Priscilla’s son Edward married Susannah Crush (1767-1816) in 1791. Edward was seventeen and his bride was twenty-four. She was described as beautiful but her subsequent life would rob her of her beauty, her health and possibly, her state of mind.

Susan and Edward had ten children between 1793 and 1813. It is recorded that all but the last baby survived to adulthood.  However, date ‘gaps’ at the beginning of their marriage and between the first and second child might suggest the existence of babies that died. Susan experienced a continual cycle of pregnancy and weaning followed by another pregnancy. This, along with illness and Edward’s loss of interest in the marriage hastened her descent into some form of mental illness. She died aged forty-eight.

The life of poor Susan Wakefield is noted only in reference to the proposition that she was the incompetent mother of sons that gained some notoriety. However Priscilla’s journal entries about Susan indicate a close relationship between the two. Priscilla was inclined criticise some aspects of Susan’s child rearing but Susan, as her daughter-in-law and mother of her grandchildren, was naturally encompassed into her circle of care and concern. Unlike Priscilla she did not survive marriage to a Wakefield and remains a shadowy figure on the fringes of the Wakefield story.

Published in: on April 22, 2011 at 9:06 am  Leave a Comment