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


What she meant by the term "company" was the regular social contacts that were a part of the communities where she lived. On a typical day she would either receive visitors or go out to visit, on some days she did both. In Salisbury, particularly, Louisa enjoyed an active life with her friends and neighbors, especially women. Her female housemates, Mrs. Lumbard and Mrs. Fowler, participated in the rounds of visiting even when their husbands were at home from the sea, so it is reasonable to assume that Louisa would also have participated regardless of whether her husband was away. In the month of March, 1801, Louisa recorded going out to visit sixteen times, often taking tea, even though there were nine days when the weather was so bad that she could not go out at all.

In April 1801, Louisa suffered the heartbreaking loss of her only son. Her grief was overwhelming, and when she returned to her diary a week after Warren's death she poured out her grief as well as her anger for having to be alone through the ordeal. After her brief entry of April 12th, there is a gap of half a page in the diary, and the next entry is on May 2nd, three weeks later. She drew two broad horizontal lines across the gap in the page, as though she was separating her life into "before" and "after." When she returned to the diary on May 2nd, Warren had been dead for a week. Writing must have been cathartic for her, because she wrote, in one day, fifteen pages describing the illness, his treatment, and his funeral. She resolved to take care of her own health and to resume, as much as possible, a normal life. She struggled, though, with what normal life could be for her; she was a wife whose husband was far away, and a mother who no longer had a child.

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