Adams Family Correspondence, volume 8

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 30 September 1787 Cranch, Mary Smith Adams, Abigail
Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams
Braintree Sep 30th 1787 My dear Sister

I went to Boston last Monday & there found that Barnard had arriv'd & brought me Letters both from you & Mrs Smith—1 I carre'd all mine for you & put them on board Folger—who said he should sail immediatly, but I hear he will not till next Teusday. I thought I had said every thing & told you all you would wish to know in my large Pacquet—but your Letter has given me new subjects—& first let me thank you for my urn & my Lamp lighter— I have not seen them yet but I know they will be very useful. I have found my Lamp very much so, one of those little wicks will burn six weeks if you do not pull them up & there is not the least necessaty of doing it— Betsy thinks she cannot sleep in the house without its being lighted. I wish my dear sister it was in my Power to return you some of those endearing proofs of your Love & esteem—you must accept a willing heart—

I had not time to see mrs wentworth when I was in Town— I design to go on purpose this week

I am very anxious for your Health. I hope it is mended—for by this time I suppose you are return'd from your excurtion into the West I wait with impatience for your account of it— The time till you return will seem longer to me than all that has past since you went away— I have not seen your new House yet but design to go over it & see what it will want. I should think it would not be best to make many alterations in it till you return. We will then consult together what will be best— I am sincerly glad you have it. Mr Fairweather & not mr Alleyne is the owner of the House & Farm which Mr Alleyne liv'd in— He has had a deed of it for a long time—2 you may remember the Barn stands in a bad place— you will I think move it back, & will remove or pull down the Building erected by mr Tyler. It intirely takes off all & indeed the only extencive prospect you have— Mr Cranch 174will take a Plan of the House The measure of the rooms & every thing else which he thinks will gratify Mr Adams— your old House & ours will hold your Family till you can get your new one done mr Cranch cannot bear the thought of Mr Adams buying that place of Mr Veseys there will be so much better land to be sold joining upon that which you have lately purchas'd mr veseys is miserable poor.

Uncle Smith told me he had receiv'd a Letter from you—but said he should never write to you again—& indeed I believe he never will3 He sinks fast— I think you will never see him more— He dyes of a broken Heart if ever Man did— with Tears & even with sobs he told me that he had been declining for more than a year “I have said but little but I have thought the more. I have had sleepless nights— without communicating the cause—” these were his words He will have but a few more I am perswaid'd before he meets his kindred soul. The saint he has been pining after—but what a loss shall we meet with—

Billy had a Letter from cousin Adams last week4 he is will but studys too hard to retain his Health I fear— His Friend Ware is to be ordain'd in the october vacancy at Hingham—5 I hope your son will come to it—

your sons at college were well this week I was not at the exebition but I hear that cousin charles perform'd well

I shall write to mrs Smith by Callahan he will sail in a few days thank her for her Letter if you please & tell her—that her cousins will write also—

Mrs Field has been here this day inquiring about Ester—she sends her Love & is well Betsy is very pale & thin—her heart has been wounded & you know how long it takes to heal it— It never more than skins over—a slight matter will again wound it. was you hear I would whisper something—but it will not do6—come home my dear sister & make us all happy sister shaw was well a few days since I had a Letter by mr Moris & Nancy Hayzen7



RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Sepbr [] [. . . .].” Some loss of text due to wear at the fold.


See AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 16 July, and AA2 to Lucy Cranch, 14 July, both above.


Thomas Fayerweather (1724–1805) of Cambridge had purchased a 400-acre Braintree estate from Thomas and Dorothy Harbin Alleyne for £1,600 on 18 April 1786 ( NEHGR , 145:57–66 [Jan. 1991]; Suffolk County Deeds, 159:90–91). Cranch appears to be confusing the Fayerweather property with the Edmund Quincy estate, which would be auctioned by Abel Alleyne in Jan. 1788; see Cotton Tufts to AA, 20 Sept. 1787, and note 7, and Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 23 Sept., both above.

175 3.

12 March, above.


Not found.


Henry Ware, Harvard 1785, was ordained as minister of the First Church of Hingham on 24 October. For JQA's comments on Ware and his ordination, see Diary, 2:viii, 308–309.


