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Abigail Adams

First Lady to President John Adams
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Oil Painting of Abigail Smith Adams by Mather Brown, 1786. Courtesy of National Park Service.
Remember the Ladies!
Abigail Adams
Abigail Smith Adams was the wife of the first vice-president of the United States, John Adams, and then the second ‘First Lady’, after Martha Washington, when her husband became the Chief Executive of a young United States. Abigail was also the mother of our 6th president, John Quincy Adams.
However, most importantly, Abigail Smith Adams was a ‘true champion for and the first advocate of women’s rights’ in the new American government. She was an advisor to her husband and made it very clear to him that his government should “Remember the Ladies”. Abigail was also the first ‘First Lady’ to occupy the White House.
Abigail Smith Adams
8th Cousin 5x Removed
Common Ancestor
William Fitz-William
William FitzWilliam
Abigail Adams Pedigree
Abigail is the daughter of
Elizabeth Quincy (1721-1775)
Elizabeth is the daughter of
John Quincy (1689-1767)
John is the son of
Anna Shepard (1663-1708)
Anna is the daughter of
Thomas Shepard Jr. (1635-1677)
Thomas is the son of
Margaret Shepard (b.1606-c.1636)
Margaret is the daughter of
Anne Robertson (b.1568-b.1620)
Anne is the daughter of
Margaret Fitzwilliam (c.1540-a.1571)
Margaret is the daughter of
Richard FitzWilliam Esq. (1494-b.1559
Richard is the son of
William FitzWilliam (c.1460-1534)
This makes William FitzWilliam the 7th Great Grandfather of Abigail Smith Adams.
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William FitzWilliam
Donald Scott Lee Pedigree
Scott is the son of
Marilyn Miller (1924-1996)
Marilyn is the daughter of
Virgil Miller (1888-1956)
Virgil is the son of
Lewis Miller (1956-1918)
Lewis is the son of
Eliza Jane Clark (1812-1884)
Eliza is the daughter of
Eleanor Ellen Pate (1793-1890)
Eleanor is the daughter of
Edward Pate (1766-1849)
Edward is the son of
Jeremiah Pate (1715-1803)
Jeremiah is the son of
Anne Reade (c.1688-1739)
Anne is the daughter of
Francis Reade (1650-1694)
Francis is the son of
George Reade (1608-1671)
George is the son of
Robert Reade (1567-1926)
Robert is the son of
Alice Cooke (1533-1605)
Alice is the daughter of
Anne Fitzwilliam (1504-1588)
Anne is the daughter of
William FitzWilliam (c.1460-1534)
This makes William the 12th great grandfather of Scott.
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Fitzwilliam Family of England
Family Tree 1500s
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Reverend William Smith
Father of Abigail Adams
William Smith was born in Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts on January 29, 1706. He was the son of William Smith and Abigail Quincy. The Reverend Smith ‘home-schooled’ his three daughters at home. Abigail never had a formal education and ‘lived to regret it’.
William married his wife, Elizabeth Quincy in 1742. He graduated from Harvard and became a minister in the Congregational Church. Reverend Smith performed the marriage ceremony for Abigail and John Adams in his own home. He was a patriot and supported the American Revolution. In 1775, William’s wife, Elizabeth died from smallpox. Reverend Smith died 9 years later at the age of 77. His was greatly admired by his peers.
Abigail’s Letters to her
Husband John Adams
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‘Writing A Letter Home’ by George Goodwin Kilburne; image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor FA2010.
With her husband being away from home much of the time while fulfilling his duties and her at home minding the affairs of keeping a household and raising their children, Abigail wrote many letters to John. These letters can be seen and read on-line at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
First Spouse Gold Coins
Abigail Adams First Spouse Gold Coins were introduced by the United States Mint on June 19, 2007. The coins are number two in the series to honor American "First Spouses" and right behind the Martha Washington First Spouse Coins, although the timing was such that the Mint happened to release both on the same day, and each of the four coins sold out within hours.
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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor Hoshie
Abigail Smith Adams
Abigail Smith was born c. November 22, 1744, in the North Parish Congregational Church in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Her father was William Smith, the minister of the church and her mother was Elizabeth Quincy, the daughter of John Quincy, Speaker of the Massachusetts Assembly among other positions.
