Friday, February 28, 2014

John & Abigail Adams' Peacefield

Two hundred and forty years ago, on February 28, 1774, John Adams purchased his father’s homestead near Braintee (now Quincy), Massachusetts which he and Abigail later named “Peacefield.”  Here is the entry in John’s journal from that day:
 1774. FEBY. 28.

I purchased of my Brother, my fathers Homestead, and House where I was born. The House, Barn and thirty five acres of Land of which the Homestead consists, and Eighteen acres of Pasture in the North Common, cost me 440. This is a fine addition, to what I had there before, of arable, and Meadow. The Buildings and the Water, I wanted, very much.

That beautifull, winding, meandering Brook, which runs thro this farm, always delighted me.

How shall I improve it? Shall I try to introduce fowl Meadow And Herds Grass, into the Meadows? or still better Clover and Herdsgrass?

I must ramble over it, and take a View. The Meadow is a great Object -- I suppose near 10 Acres of [it] -- perhaps more -- and may be made very good, if the Mill below, by overflowing it, dont prevent. Flowing is profitable, if not continued too late in the Spring.

This Farm is well fenced with Stone Wall against the Road, against Vesey, against Betty Adams's Children, vs. Ebenezer Adams, against Moses Adams, and against me.

The North Common Pasture has a numerous Growth of Red Cedars upon it, perhaps 1000, which in 20 years if properly pruned may be worth a Shilling each. It is well walled in all round. The Prunings of those Cedars will make good Browse for my Cattle in Winter, and good fuel when the Cattle have picked off all they will eat. There is a Quantity of good Stone in it too.

“The John Adams and John Quincy Adams Birthplaces are the oldest presidential birthplaces in the United States. In 1735, John Adams was born in the "salt box" house located only 75 feet away from the birthplace of his son John Quincy Adams. In the John Quincy Adams Birthplace, young John and his bride Abigail started their family and the future President launched his career in politics and law. John Adams maintained his law office in the house and it was here that he, Samuel Adams and James Bowdoin wrote the Massachusetts Constitution. This document, still in use today, greatly influenced development of the United States Constitution.

The Old House, built in 1731, became the residence of the Adams family for four generations from 1788 to 1927. It was home to Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams; First Ladies Abigail and Louisa Catherine Adams; Civil War Minister to Great Britain Charles Francis Adams; and literary historians Henry and Brooks Adams. …Adjacent to the house is the Stone Library, built in 1873, it contains more than 14,000 books that belonged to the Adamses. …the Old House grounds which include a historic orchard and an 18th-century style formal garden, [contain] thousands of annual and perennial flowers.” (

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