A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 6

This note contained in document ADMS-04-06-02-0066
8. This passage seems rather misleading, and William Stephens Smith may have been less than candid with the Adamses about his role in the Society of the Cincinnati. They knew before meeting him that he was a member of the order (JA to Elbridge Gerry, 28 April, LbC, Adams Papers; AA to Mercy Warren, 10 May, above), but AA evidently did not know how prominent a member he was, nor did she imagine how prominent he would become. Smith was a leader of the New York state branch of the Society as early as May 1784, when he played a key role in the national meeting that amended the first plan of the organization. In the 1790s he was elected vice-president, and then president, of the Society's New York branch, and served several terms. In the same decade he was painted by Gilbert Stuart wearing the badge of the order. See William Sturgis Thomas, Members of the Society of the Cincinnati, N.Y., 1929, p. 138; Minor Myers Jr., Liberty without Anarchy: A History of the Society of the Cincinnati, Charlottesville, 1983, p. 59, 61, 130, 192, 195; and Katharine Metcalf Roof, Colonel William Smith and Lady, Boston, 1929, p. 336, and illustration facing p. 332.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.