John Adams came frequently to Ipswich in the practice of his profession as a lawyer and always stopped at Treadwell’s Inn across from Meeting House Green.

In his visits to Ipswich, Adams stayed at Nathaniel Treadwell's  Inn, which is believed to be still standing, on North Main Street.
In his visits to Ipswich, Adams stayed at Nathaniel Treadwell’s Inn, which is believed to be still standing, on North Main Street.

Thomas Franklin Waters recorded Adams’ allusions to the landlord and other guests at Nathaniel Treadwell’s Inn in his book, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

June 19, 1770, Tuesday morning: “Rambled with Kent ’round Landlord Treadwell’s pastures to see how our horses fared. We found them in the grass up to their eyes–excellent pastures. This hill, on which stands the meeting house and courthouse, is a fine elevation, and we have here a fine air and the pleasant prospect of the winding river at the foot of the hill.” He “drank balm tea at Treadwell’s” on June 21.

Again on June 22, 1771, he was at Court and spent a week at Treadwell’s Inn.

John Adams
John Adams

June 22, 1771, Saturday: “Spent this week at Ipswich, in the usual labors and drudgery of attendance upon court. Boarded at Treadwell’s; have had no time to write. Landlord and landlady are some of the grandest people alive; landlady is the great granddaughter of Governor Endicott, and has all the great notions of high family that you find in Winslows, Hutchinsons, Quincys, Saltonstalls, Chandlers, Leonards, Otises and as you might find with more propriety in the Winthrops. Yet she is cautious and modest about discovering it. She is a new light; continually canting and whining in a religious strain. The Governor was uncommonly strict and devout, eminently so in his day; and his great, great granddaughter hopes to keep up the honor of the family in hers, and distinguish herself among her contemporaries as much.

Thus for landlady. As to landlord, he is as happy, and as big, as proud, as conceited as any nobleman in England; always calm and good natured and lazy ; but the contemplation of his farm and his sons and his house and pastures and cows, his sound judgment, as he thinks, and his great holiness, as well as that of his wife, keep him as erect in his thoughts as a noble or a prince. Indeed, the more I consider of mankind, the more I see that every man seriously and in his conscience believes himself the wisest, brightest, best, happiest, etc of all mankind. I went this evening, spent an hour and took a pipe with Judge Trowbridge at his lodgings.”

Mr. Adams left Boston again on March 28, 1774, and “rode with brother Josiah Quincy to Ipswich Court, arriving on Tuesday.

March 29, 1774: “Put up at the old place, Treadwell’s. The old lady has got a new copy of her great grandfather, Governor Endicott’s picture hung up in the house. The old gentleman is afraid they will repeal the excise upon tea, and then that we shall have it plenty; wishes they would double the duty, and then we should never have any more.”

Read John Adams’ letters from Ipswich

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