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The Abigail Adams Cairn was erected in 1896 to mark the spot from which Abigail Adams and young son. John Quincy Adams, watched the smoke of burning Charlestown and heard the sound of the guns of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. As late as 1904, one could still see from Penn's Hill the blue waters of Dorchester Bay, the present city of Charlestown, and the tall shaft of Bunker Hill Monument. The Abigail Adams Cairn is approximately ten feet high by four-and-a-half feet in diameter field stone and mortar cairn located on Penn's Hill in South Quincy. Many adults and children gathered stones from their own properties or obtained them from historic sites and birthplaces to have them placed in the cairn.
There are several similar cairns in Quincy: the Myles Standish Cairn, erected one year earlier in 1895 and the twin entrance posts to St. Mary's Cemetery on Crescent Street.