One of our nation's most famous love stories is the story of John and Abigail Adams, a story that lasted for 53 years until Abigail's death in 1818. It wasn't exactly love at first sight though. Abigail and John were distant cousins who had grown up together. It wasn't until John saw Abigail, then 17, at a party, that he realized how pretty she was. And smart, too - while most girls back then were only expected to know practical skills like sewing and cooking, Abigail had educated herself by devouring her father's extensive library. After a 3-year courtship that included many love letters, they were married. John and Abigail had the first of their five children the next year.
John was a lawyer in Boston. His most famous and unpopular case was his successful defense of the British soldiers accused of the Boston Massacre; although a patriot, John was determined that they have a fair trial. Her husband's sense of duty must have dismayed Abigail at times. He never refused a chance to serve his country, which meant that he was often away from home for months or even years at a time, leaving Abby to manage the household on her own.
They continued the letter-writing that had begun before their marriage, eventually exchanging a total of more than 1,100 letters. While John was away at the Continental Congress, deciding on the makings of a new government, he wrote Abigail, saying that receiving her lively letters was the only thing that made the tedious meetings bearable for him.
After the Congress, John was sent to Europe as a diplomat. After years of separation, his wife had endured enough. She sailed across the Atlantic to join him.
Finally, after a decade of foreign service, it was time to come home. His career wasn't over, though-- he soon became George Washington's vice president and after that, our nation's 2nd president. His wife had to adjust to many things, including living in a large, cold, half-finished White House in the middle of the swamp that was Washington D.C. Abigail must have been glad when he finally retired to Peacefield, his farm in Massachusetts, where they spent the next 17 years together, until Abigail's death in 1818.
Seven years later, their son John Quincy Adams became president, making them the only president and first lady in history to be the parents of another president, until the election of George W. Bush in 2000.