Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, second president of the United States, was the daughter of Rev. William Smith, minister of a Congregational church, at Weymouth, Massachusetts, and of Elizabeth Quincy. She was born on November 22, 1744, and in October, 1767, married John Adams, then a lawyer residing in Weymouth.
Mr. Adams was appointed minister plenipotentiary to the court of Great Britain, and in 1784 Mrs. Adams sailed from Boston to join him. She returned in 1788, having passed one year in France and three in England. On the appointment of her husband to the vice-presidency in 1789, she resided in Philadelphia, then the seat of government, and also during his term of presidency. After the defeat of Mr. Adams in 1800 they retired to Quincy, Mass., where Mrs. Adams died, October 1818.
Mrs. Adams’ letters to her son, John Quincy Adams, were characteristic and much admired. She was a woman of true greatness and elevation of mind, and whether in public or private life, always preserved the same dignified and tranquil demeanor. As the mistress of a household, she united the prudence of a rigid economist with the generous spirit of a liberal hospitality; faithful and affectionate in her friendships, bountiful to the poor, kind and courteous to her dependents, cheerful and charitable in the intercourse of social life and with her acquaintances, she lived in the habitual practice of benevolence, and sincere, unaffected piety. In her family relations, few women have left a pattern more worthy of imitation by their sex.
Her letters have been collected and were published some years since.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.