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John Quincy Adams
by [?]

John Adams sided with the boys from the North Precinct, and now that he was in power it occurred to him, having had a little experience in the revolutionary line, that for the North Precinct to secede from the great town of Braintree would be but proper and right.

The North Precinct had six stores that sold W.I. goods, and a tavern that sold W.E.T. goods, and it should have a post-office of its own.

So John Adams suggested the matter to Richard Cranch, who was his brother-in-law and near neighbor. Cranch agitated the matter, and the new town, which was the old, was incorporated. They called it Quincy, probably because Abigail, John’s wife, insisted upon it. She had named her eldest boy Quincy, in honor of her grandfather, whose father’s name was Quinsey, and who had relatives who spelled it De Quincey, one of which tribe was an opium-eater.

Now, when Abigail made a suggestion, John usually heeded it. For Abigail was as wise as she was good, and John well knew that his success in life had come largely from the help, counsel and inspiration vouchsafed to him by this splendid woman. And the man who will not let a woman have her way in all such small matters as naming of babies or towns is not much of a man.

So the town was named Quincy, and brother-in-law Cranch was appointed its first postmaster. Shortly after, the Boston “Centinel” contained a sarcastic article over the signature, “Old Subscriber,” concerning the distribution of official patronage among kinsmen, and the Eliots and the Everetts gossiped over their back fences.

At this time Abigail lived in the cottage there on the Plymouth road, halfway between Braintree and Quincy, but she got her mail at Quincy.

The Adams cottage is there now, and the next time you are in Boston you had better go out and see it, just as June and I did one bright October day.

June has lived within an hour’s ride of the Adams’ home all her blessed thirty-two sunshiny summers; she also boasts a Mayflower ancestry, with, however, a slight infusion of Castle Garden, like myself, to give firmness of fiber–and yet she had never been to Quincy.

The John and Abigail cottage was built in Seventeen Hundred Sixteen, so says a truthful brick found in the quaint old chimney. Deacon Penniman built this house for his son, and it faces the sea, although the older Penniman house faces the south. John Adams was born in the older house; but when he used to go to Weymouth every Wednesday and Saturday evening to see Abigail Smith, the minister’s daughter, his father, the worthy shoemaker, told him that when he got married he could have the other house for himself.

John was a bright young lawyer then, a graduate of Harvard, where he had been sent in hopes that he would become a minister, for one-half the students then at Harvard were embryo preachers. But John did not take to theology.

He had witnessed ecclesiastical tennis and theological pitch and toss in Braintree that had nearly split the town, and he decided on the law. One thing sure, he could not work: he was not strong enough for that–everybody said so. And right here seems a good place to call attention to the fact that weak men, like those who are threatened, live long. John Adams’ letters to his wife reveal a very frequent reference to liver complaint, lung trouble, and that tired feeling, yet he lived to be ninety-two.

The Reverend Mr. Smith did not at first favor the idea of his daughter Abigail marrying John Adams. The Adams family were only farmers (and shoemakers when it rained), while the Smiths had aristocracy on their side. He said lawyers were men who got bad folks out of trouble and good folks in. But Abigail said that this lawyer was different; and as Mr. Smith saw it was a love-match, and such things being difficult to combat successfully, he decided he would do the next best thing–give the young couple his blessing. Yet the neighbors were quite scandalized to think that their pastor’s daughter should hold converse over the gate with a lawyer, and they let the clergyman know it as neighbors then did, and sometimes do now. Then did the Reverend Mr. Smith announce that he would preach a sermon on the sin of meddling with other folk’s business. As his text he took the passage from Luke, seventh chapter, thirty-third verse: “For John came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, he hath a devil.”