Adams Papers
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Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 15 October 1797

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

Quincy october 15th 1797

Dear Sister

I thank you for your Letter from worcester since that I have heard by the papers you have arriv’d in new-york.1 I hope Safe. you must have had bad weather some part of the way if Such as we had reach’d you. last Sunday evening we had a terrible Tempest of thunder Lightning & wind & rain the Lightning struck the house of capn. Jo. Baxter & every person in it reciev’d a Shock there were many young People collected there Boilstone Adams & I believe Sukey mr Adams was very much affected for several hours & many were obliged to be rub’d with vinagar for a long time it came down by the side of the chimney & went thro the house into the cellar.2 that no one should be kill’d was a great preservation. it Struck a house in milton also. I never Say Such Lightning. it was like columns of Fire & fell to the Ground. the wind was violent mr & mrs Norton were on the top of Pens hill when it took them. they were oblig’d to run into a house for shelter they look out their house & the chaise was blown half way down the hill. they were on their way to Atkinson. they return’d yesterday found & left all well. the little Boys were finely & contented. cousen Betsy Stay’d with mrs Nortons children in her absence3

I Saw mrs Porter to day they are both well I spoke to her about the clothes lines. She will take care of them. mr Foster & Eliza Bond were here last Sunday— She has got her health & looks finely but neither She nor I can make Cousen Betsy own that there is any connection design’d to be form’d between mr F & her notwithstanding all the appearences She does fib. I know She does. they were Several hours alone together in our east Parlour4 she has recover’d her spirits much better than I fear’d She would. had She been with her Brother She would have felt very differently from what She now does I believe it would have kill’d her in her feeble State. Sister Peabody did not forget that the day he was buried was the 29th of September it render’d the Scene doublely Solemn

your Neice mrs Hubbart & Salomy came the last week to make you a visit they did not know you were gone. they spent an affternoon with me5 Doctor Tufts came to do business with you about half an hour after you left us. he wishes for many directions which he expected to receive—

mr Cranchs coat I supposed you must have taken by mistake. we have not receiv’d it yet nor heard of it only by your Letter. but think it will come along Tis one he wants much this time of the year his Devonshire is too thick & heavey

I am impatient to hear from you again & to know how you found mrs Smith & your other children my Love to them all— I want to know also where congress will be call’d. do not go to an unhealthy Spot— Stay with your children untill you can go into your own house I Shall be distress’d about you if you do— I have been from home but once since you left me your house looks So gloomy I cant bear it— I wish it was occupy’d in your absence by some Sensible neighbour— George Apthorp is come with his wife & her mother mrs Perkins, a Sister of mrs Aptho[rp] mrs A is a pretty innocent Sensible coun[try] Girl just 19 years old— they are come to Settle here.— our neighbour mrs Apthorp has been very ill for above three weeks in violent pain in her back & one side it has at last Show’d itself to be the Shingles to a dreadfull degree. She continues very ill6

mrs Norton Sends a thousand thanks for your kind present. had it made. & it looks very handsome—

pray give my Love to the President & Louissa / & believe me at all times your truly / affectionate Sister

M Cranch

mrs Porter Says she has found […] Buckets

Doctor Tufts wishes to know what is to be done with the cheese butter &C7

RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Richard Cranch: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams / the President’s Lady. / New York.”; endorsed: “Mrs Cranch / october 15 1797”; notation by Richard Cranch: “Quincy, Octr. 16th. 97. Free.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.

1AA wrote to Mary Smith Cranch on 5 Oct. to give a progress report of her journey thus far. She also noted that they had accidentally packed Richard Cranch’s coat and she was sending it back (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters). A notice of the Adamses’ arrival in New York was published in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 14 October.

2Vinegar was thought to be a restorative for victims of lightning strikes (James Thacher, The American Modern Practice; or, A Simple Method of Prevention and Cure of Diseases, Boston, 1817, p. 665).

3Jacob and Elizabeth Cranch Norton had four sons at this time: Richard Cranch, William Smith, Jacob Porter, and Edward, who had been born 24 Oct. 1795 (vol. 9:3, 243, 479; History of Weymouth description begins History of Weymouth, Massachusetts, Boston, 1923; 4 vols. description ends , 4:445).

4James Hiller Foster, for whom see CFA, Diary description begins Diary of Charles Francis Adams, ed. Aïda DiPace Donald, David Donald, Marc Friedlaender, L. H. Butterfield, and others, Cambridge, 1964–. description ends , 3:13, married Elizabeth (Betsy) Smith on 15 Nov. 1798. Thomazine Elizabeth (Eliza) Fielder Bond was the daughter of William and Hannah Cranch Bond and the great-niece of Richard Cranch (Edward S. Holden, Memorials of William Cranch Bond … and of His Son George Phillips Bond, San Francisco, 1897, p. 3).

5That is, Susanna Adams Hobart, for whom see vol. 1:331, and her half-sister, Salome Hobart. Salome (b. 1784) was the daughter of Col. Aaron and Thankful White Adams Hobart and thus also a half-sister to Susanna’s husband Aaron Hobart Jr., the son of Col. Aaron and his first wife, Elizabeth Pilsbury Hobart (Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts, 3 vols., Chicago, 1912, 1:6).

6George Henry Apthorp (1770–1825) married his cousin Anna Perkins (1778–1825) on 22 July 1797 in London. Anna’s mother was Elizabeth Wentworth Gould Rogers Perkins (1737–1802), whose sister, Sarah Wentworth Apthorp (1735–1820), was George Henry’s mother and Mary Smith Cranch’s neighbor in Quincy (vols. 6:376, 7:174; John Wentworth, The Wentworth Genealogy: English and American, 3 vols., Boston, 1878, 1:317, 525, 526, 527).

7The second postscript was written vertically in the margin.

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