Papers of John Adams, volume 1

351 Genealogical Note, 7 August 1773 JA Genealogical Note, 7 August 1773 Adams, John
Genealogical Note
Boston August 7 1773

Mr Henry Adams before the year 1640, I cant Say how long before, came from Bristol in England, with Eight Sons, and fixed himself at Braintree, in an House nearly opposite to the present Parsonage House of the Church of England, near the late Dr and the present Major Millers—being a Maltster by Trade he Set up a Malt House there upon a Piece of Land between the Brook on the North a Rivulet that crosses the Road on the East, the Road on the South, which Malt house is now Standing and has been in Possn of the Family, to this day. One of the Eight Sons went back to England, the other Seven remained in this Country, and from one or another of them are descended the Multitude who bear the Name of Adams in Boston, Braintree Medfield, Chelmesford, &c &c &c, one of the Eight Sons was named John. He lived upon the Place with his father. He had issue among others Samuel who was afterwards a Justice of the Peace and a Representative of Boston, who was the Father of the intrepid Patriot of the Same Name, who for a Course of Years has been Clerk of the House of Representatives and a Member for Boston, and Joseph, who lived, about a Mile out of the public Road near the Common where Several of his Posterity remain,—This Joseph was the Father of John Adams who lived and died near the foot of Pens hill, and left his two Houses and Estate there to his two Sons John, and Peter Boylstone, who are now living.1

[October 25th. 1764 John Adams the son above mentioned was married to Abigail Smith

July 14th. 1765 Abigail Adams the daughter of John Adams and Abigail his wife was born and (it being Sunday) was baptized in the afternoon by Mr. Smith at Braintree.

July 11th. 1767. John Quincy Adams son of John Adams and Abigail his wife was born and it being Saturday was baptized next day by Mr. Wibert at Braintree. The childs Great Grandfather for whom he was named was dying when the child was christened.2

December 28. 1768 Susanna daughter of the above John and Abigail was born (Wednesday) at Boston and the next Sabbath was baptized 1st. January 1769, by Dr. Cooper. Died Feby. 4th. 1770.

May 29. 1770 Charles son of said John and Abigail was born Thursday3 morning at Boston and was baptized by Dr. Cooper the next Sunday.

Sept. 15. 1772 Thomas Boylston Adams was born at Braintree 352and Christened the next Sunday by Mr. Wibert. The childs great, great Grandfather was of the name of Thomas Boylston and built the Old house at Brooklyne where my mother was born; My mother had also an Uncle of the same name The father of the late Nich. Boylston Esq. and the present Thomas Boylston. Merchant.]

MS (MB). According to a notation made in 1819 by JQA on a copy of this lineage in an unknown hand, JA wrote the account here printed “in a blank page of Willard's Body of Divinity” (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 603). The slight stain on the MS and the size and type of paper suggest that it probably was once a blank page in JA's copy of Samuel Willard, A Cormpleat Body of Divinity, now in the Boston Public Library. The continuation of the account, printed here in brackets, is taken from that part of the copy on which JQA noted “Entries made by my father.” JQA noted that his grandfather, Deacon John, had also made entries on another blank page, and JQA himself continued the entries. Except in copies, none of these other entries is known to survive.


JA confused the names of his great-grandfather and great-great-uncle and omitted one generation of the family lineage. Joseph (1626–1694), not John (1622–1706), was the son of Henry Adams who remained in Braintree with their father. Joseph's son Capt. John Adams (1661–1702) was the grandfather of the patriot Samuel Adams. Joseph's elder son, Joseph (1654–1737), was the father of JA's father, Deacon John Adams (1690–1761). For a more detailed and accurate account of the Adams line in Massachusetts, see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:254–255 and notes.


John Quincy (1689–1767), grandfather of AA.


29 May was a Tuesday.

From Catharine Macaulay, August 1773 Macaulay, Catharine JA From Catharine Macaulay, August 1773 Macaulay, Catharine Adams, John
From Catharine Macaulay
Sr London August 1773

I was very sorry to find by your favor of the 19 of Aprill1 that you had so many good reasons to allege for the Depriveing me thus long of the pleasure of your correspondence.

We simpathise so much in mind and Body that you cannot think me guilty of compliment when I say that I was much concerned at the account you gave me of the state of your health and the situation of your public affaires. There are some matters of importance which have come to light since the reception of your letter which will be I hope leading steps to the amendment if not the thorough reformation of that unjust system of policy which has too long prevailed in your Government and filled the hearts of your Patriots with melencholly apprehenssions for the future state of America.

I have just received intelligence that Governor Hutchinson has desired leave to resign.2 The wicked have fallen into the pit they have 353digged for others. May Hutchinsons example be a warning to the rest of your Countrymen, for if American liberty is destroyed the Destruction will be effected by the Vipers which she nourishes in her own Bosom. Your controversy with General Bratle afforded me a good deal of amusement. I am fond of the subject when treated with any degree of perspicuity.3

Plausible argument has a great influence on the judgement of the vulgar and on that consideration had you not received a challenge the pains you took in the controversy was undoubtedly well bestowed.

In the next Letter which I have the honor of receiveing from you I hope to hear that the appearance of a renovation of the union betwixt the Colonies is become a reality. It is the Jealousies and Devissions which has always subsisted among you that has encouraged Ministers to attempt those innovations which if submitted to naturally lead to the subverssion of your Liberties.

I am Sr with Great esteem Your Very Obed Humble Servt, Catharine Macaulay

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Saml. John Adams Esqr Boston pr favour of Mr Clarke”; endorsed: “recd by the Hand of Mr Clark, 20 Novr. 1773”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Mrs. MaCauley 1773.”


Not found.


Hutchinson's request for leave from his duties as governor was dated 26 June; Dartmouth acknowledged receipt of this letter on 17 Aug. ( Docs. of Amer. Rev. , calendar entries 1300 and 1407, 4:338, 363); for the background of Hutchinson's decision, see Bailyn, Thomas Hutchinson , chs. VI and VII.


The editors have supplied all punctuation within this paragraph. For JA's exchanges with Brattle, see 11 Jan. – 22 Feb., above.