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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0013-0004-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1796-09-07

Sept. 7. 1796. Wednesday.

Belcher, Bass and Sullivan gone to mow the Marsh and get out the Thatch at Penny ferry.1
Billings laying Wall. Thomas, carting Earth. Stetson, widening the Brook to seven feet at 9d. Pr. Rod and a dinner. Brisler and James { 247 } preparing, Yesterday and to day, the Cyder Mill, Press, and Casks.
Yesterday Jackson Field came to offer me Mount Arrarat at Three hundred Dollars. I could not agree. He fell to 275. I could not agree. He fell to 250 reserving the Right to work in Stone with one hand, for Life. I agreed at length to this extravagant Price and have drawn the Deed this Morning.
This Afternoon He came and took the Deed to execute and acknowledge.2
1.
“In 1823, ex-President John Adams was asked whether Judge Edmund Quincy of Braintree, went to Boston over Milton Hill? He replied, 'No, Judge Quincy would have thought it unsafe to venture as far inland as Milton Hill, for fear of the Indians; he was accustomed to go to Boston by the way of Penny's Ferry;'—a ferry so called because passengers paid a penny a piece to be rowed over the Neponset” (Quincy Patriot, 25 Dec. 1875, as quoted in Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy , p. 69, note).
2. Mount Ararat was part of the old Braintree North Commons (now in West Quincy), divided and sold as lots in 1765 under the management of a town committee of which JA was a member ( Braintree Town Records , p.406–407). On 9 June of the present year JA had acquired from Neddie Curtis 20 acres of this land, which was to prove valuable for its granite quarries, and he now acquired 20 more (information from Mr. Ezekiel S. Sargent, Quincy, Mass., in a letter to the editors from Mr. H. Hobart Holly, president of the Quincy Historical Society, 13 March 1960). In 1822 JA held still more granite-producing land in this neighborhood, and one of his gifts to the town toward building a new church and an academy comprised “fifty four acres more or less, commonly known by the name of the Lane's Pasture, or the Mount Ararat Pasture, near the seat of the Hon. Thomas Greenleaf” ([Quincy, Mass.,] Deeds and Other Documents ..., Cambridge, 1823, p. 3–5).

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0013-0004-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1796-09-08

Septr. 8. 1796. Thursday.

Sullivan gone for Seaweed. Bass and Thomas carting Manure from the Hill of Compost in the Yard. Billings and Prince laying Wall. Brisler and James picking Apples and making Cyder. Stetson widening the Brook.
I think to christen my Place by the Name of Peace field, in commemoration of the Peace which I assisted in making in 1783, of the thirteen Years Peace and Neutrality which I have contributed to preserve, and of the constant Peace and Tranquility which I have enjoyed in this Residence.1
Carted 6 Loads of slimy Mud from the Brook to the heap of Compost.
Jackson Field brought me his Deed of Mount Arrarat executed by himself and his Wife and acknowledged before Major Miller. I received it, and gave him my Note for 250 dollars. I then gave him my Consent, without his asking it, to pasture his Cow as usual the Remainder of this Season, for which he expressed Gratitude, and en• { 248 } gaged to keep off Geese, Sheep, Hogs and Cattle. Received Letters from my Son at the Hague as late as 24. June.2
1. “Peacefield” (variously written) was the first of several names JA used for his Quincy homestead; they varied according to his mood. Following his unhappy return from Washington in March 1801, he headed his letters “Stony Field, Quincy,” a name he drew from Stony Field Hill, the eminence that he owned and farmed across the road from his house and that later acquired the more elegant name Presidents Hill. After resuming his correspondence with Jefferson in 1812, JA whimsically adopted an Italianate name, “Montezillo,” which he cryptically explained to Richard Rush as follows: “Mr. Jefferson lives at Monticello the lofty Mountain. I live at Montezillo a little Hill” (24 Nov. 1814, PHi:Gratz Coll.). This name persisted until JA 's last years, though he used it irregularly, and occasionally varied it by employing the English form, “Little Hill.”
2. At the end of May JQA had returned to The Hague after a stay of nearly seven months in London. He had gone there on what turned out to be a superfluous diplomatic errand, but in the course of his visit he had become engaged to Louisa Catherine Johnson; see his Diary, 11 Nov. 1795–31 May 1796; JQA to AA , 5 May 1796, Adams Papers; Bemis, JQA , 1:68–69. The letters JA mentions as receiving were doubtless those dated 6 and 24 June 1796, both in Adams Papers and both in large part printed in JQA's Writings , 1:490–493. 497–508.