The Birthplace of Abigail Smith Adams was built in 1685 for the Reverend Samuel Torrey, minister of The First Church in Weymouth. The original location was at the corner of North and East Streets, three hundred feet to the southeast of its present location.
In 1738, the “Torrey Mansion” as it was known, was bought by Reverend William Smith, minister of The First Church, where he and his wife later lived all of their married life. Abigail Smith was born in the house on November 11, 1744 the second of four children born, where she resided the first 20 years of her life until she married John Adams in 1764. Abigail was a frequent visitor to the house after her marriage.
In 1826 The First Church bought the birthplace for its first owned parsonage, but in 1838 found that it was so dilapidated that its members voted to build a new home on the same site. With the exception of the 1685 section, the house was torn down; some of the lumber was salvaged and used in new parsonage. The original gambrel-roofed house was sold to a local farmer, Nathaniel Ford, who towed it by oxen to his farm on Bridge Street, and used it to house farm workers.
In 1947 the land and the building was acquired by the federal government to build federal housing. All of the farm’s buildings were marked for demolition. A few Weymouth residents, aware of the historic value of the birthplace, began strenuous efforts to save it. A citizen’s group was incorporated (AAHS) and the building was moved. On May 1, 1947, the Town of Weymouth released a lot of land at North and Norton Streets for the sum of one dollar. In October 1947 the old house, sawed in half, was moved to its new site on a new foundation, skillfully joined so that no trace appears in the house today. The Birthplace was stripped to the frame to restore it, as recommended by architectural historian Frank Chouteau Brown.
The furnishings and articles of daily living seen in the house date to the period of Abigail’s residence and serve to illustrate what life was like in the mid-eighteenth century. Today, extensive restoration has confirmed the 17th century age and has preserved the unique structure for the future.
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