The Reverend William Smith, Father of Abigail Adams ||facing ||
William Smith (1707–1783), the father of Abigail Adams and for half a century the minister of the First or North Parish of Weymouth, as illustrated in Daniel Munro Wilson's The “Chappel of Ease” and Church of Statesmen: Commemorative Services at... the First Church of Christ in Quincy, Quincy, 1890, facing p. 81. Wilson, who was for years the minister of the First Church of Quincy and an able local historian, illustrated his books profusely but failed to provide information about his sources that later historians would like to have. Charles Francis Adams 2d (1835–1915) was a collaborator in historical undertakings with Wilson from time to time, prophetically sensed the importance of Wilson's illustrations, and in a letter to him of 24 January 1903 said: “In the case of your book the illustrations will ripen with time, and become, doubtless, even more curious and valuable than your text. That could be replaced by another. Meanwhile, the pictures are unique, and must remain so” (Daniel Munro Wilson Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society). A search by the editors of Mr. Wilson's papers still in the possession of his daughter, Miss Marjorie Wilson of Newport, R.I., and inquiries elsewhere, have regrettably failed to turn up a location, attribution, or date for the original of this only known likeness of Smith. There is reason to believe that it may have been owned in the 19th century by some of the numerous descendants of Richard and Mary Cranch, the latter being Smith's daughter and the elder sister of Abigail Adams.