|Blogger: Amber Schamel|
Happy Independence Day!
Most of us have heard at least a little bit about Samuel Adams, one of the Founding Fathers and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. But lesser known are his wives. I feel like they deserve a lot of credit, because being the wife of Samuel Adams was not an easy position.
Did you know? Samuel Adams actually had two wives. They were both named Elizabeth.
The Checkleys had been family friends for many years, so Sam and Elizabeth would have grown up knowing each other. Her father was a clergyman and close friends with the elder Mr. Adams, so both families were pleased when a courtship bloomed between the two. Shortly after Samuel’s father had died and left him with an inheritance which including a malt manufacturing company, he married his sweetheart, Elizabeth Checkley on October 17, 1749. The occasion was a happy one, but hardship was soon to follow.
Elizabeth became pregnant with their first son whom they intended to name Samuel, however, when the child was born, he lived only 18 days. While this must have been a great blow to the new couple, God looked upon them and blessed them with another son on October 16, 1751. They named this child Samuel as well, and he lived to adulthood. Two years later, another son they named Joseph died the day after birth. Exactly a year later, their first daughter, Mary, came into the world, but she didn’t occupy it long either. At three months and nine days old, the infant died. Just eighteen months later, another daughter was born, but she was healthy. Elizabeth’s last child was stillborn July 25, 1757. The effects of so many pregnancies and so much grief took its toll, and this time also claimed the life of the mother. After giving birth to six children, Elizabeth passed away at the age of 32.
It’s little wonder that during this time Samuel was greatly distracted. By 1760, everything that Samuel had inherited had dwindled away to nothing. Many blame him for poor management and spending habits, but between his wife’s pregnancies, the deaths of 4 children, and then the death of his wife, it is easy to see how his financial affairs—which were already a weak point for him—suffered all the more.
While their marriage lasted less than ten years, Samuel held his wife in high esteem. After her death, his grief is evident in the note he left in their family Bible.
To her husband she was as sincere a friend as she was a faithful wife. Her exact economy in all her relative capacities, her kindred on his side as well as her own admire. She ran her Christian race with remarkable steadiness and finished in triumph! She left two small children. God grant they may inherit her graces!
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For seven years, Samuel remained a widower. But with two small children to raise, and a political calling to fulfill, Samuel needed a wife. The fifth daughter of his close friend, Francis Wells caught his eye, and on December 6, 1764, he married Elizabeth Wells. This is the wife who is most well-known since she was Samuel’s helpmate throughout the founding of the nation. She was the daughter of a merchant in Boston, and was hard working, thrifty, and good at managing all the affairs Sam seemed to overlook. She raised two children who were not her own and found ways to supplement Sam’s meager income as he spent his time writing articles, attending congress, inciting patriots to action, and creating an atmosphere of liberty. Without his ‘Betsy’ as he called her, Sam wouldn’t have had the ability to take on everything he did. She was even-tempered and patient, always cheerful and supportive of her husband. She kept a garden to grow food for the family, and also started sewing to earn some extra income.
Elizabeth’s life during the Revolution was frightening. With Samuel signing the declaration of independence, that put his entire family on the British hit list. Elizabeth and Hannah were forced to flee Boston and stay with her father in Cambridge.
After the war, Elizabeth’s life settled down. While Sam was still very active in politics, they lived comfortably in a home on Winter Street. After outliving her husband by about five years, Elizabeth passed away in 1808.
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Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest". She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/ and download a FREE story by !