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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


This foot note contained in document ADMS-04-04-02-0209
4. AA 's purpose, long contemplated (to JA , 23 April 1781, above), to purchase land from a large tract granted for settlement by the General Assembly of Vermont to Col. Jacob Davis, Abner Mellen, Jonas Comins, and others of Worcester in Oct. 1780, which here seems at the point of realization, was in fact dropped for a time and not acted upon finally for another three months (to JA , 17 June, 17–18 July 1782, both below; deed of Jonas Comins to JQA , 20 April 1782, Adams Papers). Although the belief, shared with or perhaps derived from the Cranch family, in the likelihood of easy profit was a leading motive in her purchase of the five lots, another evidently hardly less important motive—the dream of a refuge with JA from public controversies in a sylvan retreat—appears again and again when AA writes of Vermont (to JA , 9 Dec. 1781, 17–25 March 1782, both above; 17–18 July, below). That JA 's requirements for a retreat were not the same as AA 's, he revealed not to her but to his friend James Warren in a letter written before he received AA 's present account of the imminent purchase: “God willing, I wont go to Vermont. I must be within the Scent of the sea” (to Warren, 17 June 1782, MB: Chamberlain Coll.; printed in JA, Works , 9:513). To AA , his only response so far noted to her reports about the purchase was “dont meddle any more with Vermont” (12 Oct. 1782, Adams Papers).
Despite the requirement that a portion of each lot be cleared and a house built upon it within five years, the acreage long remained unimproved and declining in value in the hands of those for whom AA purchased it, or their heirs. Some forty years later, TBA , acting for himself and the other owners, made plans to sell the lots at auction ( TBA to Alexander Bryan Johnson, 9, 30 Oct. 1819; 20 April, 8 May 1822; MSS privately owned, 1964–1965, photoduplicates in Adams Papers Editorial Files). Whether any lots were sold at that time is not clear. However, JQA disposed of his, which a squatter had partially cleared and built upon, by sale to Leonard Bouker in 1825 (deed of Comins to JQA , 20 April 1782, cited above, docketed by JQA , 30 June 1825). { 317 } TBA 's lot was still his at his death and became a part of his estate ( JQA , Diary, 19 July 1833).