Diary of John Adams, volume 1

Octr. 23rd. 1762.

November 5th. 1762.

Octr. 24th. 1762. JA


Octr. 24th. 1762. Adams, John
Octr. 24th. 1762.

Before sunrise. My Thoughts have taken a sudden Turn to Husbandry.1 Have contracted with Jo. Tirrell to clear my swamp and to build me a long string of stone Wall, and with Isaac Tirrell to build me 16 Rods more and with Jo Field to build me 6 Rods more. And my Thoughts are running continually from the orchard to the Pasture and from thence to the swamp, and thence to the House and Barn and Land adjoining. Sometimes I am at the orchard Ploughing up Acre after Acre and Planting, pruning Apple Trees, mending Fences, carting Dung. Sometimes in the Pasture, digging stones, clearing Bushes, Pruning Trees, building Wall to redeem Posts and Rails, and sometimes removing Button Trees down to my House. Sometimes I am at the old swamp, burning Bushes, digging stumps and Roots, cutting Ditches, across the Meadow, and against my Uncle, and am sometimes at the other End of the Town, buying Posts and Rails, to 230Fence against my Uncle and against the Brook, and am sometimes Ploughing the Upland, with 6 Yoke of oxen, and planting Corn, Potatoes, &c. and digging up the Meadow and sowing onions, planting cabbages &c. &c.

Sometimes I am at the Homestead running Cross Fences, and planting Potatoes by the Acre, and Corn by the two Acres, and running a Ditch along the Line between me and Field, and a Fence along the Brook against my Brother and another Ditch in the Middle from Fields Line to the Meadow. Sometimes am Carting Gravel from the Neighboring Hills, and sometimes Dust from the streets upon the fresh Meadow. And sometimes plowing, sometimes digging those Meadows, to introduce Clover and other English Grasses.


Deacon John Adams had died 25 May 1761. Under his Will, which was proved 10 July 1761 (copy in Adams Papers, Wills and Deeds), JA received a smaller bequest than his younger brothers because he had been given “a Libberal Education.” He did, however, come into possession of substantial property: the cottage occupied by Dr. Savil and now known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace, a barn, and 10 acres of adjoining land, together with some 30 acres of orchard, pasture, and woodland elsewhere in the town. His brother Peter Boylston inherited the Deacon’s homestead (the John Adams Birthplace) and a larger farm, which in 1774 JA consolidated with his own (JA, notes on the copy of his father’s Will in Adams Papers). As the present entry suggests, the young farmer’s improvements to his property began promptly, and though there were long intervals when public office kept him away from his farm, they ended only with his death.