Letitia Hall, "Threshold of a Century: the Diary of Louisa Adams Park, 1800-1801"


Her sense of frustration was exacerbated by the difficulty of travel. Again and again her weather entries say, "rain." Without snow, New England was a bad place to travel in the winter. Roads got muddy and could not be traveled by sled or cart. Louisa made plans to visit a married sister in Hingham, but had to postpone the trip. Her younger brothers decided to go to a nearby dance, snow or not, and their sled tipped over into the mud twice before leaving the yard.48 Louisa was at the mercy of the weather and of her familial duties.

Louisa's family relationships were apparently very warm. She put her conjugal family first, but relied on her natal family for friendship and support, and considered herself a member of her husband's family also. She had a close relationship with her parents, but was more allied to her mother than to her father. Louisa and her father seemed to maintain some distance from each other. As a married daughter, she was a member of the family, but not entirely; Louisa was concerned about the cost of staying at her father's house, and wrote, "I know not what my father will charge me for my board, but I intend to know soon–I conclude, not much as I stay at their request, and more to oblige them than myself."49 A married woman's support was the responsibility of her husband, not her father.

With her mother, Louisa very quickly slipped back into the role of daughter and helper. Her mother suggested that Louisa leave her son Warren, then nine months old, and visit with her sister and other friends for the winter. Louisa was not ready to leave her son for such a long time, but she considered it. It did not seem to bother her that her mother was offering to be a mother both to her and to her son. She expressed no concern about her mother's ability to care for an infant of nine months, or about the propriety of a grandmother being a primary caretaker. Her only objection was that she would miss Warren if she was away from him for so long.

48. Park, Diary, January 13, 1801
49. Park, Diary, January 19, 1801. .
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 |28 | 29