In the late 1750s, Adams fell in love with Hannah Quincy; while they were alone, he was poised to propose but was interrupted by friends, and the moment was lost. In 1759, he met 15-year-old Abigail Smith through his friend Richard Cranch, who was courting Abigail's older sister. Adams initially was not impressed with Abigail and her two sisters, writing that they were not "fond, nor frank, nor candid. " In time, he grew close to Abigail and they were married on October 25, 1764, despite the opposition of Abigail's haughty mother. They shared a love of books and kindred personalities that proved honest in their praise and criticism of each other. After his father's death in 1761, Adams had inherited a 9 1⁄2-acre (3. 8 ha) farm and a house where they lived until 1783. John and Abigail had six children: Abigail "Nabby" in 1765, future president John Quincy Adams in 1767, Susanna in 1768, Charles in 1770, Thomas in 1772, and Elizabeth in 1777. Susanna died when she was one year old, while Elizabeth was stillborn. All three of his sons became lawyers. Charles and Thomas were unsuccessful, became alcoholics, and died before old age, while John Quincy excelled and launched a career in politics. Adams's writings are devoid of his feelings about the sons' fates.
As the French and Indian War began in 1754, Adams, aged nineteen, began to struggle with his responsibility in the conflict as many of his contemporaries joined the war for money. Adams later said, "I longed more ardently to be a Soldier than I ever did to be a Lawyer," recognizing that he was the first of his family to "[degenerate] from the virtues of the house so far as not to have been an officer in the militia."