Abigail’s ancestry was English-Welsh. Her paternal great-grandfather, Thomas Smith (b. 1645), emigrated to Charleston, Massachusetts from Darmouth, England. Her ancestral lines are traced back to royal lines in France, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Holland, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Switzerland.
Abigail married John Adams when she was 19 years old. At the time, John was a young lawyer. They were married on October 25, 1764, in her own home by her father, the Reverend Smith. John Adams was her third cousin.
John and Abigail Adams
Kitchen at their Cottage in Quincy, MA
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Image ‘Kitchen in John and Abigail Adams’ Cottage in Quincy, Massachusetts, courtesy of WikiMedia Commons member Junkyard Sparkle.
John and Abigail became parents of five children. Three sons and two daughters, Abigail ‘Nabby’ Amelia (1765-1813), John Quincy (1767-1848), Susanna Adams (1768-1770) who died at two years old, Charles (1770-1800) and Thomas Boylston (1772-1832).
Abigail was an avid reader, which most likely attributed to her great writing skills and letters of correspondence with her then president husband, John Adams. Although her father approved of her marriage, her mother was appalled that her daughter would marry a “country lawyer”. Especially one who “smelled like the farm!”
Portrait of John Adams
2nd President of the U.S.
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The official Presidential portrait of John Adams, painted by John Trumbull, which now hangs in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington D.C. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Abigail accompanied her husband, John Adams, Ambassador to France, to Paris in 1784. This is where she perfected her role as the first ’First Lady’ to occupy the White House.
Abigail Adams took an active role in politics and she was known to some insiders as ‘Mrs. President’. It is true that President Adams confided in her for her counsel during his time as President of the United States. John Adams was an early advocate of American independence and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. He served as the first Vice-President under George Washington and then as President for one term.
Abigail died October 28, 1818, at the age of 73 years. She is buried next to her husband in a crypt at the United First Parish Church. Abigail is remembered for her letters to her husband, the president, particularly in the March 1776 letter where she appeals to him to “remember the ladies” as he works to form the new government.
Sir William Fitzwilliam
c.1460 - 1534
Sheriff of London, England
12th Great Grandfather
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St. Bartholomew’s Church in Greens Norton. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Willliam was the second son of John Fitzwilliam, Esq. of Greens Norton (In medieval times, the village was known a simply 'Norton' and was a royal domain of Edward the Confessor and later William the Conqueror. In the 14th century the whole village was sold to Sir Henry Greene for a total of 20 shillings hence the name Greene's Norton, which today is reduced to just Greens Norton.)
William was initially a London merchant in the service of Sir John Percyvale. He served as Sheriff of London then entered service of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. He became treasurer for Wolsy and high chamberlain, and was appointed to Henry VII’s council. In 1515 he was knighted.
William was married three times. First to Anne, daughter of Sir John Hawes, alderman of London. They had two sons and two daughters. His second marriage was to Mildred Sackville of Sussex. They had three sons and two daughters. William’s third wife was Jane Ormond. They had no children.
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St. Mary’s Marholm Church in Petersbourough, England; image courtesy of Katie at Wikimedia Commons.
Sheriff William Fitzwilliam’s ancestors arrived in England with William the Conquerer from Normandy.
Sir William Fitzwilliam died on August 9, 1534. He was in his 70s. He died in London and is buried in Marhom, Peterborough, England.
John Quincy Adams
6th President of the U.S.
9th Cousin of D. Scott Lee
“Reared for public service, John Quincy Adams became one of the nation’s preeminent secretaries of state but proved the wrong man for the presidency”
Read more at University of Virginia’s Miller Center at
The First White House
President John Adams and Abigail moved into the newly finished White House in 1800. Abigail referred to it as the “great castle”. They were to only live in it for 5 months, when Thomas Jefferson won the election. Abilgail was reportedly ‘ready to go’ and they moved to their farm in Quincy, Massachusetts, where they spent the rest of their days.
drawing of the first White House
1793 drawing of the White House; image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor Innotata.
Resources: Wikipedia, Wikimedia, WikiTree,, The Donald Scott Lee Family Tree, U.S.,,
Image ‘Kitchen in John and Abigail Adams’ Cottage in Quincy, Massachusetts, courtesy of WikiMedia Commons member Junkyard Sparkle.
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