When “Miss Anthony” went to her birthplace for her birthday (Feb 15) to reminisce about her family news, intrepid New Englanders turned out, despite blustery weather.
I’ve been to Adams, Massachusetts many times to visit Susan’s birthplace and to learn about her roots in the place where her Quaker ancestors are buried.
We approached Adams through the Berkshire Mountains, driving the TaconicTrail, a beautiful winding road with breathtaking vistas. The Appalachian Trail, beloved journey of hundreds of hikers every year, passes atop nearby Mount Greylock, which can be gazed upon from the windows at the home where Susan B. Anthony was born.
Our warm reception in Adams was especially welcome, given the frigid temperatures. Upstairs at the Freight Yard Pub in North Adams, we enjoyed our Valentine’s Day dinner just a few feet away from a blazing log fire. In the morning, though some church services were closed due to blustery winds, we found a delightful worship service at the Congregational Church, where it seems most of the worship team work as medics and paramedics. They advised us not to go home through the mountains, since more snow was predicted and small towns find it difficult to keep the winding Taconic Trail plowed during bad weather.
I presented my talk on Susan B. at the Adams Free Library, built in 1897 and dedicated by President William McKinley. Doubtless Miss Anthony would have admired it when she visited Adams for a family reunion in July of that same year. (The photo below was taken at the window of that library.)
My talk “Reminiscing with Susan” describes the private family milestones from 1856-1880 that caused her to disrupt her speaking schedule and hasten to a loved one’s side, such as when her brother D.R. suffered a life-threatening gunshot wound in Leavenworth.
Behind Miss Anthony’s very public life was a woman dedicated to her parents and five brothers and sisters. Her authorized biography by Ida Husted Harper aptly sums it up by saying, “With Miss Anthony the love of family was especially intense as she had formed no outside ties, and the parents, the brothers and sisters filled her world of affection.”