J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Living History in Quincy, 18 Aug.

On Saturday, 18 August, the Dorothy Quincy Homestead in Quincy is hosting a living-history event highlighting the Quincy, Hancock, and Adams families. The title for this event is Lydia, Liberty, and Loyality.”

Those three families had a lot to talk about 250 years ago. In June, as I related back here, in the spring the Customs service tried to get Massachusetts attorney general Jonathan Sewall to prosecute John Hancock for interfering with their personnel aboard his ship Lydia. Sewall refused, saying the law was on Hancock’s side.

In June top Customs officers, with the help of the Royal Navy, seized Hancock’s ship Liberty for smuggling. This time they got Sewall to prosecute the case. Hancock retained John Adams as his lawyer.

Hancock and Adams had known each other since they were boys; Adams was a Braintree selectman’s son, and Hancock’s father was a minister in that town before his early death. Adams was also good friends with his fellow lawyer Sewall, though they were drifting apart because of political differences.

Even more fraught with drama, Sewall’s wife was the former Esther Quincy, part of the family that had owned that mansion earlier in the 1760s. Hancock would eventually marry Esther’s younger sister Dolly. And John Adams’s wife Abigail was cousin to the Quincys.

Also present at this event will be John Singleton Copley, portrait painter for the wealthy. In the 1760s he painted John Hancock and yet another Quincy cousin, attorney Samuel, and his wife. Eventually Copley would paint John Adams, but only after almost two decades had swelled Adams from a country lawyer to the American minister to the Court of St. James. For the Adamses and Sewalls in 1768, Copley was too expensive.

The Dorothy Quincy Homestead is co-owned by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. That organization is co-sponsoring this event with Discover Quincy, Revolution250, and the Guild of Historic Interpreters South. Guides will also offer tours of the mansion.

This event is scheduled to run from 11:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. at the Dorothy Quincy Homestead, 34 Butler Road in Quincy. It is free to all, but donations will be gladly accepted.

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