October 17th might not be a super important day in your world. If you have children, you might recognize the day as “just two weeks to Halloween”, which serves as a good reminder to get out and get your candy purchased. But for me, it’s pretty much another day, which this fall (with as beautiful as its been) has been pretty good.
October 17, 1749 was a pretty special day for a young Samuel Adams. It was on this day that the twenty-seven year old bookeeper (and budding revolutionist) married Elizabeth Checkley, three years his junior. Elizabeth had come into his life just after the death of his father the previous year, and she provided a soothing elixir for his sadness.
Her father, Samuel Checkley, was an ordained minister – ordained by Increase and Cotton Mather, by the way – and he performed the ceremony that Friday.
Unfortunately, this happy union would see its share of heartache. They had six children, but only two, Samuel and Hannah, lived to adulthood. Their first child lived just 18 days and their third just a day and a half. The fourth child lived only 3 months. Their last child was stillborn and, 19 days later, Elizabeth herself died. In his biography of Samuel Adams, Ira Stoll writes Adams’ words in their family Bible…“To her husband she was as sincere a Friend as she was a faithful Wife. . . .She ran her Christian race with remarkable steadiness and finished in triumph. She left two small children. God grant they may inherit her graces.”
But that was all to come. For today, it was joy and marital bliss for Samuel Adams.
Recommended Reading: Samuel Adams: A Life