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and established a ferry across it. Within three years, Suzy's
father petitioned the General Assembly to establish Lancaster
County. Father Wright and Samuel Blunston were the
applicants, but Chief Justice Logan chose to correspond
not with them but with Suzy, about how to navigate the
management of Pennsylvania's newest county.
While functioning as the brains behind the new village
on the western frontier of Pennsylvania, Suzy established an
orchard and a medicinal herb garden. But her correspondence
tells another story. That correspondence reveals Suzy to be a
legal authority and mediator of disputes among the settlers.
In 1776 she wrote to Chief Justice Jasper Yeates asking for
appointment of no less than John Dickinson to serve as
guardian of her brother's children. The book includes the letter
asking the Chief Justice to call "an Orphans' Court" to affirm
Another of Suzy's friendships formed a generation earlier
was with Benjamin Franklin. In 1751 Franklin sent her an
almanac and an innovative candle he thought she should try.
Four years later as the Braddock Expedition to capture Fort
Duquesne was languishing for want of teamsters and horses,
Franklin called upon Suzy to help assemble the 260 horses and
150 wagons needed to get the British from Fort Cumberland
MD to modern day Pittsburgh. As we know Braddock never
got to his appointed destination but that had more to do with
British arrogance than logistics.
By 1771, a 74-year old Suzy was among the many
Pennsylvanians who thought our state could successfully
compete with China in silk production. Suzy produced a bolt
of locally made silk fabric running 60 yards. Suzy's article on
the subject was published in the Philadelphia Medical and
Physical Journal. Shortly the revolution would begin, testing
once again how Quaker values and fondness for liberty could
be reconciled with antipathy toward violence of any kind,
Suzy's letters express her outrage at British conduct. But she
concurrently instructs her nephews that they were not to enlist,
as "we are a family of peace."
When not summoning teamsters to drive the French from
Pennsylvania or growing silkworms on the Susquehanna,
Suzy wrote poetry of such quality that it was used to teach the
subject in Philadelphia finishing schools. A half century after
her death John Fanning Watson called her the most literary
lady of the province. In 1784 she was visited by Dr. Benjamin
Rush, founding father of the Revolution, who emoted that "I
saw the famous Suzy Wright, lady who has been celebrated
above half a century for her good wit, good sense, and valuable
improvements of the mind." Rush was among Suzy's last
visitors for she died on December 1, 1784. Consistent with
Quaker humility her grave was unmarked. The author's epitaph
for her subject is spot on.
She generously used her talents for the betterment of her
community. She never sought personal recognition but she
achieved fame during her lifetime through the power of her
intellect, her personality and her compassion.
As I paged through this 50-page book and its beautiful
illustrations, I thought of our friend and colleague Madeline
Lamb. This year will mark the fifth anniversary of her passing.
Suzy was the 18th century's Madeline. And so it made sense
to me to purchase a copy of this book and place it in the room
in the Judicial Center where children quietly wait for their
interviews in custody and juvenile proceedings. My hope is
that a parent and a child could momentarily escape the angst
of their visit to court and, perhaps, dream of greater things.
Madeline would like that.
N.B. Suzy Wright's home is privately owned but still located
on the banks of the Susquehanna in Wrightsville, just south of
Route 30, the Lincoln Highway.
.-Strategies * Over 27 years of experience helping individuals and
businesses achieve their short and long-term goals
through sound financial planning.
* Specializes in working with clients who are
divorced, widowed or otherwise left to prepare
for an independent future.
Call Christine at ( 610) 429-4020.
115 Westtown Road, Suite 202 I West Chester, PA 19382
www. Divorce Wea Ith Strategies.com
New Matter | 7
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