John Adams in Frankford

HBO began running the film version of David McCullough’s book “John Adams” last Sunday. It is a great story of a unique man in a unique time. I was curious if they would portray the trips that Adams had to make from Massachusetts to Philadelphia since he would have passed right through Frankford on the Kings Highway. The story jumped from his departure from home in Massachusetts and suddenly he was in Philadelphia at least 3 weeks later.

This week as I was reading the book, (John Adams by David McCullough, Simon & Schuster paperback, page 93) I came upon this passage which is of interest to us. It mirrors a scene in the movie that took place outside of the State House in Philadelphia.

In later years Adams would recall the warning advice given the Massachusetts delegation the day of their arrival for the First Congress. Benjamin Rush, Thomas Mifflin, and two or three other Philadelphia patriots had ridden out to welcome the Massachusetts men, and at a tavern in the village of Frankford, in the seclusion of a private room, they had told the New Englanders they were “suspected of having independence in view.” They were perceived to be “too zealous” and must not presume to take the lead. Virginia, they were reminded, was the largest, richest, and most populous of the colonies, and the “very proud” Virginians felt they had the right to lead.

So now we know, in his own words, what happened in a small room in a tavern in Frankford in 1775.