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


Early in her visit, Louisa began to feel the pressure of her mother's needs. After staying up all night with baby Warren, who was teething, she commented, "Ma has much to do for the boys, and my conscience hurts me that I do not help her; but my time is so occupied that I know not how I can." Three days later, her resolve had vanished; "Saturday. Sewing for my mother.... ...Monday. Sewing all day for my mother, in haste.... ...Tuesday. Sewing again for my brothers, who return from College, and want new clothes.... ...Wednesday. Boys at home–at work for them yet." Louisa's protest that she was too busy to help was not entirely accurate. On the day she wrote that her conscience hurt she also wrote that she had gone out with her father, visiting, in the afternoon and evening. She did have leisure time, and her mother was keeping a busy house and raising at least two teenage boys. Louisa's help with the sewing must have been a great relief.

On December 29, 1800, Louisa suddenly had the chance to take a short trip to visit her sister Nancy. When one of her father's colleagues, Mr. Whitney, stopped on his way to Hingham, where Nancy lived, Louisa was convinced to join him. They stayed at the homes of Whitney's relatives, where she was a stranger, but was made welcome. She complimented all of her hosts over the four day trip, and noted in her diary that, "Ministers' families are always acquainted." She had one happy evening with Nancy, and admired her sister's "House and situation," but commented, "I had much rather be without, than pay sixty dollars interest, annually, with no prospect of paying the debt....I wish they were as free from debt as we are."

50. Park, Diary, December 10, 1800; December 13, 1800; December 15, 16, and 17, 1800.
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