Adams Family Correspondence, volume 13

John Russell to Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Abigail Adams to William Smith Shaw, 9 December 1798 Adams, Abigail Shaw, William Smith
Abigail Adams to William Smith Shaw
Dear William fryday December 9th [7] 17981

Last Evening was marrid at the Seat of the President of the united states, by the Revd mr Weld mr Ebeneazer Harmon to miss Abigail Hunt.2 please to inform miss Rebecca Tirril of this auspicious Event. as I am a great friend to Matrimony, and always like to promote it, where there is a prospect of happiness & comfort, and as Nabby had lived with me—and was about to marry the Brother of mrs Porter, I gave her the offer of being married in my Family— which she thankfully accepted. there was present mr Harmon the Father—a very respectable old Man, & 14 Brothers and sisters, which with my own Family made up a Room full.3 after the ceremony was over, I regaled them with a Glass of wine, & some cake and Cheese, which having partaken of they retired to the Farm House, where mrs Porter had prepared a supper of what was intended for her thanksgiving faire. after supper, mr Richard tuned up, & they closed with a dance. how long they kept it up, I do not know, for I retired to rest at about nine, and with the pleasurable reflection of having made Several honest families happy & pleasd I enjoyd a comfortable nights repose

I received your Letter of the 25 and was diverted with the Govenours Zeal & sorry for his dissapointment, for as I was not of the party, I should not have regreted an exhibition of the warm attachment of the state of Pensilvana to the President & the Goverment I 299 believe there is much more of it in reality than formerly but none to spair—if all had been shown which was real

you will have received a Letter from me before this, and I hope Richard will also have arrived.4 your mother has written for Betsy Palmer & I suppose she will soon go.5 she writes me that Abbes arm was much Strengthend by Hughes ointment. I presume you had a numerous Levee on twesday. you inquire for the card plate. it is upon the shelve behind the door in my writing Room—

I believe some cards with it— I have no News to relate. no event to amuse you I have not been further from Home than Milton, and feel a want of courage for enterprize of any kind— these two or there cold days I have felt better, but all depends upon a Suppression of the fever, and good rest. you must write me as often as you can, & let me know what is passing

I am your affectionate

Aunt Abigail Adams

RC (DLC:Shaw Family Papers); addressed: “Mr William S Shaw / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs Adams / answered.”; docketed: “1798 / Decr 9.”


AA misdated this letter; 7 Dec. fell on a Friday.


Ebenezer Harmon (1769–1853), a Braintree farmer, married Nabby Hunt on 6 Dec. (Artemas C. Harmon, ed. and comp., The Harmon Genealogy Comprising All Branches in New England, Washington, D.C., 1920, p. 252; Sprague, Braintree Families ).


Lt. William Harmon (1735–1807) was a farmer and cordwainer who served as a fire warden, surveyor of highways, and tithingman in Braintree. In addition to Ebenezer and Lydia Harmon Porter, Harmon had six other living children, five of whom were married (Sprague, Braintree Families ; The Harmon Genealogy, p. 252).


AA to Shaw, 18 Nov., above.


Elizabeth Palmer (ca. 1777–1853) was the third child of Elizabeth Hunt and Joseph Pearse Palmer and a grandniece of Richard Cranch. She had previously lived with the Cranches and had also served as a shop clerk and nurse in Boston during the summer of 1798 before falling ill and returning to Quincy. Mary Smith Cranch suggested Palmer enter domestic service with Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody, where she also developed her teaching and literary talents, earning the sobriquet “walking dictionary.” Palmer later published poetry in the Haverhill Federal Gazette, for which see Peabody to Shaw, 20 March 1799, and note 4, below (Megan Marshall, The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism, Boston, 2005, p. xii, 17, 39–47, 465–466).