This appears to be the first hint of the kindling of a romantic relationship between Mary Smith Cranch's daughter Elizabeth and newly ordained Weymouth pastor Jacob Norton.


Not found. Cranch was probably referring to Nancy Hazen's uncle, Haverhill tanner Benjamin Mooers (1725–1799), or one of his four living sons: Moses (1756–1813), Benjamin (1758–1838), John (1762–1803), or Jonathan (1764–1805) (Tracy Elliot Hazen, The Hazen Family in America, Thomaston, Conn., 1947, p. 88–90).

Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Cranch, 1 October 1787 Adams, Abigail Cranch, Elizabeth
Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Cranch
october 1 1787 my dear Eliza

I am very sorry to find by your Mammas Letters that you are unwell. I wish you could have made an excursion with me to have visited your Relations in this country We often talkd of you, and I always told them how good you all were, at which they appeard to be much gratified. Your cousin J Cranch who travelld a great part of the way with us thinks he has a very accurate knowledge of you. I am not sure that if he was in America, he might put a pr of Buckles into his shoes & hold up his Head. he often brought young Hill who formerly studied with your uncle to my mind.1 he is certainly a Man of talants, but he wants the manner of displaying them to advantage. whilst we were at plimouth we proposed a visit to Horsham about 8 miles distant, but a part of the road only was Turnpike. we inquired if we could go in a carriage, and we were told that we might, but the persons who gave us this advise did not attend to the difference between a coach & a post chaise. We set out in our own carriage & four, but not being a turnpike we took a wrong course and squezd through the narrowest way that a carriage ever past before the hedges on both sides meeting, I expected every moment when the coach man & postilion would have shared the fate of Absolom.2 about 2 miles before we came to the House we were compleatly stoped a Good man seeing our difficulty advised to pass through two wheet feilds, but there we were obliged to dismount and leave the carriage for the Servants to get on as well as they could. the lane which led to the House was so wet and Springy that we could not walk it without being over our Shoes, & this as I had Silk on was not quite so convenient, & through the Fields the hedges which we had to climb over were so high that it was totally impracticable to attempt. mr J Cranch who had never been at the place before, Scrachd his head & Scolded his cousin for permitting the road to be so obstructed, but finding a Gate Sampson like he 176lifted it from the hinges & made it serve for a Ladder to pass over the hedges, but still we could not avoid near a mile of wet & mud. we were determined however not to give out, tho the weather was very Hot. Miss Palmer who by our long detention & struggl, had got intelligence of our comeing came out with Pattens for us & met us half way. She accosted us with affibilyty and welcomd us with politeness. her manners were easy and unaffected, her countanance full of sensibility, and Sprightliness her form Geenteel her face more pleasing than Beautifull. I could trace many Lines of her Brother, to whose memory she still paid a tributary Tear— the Brother with whom she lives I did not see, but all Relations & acquaintance alike represent him as the merest clown in nature.3 I was sorry he was absent, as I could scarcly credit that such a Brother as you knew & such a sister as I saw, could be from the same stock with this cimon. the house is a tidy decent farm House retird from all the world beside & there is a good Farm, but it is a Life Rent. by the Time we had rested ourselves the carriage got up by taking out the horses & drawing the coach by hand. we could only stay an hour and we parted with mutual regreet I believe returning an other road we took a guide and were obliged to dismount only once, but steep precipices rocks Bogs & hedges put us every moment in Bodily fear, and we were the first coach & four that ever attempted Horsham House. we should all have mounted on Horse back & then we should have Succeeded to our wishes—

A Adams

Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “To Elizabeth Cranch / ocbr 1st 1787.”


Edward Hill (1755–1775), Harvard 1772, of Boston studied law with JA from 1772 until JA's departure for Philadelphia in 1774, though Hill continued to work in JA's law office. Hill died in 1775 of camp fever in occupied Boston ( Sibley's Harvard Graduates , 18:100–102).


Absalom, the son of David, was killed when his head was caught in the boughs of an oak tree as he rode under it (2 Samuel, 18:9–10).


For John Palmer of Horsham, see vol. 6:61.