John Adams, second president of the United States was born in 1735 and came to the forefront of American politics in the building stages of the American Revolution.
Abigail Smith was born in 1744. Abigail and John were third cousins, growing up near each other and seeing each other regularly as children. Abigail wasn't strong as a child and never attended school. At home, however, she learned how to read and write and how to think as an independent woman. She had huge libraries at her disposal through her uncles and grandparents. She developed strong opinions on government, women's rights, poetry, and philosophy, and was adamantly against slavery.
In 1762, when Abigail was 17, John visited the home with a friend who was engaged to Abigail's older sister. He noticed her now, not as a childhood friend and cousin, but as a woman of intelligence and learning. He was captivated by her and the feeling was mutual. Two years later they were married. Abigail's father, a pastor, performed the ceremony. Her mother reluctantly agreed to the marriage, in spite of her hopes her daughter would marry above a country lawyer.
After the wedding, John and Abigail rode off together on a single horse to their home, the farm where John was raised. Their first child was born in the country farmhouse that was their first and last home. Five more children followed. They moved to Boston as John developed his law practise, but after the completion of his presidency they returned to live at the farm.
During the time leading up to the Revolution John and Abigail were often apart but kept in touch with letters. Once Adams became president, they were never parted again. They were the first presidential couple to live in the White House.
Abigail was John's staunch supporter and advisor. He had great confidence in her opinions and she was quite willing to share them. Biographer Ellis described Abigail Adams as one of the most extraordinary women in American history. Her influence on her husband and on American politics of the time led some to nickname her Mrs. President. When the laws for the new country were being drafted Abigail reminded her husband to "remember the ladies" as "all men would be tyrants if they could." She said "If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."
Abigail died in their home in 1818 of typhoid fever at the age of 73. Her last words were “Do not grieve, my friend, my dearest friend. I am ready to go. And John, it will not be long.”
John died 8 years later. They are buried side by side in United First Parish church in Quincy, Massachusetts.