Adams Papers

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 16 October 1791

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

Braintree [16] october [1791]

My dear Sister

I wrote you last Sunday by Doctor Welsh & your son who were here & sent it to new-york where you now are I suppose.1 I hope you found the Letter when you arriv’d as your Sympathytick heart would be in some measure reliev’d by the favourable account I gave you of mr Cranchs Leg— since that time it has continu’d to descharge well the mortified parts have been seperateing from the sound flesh & are now almost all come of but it has become such an offencive sore to dress as you scarcly can conceive of tis very painful too at times: I have dress’d it alone to day for the first time since it began to discharge in such a manner— tis still Bath’d once a day— Tis a slow & I fear will be a long peice of work before tis well we feed him yet with Bark & wine but not in such quantitys as at first— some parts of the Leg are heal’d but there is now a sore from the knee to the ancle. there are but two places which appear deep every part where the Blisters were not cut is sound— The swelling has in a manner left the Limb— he cannot walk a step nor bear his weight upon it yet his appetite is good

What charming Weather you have had for your journey I hope you all feel the better for your ride & that you will find all your Freinds in health & mrs Brisler recover’d—

Polly Tailor is with us waiting for Madam Jeffery to send for her.2 She sent her wood She was ready to wait upon her & wonders that she is not sent for

cousin Betsy Smith is with mrs Norton who was well yesterday

Deacon Adams is dangerously sick with a slow Lung fever3

Mr Shaw is gone to Barnstable & to the ordination of mr Simkins4 Sister Shaw was well but poor Billy grows worse I design to perswaid Mr Shaw to let mr Hughs see him— that man certainly has a faculty of seting Bones beyond many who are better theorests than himself5

William return’d last monday to haverhill & you must think my dear sister that I feel very lonely—but I hope the danger from mr Cranchs Leg is not so great as it was— tis a terrible sore now but it has been so much worse that I cannot help being incourag’d about it—but I hope I shall be resign’d be the event what it may— The support & kindness of my dear sister while she was here was a cordial to my spirits. & tho absent that she bears us upon her mind is a constant feast to my Soul— good grant that your health may be restor’d & that your Life so precious to us as well as to your own Family may be prolong’d many years yet to come & that we may have another happy meeting when the spring opens upon us—

Mr Cranch send his Love to mr Adams & you & begs me to renew his thanks for all your kindnesses & attentions

Lucy send her Duty & Love mr Adams I hope has not had a return of his dissorder I hop’d to have heard of you from some of your stages but I have not

Polly found half a dozen Tea spoons in the closet after you went away which she thought she had put up they are here with your other plate. She has put a hook upon the Kitchen chamber door or rather upon the door at the foot of the Stairs which effectually secures all the garrets— upon the wash house we shall put a Lock I have sent to mr Pratt for sea-weed to stop the cellar doors & bank the house. Polly has nail’d up all the Gates but the cow yard gate

I have your Pigs & hope to make fine ones of them— If there is any thing else I can do for you pray let me know it, nothing can give me more pleasure than to be able to discharge some of the obligations confer’d upon your / grateful & affectionate Sister

Mary Cranch

RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mrs M Cranch / to Mrs A Adams / October 1791.” and “1791.” Filmed at Oct. [1791].

1Mary Smith Cranch’s letter of 9 Oct. has not been found.

2Mary Wilkes Storke Hayley Jeffrey, for whom see vol. 7:273, note 4; 384, note 5. After a stay in Boston of over eight years, Mary Jeffrey would return to Britain in Nov. 1792 alone; her husband, Patrick Jeffrey, remained in Massachusetts (Boston Independent Chronicle, 10 Nov. 1792; Amanda Bowie Moniz, “A Radical Shrew in America: Mary Wilkes Hayley and Celebrity in the Early United States,” Common-Place, vol. 8 [April 2008],

3JA’s cousin Ebenezer Adams died on 22 Oct. 1791 (Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 23 Oct., Adams Papers). JQA traveled to Braintree for the funeral on the 25th (D/JQA/16, APM Reel 19).

4John Simpkins (1768–1843), Harvard 1786, was ordained as minister of the Congregational Church in the north precinct of Harwich (now the town of Brewster) on 19 Oct. (Josiah Paine, A History of Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1620–1800, Rutland, Vt., 1937, p. 158–163).

5Probably either Robert Hewes (1751–1830) or his cousin Shubael Hewes (1732–1813), both of whom worked as bonesetters in Boston (Eben Putnam, Lieutenant Joshua Hewes, A New England Pioneer, and Some of His Descendants, N.Y., 1913, p. 323–326, 330–332; Boston Directory description begins Boston Directory, issued annually with varying imprints. description ends , 1803, Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819, New York, 1958–1966; 22 vols. description ends , No. 3862).

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