Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1



Colonel Josiah Quincy's House in 1822, by Eliza Susan Quincy facing 80[unavailable]

Water color in the first volume of a manuscript by Eliza Susan Quincy (1798–1884) entitled “Memoir,” now among the Quincy Family Collection in the Massachusetts Historical Society. Col. Josiah Quincy (1710–1784) built this house in 1770 to replace his former house in what is now Quincy Square, burned down in 1759; see John Adams' Diary and Autobiography , 1:102, 111–113. The house depicted here was built on the shore of Quincy Bay and commanded a splendid view of Boston Harbor, but is now hemmed in by other houses on Muirhead Street in the Wollaston section of xiQuincy. From here its first owner reported to his friends John Adams and Gen. George Washington, among others, movements of British naval forces and troops in the harbor, and more than once during the siege of Boston took temporary refuge with his family at the Adams farm farther inland; see Abigail Adams to Mercy (Otis) Warren, 2 May 1775 and note (p. 190–191, below). Here in October 1775; Mrs. Adams dined with an assemblage of notables that included Benjamin Franklin, James Bowdoin, and Rev. Samuel Cooper; see p. 313, 320–321. Ex-President Adams paid his last visit here shortly before his death on the Fourth of July in 1826. The Adamses were in fact familiar with the house over several generations, for three successive Josiah Quincys—the Colonel, his son the Patriot, and his son the President of Harvard—resided in it, and one son and several daughters of President Josiah recorded in their diaries and reminiscences the comings and goings between the two most prominent families of the town until well into the 19th century. See Josiah Quincy (1802–1882), Figures of the Past, from the Leaves of Old Journals, ed. M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Boston, 1926, and The Articulate Sisters, ed. M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Cambridge, 1946.

From the Quincy family this superb example of New England domestic architecture passed to Mr. and Mrs. Edward R. Hall, who deeded it in 1937 to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities; see “The Colonel Josiah Quincy Homestead, Wollaston, Quincy, Mass.,” in Old-Time New England, 28:85–89 (January 1938).

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.