Diary of John Adams, volume 3

1787. August 7 [i.e. 6?]<a xmlns="http://www.tei-c.org/ns/1.0" href="#DJA03d193n1" class="note" id="DJA03d193n1a">1</a> JA


1787. August 7 [i.e. 6?] Adams, John
1787. August 7 i.e. 6 1

At Kingsbridge, the southerly Point of the County of Devonshire, the birth Place of my Brother Cranch. Went Yesterday to Church in the Morning, dined with Mr. Burnell, went to the Presbyterian Meeting afternoon, drank Tea with Mr. Trathan,2 and went to the Baptist Meeting in the Evening.—Lord Petre is the Lord of this mannor.—The Nephew of my Brother Cranch possesses the Family Estate, which I saw, very near the Church, four Lotts of very fine Land in high Cultivation. The Nephews and Nieces are married and settled here, all Tradesmen and Farmers in good Business and comfortable Circumstances and live in a harmony with each other, that is charming.—On Saturday We passed thro Plympton And Modbury. From the last Town emigrated my Brother Cranch with Mr. Palmer. It is a singular Village at the Bottom of a Valley formed by four high and steep hills. On Fryday We went out from Plymouth to Horsham, to see Mr. Palmer, the Nephew of our Acquaintance in America. His sister only was at home. This is a pleasant Situation.3 We had before seen Mr. Andrew Cranch at Exeter, the aged Brother of my friend, 210and Mr. William Cranch, another Brother deprived by a Paralytick Stroke of all his faculties.

Mr. Bowring, at Exeter, went with me to see Mr. Towgood, the author of the dissenting Gentlemans answer to Mr. Whites three Letters, 87 years of age.4

Brook is next Door to Swainstone and Strachleigh, near Lee Mill Bridge, about two miles from Ivy Bridge.5 Strachleigh did belong to the Chudleighs the Dutchess of Kingstons Family.

Haytor Rock is at the Summit of the highest Mountain in Dartmore Forrest. Brentor is said by some to be higher.


Here begin the scraps of JA's Diary, nine paper booklets or folded sheets, of various sizes and shapes, which are collectively designated D/JA/46 in the Adams Papers and which complete the MS of the Diary as JA kept it, very intermittently, from 1787 to 1804.

As to the date of this entry, since JA says he attended church and meeting three times “Yesterday,” it can only be supposed that he was writing on Monday, 6 August.

The top edge of this sheet of the MS is charred. Some words and parts of words have been supplied, in brackets, from the text printed by CFA.


Both Burnell and Trathan were connections of the Cranches in Kingsbridge, a village which was so overwhelmingly “the Chief resort of the Cranch family” that bells were set ringing soon after the Adamses' arrival, and no fewer than fifteen members and connections of the family called on the travelers during their first evening there (AA to Mrs. Cranch, 15 Sept. 1787, MWA).


In a letter to her niece Elizabeth Cranch, 1 Oct. 1787 (Dft, Adams Papers), AA furnished a detailed and vivid account of the expedition from Plymouth to Horsham on 3 August. Since “we were the first coach and four that ever attempted Horsham House,” the trip was full of difficulties and perils, which John Cranch proved himself a veritable Samson in overcoming.


Michaijah Towgood, a nonconformist clergyman and prolific writer of theological tracts ( DNB ).


These were places in Devon that the Adamses passed through or near on Saturday, 4 Aug., while traveling from Plymouth to Kingsbridge. They dined at Ivybridge, and JA made a side trip of several miles to Brook to visit William Cranch, another of Richard's brothers (AA to Mrs. Cranch, 15 Sept. 1787, MWA). In AA's Diary (M/AA/i) there is an undated, detached note on the final leaf: “Cadleigh, Brook, Strashleigh, Ivey Bridge, visited by Mr. A in company with Mr. J. Cranch.”