THE ANTHONY FAMILY
THE ANTHONY FAMILY - ADAMS, MA
The Anthony family of Adams moved to the Berkshires before the beginning of the Revolutionary War in the shadow of Mt. Greylock. The Read family, the maternal family of Susan B. Anthony, relocated in Adams around the time that Daniel Read became a Universalist. Daniel’s wife, Susannah, however remained a Baptist. The Read and Anthony farms adjoined each other about a mile east of Adams on the apron of the Green Mountains. And so it was that the maternal and paternal grandparents of Susan B. Anthony lived and breathed the air of the pastoral New England village known for its mills and pastures. Later the area would be known for its great factories.
The Anthonys were established Quakers in the community and it was often customary for wealthy Quakers to open up a home school in which neighbor children could attend. This was the means by which the lovely Lucy Read came to be under the influence of its master teacher, Daniel Anthony. Their childhood play quickly turned to love and affection. However, such a union was to be hindered by the restrictions of a Quaker marrying "out of meeting." Lucy would be forced to abandon her music and dancing and marry into plain and severe rules. A committee of Friends was sent to Daniel to deal with his forthcoming wedding. The matter was resolved since Daniel was sorry he had to, "...violate the rule of the religious society I revered most." Lucy Read learned to love the Friends’ religion even though she never became a member. However, she continued to sing lullabies to her babies.
The summer before their marriage, Daniel had helped his father build a two-story addition, and in exchange was given the lumber to build himself and Lucy a new home. Lucy’s father in turn gave Daniel a tract of land adjacent to the Read farm on which to build the new home. After their marriage and before the house was completed Daniel and Lucy lived at the Read homestead. Lucy busily set to weaving the sheets and pillow -cases needed to begin housekeeping.
Since cotton was just coming into use, Lucy considered herself fortunate to have some “linens” that were half cotton. The enterprising Daniel saw the possibility of harnessing the waters of the Tophet brook and a rapid little stream that flowed through the Read property to build a factory that powered twenty-six looms. This became a reality and a success. The factory hands were girls from respectable families in the Green Mountain region. Lucy Read Anthony boarded eleven of the girls as well as doing her daily cooking, washing and ironing. The cooking for the family, now enlarged to sixteen, was done on the hearth in front of the fireplace and in a big side brick oven. Despite all the hardships, Lucy enjoyed a long and happy married life and never regretted accepting her Quaker husband.
During the first seventeen years of marriage eight children were born to Lucy and Daniel Anthony. Susan was the second child, born on February 15, 1820 in the shadow of Mt. Greylock. She was named for her father’s sister Susan Anthony Brownell. Her birthing was in the front parlor of the Anthony home. She was welcomed into a quiet and comfortable home where great respect passed between mother and father. Susan was known for her “precocious “ ways. She was able to read at age three and spent lots of time with the Read grandparents where learning of spelling and reading took place. Susan also enjoyed her rag baby and set of broken dishes as playthings as well.
Susan had wonderful memories of both Read and Anthony grandparents, enjoying the food treats of “cider toast,” donuts, fresh cheese curd and left-overs. She viewed her parents as loving and supportive of her eagerness to learn. She saw how hard her mother labored to be a good wife and mother. She saw the justice and fairness that her father exemplified in his business dealings. These ancestral influences in Adams, Massachusetts formed and fashioned the fervor and faith that would be Susan’s for the rest of her life.