About this Famous Person
Wife of John Adams and first Second Lady of the United States
Source : Tim DOWLING
Abigail Adams was born in the North Parish Congregational Church in Weymouth, Massachusetts, to the Rev. William Smith and Elizabeth (née Quincy) Smith. On her mother's side, she was descended from the Quincy family, a well-known political family in the Massachusetts colony. Through her mother, she was a cousin of Dorothy Quincy, wife of John Hancock. Abigail Adams was also the great-granddaughter of the Rev. John Norton, founding pastor of Old Ship Church in Hingham, Massachusetts, the only remaining 17th-century Puritan meetinghouse in Massachusetts.
Her father, William Smith (1707-1783), a liberal Congregationalist, and other forebears were Congregational ministers, and leaders in a society that held its clergy in high esteem. However, he did not preach about predestination, original sin, or the full divinity of Christ, instead emphasizing the importance of reason and morality. Abigail was a sickly child and was not considered healthy enough for formal schooling. Although she did not receive a formal education, her mother taught her and her sisters Mary (1739-1811) and Elizabeth (1742-1816, known as Betsy) to read, write, and cipher; her father's, uncle's and grandfather's large libraries enabled the sisters to study English and French literature. As an intellectually open-minded woman for her day, Abigail's ideas on women's rights and government would eventually play a major role, albeit indirectly, in the founding of the United States. She became one of the most erudite women ever to serve as First Lady.