they always considered each other, the best of friends. Abigail and John shared a great love for one another, a timeless and deep love.

Besides being the second, first lady of the United States, Abigail wrote extensively to John, while he served in the Continental Congress, in Philadelphia. The letters they exchanged are national treasures, they numbered 1160. Below are the real letters. These letters were the basis of “John Adams” the HBO miniseries.

As I said she was very outspoken, and very interested in politics.

Abigail and John exchange letters during the ratification of the Declaration of Independence. Abigail is for all intents and purposes a single parent during this time, and she takes care of the farm, wood cutting, chores, animal feedings, and takes care of four children all the while.

Abigail passed away in her bed in her home in Braintree, Mass in 1818 at the age of 73, John, was by her side. This seen from “John Adams” the mini-series (HBO) captures their deep, tender and abiding love for one another. John is crushed when she takes her last breath, his dearest friend was no more.

Thank you for taking the time to meet and learn of Abigail Adams, Friend, Wife, Mother, First Lady, Political Advisor, and National Treasure.

Robert E. Stage Jr.

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