Abigail Adams – 6 Important Facts About John Adams’ Wife

Not many women have had their name written in history as much as Abigail Adams has. She was the first Second Lady of the United States and the second First Lady as well. She also happened to be the first out of the only two women to be both the wife of a president of the United States and mother of a president of the United States.

Being a terrific writer, most facts about their marriage, politics and trivia, could be gotten from the numerous letters she traded with her husband – John Adams. She was the number one advisor and a fan of her husband.

Who Was Abigail Adams?

Abigail Smith was born in Massachusetts, USA. She was born on November 22nd, 1744. Her father William Smith, was the minister of their church, a congregational church in Massachusetts. Her mother, Elizabeth Quincy Smith, a descendant of the prestigious Quincy family, taught her and her sisters how to read and write.

Her siblings were Mary (born in 1739), Elizabeth or Betsy (born in 1742), and their only brother that was born in 1746, but who later died of alcoholism in 1787. Part of the reason why Abigail Smith did not go to school could be attributed to the fact that she was mostly sick as a kid.

In 1775, Abi sadly lost her mother to smallpox. Nine years later, in 1784, her father followed suit. Abigail first met her would-be husband in 1759, when she was fifteen years. John Adams had followed his friend Richard Cranch, to go see Abigail’s elder sister, Mary, who was his fiancée.

After John made his interest in Abigail known, her mother initially opposed the affair. Her reason was that John, who was a lawyer, was thought to be too rusty and uncouth to marry her daughter. However, their wedding was officiated by Minister William Smith, the bride’s father on October 25, 1764, in the Smiths home in Weymouth. Their marriage was officiated by Abigail’s father – William.

Their union was blessed with six children – Abigail Jr. Adams (1765-1813), John Quincy Adams, (who would later become the sixth president of the United States) (1767-1848), Grace Susanna Adams (1968-70), Charles Adams (1770-1800), Thomas Boylston Adams (1772-1832), and Elizabeth Adams, born a stillborn in 1777.

Abigail Adams played some very vital role in her husband’s administration that she was sometimes referred to as ‘Mrs. President’.

Interesting Facts About John Adams’ Wife

1. Her Actual Date of Birth Is A Bit Confusing

Born during the era of Julian Calendar, which was convented by Julius Caesar, and which happens to be 10 minutes later than the earth’s rotation. It might not seem a big deal, but it got to a point where it was about 11 days out of synchronization. That was the time Abigail was born. A new calendar was coined by Pope Gregory XIII, and this calendar known as Gregorian calendar skipped over 10 days. By the time it could be accepted by the British colony, Julian calendar was already 11 days late. Hence, Abigail was recorded to be born on either 11th November or 22nd November 1744.

2. She Is the First Second Lady And The Second First Lady

Abigail Adam’s husband, John Adams was the first Vice-President of the United States between the years of 1789 and 1797, in George Washington’s administration. George Washington is the first president of the United States. After the tenure of George Washington, John became the second president of the United States between the years of 1797 to 1801.

3. The First Lady To Be Both; A Wife And A Mother To A President

Abigail Adams
Mental Floss of Abigail Adams with John Adams her husband image source

Abigail Adams historically happens to the first lady out of the two women that became the wife of a president and mother of a president of the United States. Her husband, John Adams was the 2nd president, and her son, John Quincy was 6th president, between the years of 1825-1829. The second woman to have achieved this feat is Barbara Bush, wife of George H. W. Bush – 41st president, and mother of George W. Bush – 43rd president.

4. Historically the First Lady to Live in the White House

Just like his predecessor, John mostly lived at the Presidential Villa in Philadelphia, until May 1800. They moved into the White House on the 1st of November. In between, they lived in hotels. But as of the time of their moving in, the famous White House was not yet completely built.

5. The Family Oriented Woman was A Lover/Owner Of Several Dogs

Abigail Adams was highly family-oriented, no wonder she could afford to miss her husband’s swearing ceremony on March 4th, 1797, in a bid to nurse her mother-in-law who had taken ill in Massachusetts.

The late First Lady was an avid lover of dogs. They owned some, the most popular were two dogs named Juno and Satan. Satan was known as John’s dog.

6. Her Demise

The adorable Mrs. President as she was fondly called, at the age of 73 years fell ill after she was diagnosed with typhoid fever. Two weeks before her 74th birthday, on the 28th of October 1818, Abigail Adams nee Smith passed away. She was laid to rest at a crypt, in the United First Parish Church beside her late husband.


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