ChesterNewMatterSummer2017 - 6

CCBA Feature

Suzy Wright's
MAGNIFICENT
JOURNEY

Mark R. Ashton, Esquire

A

s any of our friends will tell you my wife, Amy, and I
are very odd. Tell us that we could choose between
a week in the Caribbean or three days of touring
historic houses and their associated gift shops and the choice is
as clear as it is bizarre.
So in February we struck out for a day in Lancaster with
the goal of seeing Rockford and the Wright Plantation on the
west side of the Susquehanna. We struck out twice and ended
up touring a house owned by one of our "lesser" Presidents;
James Buchanan. I had not toured the house in 30+ years but
what impressed me was that it was both grand and intimate at
the same time. But I digress because this is about our half hour
foray in the gift shop and the book I discovered.
We have no children. We have no family who have children.
So, children's books are not high on our list of must reading
for consumption or giving. But while wandering through the
gift shop of the Lancaster County Historical Society, I spotted
a book with great graphics from 18th century Pennsylvania.
Only after paging through it for a few minutes did I realize
that Teri Kanefield's The Extraordinary Suzy Wright; A Colonial
6 | New Matter

Woman on the Frontier was a children's book. It was published
by Abrams Books last year (2016).
Suzy Wright was born in 1697 to a Quaker family in Chester,
then part of Chester County. Suzy's father was a prominent
Quaker in a day when the Quakers still ran Pennsylvania (it
got worse for them after the 1750s). Suzy never married, a fact
that might seem extraordinary until I recently read that about
30% of 18th century English people never did marry. When
Suzy was 29 her mother died suddenly, another common
occurrence for that time. Suzy was left in charge of her 12-year
old brother.
Suzy was not a person of means but she knew and had
already garnered the respect of "weighty" members of the
Quaker community, including the chief agent of the Penn
family and chief justice of its Supreme Court, James Logan.
One of the problems vexing Logan in 1726 was the border
dispute with Maryland and the fact that Marylanders were
invading Penn Family lands along the Susquehanna River. At
Logan's suggestion Suzy and her father bought land on the west
bank of the river in what is today Wrightsville, Pennsylvania



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