William Lawrence on His Grandmother, Susanna Lawrence

This next passage, which closes out the material on Samuel and Susanna Lawrence, is devoted exclusively to Susanna. I have always thought she would have to have been an amazing woman. She managed a household with a husband away at war; was herself a currier for secret correspondence; delivered and raised 9 children in a pre-vaccination/ pre-antibiotic era with one child dying in his teen years and the other eight surviving to adulthood; and lived to the somewhat extraordinary age of 89.


from Extracts From The Diary And Correspondence of Amos Lawrence, by William R. Lawrence, M.D., Boston, 1855

Of his mother Mr. Lawrence [Amos–LSL] always spoke in the strongest terms of veneration and love, and in many of his letters are found messages of affection, such as could have emanated only from a heart overflowing with filial gratitude. Her form bending over their bed in silent prayer, at the hour of twilight, when she was about leaving them for the night, is still among the earliest recollections of her children.

She was a woman well fitted to train a family for the troubled times in which she lived. To the kindest affections and sympathies she united energy and decision, and in her household enforced that strict and unhesitating obedience, which she considered as the foundation of all success in the education of children. Her hands were never idle, as may be supposed, when it is remembered that in those days, throughout New England, in addition to the cares of a farming establishment, much of the material for clothing was manufactured by the inmates of the family. Many hours each day she passed at the hand‑loom, and the hum of the almost obsolete spinning‑wheel even now comes across the memory like the remembrance of a pleasant but half‑forgotten melody.

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