Susanna Boylston

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Susanna Boylston
BornMarch 5, 1708
DiedApril 17, 1797(1797-04-17) (aged 89)
Spouse(s)John Adams, Sr.
ChildrenJohn Adams, 3 others

Susanna Boylston Adams Hall (March 5, 1708 – April 17, 1797) was a prominent early-American socialite, mother of the second U.S. President, John Adams and grandmother of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams. Her parents were Peter Boylston (c. 1673–1743) and Anne White (1685–1772);[1] her grandparents, Dr. Thomas Boylston (1644–1695) and Mary Gardner (1648–?)[2][3][4] and Benjamin White (?–1722) and Susanna Cogswell (1656–1701).[5]

She married John Adams, Sr. in 1734.[6] She is among the least well known of the famous Adams family, for her name appears infrequently in the large body of Adams writings. Historian David McCullough notes that no writings of hers survive, though it is known that others would often read to her, suggesting that she might have been illiterate.[7] However, in his memoirs, John Adams himself wrote that "as my parents were both fond of reading...I was very early taught to read at home," indicating that his mother likely possessed at least a basic level of literacy.[8]

John Adams and Susanna Boylston Adams had the following children:

  • John Adams
  • Peter Boylston Adams – farmer, militia captain of Braintree, Massachusetts.
  • Elihu Adams – a company commander in the militia during the American Revolution; died from a dysentery.

Five years after the death of her first husband, she married Lt. John Hall, who apparently did not get along with her grown children. She died around a month into her son's presidency.


  1. ^ The Family of Elisha Thayer, by J. Farmer, Hingham, 1835
  2. ^ The Alden Kindred of New York City & Vicinity by Violet Main Turner and E. Huling Wordworth, New York, 1935
  3. ^ Epitaphs from the Old Burying Ground in Watertown, by William Thaddeus Harris and Eward Doubleday Harris, Boston, 1896
  4. ^ New England Marriages Prior to 1700, by Clarence Almon Torrey, Page 294
  5. ^ The Hawley Society based in large part on The Hawley Record, by Elias Sill Hawley, 1890
  6. ^ "John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776, sheet 2 of 53 [electronic edition]". Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.
  7. ^ McCullough, David (2001). John Adams. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. p. 30. ISBN 0-684-81363-7.
  8. ^ Autobiography of John Adams, "Parents and schooling," p. 2.